Friday, 28 March 2008

Feedback Friday :: No Hard Feelings

bulk :: 17st 2
alcohol units imbibed :: 20
cigarettes smoked :: 0
runs run :: 2
swims swum :: 2
friendships ruined :: 0
readers disappointed :: quite a few, it seems
regrets :: a few, but then again, too few to mention

So. Now then. A lot of people have voiced their disappointment in me for what recently passed between Patricia and I. A few of you made your feelings clear in comments and a couple of you even took time out to write me an email. This one, for example, which I received from Mark D, who was so furious he could barely think straight:

‘i use to really think you cool man till this. i cant believe it- your best mates got like a fatal disease or something and your sleeping with his girlfiend a wek or two after they splitup??? you really ate a beastman.’

Whoa! Whoa there! I did not eat a beastman! I think we need a little distance here. This is all getting a tiny bit out of hand. Now chill the heck out and let me tell you a story, a story about a boy called Eric…

Eric and the Irresistible Force

Eric had never had much luck with women. He was not what you’d call a good looker. In fact, he was what you’d call a bad looker. He was, in other words, ugly. Very ugly. Because of this fact, he’d only ever slept with two women: one physically disabled, one mentally bereft. Generally, when they caught sight of him, women tended to look away as if their retinas had been scorched, as if Eric were human pepper spray. Even men didn’t particularly enjoy his company, almost as if they thought they themselves might be infected by Eric’s gruesome appearance. But children, once they’d asked their usual guileless questions – ‘What’s wrong with your face?’, ‘Why is your head so big and bumpy?’, ‘Are you Hellboy?’ – loved him.

Something in Eric had never really grown up. It was almost as if the childhood he’d been denied by vicious, loveless parents had been packed away until the time was right. At 17, when he moved into a place of his own with Kevin, his childhood friend, the time was right and Eric’s childhood was finally unleashed. For most of the next five years, he spent almost all of almost every day playing games, giggling till he wet himself and running around the house in his damp, unlovely pants. Furthermore, once it had been unleashed, this infantile vivacity never really left Eric, and children, when they met him, latched onto it and were quickly entranced, invariably wrapped around Eric’s neck within half an hour, like giggling, meaty scarves.

For most of his 20s, Eric didn’t meet any children. Neither did he meet many adults. The constant taunting and cruelty which his ugliness had prompted throughout his childhood had taken its toll. He was fed up with it. He was fed up with being singled out and frowned upon simply because of his appearance, and the only way he knew how to deal with this was to go into hiding. So this is what he did.

However, by the time he was 30, the solitude had quite worn him down. He had become sad and withdrawn. He’d become heavier, both physically and spiritually, and without the light of human companionship, his flesh had become quite pale.

Then there was change. Eric eventually saw what he had become, and he was not best pleased. ‘I have grown into my ugliness,’ he thought. ‘I have allowed my unpleasant exterior to creep inside.’ And so he resolved to do something. He resolved to change, to force himself out into the world, to force himself into the company of other people.

And all went well. Better in fact, than he could ever have expected. Eric found that not only was he accepted, but that his own unique brand of self-deprecation and childlike innocence went over a storm. People really seemed to genuinely like him, split infinitives and all, until one day, when it all went horribly, sickeningly wrong.

Kevin had done well for himself since he and Eric were kids. Not only had he found himself a piss-easy, well-paying job in something called ‘the new media’, but he’d also met a wonderful woman called Pamela. Pamela was taller than Kevin, with long black hair which she usually wore in a loose pony tail over her right shoulder, and dark, deep, profoundly seductive eyes. She was bright like a thousand suns and had a great talent for making divine, heart-melting music. Kevin was not alone in thinking that he really wasn’t good enough for her. But Pamela loved him. She loved him because he was charming, funny and, much like Spontaniouse from the 8th cycle of America’s Next Top Model, he was spontaneous. One day he’d send her an enormous bouquet of bluebells, the next there’d be tickets for Billy Elliot hidden inside her All Bran box. One time he even surprised her with a weekend in Paris! Sadly, they couldn’t go on that because it was Pamela’s son’s birthday. Pamela was really sorry. ‘It’s OK,’ said Kevin. ‘I got the tickets free from work anyway. Bloody kids though, eh?’ Pamela smiled. Then looked away.

Pamela’s kids were called Alice and Will and to say they meant the world to Pamela would be to understate the case somewhat. Their father, the love of Pamela’s life, died of cancer when Alice was just three years old and Will was one. Pamela had wanted to die too, and perhaps it was only her love for her kids that pulled her through. But perhaps she would have pulled through anyway.

When Eric came back out into the world, he saw quite a lot of Kev and Pam. He was invited over for meals and fashionable soirees. He even spent Christmas with them and when Kev and Pam finally found time to take that weekend in Paris, Eric was happy to look after the kids while they were away. Alice and Will doted on Eric.

Then disaster struck. Kevin got sick. Pamela, afraid that he might go the way of her first husband, drew him closer to her. Kevin meanwhile - splendid in so very many ways, moronic in others - strayed into the arms of another woman. He attempted to justify his betrayal by telling himself that it was fear of death and decay that had prompted him to betrayal. Like in Moonstruck. ‘I must live,’ he thought. ‘How long before even the possibility of a stolen kiss eludes me? I must act now while I can, even if the act is a foul one.’ He confessed his betrayal to Pamela as soon as it had happened in the hope of limiting the damage, in the vain hope that she might understand his fears and forgive him.

When Pamela and Kevin parted, Eric was devastated. He had grown extremely fond of Pamela over the year that she had been with Kevin, and he had grown to love her kids. Consequently, he was furious with Kevin and rashly, he lashed out. Kevin was hurt and confused. He expected support from his childhood friend, not condemnation, but here was Eric drying Pamela’s tears whilst Kevin was left to smoke his lungs sore with dirty drugs and beat himself senseless with a paperweight in the shape of a pyramid.

Meanwhile, Pamela was determined that her kids should not suffer from the break-up, or at least no more than was inevitable. They would miss Kevin, and their mum’s sadness would rub off on them for sure, but there was no need for them to miss their favourite babysitter. So not so very long after the split-up, Pam asked Eric if he’d mind looking after Alice and Will when she went out with friends to eat dinner and drink wine and talk bad about menfolk. Eric jumped at the chance. It felt like months since he’d seen the kids. Although it wasn’t.

And so he passed a thoroughly pleasant evening, playing games, speaking in silly voices and jumping about like a overweight tigger. He put the kids to bed at around 11 and read John Bellairs to them till they slept.

At fifteen minutes past one, Pamela came home. She had the glazed expression and slightly stained teeth of one who had drunk too much red wine, then followed up on the wine with cocktails and dancing.

She ran to the loo when she got in, then tiptoed in to gaze upon her sleeping children for a moment. Returning downstairs, still wearing her short satin dress with no arms and no back, she asked Eric if he’d like a White Russian. Eric liked White Russians and he was in no hurry to leave, so he said yes. He also knew that if he drank a White Russian, then he’d probably be over the limit and wouldn’t be able to drive home. He said yes anyway.

‘I have had a fantastic evening,’ declared Pamela emphatically, slurring only very slightly.

‘Good,’ said Eric. ‘Fantastic. What did you do?’

As she noisily prepared the drinks, Pamela talked him through the three-course dinner at the Italian restaurant and the White Russians and dancing afterwards at some bar in Soho. Then she brought Eric his drink, plonked herself down in an adjacent armchair and said, ‘It’s weird, but all these guys were trying to get into my pants tonight.’

‘You’ve got great pants though, Pam,’ said Eric. ‘I mean, that’s probably not weird at all, really, all things considered. They’re only human.’ He squirmed uncomfortably. He was uncomfortable because this was not an area of conversation he particularly wanted to enter into. Pamela’s pants were not his business.

‘How do you know what my pants are like?’ said Pamela, leering slightly.

Eric couldn’t help himself. ‘Well, you don’t honestly think that when the kids are asleep I just sit here watching television, do you?’

Pamela looked confused for a second, then she understood. ‘Ewwww.’ She laughed. ‘Have you been kippering through my underwear, Eric?’

Eric laughed too. ‘No,’ he said. ‘I’m joking. Honest. My kippering days are long gone.’ This was true.

Then Pamela changed tack and Eric relaxed. ‘What did you guys get up to tonight then?’

‘What didn’t we get up to more like. We played Jack Sparrow, or Jack Ptarmigan as I was rather cruelly dubbed by Will. Also Jack Frigate and Jack Blue-Footed Boobie. We did a bit of Wii bowling, which Alice won with her left hand and one eye closed. We watched a bit of South Park and we made some cakes.’

Eric then jumped up and fetched a lopsided cake from the kitchen, on top of which Alice had written in green icing sugar ‘We love you, Mummy!’

