Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Spirit of the Night

(To Chris - A bedtime story for the sleepless.)

It was some kind of very tall, very dense fir tree, but I don't know what species and it stood way down at the bottom end of the lawn, just before the ha-ha. Beyond the ha-ha lay the field known as "The Park" due to its grand history as a hunting ground in the days when the castle was a real castle. But nowadays, The Park was just a sodden field like any other. The first time I saw him standing under the fir tree was in early January. It was a still, frosty night and deep, hard snow was on the ground; the jagged, crystallised kind of snow that has thawed and refrozen and you can walk right over the top of it like Jesus. The sky, by comparison, looked as smooth and as yielding as a deep pool of treacle into which the teaspoon moon had dipped a tiny tip. For the moon was at that controversial stage of near-fullness. It was full enough for someone wishful like me to call it full if I wanted it full; and occasionally I did, but mostly I remember that on such nights, I yearned for it not to be full - not quite full, not quite yet. I feel sure that this must have been just such an occasion.

I was kneeling up on the white wooden window sill in my nightdress and woolly socks, the curtains closed behind me. I was wishing on stars, and that's how I saw him there, that first time. And now I don't remember what I'd been wishing for. One of the usuals, no doubt: that one day, I'd suddenly discover I was beautiful and mysteriously gifted after all, that one day someone dark and deeply exciting would fall in love with me, or that this very night, time would stand still and that all who were asleep when it happened would stay asleep forever, and the world would belong to us: the ghosts, the insomniacs and the stargazers.

I made that last wish so many times. And sometimes, for whole minutes, I used to believe that it might have come true. How would I know, after all, until the morning? I often imagined us - the ones left awake - and how we'd cross great expanses on foot to find one another, meeting on silent hillsides and beneath breezy lamposts; how we'd discuss ways to break the spell, feeling secretly shifty and conspiratorial, each knowing in our hearts that none of us really wanted it to break and that this was why the spell still held strong.

Back then, at just - what, thirteen or fourteen? - I must already have had a sense that I was only capable of loving the world - of worshipping it with my hopelessly pagan soul - when every sensible person had deserted it: in snowstorms, gales, freezing fog and torrential rain, and most especially at night.

Back then, it seems to me that I was never in the moment. It was as if my essence had been split - deliberately and artificially like an atom - and I was perpetually suspended in two places at once: in the outermost reaches of two warring realms: dream and reality, childhood and adulthood, past and future, longing and dread. Never at the centre of anything. Everywhere but here and now. In a state of vibrant paralysis. I was not entirely sure that I wanted to be whole again; to be turned from a restive stargazer into another one of those very capable night-sleepers. No. Not I. When time stopped - if it did - I had every intention being left awake. And that's when I'd be whole. That's when I'd learn to live in the moment.

Back then, I remember there being times when anything seemed possible and even likely, except what was actually happening.

And yet, kneeling up on the window sill of my castle bedroom that frosty night, when I saw the slight winged figure standing beneath the fir tree, my first thought was actually very sensible. I looked at it and I told myself that it must be a shadow of some ordinary object that was creating an optical illusion. I was prone to such temporary delusions, frequently mistaking a dressing gown for a hooded hobgoblin or a drifting sparkle of thistledown for a fairy until I'd reasoned with myself and looked closer. So at first, I peered down at the dark contours, struggling to achieve that mental shift of focus that would ultimately reveal its true nature as a garden hoe or an upturned wheel barrow. But the shift never came, because in a blink of an eye, he was gone. Tender as a snowflake, faithless as starlight. Moth Boy.

When I woke the next morning, I thought of this sighting as a dream. But I remember that as the day drew on, I became increasingly convinced that I had seen something and that I had been awake at the time. I had a full day of lessons ahead of me, and I know I spent them feeling restless and excited, longing impatiently to get back home again so that I could go down to the fir tree and look for footprints in the snow. I formed a very logical theory: that the figure had belonged to a shepherd lad and that the "wings" were simply the outline of something he must have been carrying on his back. But still, despite devoting all my powers of deduction to what I called "The Question of Motive", I could think of no reason why this shepherd lad should have been standing there in the middle of the night, trespassing in our garden, staring up at the house. Unless it was just that the pale, still walls of the castle made a beautiful sight against the treacle softness of the sky. A farm lad with the soul of a poet? I knew my male contemporaries in the village well enough and at times this alternative figure seemed an infinitely more fanciful creation than Moth Boy.

When I returned from school the next afternoon, I was surprised to find myself not investigating the scene of the sighting at all, but delaying the moment instead. I ate my tea quite methodically and calmly, watched two or three television programmes I always watched but never particularly liked, then I settled down at the kitchen table to do my homework as usual, munching on a piece of shortbread, getting up at intervals to pet the dogs. The winter days were short, and darkness would tumble suddenly over the land at around half past four. But for reasons I didn't understand myself, I had decided to let that narrow window of daylight slip by. Perhaps it was because I thought of this boy as a creature of the night. Somehow, it felt like a dishonourable act for me to hunt him down by daylight. If I did that, then perhaps he would know and never show himself to me again. Or perhaps I was reluctant for the mystery to be solved - to find clear prints of size 7 Wellington boots and a discarded sweet wrapper.

At 7.30, I went out into the garden with my torch and a magnifying glass. I stalked around the old fir tree, scrutinising the ground for clues, trying to see how he had come there. Had he walked over The Park and jumped over the ha-ha or had he somehow squeezed through the high wooden fence from the Kanes' grounds? But the snow must have been too hard. Its unbroken surface glittered back, crisp and bejewelled in the mottled beam of torchlight. I could find no trace of him. Either he had flown on moth wings, or he had walked over the surface like Jesus - except perhaps in wellies. (Which Jesus himself certainly would have worn, if he'd been born in the North of England.) Intrigued and far from disappointed, I went back into the house.

From then on, I began to think of him each night before I fell asleep. I'd lie in my bed and imagine him standing there under the fir tree, just as I'd seen him. Visualising him there became a night-time ritual. I would close my eyes and say silent prayers to him, sending him all kinds of crazy telepathic messages and willing him to feel my thoughts and feel our connection. He became the focus for all my restless curiosity and longing, and as the weeks passed, he took on a definite shape. I no longer saw just his outline. In my mind, I saw him fully and clearly, though always - without exception - in darkness. Moth Boy's face was a little sharp and elfin, sometimes mischievous, sometimes deeply melancholic; his brows were dark but his eyes were a curious blue and dusted in shadows in the manner of - say - a guitar player in a New Romantic band. Except that Moth Boy echewed make-up. His eyeshadow was completely natural. His hair was also quite naturally gelled into a tangle with feathers and twigs.

So fixated was I on this figure that often, from the depths of a dream, I would feel as though I could sense him - physically sense him - near by. I would hear a sort of soft electric hum like vibrating wings and my heart would pound. Before even waking, I would have got out of bed, my toes lumpish with sleep, and shuffled my way across the cold bedroom floor to the window. Only when my warm face touched the glass would I truly wake up - to a dark and empty garden. Had he only just left? Flown into the darkness on his powdery wings? Had I dreamt it all? Was I being insane? Or was he out there and watching me secretly from behind a tree?

Before the winter was out, I saw him once again. I wasn't even looking out for him. I was just sitting on my window sill, resting my head against the cool glass. I'd been woken by the mysterious cramps they called "growing pains" and found myself feeling suddenly utterly petrified about all the life that lay ahead of me and all the countless capabilities I was expected to casually develop. I just didn't think I could ever do it. How could I grow up? I didn't have the skills. I didn't have the eagerness to learn them, either, like so many of my peers - drinking snake bites until they puked, learning sex tips from their mum's Jilly Cooper books and sucking on cigarettes. Though I was desperately tired, I'd found myself too oppressed and apprehensive to re-settle my mind in a hollow of drowsiness. So I'd got up and pressed my woebegone face against the dark window pane.

