.also, i am a twat
Joined: Jan 2008
NB: Pls cull txt from any reply...
D J S
2 -To shed ones former self.
It’s some-when around 11PM as I near the startlingly mild-mannered village of Hiddenham, an excruciatingly amiable little place where a preponderance of ‘old ways’ still stand and the locals have always been, are still, and will probably always remain pretty much all at the pink end of the human spectrum, especially as in the main they no longer have to work the land and tan their commoners hides. As is usual in such places locals can’t buy houses unless they’re lotto winners and that’s seen the accustomed growth of the cankerous wart that is ‘incomers’. It’s a universal story & you’ll see this sort of place dotted across the despoiled façade of the south British countryside that’s been trapped somewhere between the early ‘50s & the 70’s by the aforementioned planning laws. I could be in any one of those putrid mini-townships, but right now I’m back in inglorious Hiddenham.
I’d long known of the existence of the place, and of those partially legendary & generally loathsome creatures ‘The Hiddenham Boys’ by having been schooled with far more of them than I might have liked; and in no particular order: By becoming briefly embroiled with the ‘Hiddenham punks’, who were in the main (except for the queerly renowned Fitz) a motley bunch of cat kickers (well Jed once kicked a cat, I think that’s why we fell out); by attending divine parties at divine middle class girls divine houses and getting thrown out as a divine young lout but still landing the divine girls divine friend; years on from then but years ago from now, by passing thru the village on the winding bus route to Oxfraud with the beyond divine woman who became my way beyond divine wife, from whom I’d so recently been wrenched by the evil yield of my own unfortunate personality; by house sitting with the said beyond divine woman years ago, inadvertently locking the TV on day 1 so we had to find other things to do (er…) and sharing many things including luscious muffins, and pursuing her bus back to town on my pushbike for the fun of it, though I can’t help but think she impishly dinged the bell at each & every stop just to give me a fighting chance; by sleeping in a shed 5 metres away from her sleeping in the sitting room when, in the earliest epoch in our inevitable & indivisible connection, we were both invited to a small gathering without being told that the other would be there by Caro in a purposeful performance as the prototypical Cute Cupid, with her visiting Floridian friends as a bemused amused audience; by furiously riding round & around the locale with the Hiddenham Moped Boys desperately trying to reach over 43 miles p/hour; by getting ejected from a pub there for simply being not from there, and maybe for just looking 15; by once having a pair of 2nd user Dunlop proddy race tyres (KR124 front, something KR-wise matching rear) planted onto my Suzuki GT250X7, the front fitted facing the wrong way - a fact I only became aware of when recently scanning a pic of the bike and I noticed the rotation arrow (which I’d painted) was facing the wrong way, which now makes sense of why I kept losing the front end in the wet; by being the only person that was prepared to try to ‘sing’ in the tiny room of the charming (& recently re-met) Tony Rudd (in Rudds Lane), and so becoming the singer in ‘the band’ with no name (that I recall), but wimping out when it came to doing a gig, because I knew I/we were brilliant but shite but brilliant but actually shite; and lots of other stuff etc.
So, mindful of the time of day, and of the overwhelmingly sleepy nature of the place even during the ‘fervour & bustle’ of peak commotion during the high point of the daylight hours, I cut my barely-baffled engine and roll the last third of mile to the edge of the village, which is handily right about where the home I’m headed to is anyhow. Of course I had to build up quite a bit of momentum to coast that far, but then I know how to do that. Well both in fact.