Pamela was moved. Her eyes became a little moist and her voice cracked as she said how much she adored her cake. She really loved her kids to bits, and alcohol didn’t help matters. Eric put the cake away.

‘How’s Kevin?’

Pamela winced. ‘Let’s erm… we don’t need to talk about Kevin.’ She smiled.

‘OK, sorry.’

‘Alice has got a huge crush on you, you know.’

‘Oh hush, she’s 11 years old.’

Pamela shook her head. ‘What’s your point? She’s been interested in boys since she was seven.’

‘Well, I don’t want to worry you,’ said Eric, ‘but I’ve got a bit of a crush on her too. I do intend to wait until she’s 16 though, before I….’ He faltered, realising that the conversation was perhaps veering toward the unpleasant. ‘I’m joking,’ he said. And of course he was. ‘But if I was 20 years younger, I’d be all over your daughter like plague of toads. She’s a genius. She drew a picture of Will tonight which is eerily good.’

Pamela nodded. ‘She gets that from her dad.’

‘Yeah,’ said Eric. ‘Well, he would be incredibly proud. As proud as you are.’

‘You know what she said this morning? She asked me if we would be seeing more of you now that Kevin’s not coming round anymore.’

‘Eek,’ said Eric. ‘Well, that’s sweet of her.’

‘The way she talks about you, I know she thinks of you….’ She trailed off. ‘She really misses her dad. That’s never going to go away.’

‘I’m so sorry,’ said Eric, wondering how on earth he could turn the conversation round to something more cheerful. But then Pamela did that for him.

‘Do you know that my breasts swell up something rotten if I don’t have regular sex.’

Eric opened his mouth to speak but for a moment nothing came out. He shook his head slightly. ‘I didn’t know that,’ he said. ‘Is that a medical condition or, or…?’

‘One more drink I think,’ said Pamela, standing up, ‘then bed. Come on, knock it back.’ Eric finished his drink and handed over his glass.

While Pam was in the kitchen, Eric stood up, adjusted his erection and paced the living room nervously. He glanced in the large mirror over the fireplace and was reminded of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction. He patted his jeans pockets for his heroin, then remembered that he didn’t take heroin. ‘Just one more drink,’ he told himself. ‘Then I’ll go.’

He was still by the mirror chatting to himself when Pamela returned with more White Russians. She handed one to Eric and held up her own glass for clinking. ‘Here’s to being free,’ she said. They clinked, and drank. Eric noticed that Pamela had given him the wrong glass, with traces of her lipstick around the rim. He didn’t say anything.

‘I think I’m going to like being single,’ said Pamela. ‘I’d forgotten about the upsides.’

‘There are upsides?’ said Eric.

‘Loads of upsides,’ said Pamela. ‘You can do what you want when you want; you can go out dancing and flirting and you can let men buy you drinks and stroke your hair if you want them to...’

‘Oh yes,’ said Eric. ‘There’s always that.’

‘You can see your friends whenever you like and you can kiss people who are completely inappropriate.’

At that moment Eric was feeling completely inappropriate and physically very awkward.

‘Come and sit down with me,’ said Pamela.

‘Oh, OK,’ said Eric. ‘Sitting down is good. I can do that.’

Eric sat on the sofa. Pamela sat next to him. Eric took a gulp of his drink. Pamela took his glass off him and placed it on the coffee table in front of them. Eric looked straight ahead of him like a terrified child. Pamela said, ‘I know you find me attractive.’

Eric snapped. ‘Alright, listen, Pam, stop, please. I don’t know what you’re thinking…’

‘You know what I’m thinking.’

‘I don’t think you know what I’m thinking – what you’re thinking I mean. You don’t know what you’re thinking. You’ve had a lot to think, to drink I mean, and you don’t really know what you’re saying. You’re drunk and you’ve probably eaten too much too, and you’re upset over Keith, Kevin I mean, and your breasts are swollen and... and your hand, Pamela, your hand is on my thigh.’ He stopped. ‘Pamela,’ he said sharply, like he was speaking to a dog who looked like it was about to urinate on his stamp collection.

‘I know,’ said Pam, staring at Eric’s face, smiling. ‘I want your cock.’

‘Whoa!’ cried Eric and he jumped up from the sofa and moved back over to the fireplace.

Pamela laughed, then she pretended to be hurt. ‘Do you find me so repulsive?’ she whimpered.

‘Oh stop,’ said Eric. ‘Don’t. Please. You know I think you’re amazing, in every sense, and would give my right arm to… you know, but this is all wrong. You’re drunk for a start, and you’re just trying to get back at Kevin. And it isn’t fair on me, frankly.’ He stopped there, but he was thinking, ‘One kiss is all it’ll take and I’ll fall madly, deeply, irreversibly in love with you.’

Pamela stopped smiling. ‘OK, OK,’ she said. ‘I’m sorry. You’re right.’ She shrugged. ‘Come and sit down again.’

‘I’ll sit over here,’ said Eric.

‘Come and sit over here,’ snapped Pamela. ‘Jesus, I’ve said you’re right. I’m not going to rape you, for God’s sake.’ Pamela smiled, patted the sofa next to her. Eric returned, slightly shaken, and sat down. Pamela stood up, moved in front on Eric, facing him, lifted her right leg and climbed into his lap.

‘Listen,’ she said. ‘You’re not taking advantage of me, OK?’ Her hands moved from his shoulders to his neck, to his ears. A shock ran through him, his limbs became a mess of goose bumps. ‘I’m taking advantage of you.’

Eric could feel Pamela’s naked thighs on his legs where her dress had ridden up. He could feel her hands on the sides of his face and then her lips and breath on his neck and ears and part of him wanted to grab hold of her wrists and push her away, to get up from the sofa, grab his coat and storm out of the house, drive home over the limit in an almighty huff, reporting Pamela to the police as he drove. ‘Yes, officer. There’s been an attempted rape. A beautiful woman climbed into my lap and tenderly kissed the side of my face. I want to press charges.’

But another part of him, had it been capable of thinking, would have thought, ‘Hold on a minute. Mate, this is – in many important ways – the best thing that has ever happened to you, bar none. There isn’t a court in the land that would convict you if you just allowed what is already happening to reach its natural conclusion. Even Kevin, once he’s calmed down, will understand. Pamela likes you. She thinks you’re funny and clever and great for her kids, and she just wants someone to ease the swelling in her breasts.’

As it turned out, Eric’s non-thinking part was quite right.

Pamela took Eric to her bed that night and wasn’t so drunk that she regretted what she had done in the morning. Not entirely. In fact, she did it again that same morning, and then carried on doing it again for another week or two. Then she thought it was best to stop. She decided it wasn’t fair on Eric. She could see he was developing feelings for her, despite himself.

No hard feelings. That’s what she said.

No hard feelings.

Eric repeated those words to Kevin when they met a couple of days after it had all blown over.

Kevin shrugged. ‘No hard feelings,’ he said. ‘No feelings at all really.’

They drank a toast to Pamela. ‘To Pamela,’ they said. ‘And all who sail in her,’ added Kevin.

Meanwhile, somewhere in an orchestra chamber on the other side of London, Pamela’s breasts began, imperceptibly, to swell.

I don't know whether you picked on the clues at all, but that story was actually about me and Patricia. And that's pretty much how it happened. All of which is to say, look, for Christ's sake, we all make mistakes. I don’t think that my sleeping with Patricia for the week or so we managed was my finest hour, morally, but I don’t think it was the worst thing anyone’s ever done. Keith’s forgiven me, therefore I shouldn’t really care if a few people I’ve never met before think I’m a shit, but for some reason I do.

Oh, come on. You’re no saint either. Come on, admit it, I dare you. Tell me your most shameful, immoral, regrettable secret and we’ll call it quits.

In the meantime, Keith and I are off to see his dad and stepmum in Newcastle. I’m driving. Keith is smoking grass. It’s for his MS.

Have a great weekend.

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Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Everybody’s Free (To Wear A Paper Bag)

I’ve been practising thinking positive, because I’ve been told that it helps, that it makes life easier. So, to stop twitching with misery and shouting out, Tourette’s style, in embarrassment as I remember, amongst other things, the rather desperate, pathetic email I sent Patricia a couple of hours before I found Keith’s blog, I scribbled down a couple of lexical amulets to help me remain upbeat and optimistic. And then I got to thinking, hey, I could actually help others with this stuff. Because helping others is what I’m all about. So I started writing a kind of a manifesto for ugly people and other losers. Then I remembered The Sunscreen Song and thought I’d try and blatantly rip it off. I ended up staying up late and writing the following. It wasn’t till after I was done that I realised it was Easter Monday and like Christ, I had risen again and come back to save mankind. Praise me…

Everybody’s Free (To Wear A Paper Bag)

Ugly ladies and gentlemen of the internet… wear a paper bag over your head.

If I could offer you one tip for overcoming overwhelming feelings of ugliness, that might as well be it.

