February 3rd, 2004


Mean It Man

The man sitting in the pub, nursing a half-pint of beer, counting out the pennies, he'll catch your eye sooner of later. The stories he spins are interesting enough at first, but once he's graciously accepted your offer of a fresh pint, you're not too sure how long you can stick it out. It would be good to be getting drunk without him. Your comfort is in part dependent on the bullshit factor. There's nothing like a good yarn and the more unbelievable it is the better. I've met a man who witnessed Judith Chalmers smearing her own faeces onto the wall with her lesbian lover (I hope that lesbian comment yesterday was evidently not 'my' voice. Was a bit unsure about that on subsequent reading), as I've also met the man who lived to stalk Harriet Harman and the man who used to be Oliver Reed's personal chef. What did he like to eat generally? I used to make him a mixed grill. Top notch bullshit. I love it. I used to drum for Bill Haley... Sometimes these things might be true. You never get this quality of hogwash in yer new-fangled pubs though. The cultural references are far duller and too contemporary.

On Friday I found myself in West London. Standing in an inebriated state in some stranger's kitchen in the morning to celebrate a child's birth (the father shouting out "Who's got that crystal MDMA", so he's getting into the swing of parental responsibility), surrounded by drugged-up public school types. I was just drunk. Someone started bemoaning John Lydon's appearance on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here as evidence of selling out. I tried to control my temper and just about succeeded. How's that selling out? Come on, he was in the Pistols. Looking around the SMEG and AEG furnished kitchen with underfloor heating, Spanish-tiled splashback, six-ring chef stove... Err, selling out? Thinking of who they had to sell out to get their house. Look, I said, the Pistols were always sold out. Yes, they were a great band, but they were also product par excellence. Yeah, but come on man, he invented punk. So I'm thinking about Iggy, MC5, New York Dolls, Patti Smith, etc, pub rock even. How about that Pistols reunion tour, I say, that was selling out. He's been sold out musically ever since The Flowers of Romance as far as I can see. Metal Box, even. Metal what? For fuck's sake, do you actually know anything about John Lydon? But he's Johnny Rotten, man! No, he's just like you, he's got bills to pay, what's your problem? As far as I can see [admittedly I don't own a tv] this is the best thing he's done in years. The fact he's making you confront your mistaken idolatry of, cor blimey, twenty five years ago is a good thing. If you meet Buddha on the road you're supposed to kill him. I thought the Buddhist reference might appeal to a West Londoner. Good on him, I say, you can only see him for the clothes that he wears. That didn't even register with him. So, readers, don't invite me your party if you want an absence of belligerent know-all grandstanding.

Mmm, the genesis of this entry was the thought yesterday that I'd been doing this journal long enough to be repeating myself. Although I always look at entries on this site from friends, a little box pops up to let me know, it's not often I go back to blogs and such on a regular basis. I come across them by chance generally, read them, get a flavour, only very rarely do I bookmark them. I'm sure I could compile some sort of index to ensure I didn't repeat stuff, but it makes it more human. The realisation there's an infinite number of permutations available, but familiar flavours. There's only so much in anyone's store cupboard. I've been keeping this since August. I will start repeating myself and, if I was to keep going for that long, as age progressed, the level of repetition would rise and rise. If I'm lucky, it will be like a day in Grey Gardens, although that's a high standard to aim for in one-liners, never mind what I'm wearing as I make an entry.

Writing about Japan yesterday, a balance of wanting to write about it and being utterly bored about it. You're free to skip after all. But finding Kelvin's site, well, that was strange. I don't know if I'll get an answer back. The problem is I really don't know why he wouldn't. I don't know. But there could be a reason. Those final months, it's hard to piece them together. It's vaguely sordid, but so is Dostoevsky.

These are my final memories of Kelvin. I was hiding out from Louise. There, I've finally used her name. I can't think of an alias. I don't want to. He'd gone off to Mount Fuji or somewhere for a music festival and he'd graciously let me use his house as temporary refuge. I can remember fleeing on the Saturday morning. I kept on hearing, sensing, something's approach. It wasn't a good safehouse though, it was known. With the addict's deluded clarity of intention, I stayed there smoking ice and masturbating. Or rather, wanting to masturbate, but being unable to relax for longer than one minute until I would be aware of something approaching again and knowing I would be discovered. I believe at one point that I put on his girlfriend's dress hoping this might add an edge. It just increased the fear of being found and punished. This is pretty much what I had reduced myself to at this point. I was compulsively either masturbating/thinking about sex or looking for tiny pieces of ice on any available floor space ('ghosting'?). The only thing that prevented these activities was riding a scooter and even then my eyes would be scanning the roadside when stopped at lights, just as I would be thinking 'stop thinking about sex'. He'd left me his video rental ticket (whoa! a new store to explore) and I certainly hired two videos. One had Traci Lords, so at least I could pass of this piece of porn off to myself as a footnote to an important cultural footnote given by John Waters and the like, and the other was Ivan Rublev by Tarkovsky.

Although we met briefly on the Sunday on his return, and have never communicated since as far as I remember, I hope that one day those two signifiers expressed to him the spiritual nature of the situation when he came across them later in the flat. Somewhere in his imagination perhaps I stand before him. In one hand, there's Traci Lords and in the other, the Mysteries of the Holy Orthodox Church. Readers will be all too aware of the eventual victor in that battle. For that, I can never express a profound enough gratitude. But my eventual judgement before God is one matter, my sadness at losing a very dear friend is another. I do hope he replies. I almost used the word closure. Mmm...
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