Though it was only a few miles between my starting point & destination I’d taken a massively circuitous & pleasantly relaxing route encompassing three counties to reach the home of Caro & Rick, dear friends of something towards 20 years, so I’d spent a considerable & enjoyable time meandering across the countryside, down one side of humble wooded valleys and up the other and back again, my raucous boxer exhaust note pulsing around & about the heaving hills. I deftly rode the broad span of leafy lanes and tree shaded byways, pootling across the uninspiring Shires taking all the turnings I’d previously passed by and never explored – Where, had I somewhere to specifically be at a particular time, then I might have habitually taken a left, at this purposeless moment I took a right; where usually I’d probably have turned right I went straight on, and I rambled almost eternally without purpose just to kill time. Can you kill time? It seems to me that this is precisely what time is for at times such as these. Nigel, another time, said this was wasting life, I replied it was no great prize to keep hold of at any cost
Probably the only constraint on such broad, roving, galloping explorations was having enough fuel in my thoroughly untidy but soundly sealed petrol tank. I’ve noticed it seems to drain empty all by itself. I’ve scrupulously examined it’s decrepit carcass indented centimetre by dilapidated inch, and can’t find any leaks, except the two great big ones at the bottom with the taps on. Ha. Ha ha. It’s almost as though when I fire up the grand apparatus of the animate steel & alloy instrument below, the beastly contraption heartily guzzles the costly & capricious liquid down through its pair of 40mm Bing carburettors, ingests great gulps of air, spitting fuel into it and thereafter shipping the consequential collective combustible concoction into the conflagration at its revolving core. I park myself on its barely padded saddle and my unruly mount impatiently munches away at the miles, kilometres, yards & millimetres - impelling me to the fore, urgently lifting my ragged personage until I heave on the modified & enhanced anchors to fetch it to a reluctant low speed hovering-near-standstill at intersections & junctions. I fully embrace the all encompassing feeling of the mythical & much discussed freedom of riding a metal horse, which actually really does generate a sense of auto-autonomy, but sooner or later this has to stop.
I hadn’t wanted to arrive too early in order not to selfishly eat up the entire evening of my as yet un-notified hosts, because they weren’t expecting me as such, but then they sort of were. I’d had a kind visit from Caro at Nmin. the day before, and amongst general conversation regarding my everlasting folly & madness she’d made passing comment that I could crash out & collapse there should the need arise. It had.
Though it was selfish of me.
I could have taken up another couple of options, but during my self-driven exit route from the Barmy Bin I chose to engage with their discharge process rather than just signing myself out, and so I’d had to meet with a nervous & overly officious junior Doctor, who ‘advised’ me not to ride the motorbike on my current meds. I reported I’d had no problems with balance, co-ordination or reaction times and hence was fully capable to operate the heavy machinery in question. He persisted & I mentioned staff were aware I’d been riding all the time. I asked if he was telling me not to ride, he finally acceded, signed me off & fucked off. I then waited a further three or four hours to meet with two members of the (no doubt understaffed) Crisis Team, so that both staff & Health Authority could divest themselves of any legal accountability for what might happen to me next by having ‘gone by the book’ and asked all the right questions. I knew what I had to say to them all, and that in such situations procedure is all. With the most agreeable of intentions you could declare they’re all like drinks machines – press the right buttons and you get the outcome you’re looking for. Just don’t press the button marked ‘vegetable soup’ or you’ll never get out and end up interminably held in that vile broth of revolving door sickness which makes people perpetually reside there or thereabouts. I’d been what’s described as an informal patient, which basically means I’d booked myself in rather than being made subject to an imposed residency through the activation of one of the many varied & hateful sections of an assortment of mental health acts. Patients would swap notes on what sections they were on & how you could get off their particular section. To bring my delightful stay at that ‘Hotel of the Failed & Foolish’ to a happy ending I just needed to give staff a sensible discharge destination, and so Caro had the ‘honour’ of being the most level-headed option I could offer up. Though it was selfish of me.
So I’m rolling to a silent stop at the edge of the village, and I lock the bike up to a lamp-post across the road from their cottage, the innermost of a little row of three, and proceed to undo all my good work by clanking heavy chains against the resonant metal post. I detach the tank bag, aware that I’m being watched from adjacent houses as nothing much goes on around here after… well, after the 17th Century. I stroll across towards their door, and see there’s a downstairs light on. If there hadn’t been I’d have gone straight to the shed round the back, but as I approach the front door I can see through its small puckered window that Rick is sitting there with guitar & laptop, noodling. I gently tap on the door and he turns in mock surprise, disentangles himself from whatever he’s doing, rises & lets me in. I book into the Hiddenham Hilton.