The long term benefits of wearing a paper bag are open to question, but in the short term they’re great at replacing the shame of a hideous face with the embarrassment of wearing a bag. It’s a trade-off. Still, this tip, along with the rest of my advice, should probably be taken with a hefty pinch of salt.

I will dispense the rest of this advice now.

Remember at all times that physical beauty really is only skin deep and that even though Enrique Iglesias has moist women queuing up to fellate him, he is famously, unconscionably dull. If this makes you feel better, hang onto it for all you’re worth, and don’t give a second thought to George Clooney, who not only is better looking than half a dozen Enriques, but is also a scintillating conversationalist.

Think beautiful thoughts. While you’re about it, buy beautiful things, listen to beautiful music and read beautiful words in the not necessarily entirely vain hope that some of this beauty will rub off on you.

Read. The more you’ve got going on inside you, the less you need to worry about the car crash that is your physical appearance.

Practise your comebacks for when the cruel barbs fly. Perfect them in front of a mirror. ‘Madam, I may be ugly, but I am also stupid and very bad in bed. Oh.’ That sort of thing. Be careful however, not to self-deprecate to the point of self-loathing.

When the barbs do come, try hard to laugh them off; let them bounce off you without causing damage. Don’t be overly sensitive, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you are.

Don’t be afraid of mirrors. While they may not exactly be your friend, they are a reminder that you’re bold enough to face who you are, and to love yourself.

Love yourself. Wear your ugliness like a badge of honour. Remind yourself that any old imbecile can be pretty but it takes real character to carry off a look like yours.

Rejoice in the fact that when people do like you, they really do like you. They’re not just trying to get into your pants because you look good, and they’re not with you for the cachet your company brings.

Avoid people who want to make themselves look good by surrounding themselves with freaks.

Surround yourself with freaks. (If this simply not possible, forget about it. It wasn’t the best piece of advice in the world in the first place.)

Accentuate the positive. If there’s really nothing in your appearance to be remotely positive about, accentuate the negative.

You’re only as ugly as you feel.

Don’t be intimidated by superficial fuckwits who cannot offer the world anything more than a camera-ready smile and a pig-ugly soul. You are better than they are. Just not as good-looking.

If you happen to be as ugly on the inside as you are on the outside, you probably need more help than I can give you here.

Floss. Good teeth mask a myriad of sins. If you don’t have good teeth, get some.

Work on your body. God may have given you a baboon’s behind for a face, but there really is no excuse for being fat. Besides which, your body is your temple. Worship.

If you do believe in God, remember that He loves you. If on the other hand you have sanity on your side, thank God you’re only ugly.

Dancercise. If you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room, well, that’s probably a good thing.

Remember that there are five senses and being ugly marks you down on just one. So make sure you concentrate on the others: smell good, sound good, practise sensitive tactility and sprinkle a little cinnamon on your genitalia every day, just in case you get lucky.

Wash. Good hygiene counts for so much in this world. If you really need to be told this at your time of life, there may already be no hope for you.

There is ALWAYS hope.

Embrace metrosexuality. Pamper yourself with oils, powders and unctions. Moisturise daily. If your skin is soft, supple and touchable, chances are someone somewhere will want to touch it.

Wear good clothes. The expression ‘You can’t polish a turd’ is a vicious, pernicious lie. You most certainly can polish a turd. Indeed, it is your duty as a human turd to polish yourself daily, and a fine wardrobe is some of the best turd-polish money can buy.

Smile. Even if you have a mouth like a block of blue cheese, smile like you really mean it. The whole world may not smile with you, but the best people will.

You are NOT as ugly as you imagine. Are you? Actually maybe you are. If you are, then really, the dancercising, flossing and good clothes will help. But if you’re genuinely not, you may actually have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Look into it.

You are NOT as Body Dysmorphic as you imagine. You’re just fat. Eat less. Dancercise.

Wear a hat. Hats are the icing on the cake, the fairy on top of the Christmas tree, the fan of glorious feathers that turns the fat ugly peabird into a glorious cock. A good hat can be like sunshine above the clouds; a beautiful day atop the miserable blanket of smog that is your face. A hat can be the ultimate signifier of dignity. Remember, without that hat and those snazzy threads, Humphrey Bogart was just another ugly bugger in ill-fitting dentures, waving a gun about and grimacing like a gargoyle.

Avoid corrective surgery like the plague that it is. Don’t go under the knife unless you absolutely have to, or else part of you will always regret the other parts of you that you threw away.

Pleasure yourself intensely.

Use pornography if you feel the need, and use it shamelessly, but don’t let it get a hold on you.

If possible, sleep with people less attractive that you are. Both sides can only benefit from the union.

If possible, sleep with people more attractive that you are. Both sides can only benefit from the union.

When you mess up, when you embarrass yourself or just stutter or dry up because you’re too nervous, don’t beat yourself up over it. Other people forget quickly; they have their own stuff to think about. Also, the best way to help them forget your humiliations is to do something magnificent.

In the words of Ian Dury, be magnificent. Dury was crippled with polio but was so magnificently charismatic that many people tended not to notice.

Do not blame other people, even if you feel they might actually be to blame. You really are the master of your own destiny.

Do not hate yourself. I know that’s often much easier said that done, but keep it close to you at all times, and always believe it. It’s incredibly important.

Kindness lurks in the most unexpected of places. When kindness creeps up on you and takes you by surprise, allow it to reaffirm your faith in humanity.

Have faith in humanity, because faith in humanity is faith in yourself.

Be careful whose advice you buy, and be very suspicious of those who supply it. There are a lot of cynical heartless people out there whose sole aim in life is to exploit your insecurity.

Oh, and take that paper bag off your head.

You look ridiculous.

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Monday, 24 March 2008

Everybody’s Blogging Nowadays


His name is not Keith.


No. I've got absolutely nothing to say.

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Sunday, 23 March 2008

Love Is Natural and Real, But Not For Such As You and I, My Love…

So. The girlfriend thing. It’s over. It was genuinely beautiful while it lasted, but now it’s over. The woman in question thought it would be better if we were just friends. I’m still not sure why to be honest. Well, I can guess, but I’m trying not to think about it. I don’t feel too bad about it really – I mean, I have no regrets and I have no bitterness – I just feel tragically, tearfully, terrifically sad that it couldn’t go on. Forever.


What I’ve decided to do however, is to listen to I Know It’s Over by The Smiths over and over and over and over and over again very, very loudly indeed for the rest of the night.

If you don’t know the song, I urge you to get to know it immediately, especially if you’re of a maudlin or self-indulgent nature, as I know I am. In fact, put it on at once and let us sing along together…

Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head,
And as I climb into an empty bed, oh well... Enough said.
I know it's over... still I cling.
I don't know where else I can go….

Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.
See, the sea wants to take me, the knife wants to slit me
Do you think you can help me?

Sad veiled bride, please be happy;
Handsome groom, give her room.
Loud, loutish lover, treat her kindly,
Though she needs you more than she loves you.
And I know it's over... still I cling.
I don't know where else I can go.
Over and over and over and over
Over and over….

I know it's over, and it never really began,
But in my heart it was so real,
And you even spoke to me, and said:
‘If you're so funny, then why are you on your own tonight?
And if you're so clever, then why are you on your own tonight?
If you're so very entertaining, then why are you on your own tonight?
If you're so very good-looking, why do you sleep alone tonight?
I know... 'Cause tonight is just like any other night.
That's why you're on your own tonight.
And your triumphs and your charms,
Well they're in each other's arms...’

It's so easy to laugh, it's so easy to hate,
It takes strength to be gentle and kind.
Over, over, over, over.
It's so easy to laugh, it's so easy to hate,
It takes guts to be gentle and kind.
Over, over.

Love is natural and real, but not for you, my love,
Not tonight, my love.

Love is natural and real, but not for such as you and I, my love.

Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head...

Repeat to fade.

Dry eyes.

Listen again.

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Friday, 21 March 2008

Good Friday Feedback :: Happy Easter!

bulk :: 17st 4
cigarettes smoked :: 0
units of alcohol imbibed :: 12
runs run :: 1
swims swum :: 1
realistic vaginas purchased :: 0
sofas sacrificed to misguided altruism :: 0
chocolate eggs purchased :: 5
chocolate eggs eaten :: 0 (but there is still time)
tears wept for Christ :: 0

I don’t know about you, but I hate Easter. Or at least I used to, when I was a kid. It was never a time of chocolate-bingeing and egg-painting for me, as it apparently was for other kids. It was a time for recognising what dreadful unworthy sinners we all were, a time for rubbing my nose in the blood of Christ and generally feeling rotten about life.

