Monday, 23 February 2009

Feedback Monday :: Mustn’t Grumble

bulk :: 15st 5
booze :: yeah, yeah
painkillers :: loads
joints :: quite a few
healthy meals :: zero
films :: 1
visits to the dentist :: 3
days till deadline :: 4
panic level :: zero. I am nothing if not professional.
whinge level :: 4
crunching self-pity quotient :: 1
boundless optimism quotient :: 9

As I write, the anaesthetic is beginning to wear off and my bottom lip is beginning to throb gently. I have dental problems.

I am dentally ill.

Just before New Year, in Edinburgh, one of my teeth – lower east side – had a little breakdown. A shard gave up the ghost and came loose in my mouth. I was very alarmed. Horribly so, to the point of experiencing serious mortality flashes. Thankfully there was no pain. Back in London I popped along to the perennially cheerful dentist I pop along to on such occasions. He was glad there was no pain. I was glad too and we set a date to meet again soon and get all fixed up.

The tooth would be fixed over two visits while I waited for the inlay to arrive. Everything seemed to go well with the first visit, until two days after the treatment when I woke up in pain.

I hate pain.

I know, I know, everybody hates pain. I reckon even people who profess to actually like pain only really like it on their own terms. I bet there isn’t a masochist alive that relishes toothache.

So I started drinking whisky and taking painkillers. When the next morning it showed no signs of abating, I went back to the dentist. This time I was told that my nerve had become enraged. I can’t remember the word which was actually used, but believe me, it was enraged. It was absolutely livid. I was told I’d need root canal treatment and taken through the list of prices. I felt a little light-headed. I was then prescribed some antibiotics and told to come back next week, for my second scheduled appointment on Monday 2nd March.

Unfortunately, despite the antibiotics, the pain continued unabated. I put up with it over the weekend but Sunday was a nightmare which no amount of cannabis, whisky and Nurofen could palliate and I vowed to find emergency treatment somewhere today.

And so, a couple of hours ago, I returned from the dentist, having had half of the root canal treatment. I’ll have the other half next week.

At the moment I’ve got a bit of putty in my tooth, holding in place some antibiotic gauze or something. It’s been cleaned. Now the nerve has to be neutralised. Only not now, next week. The pain should apparently start to lessen if not tomorrow, then the day after.

So as I write, the lip throb has given way to a heavy tooth throb. It’s really annoying. It’s worse than reading a book written by Chris Moyles. In fact, it’s like reading one page of Moyles over and over and over again. It’s so boring. You know exactly what’s coming next, and there’s no poetry, no poetry at all.

I haven’t eaten since yesterday at about 4 and I don’t feel confident about eating on the putty pain area. So I’m thinking it might be time to break open the Madal Bal. I’m starving hungry though, so I might just buy some tomato soup instead. And chocolate.

Yes. I’m in no fit state to fast.


It’s getting very bad again.

Just saying. Not grumbling. On the contrary, I feel like a proper writer now. Not only did my woman done leave me – obligatory blues riff – but the pain in my mouth allows me to pretend that I am Martin Amis and the whisky on my breath allows me to pretend that I am Ernest Hemingway and all the heartache, bitterness, pain and ceaseless whinging makes me worry that this book is not going to be the hilarious, heart-warming and life-affirming work of lasting worth that I want it to be, but a great festering pile of self-indulgent poo.

But on the whole, I’m feeling optimistic.

I turned over some of the soil in the back garden at the weekend and it looks good. Rich and wormy.

Just as soon as the deadline is met in four days' time, I’m going to start concentrating on enjoying the Spring, which means planting some vegetables and buying a kitten, getting my feet scraped and getting back into regular exercise.

I'm also looking forward to blogging again. I've got a couple of things to talk about, including a recent evening of unexpected celebration and a surprising account of a recent Sebastian Horsley outing.

Oh, and Keith's dad is doing well after a recent operation. So we thank fuck for that.

And we marvel at Keith's weird fishes:

Ooh, another piece of good news I heard last week was that therapy is tax deductible. I wish dentistry was. It’s not, is it?