Rick tells me Caro is asleep, and that he’s recently returned from an audition in South London as guitarist in some band or another with some people in it, and that the bass & drums were playing together for the first time but were tight immediately, which is always the essence of any good sounding live act, he enjoyed playing with them. I’d worked Rick in a number of musical circumstances, and he was always a pleasure to play with, so to speak. As usual I meander on, speaking for far, far too long, and Rick comments at some point that he was aware of the possibility of my arrival as Caro had mentioned it may happen. This comforts & relieves me greatly, but I then go ahead and bore him to a level that would probably be considered torture under the Geneva Convention, by unleashing unceasing chatter of no doubt wholly self-centred guff in his direction. He’s kind enough to engage with me over a cup of sweet tea containing far more sugar than he seemingly approves of, or did I just drink water? The details fade away now. Once I go through a series of endless comma spattered sentences in an extremely elongated paragraph chronicling my ludicrous circumstance & experiences, and when I finally hit my first full stop Rick replies ‘Well, it’s probably for the best…’ & swiftly offers me the sofa cushions on the floor in a fully reasonable bid to break out from my ramblings, both meant & conveyed with kindly intent. But I am resolute that I’d much rather sleep in their shed. It makes me feel as though I’m imposing less, as I’ve a need to feel that I’m not beholden to anyone, not loading my issues onto others more than I always & inevitably do, though I am. Not that it’s in any way for sure my hosts might perceive it as debt incurring or burdensome, but I very much feel less intrusive being in the shed. I’d previously slept on the lounge floor while house/son sitting for them a little while back, and had slumbered in their shed once a very long time before as I’ve said, or will say, I lose track…
I write Caro a letter for the morning:
I met a woman in a mental hospital who said I could crash in your shed. She seemed to know what she was saying and looked very convincing, so thus I am in your shed. Your delightful butler did offer the front room, but I’ve always liked camping out, and in a funny way it reminds me of sleeping there before. Seriously, it’s warm enough and it felt kind of happy. Just call me ‘Catweazle’. Also, I may have bored poor Rick with my jabber. Sorry.
For info: they let me stay in Ma(n)d(alay) House last night after I forced their hand somewhat, and the duty Doctor wasn’t able to come over that late, though I suspect they simply wanted to transact a more complete discharge process. So I saw a Doctor today and he was made happy, then I waited to see the (seemingly tardy but probably simply overloaded) Crisis Team, and though they had no desire, reason or right to hold me they needed a sensible initial discharge address. I’m afraid you beat Asstrall (veggie man) what with you actually being sensible & things. I left there at 6pm, sat in a coppice and threw a few switches in my head, had a sedate ride and a meal of sorts, and then quietly rolled up here. I hope that’s ok?
I’m going to rate your shed highly for the ‘Index of good Shed & Breakfasts’. In the morning I’ll be booking out though, and combining attending ward round at the delightful Kimmeridge Arms, and getting a pay as you go mobile, for which I’ll give you the number. Sleeping pills are kicking in so my writing is getting illegible. Thanks for the landing pad, I’ll be making a small tour of sheds in the local area, and will be proactively making contact with my care co-ordinator and other services as part of my hospital exit package & further work etc. They’re all happy and see me ‘taking charge’ as a sign of ‘getting better’.
Finally, just to scribble (in this longer than intended missive) that I’ll drop the contact number with my dearest erstwhile wife, probably via a letter, but I’ll keep her in the loop as she’s stated she wants to be aware of what’s happening. The end.
Toodle pip!?! - d xx.’
I left this in what I thought was an obvious ‘couldn’t miss it’ position in the house and, reacquainting myself with the solid brick shed, I roll out two or three smallish rugs that lay on the pile of bits in front of the seemingly un-used workbench. I fold a couple to form an improvised mattress, and the other over me, I start to wander through my broken mind… I begin to ‘land’ again for the fourth time today. I’m thinking through just a couple of the (to me & my little life) momentous events surrounding me, & endeavour to work the broken brane boxed in my cracked cranium toward even temporary resolution as my dear ‘happy happy joy joy’ paper-based chum Nietzsche once recommended i.e. ‘Solve ten truths before you sleep’. And so I begin the mental retching.
