Saturday, April 18, 2015

before and after the party

On the train on the way to the party, an off-duty clown fell into the carriage and took the seat across from us. I say clown. He had painted red hair and the tip of his nose was painted, too. But his clothes were regular, jeans slightly frayed at the cuffs, and he switched the various gear on his face frantically: sunglasses, glasses, headphones. He seemed aggressive; he seemed, I suppose, like an off-duty clown who'd had too much to drink. He growled at a boy and girl, some twenty years each, who sat sweetly together, obviously in the first blush of something hormonal and probably on their way to a party, too: HEY! YOU TWO! ARE YOU TWO IN LOVE? GO HOME AND CUM ALL OVER EACH OTHER AND TELL THE REST OF WORLD TO FUCK OFF! He then looked at us and growled: FUCK OFF! to illustrate his point. He knelt in the aisle and looked through the length of the train, the kind of model which snakes, with linked carriages so that you can view all the way through the interior. Then he stood up and made an announcement: I JUST WANT TO SAY, IF WE GOT HIT, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE. He sat down and played with his sunglasses, glasses and headphones. Then he made another announcement, this time an invitation and not too tempting: EVERYONE CAN COME BACK TO MY HOUSE AND MAKE LOVE. BUT DON'T MAKE TOO MUCH NOISE OR YOU'LL WAKE UP MY MOTHER IN THE NEXT ROOM.

The bit about his mother sounded sad because it was possibly true. He exited the train. Was he a clown? There was some speculation between me and J., and likewise I think between the boy-girl couple. He had a bag, his costume could have been stuffed into it, but he didn't wear big shoes.

After the party, off the last train and back in our neighbourhood, two men walked in front of us, moony and amorous, leaning into and on each other in the sharp midnight air. So cute, whispered J. I was charmed, too, but was busy thinking about breakfast the next morning and gabbing about how I should have gotten some Cooper bread yesterday at Budgens. At the sound of my voice, the small woman with frazzled hair who walked between us and the two loved-up men, turned sharply back, glared at me and growled: IS EVERYBODY FUCKING GAY?

She didn't wait for a response, and parted ways from us huffily. By the time we'd turned the corner, we had separated from the two men. We saw them stop and smooch under a tree across the road. Theirs was the adrenaline of something new. Then they crossed over and walked just behind us. I turned and spoke to them: Did you hear — I could barely speak through the giggles induced by the free wine and the angry lady — what that woman said? I proceeded to tell them the scenario. Yeah, tell her everyone is gay!, said one with cheerful indignation. His partner just smiled handsomely. Have a good night, I called out. Yeah, the chatty one replied: Be well. BE GAY! I think I might have said you too or just laughed, slightly embarrassed, and we scurried on.

Monday, April 6, 2015

beyond goodnight moon

Easter Sunday, my youngest friend in London came over for lunch. She's about 16 months old and likes blue cheese. She's taken to requesting I pick her up, which is very flattering. We look at things level-to-level from this position, which she seems to appreciate. She had me hoist her up so that we could look in the mirror together. If you want to feel old, witness your face next to a toddler's. Her skin was so pure and pale, mine suddenly rubicund and craggy by contrast. I explained to her that what we were experiencing was an example of Michel Foucault's concept of heterotopia. I led her into the lounge and bragged to one of her moms: I've just taught her about heterotopias. Right, her mom chuckled. She's got the Foucault finger puppet. She already knows about governmentality.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

just because there is the internet

…doesn't mean i have to be everything.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

tonight i am

…reading Deleuze & Guattari, listening to D'Angelo.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

sideways glancing

I can't help looking at our neighbour. Our apartment spoons his. Together, our lounge windows form a right angle, and his windows are especially big and easy to look into. The curtains are rarely drawn, and he's often home, and shirtless a surprising amount of the time. He often has a friend over. Last night, he and a friend were both shirtless as they watched football. Is that normal. They also bounced a lot on the couch as they watched the game. They've got leftover baby. Sometimes he drinks red wine as he watches football which cracks me up. He's a new bourgeoise lad. Sometimes, even candles. On another occasion, he and a friend got so juiced up on wine and football that they did hip hop dances and couldn't stop. He seems a giggle. I'm sure he's very charming. His apartment is one that friends want to visit. They smoke out the window. Sometimes a girl is present, and he is more restrained with her, less bouncing and dancing, in the lounge anyway. He just sits listening and his long legs seem longer, propped up like stately invitations. The next morning, she is still there and he is of course then shirtless. The morning after can't help but be a cliché. He is very good looking. He has quite dark hair and pale, smooth skin. Sometimes I only see feet. Today, one sock pink and one sock green! The table at which I work faces his window. It's not my fault; I would sit at that spot anyway, it gets the most sun. He's the best kind of distraction, both erotic and banal. He's one of my favourite things about this house. The foxes and cats that set off the security lights are the best. Through the kitchen window, if you see the light in the yard go on, you know you are going to see a fox or a cat. Our kitchen window also looks onto the young man's kitchen window. I told you, our apartment really wraps around his. Holds it in embrace. On his sill, a wilted daffodil that endears me and slightly stresses me out. He's been known to do the washing up shirtless. On his arm are mysterious scars. They are clear because his skin is so pale and smooth. In the lounge, he is always multi-screening. It can be phone, laptop and teevee all at once. His activities all seem to do with entertainment. Some barbells and an exercise machine have appeared; they hold good voyeuristic promise. I can't wait for summer. Except the cigarette smoke will fill our lounge through our both open windows. When you are as young as he is — what, maybe 20 — why does boredom feel so necessary. Boredom facilitates the slow drip of self realisation. Boredom is absorption and obviously narcissistic. I tell my eyes to leave him alone, even a glance feels invasive. He wouldn't know his boredom is a performance. A study in the emergence from the cocoon of adolescence. The adult apartment where it's such a luxury to smoke inside and drink on a weeknight. The girl who comes over to give you attention. The state of attracting attention without even trying. Everything, really, without even trying. A stretched-out immortal feeling of waiting. The August days when grown up and responsible September is looming. The festival weekend walks into the apartment. Leftover mud is a part of the texture. Cycles of day and night have much less meaning. Music and clothes are democracy seeping. Nothing needs to be definite, everything is temporary. But look at all of the gadgets. What would you do without electricity.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