Outside, it was another bright silvery night and down by the fir tree, I now saw a movement. I turned my head sharply and stared out over the lawn. It was...! It was him. Gasping, I knelt up, cupped my hands around my eyes and peered out into the darkness. I could see him. He was standing outlined against the twinkling expanse of The Park. His poor wings looked terribly crumpled (were they really wings?) and he was making a very determined repetitive movement, over and over, in a kind of grim rhythmic stubbornness, like someone trying to force a thing that will not budge. Blood rushed to my ears as my heart raced. Who or what was he, and what was he doing out there? What was he up to? He was clearly very busy with something. He seemed completely absorbed within his movement. I watched. It seemed less stubborn now. More graceful... artistic. Was it a dance? No. A struggle? Was he fighting with something? With what? With invisible forces? Or was he trying to pull a sword from a sheath? I strained my eyes and blinked. Was it part of a magic ritual? If he unsheathed the sword, could he - and would he - then freeze time and give the earth to the stargazers? Was he here to grant all my wishes? Or was he perhaps sewing? Like Peter Pan, trying to reattach his own shadow? Or casting seeds for toadstool rings?

It was strange. It went on for several long minutes and each second my perception of it changed. Sometimes he seemed too otherworldly to be human, but sometimes he seemed too human to be anything else. The longer I looked, the less I could make him out. I tried to understand the movement. Was the main force away from his body and out into the air? Or the other way around? And I? Was I dreaming? I pinched myself, like the heroines in my books. Did that ever work? What if you only dreamed you were pinching yourself? As a test, I tried to speak. In dreams, I knew, speech never comes out the way you intend it.

"I see you, night spirit," I said, "I can see you there. Take me. Stop time and take me with you. I am ready to go."

As I spoke, my breath frosted the glass and I lost sight of him behind the mist. Quickly, scared to break eye contact and lose him again to the night, I wiped the window clear with my hand. As I peered out again, I thought I saw him fall. His legs seemed to buckle beneath him. He stumbled to his knees and his head was first thrown back for several seconds and then bent right forwards as he put out one hand to support himself against the tree. Was he fainting? Or in pain? Should I go to him? I thought of it. Should I? Did I dare? I hovered in indecision. I both longed and feared to go to him; because he might be real and human; because he might be a spirit; because I didn't know what I wanted and I didn't know what to say to boys. Whatever great thing you said, they always acted like they thought you were being uncool and stupid, just because you were a girl. Would Moth Boy be like that? Would I secretly like him anyway?

After that I lost him for a while. His shadow merged with the tree until I thought he must have gone. But I knelt and stared out into the darkness for the longest time, though it was cold and my knees were growing numb. I knew now that I would not have dared to go to him.

Finally, I saw him outlined again. He was either looking back up at the house or out and away over The Park. It was impossible to tell.

All at once, I decided to signal him. Perhaps he would come up to me - fly to my window. Though I knew I was too frightened to go out into the garden and take fate into my own hands, I was - contrarily - still longing for him to come to me and take me with him. I didn't want to make the decision to go. I wanted him to make this choice for me. At this mad moment, I thought perhaps he really could freeze time. Perhaps he would love me and steal me away from the daunting life of daytimes that lay before me - all the frightening exams and career decisions, all the driving lessons and the food shopping, the housework, the parking spaces and the pin numbers. Impulsively, I ran to a drawer to fetch my torch. But I was too slow. When I returned and looked out again, my blind finger grappling for the switch, I saw that he had disappeared.

As it turned out, this was to have been my only chance. Soon after that, there was a bad storm and the big old fir tree was struck by lightening. I still remember the terrible crashing, tearing sound it made when it died and half the trunk fell away from the crown.

Within the week, the old tree was cut down and sawn up into a gigantic heap of firewood that was carried to an outhouse in the castle courtyard. I watched the work from my window and cried. I wanted them to leave the tree - splintered and charred as it was. It was his tree - Moth Boy's. But it was useless telling anyone this. I knew it was insane.

At this time, I suspected that inside, many people were secretly insane, but the only ones they locked up were the ones without the wits to hide it. I intended to hide my own insanity for as long as necessary. But I couldn't stop those tears. My mother thought me ridiculous for crying about a plant. But I think my father was impressed - that I had the sensibility to spill so many tears over some old tree. He found it surprising, but to him it somehow underlined my specialness. Naturally, I didn't tell him I was crying for a mysterious moth-winged spirit who I believed was bound to the tree by some ancient magical force, and who only ever appeared to me. That would have been like underlining my specialness three times in scented purple ink and then launching into a round of chicken impressions. It would have been pushing it.

In the days that followed, as the wood was carried away to the outhouse, my father often hugged me and told me he "understood". He kept saying, "Over two hundred and fifty years. Gone forever. Gone in less than a second." He kept imparting informative nuggets on the last two hundred and fifty years of English history - things like the invention of the spinning jenny - and linking them with the estimated age and height of the dead tree at the time. I nestled into him, feeling irritated yet grateful that the fir tree had at least meant something to somebody else. I was thankful too that my father could always be relied on to completely miss the point.

I never saw Moth Boy after that. I often looked out for him, but he never materialised in a visible physical form again and I never felt the electric hum of his presence in my sleep. I had long relinquished the shepherd boy theory by now and I firmly believed that his spirit had somehow been bound up in that fir tree. I began to think that it must have been so, because why else had he stopped appearing at the exact same time it had been struck dead?

I wondered where he was. Was he still in the tree? In the wood? Did he hover above the woodpile at nights and weep? Poor Moth Boy. If only he'd stopped time before the lightening had struck. And this need never have happened.

In the afternoons, when I got back from school, I began to sneak into the outhouse to visit him. I'd sit down on the pile of logs and chippings and speak to him, the way you would speak to a gravestone or a friend in a coma - just in case he was in there somewhere and just in case he could hear me. Though really, of course, I was doing it more for my own comfort than for him. His appearances had been so unique and so special to me. I just didn't want to let him go. I didn't want to face life without the idea that he was somehow still around and part of it - face a world without the possibility of something as wonderful and enchanting as him; I felt that he was the only living creature who had ever truly understood me - and still liked me. Sitting on the woodpile wasn't as comfortable as watching him out of the window, but romance was never harmed by a little hardship and I bore the change as bravely as I could. There was even a kind of Dickensian charm to the poverty of it all. My mute and needy friend, the woodpile. Oh that it should come to this.

It was over a year before all the firewood was used up. Each time I came in for my chat, I noticed how fast Moth Boy's logs were dwindling. He was losing substance. It was sad. Heartbreaking. Why was he letting this happen?

"Stop time, Moth Boy," I sometimes begged the woodpile, "Do it now, before you're burnt all away to cinders. You can stop this. You CAN."

But he didn't. And a day came when I knew it would be the last time I could visit him like this. I hadn't wanted to believe it would arrive. I had hoped that if it did, then I would somehow miraculously find myself quite ready. But I didn't. I didn't want to let him go. So I stole a single log - the log with the most character in it - and hid it under my bed.

But it was no good. I don't know if you've ever found yourself crouching beneath your bed, trying to converse intelligently with an unresponsive log, but as experiences go, it has to be one of life's most disenchanting ones, and from then on, my relationship with Moth Boy was all downhill. Talking to him felt useless; pathetic. When I looked at the log - so grimy and unshapely and so fusty - it struck me that there really was no romance left in our liaison. And I began to feel disgruntled. He wasn't even making an effort for me. And then I began to wonder: had I ever really seen him clearly? Had I seen him for what he really was? Wasn't it more that I had built up a grand image of him in my own mind and become ludicrously attached to that? Perhaps I had made too much of him, right from the start. Perhaps the exciting winged creature with the gothic eye markings had never existed. Perhaps the boy by the fir tree had never been any more exciting than this mouldy lump of wood and I'd been too blind to notice. Duped by my own wishful thinking.