This assists me to start to mimic the action of incompletely settling down. I go back to the kitchen to grab more water, and leave the light on (as I thought I had found it) because what with being a townie from wot’s there where that crime stuff occurs I wasn’t sure of the ‘house protocol’. I should realise I’m in the country and that countryside conventions apply. In the area of what had until so very recently been my actual home we had a little bit of a loitering and opportunistic burglary problem, so, being the resident insomniac & consequently always the last to bed I’d always lock the doors & windows and leave illumination on every night to comfort the children in the otherwise darkened dark darkness, as well as to ward off any unsolicited guests that may aspire to snatch our mightily scant possessions.
As an aside, one of my favourite diversions on the insipid hole of a council estate where I’d most recently lived was a frivolous little game I dubbed ‘Crack-head or Retard’. Now hang on. Brain chemistry/eugenics wise I myself am a certified retard and so I’m allowed to use that word, but you my dear readers should remember to be much more sensitive & modern, and the right-minded amongst you should obviously consider such a word as inappropriate & unusable, right? We’re not in the 1970s are we. The same rules apply to the ‘N’ word, that’s right, Nutter. So anyway, the point of the game was simply to agree on whether any passing stranger was a Crack-head or a Retard, on balance they were all one or the other or both, that’s how they’d (I’d) ended up living there…
I return ‘home’ to the exquisitely dilapidated shed I currently inhabit and excavate a dependable pen from my condensed possessions, by means of which I heave & vomit uncoordinated words into meaningless semi-expressions of absolute nothingness onto the lined notepad I’d shoplifted some weeks before. I write that during my first post asylum stop off at the crappy little roadside copse (that had so very briefly been my first home) before the visit to the garage (that was so very briefly my second home), I’d sat next to my cooling motorised-bicycle as it popped, purred & pinged. I thus embraced the newly recovered infinitesimal moment of the facsimile of some tiny semblance of a small portion of a minor percentage of a pathetic snippet of a feeling similar to relaxation. There in the coppice, because it was placed there before me by random circumstance I predictably looked through an open gateway that lay directly opposite in the assorted parade of various species of trees over the road. There, suffused in the yellow & pinking light, my dead beat eyes saw a field of verdant half-grown wheat, with the uniformly cultivated level countryside segmented by hedgerows reaching off toward the distant low hills that formed a section of the despicable geographic bowl that contained nearly every single bloody stupid thing I’d ever done. The only mountains round these parts are those in me. There & then I ditheringly embarked on becoming acquainted with what might be described as ‘release’ – in that my every thought was no longer steeped in injurious wakefulness of my comprehensive & unreserved failure as a husband, lover & father. The total removal of all these combined roles was of course a massive fucking failure in itself, however I can’t say I didn’t wholly deserve it, and I didn’t project even the slightest culpability onto any part of my erstwhile family other than directly onto me/myself/I.
Right there & then the thing that struck me was that the immediate cues that being constantly surrounded by incontrovertible proof of continually failing in those roles had been lifted from me. Granted, it was only because it’d all been taken away from me on the basis that I’d become so deeply incapable of delivering any of the roles, and because I was an immense pissed off scowling pain in the arse sitting slumped in the corner, internally whining & grumbling about anything & everything - about the disgusting default state of humanity and my complete lack of power to do anything about any of it; about being stuck in a shit town in a shit country; about being totally unqualified yet completely capable; about how their society doesn’t work; about not loving it when none of my plans come together etc. ad. inf.
My removal was undoubtedly best for all involved as I’d totally bungled my functions within the family, but through this much deserved deletion the tyrannical & oppressive internal cargo of being persistently reminded of my appalling blunder had been lifted, however unfortunate the circumstances that’d caused that to come about, and for the first time in years I didn’t feel like a total failure. Can you fail at being nothing? Nothing cannot be destroyed…
Nothing whatever at all, blank, void, vacant, without a particle.
Absent, non‑resident, empty, nobody.
Truant, missing, deserted, the bird has flown.
Tenantless, devoid, minus, removed, exiled, elsewhere.
Misplaced, stayed away, nowhere to be found.
Rejected, discharged, omitted, forgotten.
Brushed aside, bundled away, struck off the roll.
