August 25th, 2003


Carnival Monday

Another Sunday afternoon spent at Come Down And Meet The Folks, a left-field country music session over in Kentish Town. I always end up drunker than I wish to be and yesterday was no exception. Came home and made falafel, said falafel then demanded an early exit in the small hours of the morning, lay in bed listening to World Service reports about Liberia and waited for sleep to return. Fortunately at least, there's no readily available fast food outlet near the house so there was nothing more exotic than chick peas that came out of me. There is of course Uncle Shloime's, a Kedassia approved fast food outlet, but its opening hours are the reverse of most kebab outlets. It's closed on Friday and Saturday nights and seems not to be open after nine at night. Go home! It seems to be saying. What are you doing wandering the streets at this time? Whereas many kebab shops must look toward pub closing time with a mixture of fear and financial need, Shloime's avoids this situation altogether. It always seems empty, but that could be as much to do with the quality of the kebabs as their observant attitude towards opening hours.
The radio is playing a documentary about palliative care. An old man is dying in bed, the nurse is adjusting metrazolam and morphine doses, his breath is laboured and the family sits around him. When my father died at the start of the year, we sat in a hospital room together listening to him die. There was a large selection of CDs in the room to listen to, but there weren't any that seemed suited to dying. It's a gap in the market. I'd imagined it would be recordings of various Requiems, pieces of liturgy, but it was all easy listening compilations. My mother's choice, out of all these, was Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. Faded impressionist pictures hung around the room. I wondered whether you could pre-order your preferred artistic school. Designed to be inoffensive, the bland and muted style of everything. I kept thinking of Soylent Green and Edward G. Robinson. I tried to pray but I couldn't stop listening to the sound of my father's breath.
It sounded like he was drowning in himself. I could see him in an ocean, exhausted, slowly falling into the water, fighting his way back to the surface, everything was contained in these terrifying gasps for air. When I should have been begging for his salvation, I kept thinking of those swimming scenes in Gattaca. Finally there was no more sound.
I have no idea what to write after that, so I won't.


For some reason, I am still having these fantasies about Angelina Jolie and Chechnya. None of these involve physical exposure or contact and are lacking in any discernable sexual content. I found a suitably sarcastic article in the Moscow Times about the media circus around the event.
I once started a mental list of things I wanted to do with certain celebrities. These were all entirely lacking in smut and centred around mundane, domestic events:
Making pizza with Stevie Nicks
Getting Wynona Ryder to advise me on bathroom fixtures
Erecting scaffolding with Can
Of course, Can don't really count as celebrities, I just thought they'd be good at scaffolding, although you'd have to get in a large supply of biscuits to keep them happy. I've no idea about the others.
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