Eventually, I stuck the log in the back of my wardrobe and tried to forget about Moth Boy. I would have thrown it out, but something in me still clung to that last remnant of him. The log was the only magically-associated relic I'd ever owned. It didn't do anything magical, of course, and seemed most unlikely to ever do so, but some aura of enchantment still seemed to pervade it and it was to that aura that I still held fast. Not so much to Moth Boy as to the possiblity of there having once been a Moth Boy.

It was around this time that we moved house - further up the valley to a cottage in a wild and lonely landscape. Prior to the move, I thought of burying the log at the old spot by the ha-ha. Or of burning it and turning the last remaining earth-bound chunk of Moth Boy into smoke. I had various vague plans for incantations I might chant. I was very sad to leave the castle and a farewell ceremony over Moth Boy's remains would have seemed very fitting. But I was over fifteen now and I had become very lethargic, so in the end, I just placed him on the floor of the boiler room on the last day and left him for the new owner to burn. I felt so weary. After over two years of devotion, it seemed my love had, after all, worn itself out and now it was time to leave.

Later that night, I sat in my new bedroom in the cottage, looking out at the hills and the moon - almost full, at that same controversial stage. It was spring and these were different hills. I had not wanted to come here, but I was forced to admit, they were more rugged and mystic, and much, much more beautiful even than The Park. It felt disloyal, but even now I loved them. I imagined flying into the darkness on two powdery wings of my own. And then I thought, I can do that. Why not? I crept out of bed and tiptoed down the stairs, trying to avoid the squeaky floorboards. Then I slipped through the door, out into the garden and off into the night.

This was the first of many illicit midnight rambles. From then on, when I couldn't sleep, I took to wandering for hours across the hills and fields and through the back gardens of the sleeping cottages I found - dressed only in my nightdress. The ones I called the Night-Sleepers were all safely tucked up in their beds and as the black hill-roving breeze scampered over the treetops and raced around me through grasses and weeds, it seemed to me as though time had stood still for a moment after all and that the wind and I were the only ones left awake. Trespassing. Fervently pagan. Aimless and forgotten. In love with the world as never before.

I wonder now, did any one ever look out of their window and see me, a slight, windswept figure in a long white gown? Perchance a ghost, an insomniac or a stargazer, like me? I cannot tell, for noone ever told me. But while the Night-Sleepers slumbered, I lingered beneath their trees, I stared at their houses and I lay on their lawns. Sometimes I stripped right off and span in circles beneath the stars, did cartwheels, handstands and somersaults in the grass. In these hours, the elements of the atom seemed to rush together. Time had stopped and I was free to do all kinds of things one could ordinarily only do alone and behind locked doors. And I never left a footprint. Tender as a dewdrop, faithless as moonbeams. Moth Girl.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Bad Rainbow

Black-winged passions are circling like vultures above my whimpering sanity.

Noooo! quails my fearful heart, Noooo, please! Not this again! And not him! Not this man! I DON'T WANT to want him. I wanted all THIS sort of business to END. I wanted to move on, to mend my ways, to learn from past mistakes, to turn over new leaves, dance to new tunes and all that other crap. Oh why did I have to go and talk to him again when I knew I should be keeping my distance? And whatever gave me the ludicrous idea that I would be able to stop myself from flirting with him? Oh why didn't I just do something useful last night instead: whittle spoon rests for OAPs; knit egg cosies for soldiers?

Oh God, fuck the egg cosies: I want him, I want him, I WANT him.

Hm. Ok. Let's just give this a few more days. Let's focus on the fact that it would be very stupid of me to give in to this attraction. Let's focus on what a wholesome, admirable, sensible paragon of a person I had decided to try to pretend to be. Let's focus on the fact that Santa might be watching. Santa would not like me to commit such folly... Hm. Actually... now that I'm having this serious little talk with myself, it suddenly strikes me that it was a little unwise of me to have sent him that e-mail just now. The one that said, "In quandry. Have purchased new socks. Can I get away with horizontal stripes? Please advise."

Hm. And it occurs to me just now... yes, yes, of course - oh God, how blindingly obvious it all becomes... that I really ought to have just described the socks to him. I really ought not to have so thoughtlessly attached this visual aid.

I mean, it's a nice picture of the socks in question, of course, but you can see how it might be misconstrued, though, can't you?

Oh bad, bad, innocent, foolish Zora!

Friday, 3 December 2010

The Thing that Binds Us

"It's all about loss," she said, "That's the thing we all share. A fear of loss."

"But doesn't everyone fear loss?" I asked.

"I don't think so. Not in the way we do. They aren't continually conscious of it. They don't really think about it unless they have to."

"But maybe that means that they fear it even more than we do," I pondered, "They don't think about it because they can't face it. It would take away all their courage. Meanwhile, we Polaroiders face up to the fact that loss is happening all around us every second of our lives. And we try to do something about it - what little we can do."

"Are we really combatting loss by taking Polaroids?"

"Well," I said, "We capture moments just as they are slipping away from us. We make the ephemeral tangible and durable by creating an image that is also an object - a souvenir of the time and place that is now and here. We go through our lives creating solid physical records of our memories. So yes, I'd say we were combatting loss. Trying to, anyway."

"But Polaroids fade. We're not halting the process of loss - and we know it. We're just slowing it down a bit instead of simply letting it happen and moving on like other people do. That's why I still say that we fear it more than they do."

"OK, but how about this theory: by slowing down the process of loss, we're not trying to escape it, we're actually heightening our awareness of it, enabling ourselves to watch it happening in slow-motion as our pictures fade before our eyes. We're deliberately drawing out the agony so that we can feel it more deeply. We don't want to rip off the elastoplast. We actually prefer the unnecessary agony of coaxing it off gradually. What I'm saying is: we're not afraid of loss, we're in love with it and we want to savour the feeling and make it last for as long as we possibly can!"

"Yes," she said, "But why do we want to make it last? Isn't it because we're so afraid of loss that we even fear losing our sense of loss itself?"

"Ah, well, yeeees," I conceded, "But, then again: Why do we fear losing our sense of loss itself? Surely only because we are in love with it."

We beamed at each other. At last it seemed we were reaching some kind of common ground - two theories that circled each other and gave birth to each other like the chicken and the egg.

"So, let's sum up now," she said, "We're all in love with the thing we fear most - loss? And this is what binds us Polaroiders - this is what we all share."

"I'd agree with that."

"Me too. But then... surely that makes us idiots."

"Mm. I'm afraid that's the other thing we share. We're all total idiots."

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


I opened the envelope hesitantly and drew out the photographs, my heart beating in apprehension. I examined them for a few seconds, one by one.

"Is this it?" I asked, my voice rising in indignation.

"Yes," he said, "I photographed the whole thing. You had no idea I'd tailed you."

"And that's the best you can do...? You seriously expect me to pay you for these?"

He pushed his spectacles further up his nose and leered.

I went on: "Look, I'm sorry, but if you're going to try to blackmail me, I'll expect you to do a lot better that this. I mean, these are RUBBISH. I'm very disappointed. Not only is the framing total crap, but you can't even see anything happening. This could be anything - gnomes dancing round a mushroom - anything."

He blinked, started to laugh knowingly, then stopped abruptly.

"Alright, here's what we'll do," I continued, "Why don't you take this shot here that I took myself from inside the room. If you look closely, you'll notice that it's not only loads more incriminating but much more thoughtfully framed, too. I'll give it to you and then you can write me another menacing letter and let's see if you can blackmail me with this one. OK? Can't say fairer than that."

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

All that Jizz

(A conversation with a musician immediately after a jazz concert)

Me: Remember me?

Him: Of course.

Me: Really?

Him: Yeah, you were in that thing (mimes ribbons fluttering gaily from a nipple), with that tiger coat. God, you were really flirting with me. And then, just when I thought I was definitely getting somewhere, you said goodbye and left.

Me: Ah. That wasn't personal. I do that with everyone.

