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Month: July 2015


Rock petSome people, other people, cool people, like Debbie Harry, lean in corners, or they lounge – probably louchely – but whatever they do, they do it effortlessly and everybody is impressed. They are the in-crowd and they go where the in-crowd go.

I’m not like that. I’ve tried the ‘I’m so uncool, I’m cool’ thing, but no one believes it, not even me. The cool people are slim, taut of buttock and chisel-cheeked. They smoke. Their clothes are elegantly understated or kookily creative. There will be leather involved somewhere. Even when they flout society’s rules, they do it in just the right way. It’s what makes them Cool.

This is the thinking that preoccupied me as a sat at the bus stop the other day. (Yes, I catch the bus. I know. There are no members of any in-crowd at the bus stop for the number 6.) I wasn’t leaning, rather i was perched on the ledge thing they provide instead of a seat. It was raining, obviously. I was wearing a coat that fits neatly into the genus cagoule, but less outdoorsy and more mumsy. I’d just retrieved my bag and its spilt contents from the (wet) ground: notebooks, unposted birthday cards, laminated (yep) quotes, tissues, Co-op receipts and the googly eye from a rock pet I forgot to take out of my bag (no wonder it was so heavy). And to complete this portrait of uncool, I’d just picked a spot on my nose and the blood was welling out like a oil strike in old time Texas. One of the slightly damp tissues was handy for dabbing at it.

And as my brain wandered over to the writing ambitions represented by the (damp) notebooks, I despaired. I was doomed (doomed, I tell you). According to the last rejection I received before I entered my latest long, unproductive period of pout (no coincidence), I need to be ‘fashionable’ to be publishable. That means I need to be part of some recognised in-crowd. And I’m not. I’m out of fashion or just not in fashion. Bugger.

And yes, I know, my bitterness is blatant. I’m so uncool that it matters.

But – there’s a but – I am not just uncool, I am also old(ish) and, quite slowly, as the years pass, a cloud of fuck-it is blooming in my head. I am unique and what I write is unique. And that is cool. And one day, someone will want to publish my uniqueness. And if they don’t, fuck it.

Also Vera

DSC_0209 Squeezed between the lines of the family tree. From somebody’s daughter to, if you’re lucky, someone’s mother. Did Vera get that lucky break? It seems unlikely. Born and buried as an add-on to another life.
We exist in an ocean of egos struggling for attention. The wave lifts you for a moment and then drops you and you’re yesterday’s froth. I live deluded that it’s all about me: my heritage, my legacy, my first person point of view. But that’s what you think. That’s what they think. My success is your pride. My failure, your shame.
Women get a particularly rough deal in this struggle. How many gravestones bear the epitaph, son of? The son would at least own his surname and get to keep it for all eternity. Vera simply had her Father’s name on loan. It seems she died with the space for her new brand left blank. Poor Vera. Just the daughter. Never the wife and, so, never the woman.
And God help the child of the Baby Boomer. BB ruled the world, his own space, man, cos the Empire was like so last year. He invented sex and drugs and rock’n’roll. And was keeping them all for himself. Kids had to tag along. They were just kids and this was their time. And then they got old and it’s still their time. They’re sitting pretty in the family pile, bony fingers clutched around the purse strings, demanding Care, payback for all they did for you. They’ve got the pension and the NHS. They’ve taken all the lifeboats and the kids are going down with the ship.
Vera’s never getting her own stone. She’s fucked. But not in a good way.

Colouring between the lines

11698522_10153006448063333_4658290866483854477_nI’ve been sucked in by the new craze for adult colouring. It’s so soothing. Someone else has drawn all the patterns, created neatness and order, left pretty spaces for me to fill with colour. Some of the books even colour in some of the picture for you, providing clodhopping hints as to how you should proceed. Mindfulness they call it, though it is, of course, utterly mindless.
And while I’ve been colouring in between someone else’s lines, I’ve created nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing. And – when I’m not soothed by the de-stressing activity of colouring in – I’m quite angry about this. I’m angry with myself and I’m angry with all the tossers who drew the lines.
We spend our whole childhood and, maybe, most of our lives, being commended for being Good. We agonise over the Right Thing to do, the Right Thing to wear, The Right Thing to say… Not being Good is Bad. Where’s the space to just be?
I don’t draw my own pictures because I’m no good at drawing. It doesn’t come out right. It looks bad. And I’ve not been writing because I’ve been busy being neat and good and colouring between the lines.
If you’re reading this then you will have noticed the huge gap between this post and the last. There have been other starts and mis-starts. This might be another. The only thing I can tell you is that what follows may not be neat. I’m going off piste.