My parents were fairly hard core Catholics. My mum had this weird habit of dabbing water on her eyes at Easter. It was to show how upset she was at the crucifixion of Christ. It used to drive me crazy. First, I never understood why she was so upset that Christ was crucified. It was my understanding that the whole point of Christ coming to Earth in the first place was so that he could be crucified and that if he hadn’t been crucified, then he would pretty much have failed in his mission to make us all feel guilty and miserable for evermore. Secondly, if she was upset enough to cry, then why didn’t she just cry? If I feel upset about something, I don’t sprinkle salty water on my cheeks. I cry. Similarly, if I need to void my bowels, I don’t dump a bag of stinking old meat in the loo. I void my bowels.

In my opinion, both of my parents were severely mentally ill, and their hard core Catholicism was just one aspect of that. Anyhow, as soon as I was brave enough to lapse – when I was 13 – I lapsed.

I’ve never really bothered with Easter since then.

This year however, I’ve bought masses of chocolate and Easter booze and I intend to celebrate like a proper hedonistic heathen. This Easter is all about earthly pleasures and absolutely nothing more. To hell with Jesus.

On with the mini eggs!

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The Things You Find On the Internet When You Should Really Be Asleep #13 :: Cock Refused Entry

I know I’m bordering on the obsessive now, but I… I can’t help myself… I found out about Horsley’s latest bit of expert myth-making in the comments here and here, which have been attracting some search traffic over the past few days.

In a nutshell, Horsley has been turned back from the US border for being a fuckwit, and his PR machine has flown into rather flamboyant meltdown. Last night at the book’s launch party, Horsley’s publisher Carrie Kania wound up her speech by saying:

Tropic of Cancer, Lolita, Catcher in the Rye, American Psycho: all of these books have been deemed dangerous by the authorities and unfit for the general public to read. The Sex Pistols, banned in 1978. Sebastian banned, 30 years later.’

What gall. What audacity. What offensive codswallop. Comparing Horsley to Miller, Nabokov and Salinger reminds me of Richard Littlejohn declaring that he was more complex than Tolstoy.

There is no denying however, that Horsley and his people are very good indeed at PR, and sly Horsley himself is just offensive enough to get himself turned away and talked about, but not offensive enough to get himself holed up in Guantanamo Bay with a matching fatwa.

Funny that.

Now let us never speak of him again.

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The Things You Find On the Internet When You Should Really Be Asleep #12 :: Realistic Vaginas

I’m sure this is 100% Glass Cock (if you’ll pardon me getting down with the kids for a moment, lol) but it’s new to me so maybe to you too: Realistic Vaginas.

Wow. Worth knowing about.

Although I must admit, it took me a while to figure out what was going on.

This helped:

"Stephanie, words cannot express my joy and elation at finally being able to sit and pee just like a woman. I was delighted to receive my new deluxe miracle vagina, I put it on immediately, as you suggested powdering my lower body first with your medical talc. Having marked where the tip of my penis was, I simply used a hot needle and made a tiny hole through the latex sheath - now I can go to the toilet in sheer ecstacy, and sit and pee!"

Cherie, Toronto

Actually, no. I tell a lie. That’s only complicated things still further. Can someone please tell me what the hell is going on in this crazy world?

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Wednesday, 19 March 2008

When Is a Good Samaritan Not a Good Samaritan? When He's a Bloody Idiot. Discuss.

On Saturday afternoon I saw someone I knew begging outside of Brixton tube. If you’ve been paying an unhealthy amount of attention, you will know him too. His name is Neil Stores, or, as he was known as a young hoodlum, Storesy. I went to school with him, and caught up with him again after 13 years or so at the school reunion just before Christmas. On Saturday he was sitting in the drizzle in Brixton High Street, cross-legged like some denim-clad, thuggish Yogi, rocking back and forth like a loon.

As I walked past, I glanced briefly at him then away. When recognition came after a second or two, I stopped and turned around. Then I moved on for a few more steps, hid myself in a doorway and watched.

His begging technique – if indeed he was begging – was a mess. It consisted of sitting in the street and looking simultaneously pitiful and terrifying. I guessed that he was there because of one of three things: a) heroin, b) crack, or c) large scale mental breakdown brought on by heroin or crack.

He didn’t notice me. After a while I said his name. When he didn’t look up, I entertained the possibility that it wasn’t him at all. Then slowly he moved his face in my direction. When our eyes made contact, he recognised me and – again very slowly – said, ‘Elbows’. As he did so, something akin to a smile crept across his face like a urine stain.

I resented his use of my school nickname. I didn’t think he’d really earned the right to carry on using it, rocking back and forth as he was in the street, in the drizzle, with obscenities tattooed on his knuckles. But I let it slide.

‘What happened to you, man?’ I asked.

He just shrugged and looked over my right shoulder. ‘Nah,’ he said, as if that in any way answered my question. ‘You couldn’t spare me a couple of quid, could you?’

‘A couple of quid?’ I repeated, a little scandalised. ‘Not really. I could get you something to eat though, if you’re hungry.’

We ended up in the Prince of Wales and in the hour we were together, he went through three pints of lager and I think 12 packets of crisps. He wouldn’t eat anything more substantial, which was a shame because I’m sure that something more substantial wouldn’t have stuck in the gaps between his teeth as repugnantly as crisps did. Also, bits kept flying out as he talked. It wasn't pleasant. We must have looked a right pair, sat there. Him with his tattoos and scars, spitting crisps everywhere. Me with my bag of elbows.

There was good news however, in that Storesy isn’t addicted to heroin and he isn’t addicted to crack. There is also bad news however, in that Storesy is addicted to cocaine, which as far as I am aware, is a good deal more expensive than heroin and crack, and quite possibly more addictive. But I’m no expert.

Storesy lost his job as a security guard just after Christmas. Now I don’t mean to be an awful snob or anything, but exactly how inept do you have to be to lose a job as a security guard? Surely, all you have to do is turn up in a uniform and wander around once or twice an hour, looking vaguely attentive, and maybe tick a few boxes on a blank sheet. The rest of the time you’re sitting with your feet up looking at a couple of monitors and reading poor quality tabloids. How on earth can you manage to get yourself fired? Well, Storesy got fired for not turning up. He was apparently too busy borrowing money for cocaine so that he could drink like a seahorse and talk rather loudly about not very much late into the night.

A week after he lost his job, apparently, his girlfriend kicked him out of their flat in Dartford. I got the impression that her brothers may have helped remove him. After which, it was only a few weeks on various friends’ couches and suddenly he was headed to London where the streets are paved with begging junkies.

I’ve never really seen the appeal of cocaine. Recently I saw it referred to as ‘wanker powder’, which I think just about sums it up. I’ve had friends who’ve become quite heavily involved with coke, and it made every one of them much less pleasant to be around, to the point where I stopped being around them.

It’s odd because with other drugs I’ve encountered, I can understand some of the appeal. They tend to make people more playful or vivacious or good fun to be around. Coke just seems to turn people into dull, shouty boors. In my experience. Also, as I discovered on Saturday, it also gives you a permanent head cold and a forehead full of spots.

Despite all this, the truth was, I felt sorry for Storesy. I felt sorrier for him than I had for my own friends in the past, because they had no excuse. Which is to say – and sorry again for the snobbishness – they had sufficient intelligence to know better. Storesy isn’t the brightest star in the firmament, bless him. He isn’t even the juiciest plum in the punnet. And I can’t help feeling that it isn’t really his fault that he’s weak enough to become addicted to coke and booze and tobacco and whatever else he’s addicted to. I simply can’t find it in my patronising heart to blame him. And I really can’t help feel for him. And yet, when he hinted that maybe he could stay with me for a while, I didn’t jump at the chance to have him as a house guest. In fact, I completely and wholly unsubtly changed the subject.

Unfortunately, just as I was making my excuses to go, he came out and asked me directly: ‘Can I stay at your house for a few days?’ Just like that. The bastard.

I have trouble saying no. Which of course is what he was banking on. Even though the prospect of having a desperate ex-con who used to bully me sleeping on my sofa as a houseguest makes me want to run into oncoming traffic, I still have trouble saying no.

On this occasion though, I said no. I told him that, to be frank, I couldn’t trust him. He seemed offended. I asked him if he would trust him if he was me. He said that he would. He said that he’d never stolen anything in his life. I reminded him of the time he spent in prison for robbing a shop. He pointed out that that was different. A branch of Currys is not the same as an individual. He would never steal from an individual. He then added that if he took so much as a pint of milk, all I had to do was tell the police. This was true, but it wouldn’t get me back my DVDs.

In the end I gave him my landline phone number and said that if he didn’t get himself sorted out within a couple of weeks, he should give me a bell. So far he’s left two faux upbeat, really quite pitiful messages, making me feel really, really bad.

It’s apparently going to be minus two at the weekend. There has even been talk of snow. Snow! And here I am indoors with the heat on all day. How hard would it be to give an old schoolfriend somewhere to stay for a week or two?

I really want to play The Good Samaritan. But I don't want to be exploited, abused and ripped off by someone who is obviously very unstable and potentially deeply irritating.

I’m in two minds.

Anyone have any thoughts?

