Head meet pish
So the daily showing here didn't come off. What of it? It just means I'll have to catch myself unawares and do it without thinking. I'm convinced this is the secret to me ever getting anything done, in fact. Ambush.
Polish green amber (who knew about this?) pendant, charming surprise
New will-write-words-for-pence website
A couple of morsels of payment
New specs prescription (only moderately blinder, apparently) and blagged contact lenses
The only thing more depressing than hula-hooping short-skirted spontaneous-picnic-having hot weather in summer is relentless grouchy northern-grade grimness. It is actually cold. And it is actually wet, and grey and horrible, horrible. And I am actually staying out of it, thank you. I only had the barest twinge of a pang at missing Glastonbury, and similar for missing this thing at Knebworth tonight (Underworld are playing, and there I was thinking they'd died or something). I've cossetted myself to the point that I need a really good reason to rouse myself from my sultry nest.
Mind you I was hauled out last night by the Bradford bird (no one from school or anything - I'm continuing to successfully evade and avoid my gruesome Yorkshire-based past, thank you. Oh, except that I did have to do a little amateur psychologising to help the one schoolfriend whose company I still enjoy, because her mate had suddenly gone all funny about being accused of being gay and said he never wanted to speak to her again, and I said it was probably him not being able to deal with them growing apart after all this time and needing to find something to get mad about as a way out, like, and I really thought about it and spent time trying to give good advice as requested and everything but she hasn't replied, so maybe she's decided she never wants to speak to me again in a sort of pass-it-along scenario. Ho hum. Where does the full stop go? It still goes after. Correct punctuation in and around parentheses is rapidly going the way of the apostrophe. Bloody idiots everybloodywhere).
(Best to start a new paragraph I think.)
An insane but sort of charismatic pub in Dalston (adjacent to or part of Hackney, therefore sort of 'gritty' and sort of tiresomely full of trendy fucks), all knackered wood and fag-stained walls and high wartime ceilings and the odd picturesque lovable old alkie amongst the kind of young snoots who don't take their hats off indoors. Although in fact it all added up to quite a pleasant riot. Got chatted up by a woman who'd just come back from Mexico, only it wasn't my perfume, it was someone else's. By about 11pm it was like the bottom of a ship, all seething and rowdy and pissed, with drinking and ironic conversation instead of rowing.
Lots of stimulating company crammed round on those poky stools you get, going on about crap in lofty fashion, and apparently knocking back Coronas too quickly. I've never quite got my head around my tolerance to alcohol - with a brief university blip (I used to drink pints - pints!) it's always seemed to be embarrassingly low. But it seems to vary. A million factors must be involved. The experiment could go on forever.
The things I need to be grateful for are
a) If I'm going to sick with the booze, it invariably holds off until I get home. My body must be finely attuned to my sense that nothing, not even being [insert nasty violent action] in the [insert body part] with a [etc], is worse than public humiliation, and adjusts itself accordingly. It's extraordinary, really. No forcing all the other inhabitants of top deck of nightbus to open all the windows for this correspondent. And none of that ending up on the news as part of a montage of head-shaking examples of what happens when girls binge-drink. But then I don't quite qualify as a 'girl' any more, and also the last time I wore a tiny skirt of the kind that looks so great when you're lying half in the road with your arse aloft was in 1997. And that was only for ten minutes before I decided to put something more androgynous on instead.
b) If sickness of the booze is my evening's destiny, my body (which must be keenly aware of the nastiness and potential deadliness of having beer-problems in sleep or at least in bed) has this beautifully-timed routine it goes into so as to avoid any Hendrixian issues.
Approx. ten minutes in advance of ill: Body gently rouses hostess from bricklike slumber, and tactfully introduces idea that getting up will be a good idea just now, because, well, ahem, madam. Allows time for idea in all its unpleasantness to sink in.
Approx. five mins to ill: Puts arms and legs to work at gentle pace, heaving corpse from bed and transporting to bathroom.
Approx. 60 secs to ill: Settles into position to ensure imminent horror is kept to minimum and requires no more clean-up than a flush.
It's incredible how it works, every time. None of that panicky, unseemly, carpet-endangering dashing. And I was glad of it in the early hours of this morning as, for some reason, it was one of the worst instances of beer revenge I've experienced in some time. I have no idea why. There was no indication of anything on the slightly silly journey home (after I nearly got stranded at the end of a route, they let me ride back to relative civilisation in a bus with all its lights off, which was Dead Exciting in a moody sort of way) - just the proto-hangover headache I tend to get.