Him: The flirting or the walking out?

Me: Both. I'm a tease. I promise everything and deliver nothing.

Him: Well, I guess I enjoyed it. I certainly didn't forget you. You're intelligent, attractive and obsessed with sex. My favourite combination.

Me (very brightly): Talking of sex, have you ever masturbated into your trombone?

(Long pause)

Me: This seemingly endless pregnant pause means 'yes', doesn't it?

Him: No

Me: You can't fool me.

Him: No, I was just trying to imagine it. I think the end is too wide, and the narrow part is too far into the instrument, and too narrow.

Me: Oh, no, you're thinking of fucking a trombone. I just meant ejaculating into it, or over it. Perhaps as a kind of messy christening ritual.

(Another long pause)

Me: Well?

Him: No. I'm just wondering if that would make it nice and shiny. I might try it.

Me: That can be your homework for next time. But don't blame me if it corrodes the metal, will you? So what's the most unusual object you've ever masturbated onto or into?

Him: I can't think of one.

Me: Shall I tell you what other men have told me? Perhaps something will jog your memory.

Him: Yeah, OK. That might help.

Me: A jar of Brylcreem, a pair of shoes, a watermelon, a sock, a rubber glove, the inner tube of a toilet roll, a flask of warm mince.

Him (pressing fingers to temples in manner of a medium): Oh oh, hold on. I'm getting something. A teatowel.

Me: Your own or someone else's?

Him: My mother's.

Me (clapping my hands in glee and laughing): Ah, excellent! That is most satisfactory. Did you have to wash it secretly?

Him: Yeah, I rubbed it with a wet sponge, then I just hung it back up on the rail again. I've thought of another one. It was the rubber glove that reminded me. But I'm a bit embarrassed to tell you.

Me: Oh, but I like those ones best of all.

Him: You're not going to repeat this to anyone?

Me: I may, but I promise never to reveal you as a source.

Him: OK, well, you know in hotels, there's usually twin beds.

Me: Mmm.

Him: Well, you know there's sometimes a narrow gap between them?

Me: Mmm.

Him: Well, I discovered...

Me: quite by chance...

Him: quite by chance, that if you carefully grease the inside of a small plastic bag with body lotion and insert it into that gap, you can fuck it really, really nicely. That was an amazingly good wank. I only did that once, though, out of desperation.

Me: Was it hard to find the right quantity of body lotion?

Him: Yes. It took me a few goes before I had it just right, because you can't have the bag too slippery, but you don't want too much friction either.

Me: So it wasn't just once, was it? You were lying about that.

Him: Shit. I walked right into that one, didn't I? You're too clever for me. Oh, oh, I've just thought of another one.

Me: I must say, you're quite an impressive specimen. You're about to enter the top three on my list of creative wankers.

Him: Ah, really? That's great! It was the filter of a salt-water jacuzzi in a health spa. I discovered...

Me: quite by chance...

Him: quite by chance, that if I stood just opposite the filter where the water was being extracted, there was a very arousing jet of warm water. I didn't even have to touch myself. I just stood in the jet, getting more and more aroused until I came, and then I watched all the spunk slowly rise and float away towards the filter and disappear.

Me: Didn't you worry that the whole bath was just a warm pool of endlessly recirculating old spunk?

Him: Yeah, later. The next day, I saw this disgusting fat old guy sitting in there. I wanted to have another go, so I was just waiting for him to get out and fuck off, but he was like hogging the place for ages, and then I realised he was at it too. It kind of put me off the idea. You're enjoying this, aren't you? Is this turning you on?

Me: I'm not sure. I seem to spend most of my life feeling turned on, so I can never really trace the feeling back to any specific trigger.

Him: I've never had a conversation like this. I can't imagine this ever happening with anyone else. You're not like anyone I've ever met.

Me: So you're not finding this weird, unnerving or obtrusive in any way?

Him: No, I feel liberated. And it's fun. You've got this look of very earnest journalistic integrity most of the time, but then you suddenly start laughing like some sort of goofy kid. I keep wanting to tell you more, just to see that transformation. Look, don't disappear this time. I'm staying at XXX. Is that in your direction? We could walk there.

Me: I'm here with company tonight. I'm going to do the same thing as last time, I'm afraid.

Him: That's a shame. A walk would have been nice. Romantic.

Me: You're not going to claim that this conversation is making you feel romantic, are you?

Him: Well, yes.

Me: You don't have to pretend, you know. It won't make any difference either way.

Him: I know. But I am coming over all romantic. I've enjoyed this so much and I might never see you again.

Me: Have you got twin beds in your room?

Him: Yes

Me: Have you got a plastic bag?

Him: I think so. I might.

Me: Good. That makes me feel so much better about what I'm about to do.

Him: You're leaving.

Me: I'm leaving.

Him: Oh.

Friday, 13 August 2010

A Story Told in Order of Diminishing Preference

Hey, Lover-Boy - or rather, the artist formerly known as such. You know I wanted to make a story out of that disasterous night, don't you? A bombastic action-packed tale? Well, I can't. I can't even begin to try chronicling those events in a sensible story-telling fashion. It's just too cringeworthy. So instead, I am going to attempt to write it all down another way - not as a story, but just for the record. And I'm going to do it as a numerical list: I'm going to start with the least unpleasant moments and see if I can work my way up to the more troublesome ones, stage by stage. It won't make sense to anyone but us, but it's the only way I can make myself do this. I have to approach the worst parts stealthily.

Coming up now: the least unpleasant moment. And then, if I can really cope with it, the rest.

1) In the taxi, after our successful bid for escape, I demand a pen and a scrap of paper from the taxi driver and I begin scribbling down a "contract" in my best drunken handwriting: "I, .......... (name), do hereby swear that I will never put you through another night like this one for as long as we both shall live. Signed:............. (signature), this ......day of .......... (month), 20... (year)" I hand it to you to sign. You read it. Then, without a word, you grab the pen off me and sign your name with a scrawled flourish. I tuck the contract into my purse, knowing you'll forget you signed it, already planning to pull it out and astonish you with it, some distant day when the moment calls for it. Then we sit back and look at each other.

"We haven't much time left," I say, "What the hell were we thinking of, actually? How could we waste this whole night doing... that!"

You reach for me and draw me to you. You say, "I'm sorry. I swear, that was the last time. That stuff is over for me now. You're the only woman I ever want to fuck from this day on. I will never, ever want to fuck another. You know I hated her smell the whole time? You're the only one who smells good to me. I just want to have you and be happy. In fact, why didn't we just fuck each other's brains out in my hotel room tonight? That would have been so nice. Don't you think?"

"You're drunk," I say, "We don't fuck anymore, remember? And we never will again."

You sigh and your eyes shift inwardly as if you're trying to focus on me through a jar of vaseline. "Yeah. Course I remember. Why is that, Baby? Can you explain it? All seems so wrong to me."

"Because you were breaking my heart. So I dumped you."

You say, "Jesus," and shake your head. Then you say, "Thanks for being you. Please, forgive me for everything. And please don't ever change."

Then you reach out and pull me closer. Then you kiss me. You just kiss me. Just like that, after nearly two years. Just as if it was your God-given right. I know you won't remember any of this later, so I don't even bother to struggle or protest or push you away. I kiss you back, fiercely, until the taxi stops. Then I get out. When I turn to close the door, you slump back and immediately fall asleep, but the taxi driver says he'll wake you when he thinks he's near your hotel. He drives off in the glistening drizzle with you bobbing drowsily on the back seat. You've only got about 4 hours before you'll have to check out.

2) Two minutes earlier than item 1 above, running headlong down the stairs, trailing scarves and coat sleeves behind us; you somehow hopping your way into one shoe with one hand and zipping up your jeans with the other; me stuffing an armful of underwear - my bra, my knickers, my suspender belt and stockings - into the top of my handbag as I careen after you. When we burst through the downstairs door, I still have one arm trapped inside my top. I stride along the pavement next to you as it burrows blindly upwards in search of a sleeve hole.