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Friday, 14 March 2008

Feedback Friday :: Turns Out I’m Really Not That Bad After All

bulk :: 17st 6
cigarettes smoked :: 0
units of alcohol imbibed :: 14
runs run :: 2
small deaths (alone) :: 1
small deaths (accompanied) :: 6
pigeons in flight :: 12

This has been a very good week. I’m not at home at the moment and I don’t really have the time to compose a haunting paean to how dashed pleased I am. Besides which, it would be dull and unbecoming. No one likes a gloater.

One thing though – I found a book in a second-hand shop on Wednesday and finished reading it on Wednesday night. It’s called e-luv, it’s written by Dave Roberts and it’s a very, very ugly book indeed. Thankfully it’s also extremely funny and eminently readable. It's the story of a fat, ugly man with agoraphobia and a rash, who becomes addicted to the internet - specifically to online chatrooms. I would love to know how close it is to reality. I’m guessing not very, simply because I’m assuming that someone so amusing could not possibly be such a gargantuan shit. This is probably hugely naïve of me.

Looking at his old blog, I found a link to this, allegedly a compilation of stolen dating tapes from the 80s. Not only is it very amusing, it’s also a warning not to ever ever allow yourself to talk like a psycho when there's a camera running:

It also made me feel so very much better about myself. AtleastIcanstringasentencetogether.

Gosh. Check out DogMen:

Have a smashing weekend.

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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Enough to Put You Off Sex For Life

When I wrote about my first sexual experience a couple of months ago, I mentioned in passing that the second time I had sex was far more disturbing, but that I wasn't ready to tell it yet, 'at least until something else comes along to distance me from it'. That's what I said. Well, here's the news: something else has come along. Something astonishing and wonderful. And something that I absolutely cannot talk about.

So instead, it's probably time to talk about Sue.

I had seen Sue a fair bit in one of the pubs I used to frequent when I lived in another part of London. She was often there with a bunch of mates, being loud, drunken and shrill. I'd be out with one of a couple of old friends, bemoaning the sickening ills of the world. I'd noticed Sue but I didn't think she had noticed me. Her eyes had passed over me for sure, but I didn't think she'd taken me in. That often happens. If you see someone you find physically repellent, you either stop and stare, sometimes pointing and grimacing if you're particularly insensitive. Or else you just look through them; they're invisible to you.

I'd noticed Sue partially because she was so annoying and shrill, and partially because, despite myself, I was really attracted to her. She was probably a little bit too chavvy for most people's tastes, and dressed a little loose if you know what I mean, a little Jodie Marsh. Plus, facially she was slightly reminiscent of a Riddler. But still, somehow I found her very attractive. Which was why one night, when she rolled over to me, blind drunk at the end of a Friday evening and said, 'Do you wanna come back to my house for sex?', I said, 'Um... yeah, alright'.

Then she kissed me, there in the pub, and her friends cheered and a flash went off. I should have known something was up. But I didn't. I was blinded by what I foolishly imagined was just brilliant luck, and I assumed that Sue was from the 'he's so ugly, he's kind of fascinating' school, a school I'd hitherto believed to be entirely fictional.

She stopped kissing me. Her hands were still on my face, her cold eyes perusing me. Another flash. 'Let's go,' she said. As she led me out of the pub, one of her friends joined us and introduced herself. 'I'm Cathy,' she said. I told her my name and they both giggled. 'Stan!' cried Sue. 'That's brilliant,' she said. 'Absolutely perfect.'

'Perfect,' repeated Cathy.

Out on the street I asked where we were going. 'Not far,' said Sue. Cathy was coming too it seemed. My imagination began to kick in. Surely not. Sue grabbed me and snaked an arm through mine, linking me at the elbow. Cathy did the same with the other arm and we walked down a main road in the cold night. 'This is your lucky night,' said Cathy.

Surely not.

As we walked, Sue and Cathy chatted to each other about people I didn't know, shrieking and giggling like inebriated harpies. I really didn't like them at all. Which means I really shouldn't have gone with them. So maybe I kind of deserved what happened next. Maybe. I just wanted so badly to have sex. I'd only ever had sex with one woman before, with Avril. So I'd never had sex with an able-bodied woman. And it had been over two years. I was desperate.

That is my excuse.

We turned off the main road and onto a side street, stopping at a house with a black and red door. Cathy broke away from me and opened the front door. Sue followed her inside and took off her coat. I was very excited and very nervous. I felt a little sick.

I was led through to the living room and offered a drink. I accepted and both women clattered through to the kitchen, leaving me alone. When they returned, Sue was carrying two hefty glasses of some putrid spirit. I don't know what it was, but it was undiluted and tasted of petrol. I took a sip and winced. Sue knocked back half of her glass and made an unpleasant face. I never saw Cathy again.

'Tell you what, I think I might need the bottle, yeah?' said Sue, then she skipped out of the room again. When she returned, she had a bottle under her arm. 'Come on then,' she said, and I followed her upstairs.

Sue's bedroom was very much how I imagined the bedroom of a prostitute might be. A huge bed, with rather tacky tigerskin blankets, big fluffy pillows and a wrought iron bedstead with ropes and blindfolds and handcuffs hanging from it. The rest of the room was pretty unpleasant – an overflowing chest of drawers, an overflowing dressing table, dirty wallpaper slipping down damp walls. It was also a bit smelly. Sue lit scented candles in an effort - I presumed - to disguise the smell. Opposite the bed was a PC, switched on, that horrible Pythonesque screensaver filling the window with perpetually extending pipes. And there was a webcam sitting on top of the monitor. At the time I thought nothing of it.

Sue then put some soulless soul music on the computer. I believe it was R Kelly. Yet still I didn't flee.

'Do you wanna watch some porn?' she asked.

I shook my head. Not as if to say no, but rather as if trying to understand the question. Did I want to watch porn? Erm… no? I wanted to have sex. 'I think I'm alright for porn actually,' I said.

I was standing by the side of Sue's bed feeling rather awkward. Sue stood up from her computer and moved to the bottom of the bed. 'Come here,' she said. I did so. 'Sit down here,' she said. I sat at the bottom of the bed. Sue climbed onto the bed and positioned herself behind me. She wrapped her arms around me and began to kiss my face. I gasped. I almost couldn't believe it was happening. But it was.

OK, this is where it gets a little graphic. Not massively, but enough to tell the story. I'm sorry if you find it a little grubby. If it's any consolation, I find it a little grubby too.

So Sue was licking and lapping at my face, moaning, clawing at my chest and unbuttoning my shirt, pushing her tongue in my ear, biting my hair and gasping. All the while she was saying stuff like, 'Oh God, yeah, you're so fucking ugly, I love it. You big dirty ugly bastard.' And so on.

Now I'm quite sensitive about my appearance and I'm easily hurt. Having this woman say this to me – even though she was writhing all over me at the time – upset me, and I couldn't hide it. She saw that I was upset and laughed. 'No, don't be hurt,' she said. 'That's what I like about you. I like ugly men.'

Then she stood on the bed, lifted her skirt and pushed herself into my face. With one hand she pulled aside her knickers and with the other she grabbed my head and pushed it against her. 'See how much I like it,' she said. 'Lick me,' she said. 'Put your fingers in me.' I did as I was told.

After some more of that, Sue undressed me. All the while she was gasping and moaning, licking her lips at me and going on about wanting me to have rigorous intercourse with her. She didn't use those words however.

It was a bit much, to be honest. I didn't quite believe it. It was like bad porn. But it was bad porn I was involved in and although she was a little over the top, she was real; she wasn't pixellated. Rather, she was warm and wet; she was all smells, tastes and noises, all over me.

When she pulled off my trousers and reached into my underpants, she got a little bit of a shock. 'Oh. My. God,' she said. Her mouth fell open and she looked at me. 'You never said you had a massive cock,' she said. I shrugged. It's not the sort of thing you just drop into a conversation. Not that we'd ever had a conversation.

Sue's mouth was only the second mouth that had ever conferred oral pleasure upon my penis, and as she slobbered on it, she looked up at me and moaned. She was very spitty was Sue. She spat into her hand and rubbed it all over my penis and balls. She spat onto the head and rubbed it in with her tongue. She looked into my eyes, dribbled down her chin and said, 'I really want your fucking big cock in me.' And then I came. Boof! Just like that. Quite unexpectedly. And rather a lot.

'Sorry about that,' I said, but Sue didn't seem to mind at all. If anything, she was overjoyed. Pushing me back onto the bed, she climbed on top of me, rubbing my sperm into my stomach and chest. 'Move up the bed,' she said. I moved. 'Give me your hands,' she said. I gave.

Then she attached one of the handcuffs and slipped the other round the back of the bars of the bedstead. 'Give me your other hand,' she said. I hesitated. Then I gave her my hand. She cuffed me to the bed. Then she pulled a couple of lengths of sex-rope (as I believe it's called) from behind the bed and tied my feet, one to each corner of the bottom of the bed, tight.