pressure weekend

I didn't realise we were chasing the sun. I don't even know what that means. All I know is that the weekend had high expectations — I wasn't working for once, it was sun and high temperatures — and the pressure was on to have so much fun, but we kept missing things. Friday night in the capitol and we couldn't get a table at Abeno for okonomo-yaki nor Chilli Cool for spicy Szechuan. Things got tense as we got hungry, and we wound up just procuring some veg at the Brunswick Waitrose and taking it all the way to our new home, which suddenly felt so far, to cook it. On Saturday, we caught Isabelle Cornaro at the South London gallery, but we didn't have our coffee there, which we should have. (We had coffee at the new Brick House Bakery in East Dulwich, and a very tasty grilled cheese, but we quickly decided THIS IS NOT OUR TRIBE. It was just rich babies dragging tired parents with sexy salt and pepper beards. When we got to the SLG, we decided that the brunch crowd there is our tribe, even though we are no longer 20-year-olds drinking bloody mary's out of jam jars, but if we say it's our tribe, it just is.) The Isabelle Cornaro installation was good; almost-black on black making you think about the way that you're seeing things, and gold, and upstairs the films of tiny ornate things, perfume bottles. J. and I said the films should be accompanied by 1970s children's teevee soundtracks. Kind of funky; flutes. One of the invigilators saw us paying close attention to the art and said you should go across the street to the publishing fair and we did and saw Eleanor from Four Corners who is such a beautiful Huguenot and wears elegant colour combinations: almost grey and almost lilac and almost mauve. We saw some guys we know from Nous Vous and I was going to buy a great ceramic vessel, with lines drawn on sandy stone and then splotches of green and pink glossy glaze — super cool — but then an actual cool person came up and said I'm going to have this little fellow and she bought it from under my nose. I felt vaguely mournful as it was bubble-wrapped and sent away. You snooze you lose said the guys from Nous Vous. We missed, in the afternoon, handsome Jack at his coffee cart in Spa Terminus, where he stands like a delicious doughy bread roll, taciturn besides the occasional laconic (possibly sarcastic?) comment, mumbled in a country-posh accent. He serves up his freshly roast beans. But Jack's metal gate was definitely pulled down. Even The Kernel Brewery was calling it a day. It was 3pm, the twilight of markets. Rushing through crowded Borough — a race to Monmouth Coffee — was a headache. I literally got a headache. But we got some beans. And we made it to the church, where we sat in the sun with several people dressed in black and one cat also dressed in black before filing into a side room that looked kind of like a prison cell where we watched a couple of really good Ben Russell short films. During the first one, J. took my hand and put pressure between my thumb and index finger in that acupressure way. I sat feeling loved, as if everything in the world was concentrated on that pressure point. Sometimes, someone's attention is all you need: to disappear and also become everything. I was stressed — I hadn't stopped working all week — and I didn't know how to unwind. I kept thinking that all activity was framed in the possibility of missing things. J. was like stop ruining a nice day and I was like: I'll feel what I want to and then I'm going to blog about it. Near home, near dusk, we got off the train at St. John, which we don't normally do, and walked across a bridge we don't normally cross, and saw a steeple I couldn't identify. The sky was bushy and jagged under a big sky, in that South London way. We call it Oakland. We approached Hilly Fields Park from the north side. Isn't it odd to walk up a hill southbound. We got to the crest and saw the silhouettes of young men pulling themselves up on the gym equipment. And then J. pointed out the sun. It was massive, and dangerously red. It was a fireball. It was maybe the hugest sun I've ever seen, except for the view from the mechanic's garage in the desert, which I told you about. (But that, cries J., was the moon.) And then we saw the sun set. London was ablaze. Or, the city was a candle and the flame being snuffed. We were there just in time to see the huge sun get smaller and lower then pretend to burn brighter then hide under the horizon, or fake its disappearance. We were on time, just, for the sunset. We were on time for home, at the bottom of the park on the other side. At home, you're always on time. Even if you're late getting somewhere else; that's somewhere else. Home is atemporal. Or, if it exists, time is measured by the songs of Erik Satie or Nick Drake (3 minutes), or by what's in the oven (30). Everything's 3 or 30 minutes. This weekend I fought with myself and J. about missing things, but I didn't miss much. It was all there. The next day, Sunday, we were on time, early even, to the Mica Levi performance at the Christian Marclay show at White Cube. Then we decided to have some beers, which we don't do very well anymore, but we did make it a pub crawl, with rather giddy bus rides in between. On one of the buses, J. and I sat one in front of the other, each next to a messy thin boy with thick curls the colour of bark in the sun. English oak. We texted each other: Mine's cuter. Mine was definitely cuter. He had a skateboard and Roald Dahl book and not the Comme des Garçons plimsolls. Before home, where time doesn't exist, one more ridiculous black craft ale, the drink that would make me hungover. And then Budgens, our favourite local grocery shop. Costcutter a close second. They're both surprisingly posh and have Yeo Valley dairy. Our neighbourhood is in that sweet, doomed period of precarious transition. Partly organic but franchised. Anyway. And then home. I suppose I really didn't miss as much as thought I did this weekend. And the spicy Chinese food, I can make that myself.