We should have been laughing as we came down those stairs. I think perhaps we were; breathily, like rabbits.

3) Still moving backwards through time to a moment very much earlier: at the bar counter, introducing you to that couple as my "ex-lover", seeing you physically cringe at the term and thinking, "Ah, so that still really hurts, does it? That's nice."

4) Switching directions and moving forwards in time now, to right after the bar: me walking along the dark street behind you and the couple, Katy and Walter are their names, and calling, "Look, don't be annoyed, but I'm going to go home. You three go on and have your experience. Have a nice time. I know this isn't going to be my thing, so I'll just head off, OK?"

You walk back to me and try to persuade me. You say, "Hey, I won't go with them if you don't want to come, too."

I say "No, you go on. You always wanted a gang bang. Go have a threesome without me. I don't mind."

You say "But I don't want to be with them if you're not there."

I say "Oh God, I'm just so fed up with having sex with people I don't even like. It feels horrible. I really hate it. I feel like shit the next day. I swore never to do that again. And look at these people: the girl is pretty enough but that old geezer is repulsive. All that nasty grey hair and the smug, greasy way his tie hangs under his shirt collar. I'm sure he's her head of department in some airless, fusty-carpeted, stinking little company. That's the only reason she's having an affair with him. He's sordid. It's distasteful to even think of them together."

You say, "Either we both go back with them or I'm coming with you. I want this experience, but I don't want to be alone with them. I'd rather be with you and miss it than be there without you."

What is this about? Is this meant to be gallant? Romantic? What? You're making me feel like I'm going to be the killjoy who spoiled your adventure if I don't go with you. Then Katy and Walter crowd around me too and say, "Hey, we're cool. You won't have to do anything you don't like. You can just be a voyeur. Come on. It'll be nice."

I give in, but ungraciously, because I'm not very adept at submitting to things I don't like. I announce, "OK, everyone, just to be totally unambiguous: I am not going to have sex with any of you tonight. I'm going along due to group pressure and I'll hang out and drink your wine, but if it occurs to any of you to try to seduce me, I might not be very charming about it. And just to be extra extra clear: it's not because I'm jittery about group sex. It's because I don't feel attracted to any of you."

I'm already being uncharming. I feel it's only right to give them this demonstration of how bolshy I can be. But they smile at me as if they were captivated. Katy says, "No matter what it is you're saying, it always sounds rather sweet."

5) Moving forwards in time again, we are in Katy's flat, in the kitchen. Katy is flirting with you. I see you making your moves on her. Your hands are on her waist; the music is playing from a cheap little stereo with crappy little speakers; you're dancing and drinking with her. You're not looking at me at all, which makes me think you must be feeling especially aware of me. I'm sitting there trying to work out if I'm jealous, but I'm just that little bit too drunk to work out the emotional intricacies of it. I feel quite unconnected. Walter is sitting next to me on a kitchen chair, looking at the two of you, regularly swivelling his head around to see my reactions. I don't return his gaze. What does he think I am - a TV screen? Doesn't he know it's rude to stare at cognisant human beings? I ignore him. And yes, I am especially aware of him. He makes my skin crawl.

"I can't wait to see him fuck the dirty little bitch," he murmurs to me and starts massaging his groin. He reaches over and inserts his sweaty hand, in its limp, rolled up office shirt, between my inner thighs.

"Please, don't attempt to arouse me Walter. Just take your hand away," I say and I splash as much wine into my glass as I can get in there. I'm a little clumsy.

You are taking off Katy's clothes, pulling off her jeans and her top. She's in her underwear now. Her figure is good - the legs slim and lithe, stomach slightly rounded. You're in your shorts and you're looking good too - vital and brown with those muscular arms of yours. I'm watching you touching each other. I don't really like watching it all unfold like this. I want you to move faster and get on with it. I want you to get past this stage because I think that actual sex will be much easier to watch unconnectedly than this slow seduction scene. I think brutal loveless fucking would be very much easier to watch. I'm so terribly impatient for this part to be over, and yet I still keep my eyes on you.

As I watch, I can't help thinking that neither of you is really into the other. It seems to me that she's putting on a show, playing the dirty girl for her dirty old head of department. She's not particularly bothered about you. I can see that. She doesn't know or care who you are, she can't see what it is that makes you special. I almost hate her for that. But then, you aren't turned on by her either. You're trying your best, but I can see that you're not getting the least bit hard. You've realised it yourself and you're trying to direct all the attention in the room onto her, playing for time and hoping you'll get there in the end. You don't really like her, do you? But there's no elegant way out of it now. You have to go through with it, and with an audience, too. It's good that I'm feeling so unconnected, or I would feel uncomfortable for you.

I swig back my wine. I congratulate myself on having had the wisdom to know how to avoid getting into your situation. I knew these people wouldn't be a turn-on. I knew pretending they were would turn into a dreary, endless chore. I'm so glad I'm not in your place.

Katy sits down on a chair and you kneel down between her legs and lick her pussy. She's moaning and writhing but I'm not convinced. Seems patently clear to me that the only person in the kitchen who is genuinely enjoying himself tonight is Walter. Walter now pulls his pants down and flips out his cock. It's almost fully erect. It's also nestling in an unkempt clump of the same slightly flattened, slightly damp-looking grizzled hair that he has on his head. I find myself thinking of his member as a kind of randy old wire-haired dachshund wallowing on an unwashed, hair-encrusted blanket. It even seems to smell like an old stumpy-legged dog, though that could be a hallucination brought on by the association. Nonetheless, the image seems so vivid that I hiccough and retch slightly as a low surge of vomit swells into my gullet. I try not to think about Walter's dachshund cock anymore. I try to think about streams and fresh fields and being home. Meanwhile Walter leans over and starts to mould Katy's small breasts from the back. You're still down between her legs in front of her chair. She is still writhing about rather ostentatiously. Then Walter looks over at me. I am sipping wine expressionlessly at the table beside him.

"You're the one who's turning me on right now, my beautiful" he whispers, "I love the fact that you're hating this in a million different ways."

"I'm quite indifferent about it, to be honest with you, Walter," I say, with a studied air of tedium.

He grins and wanks himself off with his other hand, watching me closely.

"I know your kind," he says in a little while, "I know what's in your mind. I know exactly what little Zora needs."

Then he makes a lunge for me with both hands and starts pulling me towards him and pushing my face down towards the straining dachshund on its horrid hairy blanket.

"You need to be forced, don't you, my pretty? You need a man to be a real man."

He is pushing my face down and down and down and the nearer it comes to his cock, the stronger the fusty animal reek. In a reflex reaction, I straighten my legs so that I'm standing bent over and I kick back the chair, then I reach up and wrench his arms away from my head, fuelled by a surge of defensive viciousness that lends me a surprising strength. I straighten up and then strike him full and hard across the face. He reels.

"Do not presume!" I say, flashing my eyes imperiously at him, "Do NOT presume to know ANYTHING AT ALL about little Zora. You know nothing about me and you never will. Is that clear?"

Raising his arm to shield his face, he nods and mutters, "Christ! Ok, ok, I've got that now."

Then I sit down and start drinking in earnest. I feel a premonition that he is about to grin so I decide not to catch sight of it and turn my back on him - on everyone, in fact. I decide to drink swiftly and dedicatedly until I don't recognise any of you anymore and have no idea where I am. Fuck you all, I think. I hope I puke on something precious.

6) Moving forwards again, I don't know how much later it is, but I'm coming out of some sort of blackout. It could be two minutes later or as much as an hour. I'm in another room, a tiny living-room - drinking straight from the bottle and you're all in the bedroom now. I remember harbouring a feeling of deep scorn for Katy's DVD collection, though I can't remember why. Disney? Billy Crystal? The memory escapes me. I hear Katy calling to me to come in to the bedroom, too.