Murdered whilst sleeping.
Plucked from beneath our very noses.
A beggarly account of empty boxes.
Now let’s be clear, the mere fact that I was right there right then and wasn’t experiencing the crushing emotion of my acute deficiency in all those roles and others was in itself a massive dichotomous falsity, because I’d botched those precious responsibilities in the worst possible way and had, quite rightly, been cut off, which was the only reason I wasn’t feeling the throbbing ache I’d felt for so long - However at that very moment I didn’t suffer the burden of being repeatedly reminded of my unwavering failure by seeing it directly in front of me, and so I was able, just for that fleeting instant, to hoodwink my fools-wits into a temporary sense of escape from my intense & eternal internal displeasure at my unremitting chronic under-performance. Whichever way it’d been achieved the pressure was lifted now & I could breathe again.
It wasn’t that the family were gone, and certainly not that I was gone from them - more that the stifling airless pre-monsoon tension of the intemperate emotional humidity we’d all felt had, at long-last, broken from the persistent & unrelenting clamminess of undeclared discomfort into the essential reprieve of a torrent of reality, actuality & transformation. Weird how the human brane works isn’t it? Extraordinary how it will blatantly lie to itself just to create even the thinnest illusionary veneer of a piece of ‘peace of mind’ in order to protect itself & the ‘soul’ that inhabits it. Is this how the vanilla norms maintain themselves each & every day? I think it could well be how they achieve it… The poor inhibited & constrained mother-fuckers.
Because, at something towards 3am, I’m scratching surplus thoughts onto stolen paper I naturally have the shed light on, Caro (who seems not to have seen the letter I left in such an ‘obvious’ place) comes down wrapped in just her duvet, and looking thru the small shed window she sees a figure squatting down wrapped in rugs & cheap army surplus clothes furiously scribbling rubbish onto a pad (for which he doesn’t appear to have a receipt), and though she doesn’t know precisely what’s going on it seems to her that most burglars don’t take old carpets & leave thank-you notes, so guesses it must be me - She unexpectedly opens the shed door and bounds in. Now, I’m wearing earphones (soundtrack to Sweeney Todd, there’re 8 good bars in it) and absorbed as I am in my self-indulgent illegible screaming scrawl she surprises the living shit out of me - ‘Most burglars don’t wear just duvets’ I hurriedly think yet still it takes me a moment (or very slightly less than or more than a moment) to get what’s going on here. Caro says she noticed the kitchen light was left on, which it usually isn’t wot wiv dis bein’ dat thar out in the countryside and all. Then she saw the shed light so came to investigate, safe from harm in a duvet. Rather brave I thought… She, as always, naturally presents as sincerely kind and welcoming but she doesn’t feel my bedding arrangements are sufficient, though they do suit me fine, and, despite my protestations, dear Caro begins to make off and get something a little more comfortable. I stop her and explain that I very much have a preference for the modest monkish arrangements I’ve made in my impermanent hermitage, that I’ve sought to ensconce myself in the shed rather than the house so as to be less intrusive. This is where one of the great things about Caro comes out, she hears me, accepts it & understands. Not everybody does that do they? How ‘bout you? However she does insist on bringing a sleeping bag & shifting one of the two bicycles from the shed to give me a little more room, and it occurs to me that perhaps it’s needed in the morning so I don’t put up a fight – I try to hear, accept & understand.
And so at last I make myself a simulacrum of ‘settled’ and submerge into my default state of self-hate yet again. If only I were able to hear, accept & understand my own self, but this has proven forever impossible. For far too long now I’ve deluded myself that there was something in me worth preserving, that there might be some great work here within to be teased or scratched out that could say everything I meant & could ever mean. That I could effect a difference in the ever surrounding non-functionality. That I could be a better parent than my own were. But I’m unavoidably obliged to arrive at jam-packed acknowledgment that it's a vanity for a tomato to think it can ever be anything more than a collection of its constituent parts, with the resultant characteristics of a tomato. Or that said sad tomato could ever reasonably aspire to reach beyond its beyond and conjure itself into the steak it sits beside. And if the constrained fruit could not come to comfort with being a simple berry it must then be the cause of its own withering n ting.