Then she got off me and took off the rest of her clothes. Then she opened a drawer in a bedside table and pulled out some kind of kitchen implement. A long headed spatula. I recognised it as an IKEA spatula. She used it to slap my stomach. 'Ow,' I said. She slapped me again, harder. 'OW!' I said. It stung. As the stinging sensation subsided, it was replaced by a slightly cold shiver as a wave of panic coursed through me. I suddenly realised I was in an incredibly vulnerable and potentially dangerous situation.

Sue then produced an mp3 player and pushed the headphones into my ears. She turned on the music. It was the Teaches of Peaches CD. What on earth was going on? I said, 'What are you doing?' but I couldn't hear my own voice over the music. Then Sue lifted my head and popped a blindfold over my eyes. Then she wrapped something that I later discovered to be a bandage around and around my head, holding the blindfold and the earphones in place. My arms above my head began to ache. I wanted to be released.

I was scared.

But then she began to tease me, biting me, licking me, spitting on me, sucking, and occasionally slapping me with the spatula, and I became aroused. The fact of being deaf and blind seemed to both dull and sharpen the sensations simultaneously. Sometimes Sue would get off the bed and I had no idea where she was or what was coming next. Sometimes minutes would pass and nothing happened. Slowly my penis would lose its rigidity and my scrotum would tense and shrivel in the cold calm of the moment. Not knowing what was going to happen next was both terrifying and exciting. It was charged. I felt on the verge of panic. Then suddenly there'd be ice on my testicles, hot candle wax on the shaft of my cock or some kind of greased-up butt plug being shoved violently in and out of my anus.

And scared though I was, I can't deny that it was very, very exhilarating. I'd never known anything like it.

Then she'd climb on me, lower her nether regions onto my face and her face onto my nether regions. Then she'd slide down my body and impale herself on me. Then she'd ride me roughly, violently, causing just as much pain as pleasure. I'd never been so much at someone's mercy before, and I can't deny that I liked it.

I realised just as soon as it started happening that I was having unsafe sex. I said something, but I didn't hear what I said and Sue made no attempt to answer me. As far as I know. I do know for sure however that she didn't stop to put a condom on me. If I'm completely honest, I think the threat of AIDS probably turned me on a bit too.

People are weird.

At some stage Sue was licking and sucking on my left nipple and I began to feel something wet and warm on my penis. Sue moved down my body, kissing her way down to my nethers. Then before she got there I felt my penis slipping into a mouth and being sucked and bitten. I cried out. Then another mouth took over. Then I was passed back and forth from mouth to mouth.

Was this Cathy? Someone else?

Not knowing what was going on was disconcerting as hell, but hot. So hot in fact, that with two tongues wriggling over the end of my penis, I came again.

Than I had some of my own sperm spat into my mouth.

People are really weird.

It didn't stop there however. Slowly, once again, I was teased back to life, more or less - I'd lost a lot of feeling by this stage and was finding it difficult to tell - but things continued for another half hour or so. Then, quite suddenly, the music was stopped in the middle of a song. Then my head was unbandaged and the blindfold and earphones removed. Sue stood beside the bed, looking at me, not smiling. At the foot of the bed was a tall thin man with white spiky hair and a video camera pointed at me.

I looked at him, shook my head, looked up at Sue.

'What's going on?' I asked.

'You're gonna be fucking famous, mate,' said the guy with the camera in a thick Scouse accent.

Sue leant over me and unlocked the handcuffs. I sat up, soothed my aching arms and tried to massage some feeling back into them.

'What are you talking about?'

'You've just made your first porn film,' said the guy. 'You're a fucking porn star, mate. A fat fucking ugly fucking porn star.'

Sue untied my feet.

'What?' I said. 'You… you can't do that.'

'Done it, mate,' said the guy. 'It's done and dusted and there's not a fucking thing you can do about it.'

'Don't be ridiculous,' I said. At which point the guy put down the camera and pulled a Leatherman knife out of a back pocket. He took out the blade, came round the side of the bed and stuck it under my chin. He did all this very quickly. 'What did you say?' he said. 'What did you fucking say?' He was all chains, piercings and tattoos by the way. He was - at a guess - something of a psychopath.

'OK,' I managed. 'Take it easy.'

'Just get him the fuck out of here, Tom,' said Sue, and with that she picked up some clothes and left the room.

'You wanna watch your fucking mouth, son,' said Tom. 'How much money have you got?'

When I didn't answer, he headbutted and slapped me.

Eventually I was allowed to get dressed and leave the house. Tom went through my pockets and found out where I lived. 'Mention this to anyone,' he said, 'and somebody will come round to your house, and they'll kill ya.' Then he took £20 from my pocket and pushed me out the front door.

I walked quickly until I was out of sight of the front door, then I stood still, took out my phone and called the police. I explained exactly what had happened, adding that I'd been robbed and threatened with a knife.

The police arrived within ten minutes. I was still there. I met them at the front door. Tom tried to make a run for it through the back garden, but was caught and arrested. Sue was arrested too. I spent most of the next day making statements and looking for somewhere new to live. I stayed with friends for four days, then moved to a different part of London. Three months later I had an AIDS test. I was fine.

I found out from the police that Tom and Sue's house was full of porn they'd shot. They produced ultra-low quality DVDs and flogged them in pubs and over the internet. They had a site. They were DIY pornographers. As far as I could piece together they were trying to put together a series of films featuring ugly men. Beauty and the Beast stuff. They'd made one previously. It was for sale online. It was called Ugly Fuckers. Part One. I was to be Part Two.

I felt like a donkey in a real bestiality film. Except of course I'd consented.

I still fear that some day, somehow, that film is going to turn up on the internet somewhere. Every now and then, I search 'ugly' on YouPorn expecting to see myself tied to a bed, bandaged, buggered and loving it. Whenever it's not there, I feel enormous relief. And a tiny, tiny part of me feels disappointed.

People are absolutely fucking mental.

I've only told two other people this story before. I'm not overly proud of it. In fact, I'm more proud of having a kitten lick my glans than I am of this.

Oh, one good thing to come out of it was a visit from a Victim Support lady, which I wasn't expecting and then completely forgot about. Then, about 15 months later, I received a cheque for over £800. That made it almost entirely worthwhile. Almost.

So, after that experience, I swore to myself that even if it took another two years, I wanted the next woman I got naked with to actually like me, even just a little bit.

In the end it did take another two years.

But she did like me.

So that's good.

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Tuesday, 11 March 2008

How to Find Love Using Totally Idiotic Videos

Last night I stumbled across Video Jug, a site devoted to short ‘how to’ videos that cover everything from ‘How to Kiss Someone Passionately’ and ‘How to Put on a Condom’ to more serious stuff like ‘How Did AIDS Become a Pandemic?’ and ‘How Can I Examine Myself For Cancer?’ to really idiotic stuff like ‘How to Avoid Trapped Arm Whilst Cuddling in Bed’ and ‘How to Hide an Unwanted Erection’. Some of it is clearly supposed to be funny. But isn’t. Some of it supposed to be genuinely helpful. But isn’t.

In fact, everything I’ve watched so far has been uniformly hideous and insulting. This is from the Kiss Passionately film:

‘When you think about it, putting your lips onto another person’s lips and moving them about is an odd thing to do. But do it right and it can be a wonderful experience.’

Is it odd? It's not odd. On French kissing:

‘This kind of kissing was not invented by the French, although they’re probably quite good at it.’

Are they? Why, because they’re French? Ugh. Horrible horrible horrible. They also define ‘necking’ as ‘kissing and nibbling the neck’. Is it? I’m no expert but I thought it was just another name for kissing. Anyone?

Oh, God. Whatever you do, if you suspect your child is gay, don’t watch the film entitled ‘What to Do If You Suspect Your Child Is Gay’. But do take a moment to check out the very creepy Dominic Davies. The man who puts the ‘rapist’ in ‘psychotherapist’. Oh, and the ‘psycho’. He puts the ‘psycho’ in too.

Video Jug's tagline is 'Life Explained. On Film.' I don't know how long they've been going, but I wish to God they'd stop.

Before they stop however, one film they should definitely make on is ‘How to Get Rid of a Friend You Discover Actually Watches Video Jug Videos Seriously and Uses Them As a Genuine Source of Good Advice’.

Then they should stop.