Basically, I am rubbish at drinking. Rubbish. I never drink during the day; I am scrupulous about what I mix and don't mix (last night was one part cider to four parts weedy lager); and still the wrath is brung, seemingly arbitrarily. Still, it was just about worth it, being an entertaining and stimulating sort of evening that I probably needed. The fact is that although I toy with the idea, I'll never be able to entirely give up drinking. Fortunately my tolerance levels mean that it only takes me a literal couple of drinks of almost any kind to get to the level of confidence and silliness I like. But yes, if I'm in a group of people I don't know especially well then I'm a useless wide-eyed bundle of awkward until those first few sips have taken effect, and I am no one's useless wide-eyed bundle of awkward, not even my liver's.
Ah well, it could be coke, let's not get our panties in a bunch.
In any case drinking is only sensible given the bewildering wrongness of the weather (floods everywhere, skinny teenagers being swept away and twentysomethings dying of hypothermia in storm drains), which is really rather unhappy-making. Oh, and poor Gordon Brown who ascended this week has inherited a world of mess, although you've got to laugh at the serial ineptitude of terrorists who can't blow up a nightclub and terrorists who set themselves on fire. (And not in the self-immolating Tibetan-monk fashion either, more in the couldn't-bring-down-democracy-with-a-democracy-bringing-down-machine fashion.)
The dog, at least, is still the dog. You have to find your things you can rely on. There's also a young vixen who has taken to snoozing on a nearby shed roof when it's not pissing down. I go out and look at her, and she looks back in that louche vulpine way before closing her eyes again. It pleases me.
Some Witnesses came to bother me when I was still very wobbly in the mid-morning. They made me take a thing about 'The Source of Evil', which obviously I was sure was Magners at that moment. (Look, they drink cider with ice in it in 'Withnail & I', remember, so it cannot be wrong.) I'm sure I've read it before, it has these great Marvel-grade illustrations of the Harlot and the Big Sex Beast or whatever it is that I'd scan in and post up and invite y'all to smirk at if only I had a scanner. I don't think they've really thought this through. They'll be sending young impressionables into the arms of Satan by the dozen with their salacious pics of scantily-clad crumpet.
Why I have to be polite I don't know. I wish I could just say "No, I am an atheist and it's taken me years to get to this point of personal enlightenment, what you have to say is of no interest to me and I think you've got a damn cheek preaching to me or anyone else. Good morning." They must have thought I was some manner of moral derelict anyway, all bleary-eyed and t-shirted and stinking of other people's fags. But what gives them the right to come and judge me on my own rented doorstep, I don't know. I may prepare some material to send them away with for next time.
ATHEISM - if you don't want to join us, that's just fine, we're not organised in that sense in any case, like, we don't have any festivals or holidays or anything although actually maybe that's not a bad idea... Joan? Joan... what do you think of this? I'll write a letter.
1. You don't have to do anything, really
2. We don't have a book unless you count 'The God Delusion' but Dawkins wouldn't approve of that usage, oh, but it'd be amusing to have a go at 'The Satanic Verses' or even 'A Brief History Of Time'.
3. All are welcome!
4. You just need a brain.
5. We have women. Really clever and emancipated women, mostly.
6. We're only giving you this because you're attempting to indoctrinate us, which we find rude. We will never come round your gaff and start telling you there is no God. We're content enough to know it - OK, to believe it because you cannot prove the non-existence of God any more than the opposite - yeah, but that doesn't mean we have a 'belief system' as such - but that DOESN'T MAKE US BAD PEOPLE.
7. In fact, if you think about it, it may make us authentically good people if we are trying to be good, because strictly speaking living a good life because you think it's the right thing to do is more laudable than living a good life because you don't want to be impaled on a pitchfork and toasted for eternity by imaginary imps.
8. But, y'know, totally up to you.
I think this is the future of peaceful resistance to the people who bother us in such ways. Gather copies of the London Lite and hand them to the vendors for recycling. Loudly sing 'My Old Man's A Dustman' when some horrible tinny Xzibit starts up from the back of the bus. Offer charity muggers... oh, I don't know what can be done about them. I told one I was late the other day, which was perfectly true, and she wheedled "ohhhh it'll only take a minute" and I said "I'M! LATE!" and scored her pious face with my claws. She fell back into the path of a hateful bendy bus, and I hurried on to the optician.
God, it's cold, I'm putting the heating on.