February 11th, 2004



There's a new fashion for penile impants going around town. Men are standing around on street corners with their enhanced members dangling out of their trousers. It's hard to know where to look. If you do, it's with a sympathetic eye for post-op soreness and inflammation. Somewhere the phone rings.


"So tell me about this Sarmoung thing, bitch."

"Oh, it's you Ange. What time is it?"

"I don't fucking know. What are you doing, sleeping?" As if sleeping is such an odd thing to be doing at four in the morning.

"Sort of. I was a bit stoned. Must have drifted off. Well, what do you want?"

"I want to know what it's about. Duh." She does that drawn out noise that predated Homer's Doh and signals that I am a retard. Or spastic as people used to say here in unreconstructed times. It's a little too loud in the receiver.

"Have you been drinking again? You sound a bit lush, if I may say so."

"No, you may not say so." She's a natural mimic. It's a shame that side of her talent isn't used more often. "Look, we're trying to pitch a third Tomb Raider. Sarmoung, secret brotherhood, ancient artifacts, bang bang, tits out, save the day, bums on seats, whatever it is you Brits say."

So far, she has battled the Illuminati and prevented the opening of Pandora's Box. There might well be some mileage in a Sarmoung angle, especially given the location and current geopolitics. Should Al-Qaeda (whoever they may really be) come across them, it would be kaboom sooner than you can say Bamiyan Buddha. I could see Lara/Ange being inducted into the order, there could be a scene with her doing some of those secret dances. Chance for a costume change. Hollywood would make a real mess of it.

"Don't go to sleep on me now."

I'm not sure how far I managed to get in the telling of the story before I passed out again. We'd got a little involved in a conversational footnote about Alevism, then the light shifted and I was hovering naked above the bed. The stars were all around me, there was a distant hum and each source of light began to vibrate and connect together into this complex lattice of associations that I understood. Tears spilled from my eyes at the beauty of creation. My mouth opened and a sound began to issue forth...

"Hello? Sheesh, if I wanted to talk to a stoner I'd call my frickin' husband." I apologise, it is a little early in the morning. "Is everything okay at the moment?" She actually sounds concerned. I'm touched.

"The only thing that's really bothering me is this magazine in the bathroom. I mean, everytime, well, more or less, everytime I go to the toilet I read it. There's this little section on music that people have been downloading off the net. One of these people, she's called Maia, she's 28, she's got one of those Hoxton fringes. Well, what she likes is collecting Prince remixes and her favourite carnival sound system is Sancho Panza. I keep on thinking what a sad restricted life that is. Is that it? I worry I'll bump into her on the Portobello Road and start screaming. I don't want to be annoyed with her, but I am. Everyday. I can't stand Prince. It's the sound of a man playing with himself. And then she lives for these two days of the year at carnival? Maybe she's sitting at home really uncomfortable about the way she's been portrayed, thinks people are laughing at her all the time. Maybe she's happy. If she's happy, then I think I must hate her. I don't want to hate her, but I can't see a way around it."

"Listen, just throw the damn thing away will you. I think you need to make some changes. Listen, my agent's on the other line, but I will call you back, soon. Take care."

By now dawn has begun to brush itself around the bedroom windows. I get up and put the magazine in the rubbish. By the time the coffee's been made, the sound of seagulls slips beneath the weight of the morning news. A good enough day for a fry up.