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Friday, 7 March 2008

Feedback Friday :: Happy Birthday, Keith!

bulk :: 17st 10 (what’s really annoying is that I weighed myself when I got home after my run this morning and I was 17st 9. Then half an hour later I voided my bowels and thought I’d weigh myself again. Sometimes I drop a couple of pounds after a good void. Today however, I managed to actually put on weight by passing a motion. If anyone has any idea how that’s possible, I’d love to know.)
cigarettes smoked :: 10 (it’s been a queer old week all in all, and Keith had to buy himself a bag of grass to get through it. I, in turn, had to swallow my reservations and help him through his bag of grass. Ten is an estimate. Probably more if I’m honest. Over three nights. I wanted to get a pipe to avoid the tobacco factor, but Keith wouldn’t let me. He said if I was going to smoke his drugs, then I would do it like a man. He was in a bad way. One minute he was screaming and spitting, the very anus of antagonism. The next he was gibbering and shaking, juddering with grief, tears popping from his eyes like chip fat. He has had a very tough week though. More of which in a moment.)
units of alcohol imbibed :: 36 (see above)
runs run :: 3
friends honoured :: 1
Bulgarians befriended :: 0
Hungarians befriended :: 0

So. As I was saying, Keith’s had a very bad week. Apart from the stuff we’re never mentioning again, it was his birthday, the big three oh. And although he admits he thoroughly deserved it, he still couldn’t help feel a little down being dumped in the same week he turned 30. He feels ‘existentially constipated’ apparently. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I know it’s bad. Then there is Something Else. To spell it out, here is the text I received on Wednesday:

‘Bad back. Dumped. MS.

Happy fucking birthday.


He’d been keeping it pretty much to himself, but he opened up this week. The first doctor he saw was apparently ‘about as much use as a soft cock’. Then he saw a specialist just a couple of weeks ago, who told him that the regular spasming in his hand shows every sign of being MS. He’s 90% sure that that’s what it is. Keith has to go for a series of tests which will confirm that. A lumbar puncture, some blood tests and some steroid injections apparently. He’s got a date in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, the spasming continues. It doesn’t hurt, but he did drop a joint the other night, which I picked up and smoked. This made him cry. I rolled him another one, but it wasn't really the joint, it was the whole thing. He’s scared. And it’s heart-breaking.

Speaking of which, I feel bad about the amount of ugly feeling directed towards Keith around here recently. I feel bad because it’s my fault and because he really isn’t such a bad egg. Alright, so he betrayed a wonderful woman by putting his todger in someone else’s body; OK, so he got angry on New Year’s Eve, punched a bus shelter and made Patricia cry; and yes, yes, OK, he once stole candy from a baby with learning difficulties, but he’s also a very good friend, so I’m going to take this opportunity to rack my brain and come up with Five Great Things That Keith Has Done. And if I stop at three, I don’t want you to think any less of him.

1) Keith and I became neighbours when we were little kids. We became fast friends and grew up together. Because I was a hideous little eczematic freak, I was often picked on and bullied by clear-skinned Nazi kids, and I have lost count of the amount of times that Keith stepped in and stopped it. He even got beat up a couple of times himself, in the process of protecting me. I will never forget that, and never stop loving him for it.

2) When we were about 12 or 13, we were down Southend beach with Kevin Hodgson and Dean Curtis. Hodge found a giant flatfish washed up on the sand, dead. He picked it up and threatened me with it. I ran. Hodge ran after me. I was faster than him though and so I got away, but out of desperation, he threw the fish after me and, through utter fluke, it landed with a slap on my bare back. It was funny. I can see now that it was funny, but at the time it was a) humiliating as my friends fell about laughing, and b) somehow terrifying. I started screaming and flapping about a bit trying to get it off my back, but it seemed to be stuck there. I guess I was having a bit of a panic attack with this bloody great fish on my back. Hodge and Curty found it increasingly hilarious, but Keith, seeing that I was genuinely upset, came up to me and peeled the fish off my back and calmed me down. I was embarrassed and I had to go off to be alone, but I was touched too, and I’ve never forgotten it.

3) When I was 15, my family life became untenable and there was the possibility that I was going to be taken into care. Keith at this point persuaded his parents to take me in and look after me, essentially to foster me. Again, it brings tears to my eyes to think how much that meant to me and what a selfless, wonderful gesture it was.

4) A year and a bit later, we got a flat together in Dartford, and for two years, Keith basically looked after me. When I was in and out of college, in and out of jobs and struggling to pay the rent, he never failed to help me out, even when it meant leaving himself short.

5) For my 30th birthday, he bought me a bunch of sex toys and condoms and various other sexual accessories. He knew I was starting this blog and embarking on a quest to find a lady. He also wrote the following words in a card: ‘You’ll notice there is no fleshlight here. That’s because you won’t be needing one. Go get ‘em, tiger.’

In these and in countless other ways, Keith has shown me that he cares for me, that he loves me, more than anyone else I have ever known. And it is with wet eyes, a raised glass and all of that love right back at you, Keith, that I wish you a happy birthday and the best year ever. Fuck the past – we all make mistakes. And fuck MS - if that's what it is, you can own it. Balls to it.

Here’s to the future, mate.


In other news, I have a new neighbour, a young, attractive and as far as I can tell, single, Bulgarian woman named Katinka. Wow, you’re thinking. Young, attractive, single, Bulgarian and named Katinka. You lucky dog, you’re thinking. There is however, one small problem, which is that she has absolutely no sense of humour whatsoever. Or else it's merely a case of her despising me utterly. Two problems then, potentially.

I bumped into her when she was moving her stuff in a couple of nights ago. Her stuff was all piled up in the hallway. Lots of strange electrical equipment. Silver boxes with rows and ranks of knobs and dials. She had a friend helping her. Rather than just walk past her with a nod, I stopped to say hello and introduce myself. In the tiny exchange that followed, not a single, solitary smile played upon her plump, kissable lips. In fact, throughout our exchange, she looked at me as if to say, [imagine generic Eastern European accent here] ‘In my country, you would be in cage.’

Katinka is actually Hungarian, but I have decided to deliberately get it wrong whenever I speak to her or even mention her to other people. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s out of spite. I saw her this morning rooting through the communal mail in the hall. ‘Morning!’ I chirruped. ‘Anything nice from Bulgary?’

‘I am Hungarian,’ she replied, cold like a killer.

‘Ah, yeah, Hungarian, sorry. Anything nice from Hungaria?!’

This time she totally ignored me. Quite right too. She had a bunch of letters in her hands. ‘Who are these people?’ she wanted to know. So peremptory her tone, that I find it both irritating and amusing. And slightly arousing if I’m honest. She read out a few names from envelopes like she was reading from a Sex Offenders List. I explained that some of them are other people in the house, that there are seven different flats, including the basement. I told her also that a lot of the mail that collects around the front door is junk for old residents, and that the landlord comes and picks it up every few weeks.

She scowled at me. ‘Every few weeks?’ She shook her head. ‘I must to speak with landlord.’

‘OK,’ I said, squeezing past her to the front door, ‘well good luck with that.’

And then it happened. She looked up at me, and she smiled. It was ever so faint, her smile, and as soon as it happened, she suppressed it and replaced it with a scowl, like a woman at a sombre church gathering whose breast had inadvertently popped out of her low-necked top whilst she was chatting to the priest about death. All she could do was scoop it back inside and stare at the ground, pretending it had never happened. But it had happened alright. She knew it. I knew it. The priest knew it.

‘What?’ I said, smiling myself.

‘Nothing,’ she replied. ‘You are going for run, no?’

And then I realised that her smile was actually a mocking smile, that she was laughing at me. Granted, I do look fairly ridiculous when I go running, with my baggy grey track suit and the little purple hand towel that I hang round my neck. I need that towel though, I really do. I sweat like a claustrophobe in a fridge when I’m running. More than I used to. The more weight I lose, the more I sweat. I don’t understand it.

‘Yeah,’ I replied, slowly. ‘Is that funny?’

This time she laughed openly, then covered her mouth. ‘No, no. Sorry. I must to go now.’ Then she trotted off upstairs, leaving me feeling ridiculous, and I have to say, utterly enchanted.

It was only just now, writing this that it occurs to me that she may very well be a spy. Think about it. The way she was taking such an interest in the names of the other tenants; the lack of humour – Eastern European spies are notoriously humourless and businesslike; the silver boxes which are most probably devices for sending coded messages to other Bulgarian agents.

It all comes together now. I know it’s not 1940 or anything, but we are still at war, and Bulgaria is bound to be in the Axis of Evil.

All of which makes me think, it might be time to forget about Sebastian Horsley and concentrate on getting Katinka locked up. (I am determined to have someone jailed before the week is out.) Seriously though, I heard this advert on Xfm the other day, with a voiceover asking, ‘How can you be sure if that person over there is taking photos because they have an interest in architecture, or if they’re casing the joint for a terrorist atrocity? How can you be sure if that chap with the rucksack is carrying a picnic to his grandma’s house, or if he’s packing enough terror to take out the whole of Oxford Street? How can you be sure? You can’t. If you suspect it, report it.’

At the time I just laughed it off as a bunch of Big Brother police state terror-spreading, designed to keep everyone permanently terrified and paranoid. But now I’m thinking, well they may actually be onto something. I definitely suspect Katinka. What kind of name is Katinka anyway? It’s clearly made up.