I stagger in. It's another tiny room and you are all on a mattress on the floor. She is bouncing her face up and down on Walter's fuzzy cock and you are stroking her pussy from the back. You still aren't hard. I think they are both disappointed that you haven't been able to fuck her, and that's why they've called me in. I'm your emergency stand-in. I plonk down on the mattress, feeling disoriented. I laugh and slur the words, "I really don't fancy any of you."

"Not even me?" you say. You look hurt. I try to give you a level look and to fill my eyes with haughty coldness.

"Of everyone in this room, you're the one I'm least likely to have sex with," I announce.

As I say the words I realise how angry and passionate they sounded and hope you're too drunk to be able to notice. You've been drinking more too. Your eyes are drooping. You look crestfallen.

Then Katy reaches over and starts to kiss me with her dachshund-scented mouth. She pulls off my skirt, my top, my underwear and strokes me between my legs. I'm much too drunk to feel anything and much too drunk to sit upright. I lie back. She starts bouncing her face up and down on Walter's cock again beside me while I lie next to them and try to ignore the way the pumping motion of her head seems to jar with the spinning of the ceiling. She has one hand between my thighs and is rubbing away at me. If I was sober enough to feel, I wouldn't like it at all. As things are, it is a just minor irritation. It is keeping me conscious, at least. You are down at the foot of the bed between their tangled legs. I feel Walter's hand reaching over and grabbing one of my nipples and pinching it hard so I slap his hand away as if he was a child interfering with a cake. She takes her hand off me, too.

"Still fighting it, Zora?" he says, "If you knew how much that turns me on!"

"I'm not fighting anything, Walter. It's just that, even this drunk, I still can't bear your touch."

He starts to approach a climax. A swift, sober part of my brain informs me that he enjoyed hearing those words. He thrills to the thought of forcing himself on me, sullying me. Katy starts whimpering, her face burried in grey fur, her mouth full of old dachshund. Another show. I reach over with one arm and pat her on the head and say, "Don't try so hard, dear" before bursting out into silent laughter.

Then I hear a scuffling at the end of the mattress and look down. I see you sweeping up whole armfuls of clothes, a wild, crazy, hunted look in your eye.

"Hey, what are you up to?" I hiss.

"I'm out of here," you say, "I've got to get away from these disgusting people, right now!" You're rummaging around frantically for socks and shoes.

"Stop! Wait! Don't you dare leave me alone with these two jokers!" I cry, leaping up and gathering up handfuls of what I hope is my own clothing. Then, our arms fully laden, hunched over and swaying slightly like two vying sumo wrestlers, we exchange one brief split-second glance across the mattress, above their ostensibly ecstatic bodies. You shrug. I smile at you. You smile, too. I feel... warm, hot, soft. I feel - and it's ludicrously inappropriate of me - I feel love. And then, in exactly the same instant, we dash headlong to the door, naked and with our feet scrabbling everywhere like the skidding paws of puppies. And, yes, we are laughing, quietly and breathily.

Startled, Katy stops bobbing and cranes her head around after us, trying to peer into the dark corridor. Just as she says, "Huh? What are they doing?" and just as I sing out, "Na-na! Told you I wasn't going to fuck you!", Walter ejaculates all over the back of her head and then the flat door slams behind us.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


To the true sensualist, beauty and physical perfection are neither here nor there. The gorgeous wrappings on a parcel may excite the imagination of some, but unless one is happy to remain in the realm of promise and fantasy interminably (and the true sensualist will always yearn for the heat of a real touch) then those metaphorical wrappings must be shed at some point. And this why the gift itself - the sexual essense within - is the only quality that the sensualist prizes.

Luckily, when it comes to appraising parcels, the sensualist has a sexual sixth sense - a special sort of x-ray vision that looks right through the wrapping and reveals whether the gift is likely to please; yet (most intruigingly) without ever revealing what its precise nature or appeal will be. Call it a kind of instinct. Call it a kind of torment.

Also, much like two dogs or cats in a room full of bipeds, when two sensualists find themselves located in one room, it takes a fraction of a second for them to notice the other's presence, no matter how large or how full that room may be. Because two lone animals of the same species will always instantly sense one another in a crowd, even though they may each be labouring under the charming delusion that they are human beings just like everyone else. Indeed, I believe that they may be drawn to one other without initially knowing why.
So what is it that entices the sensualist? What lures such a beast to one's side? And when you find one in hot pursuit, how do you know if he or she desires you as a mate of their own species or merely wishes to gorge themselves on yet another tasty human prey?

Good questions. I'm very glad you asked me. And I do want to answer. I want to bring these thoughts to a conclusion for you, but each time I try, I lose myself in longing and feel too flustered to think. But I will try now nonetheless. I think the answer to the last question could possibly be something like this: if you find that you really couldn't give a flying fuck whether you're prey or not - if you just don't want or need to know because your urge to succumb so vastly overpowers your urge for caution - then the chances are that you have nothing to fear; you're most probably of the same breed yourself and sensualists don't usually kill their own (though not, I might add, for want of trying).

Can you trust me on this?

Lord, no - I shouldn't have thought so. Now would you please shut up and fuck me?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Google Baiting

Dear Unsuspecting First-Time Visitor,

If you have just reached this post via a search engine, then please be so good as to leave a comment, enlightening my readers about which bits of the gobbledygook below you were googling. Because we're all a bit bored today and, apart from anything else, we'd just really love to know more about you, so DO tell us, oh DO.

oddsbodkin forced to suck
amputee nurse gherkin-lover
on a four-piece suite
with rampant pony
squelching parsely sauce
all over her
blue tit
nesting box
rumpy-pumpy moustache
wank nodule
wedged between monster breast pods
with naughty wardrobe
puppy licking
pussy litter
in a boy scout uniform
dripping red-hot pea juice
all over his erect sapphire-breasted hummingbird
eating a wet witwanton widgeon
drenched in Dalai Lama
poo poo poo and more poo
cum bum wee-wee
oozing over frilly bonnets

Oh, and Visitor, just one last thing: you are sick - you hear me? Sick. Seek help. Now.

(Haaaaaaaaaaa! God, that was childish. Sorry. Forgive me for wasting your valuable time. It's been a dull morning. Please feel free to go back about your business now. There is nothing of any interest for you here and I'm sure you all have important jobs to be getting along with.)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Lovers' Medium

I know for a fact that my eyes cannot be focussed in the throes of passion. In a state of rising arousal, I would find it increasingly difficult to, say, read the time off a clock. By the time the first touch meets my skin, I'd have difficulty even locating the clock itself from which I was to read it; and on the pre-climatic plateau, I daresay most of the larger appointments and furnishings in the immediate locale - be it wardrobes, rows of filing cabinets or a flock of curious sheep - would likewise have all but vanished from my view (though this is, naturally, not something I can ever recall attempting to verify).

And yet, paradoxically, I also know for a fact that, in the throes of passion, my eyes focus on my lover with ease. I can locate his pupils in an instant and gaze deep into his eyes, I can see and marvel at all the small and fascinating features of his face and his body. How can this be so?

Another thing that strikes me is how different a lover looks to me once my desire has been enflamed. I don't mean to say that he doesn't look like himself. If the Honey Monster were to press himself against me and capture a nipple between his fat, fluffy fingers, I would not look up to discover myself gazing upon the head and torso of, say, a wiry Tony Tiger or a rugged "Brains" the Weetabix. But what would happen is that I would look up and see an impossibly golden, celestially sumptuous and altogether captivating version of the dangly-armed, cereal-fixated fluff ball - bathed, as it were, in the softening glow of my heated gaze. This has often made me wonder about the nature of arousal and how it influences - indeed hoodwinks - our senses.

I have a theory. I believe that when we look at the face and body of a lover through a state of arousal, we are not actually seeing them with our eyes but with our minds. What we see is not exactly, or not quite, that which is before us. It is a beguilingly realistic illusion dredged up from subconscious memories, closely based on what we already know our lover looks like, yet smoothed and subtly transformed to pander to our erotic wishes.

