Back Of My Neck Getting Dirty And Gritty

IMG_2855Look at the still hot weather imploding itself on Britain. Go on, look at it. Go outside and look it in the eye and tell it you’re not perturbed by a bit of sunshine, that your grandfather once bummed a hotter celestial body than Sol. I’ll wait for you to come back inside.

Tum ti tum. La di da.

Ah you’re back, I was just singing something awful by McCartney. What did the sun say? Told you to put what where? How terribly rude.

It warms. Blood is warm. Toes are warm. Underpants are warm. Root vegetables are warm even when they’re in the bloody fridge. It’s like the summer of 1976 all over again (legal requirement, remember) and we must all bath with a friend. Or was that to save energy?

If you can remember the seventies you weren’t there. But if you can convert this recent addiction to the wrong temperature gage back to proper Fahrenheit you’ll find seventies and even numbers in the eighties. Sex crime. Or was that to promote a movie?

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The Heat Is…On


Hur, hur, hur.

British law demands that any heatwave be compared to the summer of 1976. Even millennials who weren’t born until five minutes ago are expected to refer to the summer of 1976 during a contemporary heatwave. If you do not mention the summer of 1976 you get burnt at the stake. Well, people steal your sun lotion which is pretty much the same thing in this sort of weather.

So yeah, it’s all hot n junk. I’ve defied the torturous temperatures as well as my predilection for avoiding humans today and actually went into town. There were chores needing doing. I did them reluctantly and with loud music in my ears but I did them. I win at reluctant activity.

When I got home I had a short walk along a secluded lane nearby, seeking the shelter of large, overhanging trees and a lack of humans. I got both. I win at secluded lanes.

There’s no point to the final paragraph of this blog post.

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Seemed A Harmless Little Fuck

IMG_2848Lemon yellow sun. Arms raised in a vee. It’s either full on summer or I’ve walked into a Pearl Jam song.

I’ve just asked a piece of seaweed – it’s summer. But as solstice is only a few days away the nights will be drawing in very soon and we’ll all need our thermals next week. Ha ha, you think I’m joking because you forget I live in England.

I sat under a tree in the grounds of one of my favourite Exeter pubs today, ate an yuge lunch of roasted comestibles and drank a single pint of beery liquid. All very sociable eh? Not really, I went on my own and apart from ordering food and beery liquid I spoke to nobody. I listened to people’s conversations instead and on the whole the mundanity of their exchanges made me increasingly content not to be involved.

There was that guy plotting to murder John Lennon. I don’t think we need fear him, Lennon is already dead. Or is he? Maybe he’s on a tropical island with Elvis and Diana and Andy Gibb and the plotting man knows how to get to the island? I still don’t think we need fear him: he’s a figment of my imagination.

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Couldn’t Look You In The Eye

IMG_2844“You’re weird.”

I’ve been told this, in various ways, all my life and my response has perhaps changed more than I might have imagined it would when I was young. At first I hated being non-normative: I went to a lot of different schools (because my father was something of a dick is the short reason why) and the last thing you think you want at school is to stand out like a strange thumb.

Until you get sick of being known as ‘the new boy’ and begin to revel in your weirdness as you’ve worked out it means people remember your name much faster: “Have you met that guy Steve yet? He’s a fucking weirdo.”

And then puberty arrived and weirdery was a powerfully unattractive quality when being sized up as a potential boyfriend by the opposite sex. Actually even the older gay guys that tried hitting on me were slowly put off by my unorthodox brain. (If you’ve ever been a slightly awkward and youthful looking seventeen year old guy drinking underage in English bars you’ll know the experience of a guy your father’s age trying to hit on you. And hey, if you’re interested in men it might be the beginning of a whole new chapter in your life. For me it was the beginning of conversations that always concluded when I pointed out my not gayness.)

And after puberty, rock and roll. You’re sort of allowed to be weird in rock and roll. Keith Richards anyone? David Bowie? But you pretty much have to be a chameleon, fake enough to be interesting onstage but ordinary enough so record companies think there’s a chance pre-pubescent girls will fancy you and buy your music. And your tee-shirts. And the posters. And locks of your hair. And all that scarily commodified crap.