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Friday, 13 February 2009

Valentine's Day Cancelled :: A Dead Fox Stole My Heart

Sorry for the piss-poor blogging of late. Couple of excuses: hard work on book (up every day at 6!); and the slow, painful collapse of everything I ever believed in.

I know, I know.

Which is to say, Morag and I have split up.

One day I may tell you the story of the dead fox. It was extraordinarily poignant and in effect helped us sign the death warrant.

This was yesterday. Timing, as ever, impeccable.

I don't have much else to say about it. Certainly nothing that I haven't already said here.

So yeah, Valentine’s Day is cancelled this year. As is the rest of February. I shall be getting back on the horse in March. And not before.

In the meantime, please, even if you feel it, please do not say ‘I told you so’. You know who you are. Thanks.

Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day. May a leather-clad Cupid coat each of your erogenous zones with a heady mix of lubricant, bremelanotide and paprika.

Have fun!

See you in a couple of weeks.


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Saturday, 7 February 2009

Feedback Saturday :: Thaw

It’s beautiful outside. The bricks and trees and sheds of the back gardens onto which my kitchen study stares are awash with the cold fire of the late day sun. I see bright orange chimney pots. I see wet trainers on window sills. Colourful clouds are breaking apart and atop the stark, expectant, profoundly aching soil, the last of the remarkable snow is inching into oblivion. It’s almost dry now, but for a while back there the roof of the garden shed was like that scene in Bambi. You know the one, drip, drip, drop …

I know it’s not April yet, not by a long chalk, not by a chalk so long that it more closely resembles an ostentatious cane, but Spring is definitely somewhere close at hand, I feel it. I can sense it stirring. Even the poinsettia has started to squeeze through a few new leaves.

Ah, yes. Spring is in the post.

All we need to do is see out the winter. This disconcertingly chilly winter, not without its discontent.

Ah, yes.

Adopt generic Richard the Third voice and bellow out that I, yes I, that am rudely stamped, and want love's majesty to strut before a wanton ambling nymph; I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion, cheated of feature by dissembling nature, deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breathing world scarce half made up… Fie. Fee fie foe fum. Let me not think on’t.

So, on Monday evening I was denounced, cruelly but I fear, appropriately, in the comments section by one calling himself Wellington. Sweet, stout-hearted Wellington, of the brave, snow-spattered sole.

Drop generic Richard the Third voice. Stop bellowing. Point, nay, jab finger.

Bloody hell fire, Stanley, you snivelling sack of shit. What the hecking blazes is wrong with you? "My cock hurts, my bum hurts, my tooth is broken, I've got a tickly cough, I'm not losing enough weight...."

Jesus H. Get a bloody grip, will you? Please.

Obviously, I'm (sort of) doing the old 'cruel to be kind' thing here. But seriously, I've never known anyone to whinge the way you do. Not even close.

Initially this hit me hard - like a giant conker in the gullet - and I repudiated it. But when I’d had time to think, and dry my tear-swamped bib, I thought, you know what? He’s right. He’s only gone and hit the nail on the head.

So I said, ‘Fuck it!’ and I grabbed Morag and dragged her out of her comfy armchair and outside into the vicious snow. I’ve made it sound aggressive. It wasn’t aggressive. We went for a walk. That might be a less emotive way of phrasing it. We went for a walk. In the snow. At my behest. I was determined to make the best of it. And I don’t say that in a grudging way. I was determined to open myself up to the alleged joys of snow.

When I was a kid, I was cruelly persecuted by juvenile snowballers. I’m not whining, honest. I’m just saying. I’ve suffered. You know? Once some little fucker - I think it was that buck-toothed psychotic little parasite Liam McDonald - packed a fat stone inside a snowball and split my head open with it. Ever since then snow has freaked me out. I’m still afraid of little kids when I’m out in the snow. I butch it out as best I can but the fear is still there. They can smell it.