When people ask what the great connection is between Polaroids and eroticism, we all have a plethora of points to make: the privacy of home-development; the playful spontaneity of the act of capture; the sensuousness of two people holding the fresh image in their hands, their bodies close, their fingers brushing; the physicality of the Polaroid experience; the way that the anticipation of watching the development mimics foreplay; the subsequent function of the Polaroid as a kind of keepsake - a physically tangible witness to and relic of treasured moments from the past. It is true that all these characteristics make Polaroid the perfect medium for intimate photography. But I feel that there is another important connection here - one that is not quite so often made. It is this: we all look a little different on Polaroid - exactly like ourselves, and yet somehow softened, somehow luminous, somehow subtly transformed. You may say that this is a physical impossibility, but I believe that when you take a Polaroid of your lover, you do not make a physically accurate, visual record of the person before you. I believe that the lens actually works back-to-front, and that what you get is the image your mind is creating of that person as you look at them through eyes that are filled with passion. Polaroid and only Polaroid can do this.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Pity for the Partridge, Sorrow for the Sparrow

Birds can fly; we cannot. And long, long has man looked to the birds and coveted their power to soar above the world, to sail upon the gladsome breeze, ride tattered clouds and do poos on people's heads from really high up. But please, before going berserk with envy and frustration, dear Readers, I would ask you to spare a little thought for one very grave misfortune endured by our feathered friends. Please - before you go out torching nests and toppling birdbaths - calm yourselves, and ponder this: with pretty wings instead of hands and brains the size of lentils, our friends the birds may fly about to their tiny wee hearts' content, but they are quite unable to wank.

Yes... Just think about that.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The Wanking Receptacles List

A great day has arrived in your lives, Readers, a great day. For today is the day that I have decided to publish some of my painstaking research into the subject of wanking receptacles. It's taken me five years to gather these findings, so I do hope you will find them informative.

Here it comes: the full list so far:

A (worn) sock (bachelor's No. 1 choice)

A (worn) sock called Pamela (slightly less common)

A freshly laundered sock (trick entry - I made that one up)

A tub of vaseline (subsequently disposed of)

A tin of Brylcream (subsequently disposed of)

A cut-off Head and Shoulders bottle with some nice slippery blue shampoo still lining the inside

A friend's trainers (subsequently hurriedly dried with friend's sister's hairdryer)

A watermelon

A washbag (after being rapidly emptied onto floor with the other hand)

A trombone

A mug (used)

A pillow

A new guitar (sperm-based bonding ritual)

The hole in a toilet roll (not recommended - it "didn't really work")

The fingers of mummy's rubber gloves

A frying pan (clean - at least, beforehand, that is)

A stranger's towel, discovered in a sauna at an opportune moment

A vacuum cleaner bag (presumably empty, but unfortunately I forgot to check)

A cuddly toy (with customised perforation)

A polythene bag pre-greased with body lotion and wedged into the narrow space between two single beds in a hotel room

Mother's teatowel (wiped with damp sponge and replaced on rail)

The exhaust of a Golf GTi (I don't believe this one)

A tree (frosty, in wintry field)

A jaccuzzi in a spa (no hands)

Each new vehicle purchased, in course of entire life (christening ceremony generally performed in a lay-by, the most recent vehicle being a Range Rover)

A dinner plate (after eating favourite dish off it and prior to taking a photograph of it - so I certainly believe this one)

Any gentlemen who think they may have an object to add to the above list are requested to please come forward. Identities will, of course, be treated with the utmost confidence.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Slugs and Snails

Well, Readers, today we can all breathe a little sigh of relief around here, I think.

"What does she mean?" I hear you cry.

And I riposte, quick as a flash: what?! Didn't you notice that at least half the posts had been hidden? What do you do in here? Just look at the tit pictures? Is that it? Shame upon you! And there was I thinking you came in to ponder my art and to marvel at my wit and intelligence... (HEY! Stop scrolling down. There is no nudity in this post. NONE whatsoever, so you may as well stay up here.)

Enough of that. Let's just backtrack to the subject of the hidden posts for the time being. You remember the art competition thing I entered a few weeks ago in the hope that Steve Buscemi would give me a flat in New York? Well, I got into the finals, and that was great news, of course, but then I had a massive paranoia attack about what would happen when the judges clicked on the link from my competition profile to this blog, expecting to see deep and moving art works, and the first thing they clapped eyes on was "Be my ass-fuck Valentine". So I went through the whole blog one night carefully weeding out all the stuff about ass-fucking and snails pooing out of their ears and so on. When I'd finished, there didn't seem to be much left over, so I had to go back through the whole thing again and put a few back up. Anyway, luckily the judging is over and Steve Buscemi and his art-world chums have now presumably all gone home for tea. They didn't give me the flat in the end, but I did get an "honorable mention" which is worth much MUCH more, I think. (Shut up! It is!)

Actually, you're right. It isn't. But that is neither here nor there. The only reason I am writing this post is to announce to you that I have just spent a pleasantly frivolous early-afternoon putting all the embarrassing, rude and puerile back-posts which I had made private last week back up again. This blog has thus been lovingly restored to it's pre-Buscemi levels of filthiness. And now please allow me to set the tone back to its accumstomed level so that we can all relax again:

Snails poo and breathe out of little arseholes on one side of their heads. I have seen and heard them doing it.

Thank you. You may now resume your ordinary activities.

(See? Told you there wouldn't be nudity. Now go back up to the top and read this properly, you scallywag.)

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Dear Valentine

So, is everyone hard at work bracing themselves against the inundation in feel-bad mulch which characterises the run-up to Valentine's Day? Yes? Are you all busily culvitating the right mood - the right mood being one of darkly peevish indifference or its alternative: embittered distain? I am a great believer in traditions - especially meaningless invented ones - so I do hope so.

I was just preparing for V-Day myself when I disovered the tips I will be copying in below. I have decided to follow the author's advice to "think outside the box" to the letter this year and see where it leads me. Here goes:

"Instead of sending out the same generic Valentines as everyone else, why not add your own personal touch this year with personalized greeting cards?"

By golly, yes. What could be more romantic and appropriate? I think I shall do just that!

"Here are three ways to inject a little personality into your custom Valentine's greeting cards this year:

1. Choose a thoughtful theme for the card. Typical store-bought Valentine's Day cards feature hearts, flowers and happy couples, but when you're designing your own cards, you can think outside of the box. Try choosing something that will be especially poignant for the recipient. Choose something that matches his or her interests; for example, an animal lover might respond to a picture of a beloved pet, while a sports fan will respond to an homage to their favorite team.

OK: something poignant to the recipient; something that matches his interests. Hm... what are his interests actually? Let me just think... Uh-huh.... uh-huh. Yup. OK. Got it. And this is definitely going to be "outside the box". Next tip, please:

"2. Next, decide on a special message for the card. Instead of a simple "Happy Valentine's Day," you can let your imagination run wild. Keep in mind that this message will help set the tone of the card, so consider your audience and choose your words accordingly. Pick a phrase that will communicate the depth of your love."

Ah, good point. Let me just consider my audience for a few moments as I choose my words... Hm, how best to communicate the depth of .... OK, got it. Phew, this is going to be so romantic. And yet so thoughtful and sincere, too. (These really are excellent tips.)

"3. Remember, when you're designing greeting cards for loved ones, it's hard to go wrong. Just let your love be your guide, and you're sure to create something that conveys your feelings far more accurately than anything you could buy in a store."

Well that's good to know, isn't it? Can't go wrong. Gosh, Readers, I'm so happy, knowing that by following these simple tips, I can now go and create a card that will truly warm the cockles of my Valentine's heart.