If you decide to walk away from rock and roll you realise you’re now super weird. Like so super weird you think nothing of constantly changing tenses in the same piece of writing. You are unsuited to any normal career and have a drugged-up, fairly child-like perspective on life that real grown ups utterly resent. Grown ups hate weirdos..

My search for normality led me to academia where once again I was out of step with most people, though largely because I was in my mid-thirties and they were all fresh from home teens and twenty-somethings. Which is fine, older isn’t weird. Some think it’s boring but few think it’s weird. And then a very few discover the rock and roll stuff and celebrate your weirdness by just accepting you into their cliques and circles.

But crawling into your fifties still being weird is no picnic. There are no cucumber sandwiches and some fucker has drunk all the fizzy pop. And no-one thinks your metaphors are any good.

So here I am, fifty-one for another month, weird as fuck yet quite content with the apparently normative pastimes of making food, hanging out with friends from time to time, breaking wind and blaming passing dogs, complaining about my health. Yet still I shun some of the tokens of achievement dangling like millstones round the necks of ultra-normals: unrepayable student debt, huge mortgage payments on a house that’s sunk in value since the 2008 banker’s fuckfest, two weeks a year in the Algarve, immaculately trimmed lawn…

…Oh my god, how fucking bourgeois. However much I sometimes crave normality a quick reminder that for many people it is a bourgeois blanding out of experience, a bleaching of culture, and I’m happy again to be a bloody weirdo. Anyone for buttock tennis?

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Marching Up And Down Again

IMG_2838Me feets, me feets. They hurt. And so do my calf muscles. And my lamb muscles.

I done a walk today, just around the neighbourhood, to try to stop my legs seizing up after the hilly climbing yesterday. Stupid idea. Now I am ouch and argh of the limb lowers and fed up with being a cripploid.

Also, the new dental plate I was meant to be picking up from the dentist today wasn’t ready. That will be another fortnight of not wanting to talk to people because I look like a hooligan, then.

Thursday is a wanker.

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Tarr Very Much

IMG_2837Biting off more than you can chew, lesson forty seven billion.

I’m trying to go out and do stuff, to reconnect with the outside world. It’s something my therapist and I talked about. She’d probably like me to share this out and abouting with other humans but I’m not quite ready for that yet. Leaving the flat and going to the beach yesterday was good for the soul though so today I went further afield.

And not just to a field, I went deep into the heart of the countryside and visited the ancient stone bridge known as Tarr Steps, near the town of Dulverton. I haven’t been there in some years and had forgotten that there is a bit of a hill from the car park down to the water and the bridge. The hill would be somewhat punishing on the way back up but getting down to the cool, babbling river was easy enough.

It was fairly deserted, save for a few dog walkers and a family of three quietly checking out the stones before they went to find ice cream at a nearby kiosk. Just what I needed – trees casting shadows into the afternoon sunshine, the clear water soothing me, the sound of birdsong cascading down from the topmost branches. Yup, I found myself in some rustic idyll. Who knew they even existed outside of Constable paintings and Hardy novels?

And then the hill almost killed me as I headed back to my car. What took me ten minutes going down took me maybe half an hour getting back up again what with all the coughing and spluttering and the needing to stop and catch my failing breath every few paces.

But I got back to my car (obviously otherwise I’d be dead and unable to write this shit) and felt proud of myself for pushing myself way beyond my normal capacity for exercise. And now I can dies and stop writing this shit.

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IMG_2834What to do when your morning therapy session leaves you surrounded by the tattered pieces of your fragile sense of self worth? Go back to bed. Mutter. Snooze. Get up. Mutter. Drive to a nearby beach. Listen to the sound of waves caressing the shore. Mutter. Eat ice cream. Take photographs. Mutter. Go home. Eat food. Go to bed. Mutter.

For how to deal with the day after, see above. With less beaches.

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