But should I report her? She’s upstairs now. I can hear her, Katinkering with her spy machines no doubt. Maybe I’ll go up there now and ask to see her papers. Oh God, I want her. That’s the terrible truth. I don’t want to imprison her. I want to impregnate her.

Damn it all to hell and back, I’d better start brushing up on my language skills.

Have a good weekend!

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Thursday, 6 March 2008

Sebastian Horsley Belongs In Jail. Let’s Put Him There!

Sebastian Horsley claims that he is a dandy. According to the Oxford Shorter, a dandy is ‘a man whose style of dress is ostentatiously elegant or fashionable; a fop’, and Horsley is certainly ostentatious. As to whether he’s elegant, I’m not so sure, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. However, without wishing to fall foul of Godwin’s Law, I put it to you that describing Sebastian Horsley as a dandy is akin to describing Adolf Hitler as an animal lover. It may be true, but it’s so far from the point as to be an utter - and rather insulting - irrelevance.

This morning I discovered that Horsley has rather more in common with Hitler than I would have guessed, when I was alerted to a recent blog post about him. The thrust of the post is that Horsley is an anti-Semite. In more than one interview, he has trotted out anti-Semitic remarks, ‘Death to Jews!’ being the ugliest and most obvious. The journalist to whom he said this, the author of this blog, suggests that whether he means this or whether he’s just being outrageous, either way he is an unnecessary distraction from more pressing issues. She didn’t publish the interview.

And that’s that.

And so he gets away with it. And presumably will continue to spout this hateful rubbish for as long as he has a platform.

I don’t know about you, but this gets me really riled.

I started muttering under my breath, ‘There should be a law against people like him’, and then I realised: there is! And then I realised: actually there are a number of laws against people like him.

For example a) he is loud and proudly vocal about s drug-taking, b) he is loud and proudly vocal about his whoring, and c) he is loud and proudly vocal about his wishing death to minority religious groups.

While I’ve got nothing (well, not much) against junkies and whoresmen, I’m definitely not opposed to using the illegality of drugs and drabs to get scum like Horsley off the street.

On the religious hatred score, I realise there’s a thin but very serious line between inciting hatred and freedom of speech. Does Horsley actually mean to threaten anyone? Does he wish to inflame and to spread his hatefulness to others?

Why, of course he does. You’ve only got to look at him.

So, who’s with me?

Oh, and secondly, how do I do it? I’ve not really had anyone arrested before. Do I just call the police and tell them that for the sake of decent society, I want Sebastian Horsley imprisoned at once? Or do I write a letter? Or maybe start an online campaign to have him stamped out?

If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

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Tuesday, 4 March 2008

I Sound My Barbaric YAWP Over the Roofs of the World (Because Chicks Dig Poetry)

I used to keep a diary. A proper diary – the kind you cover with tears and bad poetry and keep hidden under your mattress like a shameful secret or a semen-sock. The kind that in recurring dreams is devoured by family and other sneering enemies, maybe over your coffin.

Last night Keith and I got talking about a weekend we spent in Brighton many years ago. He claimed that in the middle of the night I stripped off and marched into sea, shouting, ‘Any fool can walk on water. It’s merely a matter of mind over matter!’ I maintain however, that no such thing happened. I maintain that the water-walking episode took place in North Wales years later.

So when I got home in the early hours, I dug out my old diaries and checked. I was right. Of course I was right. For I have the memory of a giant computerised elephant, whereas Keith has the memory of goldfish with Alzheimer’s. Why, sometimes he even forgets he has a girlfriend!

Sorry. Sorry, Keith. And happy birthday for tomorrow. Me old mate.

Anyway, the reason I mention all this is because I ended up staying up till gone light this morning catching up on my adolescence. Mostly diaries from when I was 15 and 16. What was particularly astonishing and not a little dispiriting was how very little has changed. I still spend most of my time bemoaning my physical appearance and lack of female company. The only difference is I wrote a lot of really shocking poetry then.

So I was thinking of maybe sharing a bit of the really embarrassing stuff, by way of full exposure. But I think I might be a little too ashamed. I’m definitely too ashamed to include any of ‘Angry Poem on Gulf War’, written on 27 January, 1991.

God, I was ticked off about that war.

But besides war in general, nukes specifically, vivisection, suicide, dandruff and despair, I also seemed to specialise in poems that appeared to be clever but in actual fact weren’t. They gave the impression of having depth but were in fact empty Petri-dishes of disappointment. Like this one:


A cat steals bread, by the slice,
From the kitchen of its owner.
Takes the bread to the garden
To use as bait for birds.
The owner of the cat notices
That his girlfriends
Are getting younger.

This next one too is similarly delusional, but for some reason I still actually quite like it. It was written when I was 16, so it’s quite a mature, introspective piece. Yo, check it:

My Eyes

My eyes.
Nestling in their walnut shells
Like frightened boys in crowded cells,
To and fro like sulphured bells
Which toll when someone dies.
My thighs.
Like two pale boys who cower in fright
With shifty eyes of cellulite
Which twinkle spiteful through the night
When someone lonely cries.
My size.
A sea of impact, pressure, noise,
A mass of ass devoid of poise.
A crowded cell of frightened boys
With watering, damaged eyes.
My eyes.

Then there’s this, one of my unrequited love poems from one of my 400 volumes of unrequited love poems. I’m almost ashamed to say, but I’m pretty sure this was written about Ange, back in the day, when she was giving herself at parites and I was hiding away in my bedroom reading ee cummings and listening to George Formby. (I had already found out the meaning of ‘unrequited’.) I’m actually quite proud of this one. It doesn’t have a title:

thy skin is a bandage of unbroken beauty
thy unsleeping bones beat the passion of truth
thy head (clenched with questions) laughs poems of loving
thy heart (filled with giving) smiles proof


Go on then, one more.

Tick Tock, Tick…

How her wings do flap and carry
Folk to coffins, kids to bed.
Mistress Time without a worry,
Winds her watch and finds me dead.

Hmm. I should have stopped at the love one. Damn it!

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Monday, 3 March 2008

The End

I received the following email this morning, from Patricia:

Hello Poppet

It would appear that I'm suffering from a terrible inertia today - I can't seem to do anything to its conclusion. The kids are with their nan, I have no work till Wednesday and as a result, I am STILL IN MY PYJAMAS. I keep half-doing things, then making a coffee and wandering round. Plus people keep ringing me. I know lots of people in need at the moment. And it’s good because their needs take my mind of my own.

Anyway, I’ve come to a decision about our mutual friend “Keith”. Basically, I read that blog your friend recommended and I realised that in many ways I’ve had a lucky break. So much of what this stranger wrote rings true - “too much hurt, too many impulsive actions” - and I’ve decided that I’m not going to try and patch things up with “Keith”. He’s never betrayed me with anyone else before, as far as I know, but he has hurt me with his impulsiveness – putting himself before me, always putting himself before me, to such an extent that I don’t really matter. Richard never did that. Richard put me first always. He loved me. He truly loved me. And then he died. Nice one, God. Fair play to you.

When it comes to the way they both treated me at least, “Keith” has nothing on Richard. I do love him, "Keith", but as far as I can see it, he doesn’t know how to love properly. People who know how to love properly don’t sleep around. I think it’s that simple. Maybe they can learn how to love. Maybe “Keith” could learn how to love me. Maybe. But that’s too bad because I’m not going to give him the opportunity. He can learn to love someone else. And I can find someone else who doesn’t find loving me SUCH A FUCKING CHALLENGE.

I’ve told “Keith” this already. He was here all day yesterday trying to convince me that he’s right for me. I want you to post this on your blog because it was your blog that led me to Javaira’s blog and I think if I hadn’t read that, there is every chance I would have forgiven “Keith” and stayed with him. And that would have been the wrong decision. I deserve better than that. I know he’s your best friend so I’ll understand it if you choose not to put this on the internet but I want you to. I want you to finish the story. Because it’s definitely finished.

I know this will hurt “Keith” too, but that’s too bad. Like Javaira said – “If he can still face everyone after this, then he is learning to face himself.” You’d be doing him a favour.

I’m feeling sorry for myself now and I know this will pass. I know that I have to be strong now, when I feel weakest. I have to say no. “Keith” wants me back. I have to say no.

Anyway, howareyou? It's a miracle that I've finished this email. You should be honoured. Hope this find you very happy, nibbling on some delicious unhealthy elevenses.

“Patricia” xx

Ten minutes ago, I received this email from Keith:

Yeah, whatever, I’m really not arsed. I suppose if she wants you to stick it online, it would be churlish of me to stand in her way. I hope it gets you some new readers.

So there it is. I’m going round to see Keith tonight too, so there appears to be no bad feeling. So that’s good. Unless of course, he plans to poison me and bury me under his patio. (If I haven’t blogged again by Friday, please notify the authorities.)

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