And here is the result:

(For those of you who don't speak German and wish to understand the inscription on the gingerbread heart, "Schneckerl" means "small snail". The word to which it is hyphenated is, I assume, fairly self-explanatory. Now I did intend to explain a lot more about the linguistic intricacies of the phrase "Anal-Schneckerl" at this point, but you know what? Having just translated it literally into English in my head and imagined the resultant puzzlement, I've just realised how much more fun it is if I just let this incomplete annotation stand.)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Room 35

"Do you want to spend the night?" he asked, his head propped up on his hand as he lay on his side, the sweat still glistening on his body, "You can if you like, you know. Or will he ask too many questions?"

He tapped some ash from his cigarette into the ashtray that was lying on the cream-coloured covers.

"Exactly," she said, "I have to go. It's 4 in the morning. Again!"

"Yeah, we really should get started on this stuff sooner next time."

"It wouldn't work," she said, "We'd just go on for longer."

She got the feeling it would always be 4 in the morning; that moment when he stood up, ran his hand through his hair and flicked the curtains open, then lay back down to smoke. The sky outside would always have that dirty oatmeal colour, like a widower's fridge. You have now left the Dream Zone. Welcome to Reality. Please get off on the left-hand side. Should you discover any unattended luggage on the platform, please take it with you. It's yours.

"It feels a bit like coming out of the cinema after a matinée," he said, "It has no business being this light. It's just wrong! You sure you don't want to stay over? I don't mind..."

He began to hum and sing along to a Brazilian song that was coming from the laptop on the desk. She was sitting up in bed next to him, the covers pulled up to her waist, sipping on one of the glasses of wine they'd stolen from the cocktail bar when they'd made that rather urgent departure.

"No, I look like shit in the mornings. You don't need to see that."

He laughed, casting an admiring glance over her face and body,

"Now that's something I really can't imagine!"

She gave him one of those complicated smiles that adults like to bestow on euphoric children; the kind that signifies "I adore your innocence though it wounds me so".

"And I'd like you to hang onto that little illusion. But I don't have to go just yet. I want to listen to you singing some more. You know, you're a pretty crap singer for a musician. I think I like that... and I like you."

He lay back down on the bed again, stretched out on his back and then closed his eyes and groaned.

"What?" she asked.

"Aaaah, that was just so... fantastic! Fucking amazing. I still can't believe it."

He cracked his eyes open a little and turned towards her. "We didn't do such a lot of... penetration as the first time, did we? Was that alright for you?"

"Oh yes, I just love all the other stuff."

"Mmm, I could tell."

He looked down at the bed covers and shook his head almost shyly as he murmured,"Nobody has ever done some of those things to me before."

She studied his face for a couple of seconds in silence. Then he took a cheeky sidelong peek at her and laughed.

"Hey, only joking!"

She slapped him playfully.

"Oh you!"

But she was racking her brains, going through all the things she'd done for him. There had definitely been a very strong reaction to something, but what? She tried to match it with the right moment. She thought she had it. Yeah, he'd liked that. That had surprised him, driven him crazy. She couldn't help feeling secretly proud.

Downstairs, a few minutes later, the lobby was deserted. He rang on the bell a couple of times, but nobody came. The door to the hotel bar was still open and a dim light was on somewhere, so he walked in calling, "Hullo? Hullo? Anyone there? We need to order a taxi." The light he had seen was coming from the kitchen over on the other side of the bar. She watched from the doorway as he went through, still calling. A few seconds later he reappeared, his flipflops softly scuffing on the floor as he padded back, grinning naughtily and victoriously holding up two chocolate croissants.

"Hungry?" he asked.

"I'm fucking starving!" she said, grabbing one.

They stood at the hotel doorstep looking out into the deserted street, munching happily. Then he turned to her, looking rather sensible and serious with the chocolate from a stolen croissant smeared all over his face.

"How are we going to find you a taxi?" he asked. But she was laughing now. It was so endearing. She fought the urge to rub her face in his hair and say something incredibly stupid. Instead she just laughed tenderly and said,"You're completely covered in chocolate!"

"Oh, am I?"

As he wiped it off, she said, "I think I can walk home from here. I'm fairly sure I know where I am."

He walked with her to the end of the street then they stopped on the corner and kissed. He was gazing happily at her and she knew she probably looked just as dazed as he did.

"Thank you, Miss Carlisle, for another truly wonderful night," he said.

"It was a pleasure, Mr Ramazvazkrzschdurian," she solemnly replied and walked away down the dim street.

"Amazing," he called after her, "How that just rolls off your tongue!"

"It's one of the most agile parts of my body," she replied, walking backwards and waving.

As she made her way home, the birds were singing and the sky was blenching sluggishly into wakefulness. A road sweeper van was parked up ahead, its headlamps winking at the conniving morning light. Three road sweepers in fluorescent orange uniforms were brushing the pavement. As she strolled up to them, her handbag slung over her shoulder, she was suddenly aware of her glowing face and ruffled hair, her lack of underwear and the discomfitingly jaunty sound of her blushing peep-toe sandals as she walked. The road sweepers must have heard her coming because when she looked up they had all stopped sweeping and were standing to one side of the pavement, leaning on their brushes. They were standing very still in a line and, as she approached and walked by, they each looked deep into her eyes and smiled. Feeling self-consciously regal, she returned their smiles and put an extra little leisurely swing into her hips. How contented they looked, and how peaceful. It was as if they had just achieved something they were proud of and wanted to stand back for a moment and bask in the glory in it. She wondered if this was the greatest job satisfaction they got; catching sight of a happy girl or boy strolling home in the early hours, bathed in the afterglow of a wonderful fuck. They must live for those private glimpses in the night. That was how it felt to her at this moment, at least.

If this was a musical, she mused, we would all be breaking out into some kind of song and dance routine right now. She was tempted to fling her arms out and spring up into the air just to see if they joined in, kicking up their heels and pretending to woo their brushes as the sun came up. The idea was so compelling that she even did a couple of high kicks, twirls and sweeping arm flourishes when she reached the bottom of her street. There was noone about to see, and besides, who gave a shit anyway? She was happy, she was alive and it seemed she was a fantastic fuck!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Pitiful Cry for Help

Stop me looking unpopular when Steve Buscemi views my Polaroids in a couple of days by voting here: http://artistswanted.org/Strangefields

And look: here is your bribe.

This magnificent toaster.

Friday, 15 January 2010

To the Escape Pod!

What is it about outmoded futurism that fascinates me? Wherein lies its peculiar bitter-sweet charm?

Sixty years ago, people visualised such a bright, funky, golden future: a future in which the human race had advanced and ennobled itself; a future in which we were the good guys: stylish heros with hearts and voluptuous catsuits of purest gold. Yes, our world was to be fraught with perils and problems, yes, there were to be mavericks and villains in our own ranks, too; but we were always to emerge from every struggle with our cheer and our togetherness undiminished and a heart-warming sheen about our elaborate towering hairdos.

Today, when all self-respecting futuristic visions are dark and post-apocalyptic, science-fiction from the '50s looks hilarious. And also touching - impossibly innocent and somehow very, very sad.

Where did all our shiny hopeful futures go? Are they lost to us now forever, or can we still win them back? How could we substitute them for collective backslides into primitivism, for rotting, skyless concrete-and-steel cityscapes, barbarous games, robot tyranny and grim dog-eat-dog cynicism? When did we lose the ability to imagine ourselves as the good guys? When did we stop holding out for the flying cars and the orgasmatrons?

Monday, 11 January 2010

Little Princess Angelpig

Now if you'd asked me early last year whether I'd ever had sex in the most expensive hotel in town whilst bound from head to foot in pink wool, wearing angel's wings, a princess tiara and a pig's snout, I'd have probably said something like, "Why certainly not, you beastly and fascinatingly surreal pervert. Where ever do you get such notions from?"

Which is a totally different response to the one I would give you if you asked me the very same question today.

Not that you would, of course...

... but what a fun fact to start the year with.