I never even mastered the pencil for fucks sake, couldn’t draw beyond childish scrawls. I mimicked the actions of a person who played music, but never actually had it come out of me. I tried video ‘art’ and just ended up making unsightly discontinuous dishevelment that pointedly left the audience feeling inwardly unfathomably soiled, whilst not knowing quite why they did. I had to stop trying to be something. It's never easy to explain without dull repetition, and no simpler to comprehend without pity, but it's not a sad thing, the sad thing was continually lying to myself that it could be any other way because the outcomes of hanging around have shown that it couldn't, and all things have become as they always were & so will be. After dreaming of unattainable possibilities I’m right back down to earth, back down to me, and in this ‘now’ I do nought but fashion pain for other people, which was irresponsible of me. It would have been better for me to have stopped this l life before it harmed those around me, way waaaay back then on the railway line, but instead I listened to the reasoning of others (and parts of me) who were themselves already perpetuating their own useless lives. No-one needs to stop me stopping me, unless they want me to continue in this inescapable discomfort - or perhaps they draw some strength or power from my continued torment? Can one have a run of indiscriminate negative probability outcomes?, & would such a sample of sorry ass kicks be entirely random, or directed by some unidentified force? Can a patterned stream of repeatedly negative life events be considered directly analogous to the statistical likelihood of repeatedly not winning the lottery, or does a tainted river of bad luck indicate the existence & action of something like a directed negative energy? Is there ‘A Picture of Dorian Brandt’* in some loft, basement, shed or lock up somewhere?, and which one of you Bastiches sold my ‘soul’ such as it was, and now reaps the parasitic dividend at my expense?
* A stage name I once worked under. Also used Doreen Bryant on & off.
Were one to sound out The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer one might ponder as to how such a wide variety of anthropological expressions of such similar cultural concepts could come to be without there being some foundation as to a generic belief in some form of conducting vigour of some unidentified variety or shape.
I can sustain no spiritual belief system I’ve yet come across, tho/ough it's possible to say that in its time stamped world view the book repeatedly demonstrates and describes the vast accumulation & assortment of cultural settings which have seen the concurrent establishment & replication of parallel or comparable taboos & proscribed or inviolable beliefs as seen gathered in their mythologies & comparative religions. Parallel beliefs built up in societies from across the world that at the time of founding had no opportunity of contact or cross pollination. Might this perhaps be considered something slightly other than quirky happenstance? But I can sustain no spiritual belief system I’ve yet come across, so I can only imagine that all fools get fooled the same... In me there's no reserve left to rebuild with, and all doors are shut. Now I just need to dispose of my remaining clutter and wait for events to provide a suitable circumstance for my end. Don't feel bad about it. I will be happy. I struggle to maintain fragile constructed justifications to not cease this unending piffle that is the 'blessing' of 'life' that's repeatedly brought me back to this inescapable shit. I write…
Old mother Hubbards famous empty cupboards.
.i cannot stop intrusive flashing remembrances, none of them pleasant
.or reflecting well on me
.or my choices and the utter failures they lead to
.failed as a friend or husband/lover
.failed as a revolutionary
.failed as an income generator
Events have consistently proved all this to be true (no really :-D) and above all I do not need to argue against reality or truth. 18 years or so ago I lay on the railway line touched on above, full of pop and pills waiting for a train to crush my skull. I thought then there might be another way for it to be, that life didn't have to be the way it was & had been, that I could make it something else. I thereafter struggled in alien worlds to build something I thought might make a difference to ‘society’ & to me, but here & now I know I could not change me - My root DNA fault, the neurochemical mis-design. I could not un-remember me, what was done to me or what I did. Here & now I know there is no change for humanity or myself. I profoundly regret not staying on the train line, I was right to be there, my self persuasion was a lie. I have not been able to make it different, nor ever could I have, it was a vanity to think it would be any other way and now it isn't –
.never will be
At this point I was reminded of a letter I wrote a friend some time ago:
in ext post due to character limits.
...using the wrong spanner since 1964...
planktonnn screwed with this post 01-17-2013 at 10:04 AM