It’s not the snowballs themselves that frighten me now, it’s my reaction to them. I’m afraid I’ll get it wrong because I’m a bit wound up by thinking too much about it. I’m afraid I’ll either laugh it off in a really fake way, a way so obviously fake that it’ll light the tiny touch-paper that sets off a bloody great cluster bomb of antagonism in the souls of my assailants; or else I’ll attempt to join in, I’ll make my own snowballs and fight back, a good-natured battle will ensue with shrieks of joy and delight all round, then one of those little bastards will get a little too feisty, pushing snow hard into my face and suddenly, in a cold white flash, it’ll all come flooding back. I’ll have a complete cleaning woman moment, all my backed-up rage for the unavenged attack of Liam McDonald suddenly coursing through my mental arms, quite out of control, pinning this helpless child to the crunchy cold snow and stuffing handfuls of the stuff down the back of his coat. Then his parents appear from nowhere and before I can even breathe straight, I’m on page 4 of the News of the World. SNOW PAEDO STOMPED TO DEATH BY MOB.

I know it’s probably not that likely in the harsh cold light of reality, but it’s still a risk. And besides that, I just don’t like snow. Not in the city at least. But heavens, give me a countryside snowscape and I’ll dance through it like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Nureyev. On ice.

So, bearing all that in mind, we went to the nearest park, which lies roughly ten minutes from our house.

And you know what? You know what, Wellington?

It was really lovely.

We crunched and creaked over virgin snow, trusting ourselves wholly to the solid presence of the ground beneath, and not entertaining, not even for a minute, the idea that there might not be any.

I took some photos of some of snow sculptures. People had been having a whale of a time. I wished I had joined them. Instead I took photographs.

But I can’t find the cable to attach them to the internet. Damn it. Oh well, the internet will have to cope without a few more pictures of snow.

But believe me, there’ll be no more whining from me.

Now I’m thawing out some frozen beef and awaiting the return of Morag so that we might feast on cooked meat and together read from Chris Moyles’ remarkable second book.

Here’s to a fully thawed weekend.

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Monday, 2 February 2009

Feedback Monday :: Sick

bulk :: bulky
booze :: none
tobacco :: none
healthy food :: none
exercise :: none
teeth fixed :: none
spirits :: low
days to deadline :: 25
panic threat level :: substantial
unpleasant change threat level :: substantial

I’ve just returned from a failed attempt to trek South to get my broken tooth fixed. It took me over an hour to get to London Bridge, where I had to catch a train the rest of the way. But of course, there were no trains. Because of the snow. So I came home. Miserable. I’m sick of this winter. February sucks.

Yesterday was meant to be the beginning of another fresh start for me. I was going to join another gym and sort myself out. Get back on track. Back on the horse. All that. But for two reasons, it didn’t happen.

The first reason is that I am sick. It started last week and is currently at its zenith. It’s mostly throat-based, which means that I have a hacking, wheezing, slicing, rasping, burning, vicious bastard of a cough and am producing repugnant green phlegm at a rate of approximately four litres an hour. (I exaggerate.) The other reason is that with less than a month to finish this book, the panic is beginning to set in and I realise that I need to work every hour that the good Lord sends if I’m going to be able to do it. In fact, if I’m honest, I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish it at all.

In fact, I’m definitely not.

Nah, just kidding. I really only wrote that last bit because it gives me a tiny bit of pleasure to freak out the publisher lady. She gets jittery. Don’t worry, publisher lady, I’ll definitely finish it. But it will be shit.

Kidding! It will be magnificent.

So. Instead of the gym, what I’ve decided to do is get back to basics and make like Max Cady in his prison cell.

I’m talking press-ups and sit-ups on the kitchen floor. Max Cady had a pilates balls, didn’t he? Well, me too, and I’m not afraid to use it.

This weather though. It's really unpleasant. I wish London was just a little more robust when it comes to dealing with snow. Where are the grit trucks of yesteryear? Where is the Blitz spirit?

This morning I saw a cat stuck on a shed roof a couple of gardens away. It was stuck in about five or six inches of snow and too scared to walk along the fence it would usually walk along to get down because the fence it would usually walk along to get down had disappeared under five or six inches of snow. I don’t know what happened because I had to head South to get my tooth fixed. I hope it's OK and indoors somewhere. Cats shouldn't be out in the snow.

Rotten day.

I hope you’re having a better one.

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