I enjoyed writing the last entry to this site so much, I thought I'd run out and swipe another lads' mag off the shelves of B2, with the sole intention of unleashing vitriol against it. With continuity in mind, I latched onto Maxim, for Lady Victoria Hervey, the foot-in-mouth It girl, was proffered up like Photoshop porcelain across it's cover. "A magazine you're not ashamed to be seen reading on the tube" - wasn't this a Maxim line? But what was inside was only so much squaddie twaddle, testosterone fodder. A queue of aspiring models asked to give giggling head to Magnum lollies. See The Male Gaze is for power, possession, young snapper-my-lad. Thanks for the tip, mister - deeper, Katie, really choke on it. But giggle too. Hold it. Lovely. Sheesh. What else? An article about Bobby Fischer. Completely And Utterly Pawn Crackers! A white trash fashion piece. Loose and juicy as ghetto booty and that's no lie. Don't think about it ..wild..
I can't find a chink in this armour. It's pure chink and proud of it. So, for some reason, I bought the Financial Times instead. FT: where the brewing storms of power can be read through a pool of market mathematics. Where, lore has it, one really can read the news of the future today, if one can but read correctly. It's time I took ..control.. of my life.
But I have to finish packing up and am currently filling boxes with the books, CDs, videos I'd like to keep. And bin-bagging the gunk I've outgrown. The weeerd stuff ..must..get. .rid..of. .weeerd..stuff.. I have so much to offer the right person. Look! An illustrated history of the Red Army Faction. And what household of bright young professionals wouldn't want a getting-to-know-you viewing of Richard Kern's "Sewing Circle" "Pierced" and "Fingered"? Tell me I won't leave the local branch of the Spastics Society gasping thanks when I walk in waving "Cannibal Girls Of Caligula's SS" (Ital v.o 96 min vers.)? I made that one up - the cult movie teen mong parade vanished a long time ago. I tell a lie. Meyer, Waters, George Kuchar. Is this life-affirming art or teen mong? Dunno. Keep 'em anyway. Rapid Eye. Headpress. What's that about? Camden Market fanzines. Indie comics. And the shelves are still heaving with weeerd stuff. Counter-culture some folks call it. What for this skewered gaze? Lots of heart-warmers here too, never fear. Poetry please. Der Classics. What else? King Kurt - into the box, old son. Carson McCullers. Fell in love with her mind, man. It was beautiful.
With one eye on the Financial Times, I start thinking about freedom as I tape up the boxes. A free festival to be precise. Two years ago, I was offered the intriguing task of working backstage at the Reading Festival weekend, NME stage. My assignment Ė to collect a setlist from each of the bands. Strolling about with a clipboard is hardly at the earth's core of good rockin' mythological incendiarism but, hey, I guessed it would give me the chance to see the festival gratis, and spend the weekend in the relative plushness of the VIP area. The..VIP..area.. I could hardly contain myself as the event drew closer. ..wild.. A weekend of unbridled booze-offs, heaps of drugs in dandy bogs, and a car-bonnet-buckling bonkathon or two. Hoorah.
Bright and early and brimful of pith and vinegar, I checked my clipboard and commenced my rounds. First off, the trailer of the then-unknown Muse. I approached with hesitation, knocked weakly and stared at the grass. Nothing. I coughed loudly. Knocked again. After a few minutes the door inched open and a face peered at me - "Yeah?" "Sorry to bother," I started, "but I have to ask you to fill out your setlist." "Yeah hang on," the door closed over and I waited. After what felt like a fortnight, I tapped again, sharply. "Jesus Christ - okay okay," a band member's hands hastily commandeered my clipboard and pencil and scrawled song titles illegibly all over the page. The door slammed too. Er, thanks. Success. Sort of.
Not only was I now way behind schedule, but I had a growing distaste for these oiks. Who do they think they are anyway, prissing about like their jobs depended on it? Confidence is the key to this role, I decided. A roadie agreed. "Just walk in like you own the place. You are one of the organisers, after all, aren't you?" My eyes widened. I'm one of the organisers. Hear that? I organise the place. Got that clods? I strutted back and forth, pumping myself up with shoulder rolls and shadow boxing. Come on, then. Raarr. Raaarrrr. I was really whipped into a frenzy by the time I took on the second dressing room Ė my approach to which roughly consisted of shouldering open the door and announcing "Drop everything you fuggin freaks, thereís something I want and by Christ youíre singing dick till I get it!" To my horror I caught myself hovering menacingly in front of all four of The Donnas - half dressed, barely legal and already bellowing for help.
Disconcerted and somewhat slightly dazed, I soldiered on, and my extraordinary journeys took me from Seafood to Venini to Cinerama till I arrived at the feet of a fifty foot tall amazon bruiser-queen of deep-fried white trash, Ruyter Suys of Nashville Pussy. "Bring that thing over here, sugar" she swung her boots off the table as I approached. I squeezed onto the sofa beside her while she licked the pencil tip and ruminated aloud in a voice long soaked in cigarettes and cornerstore bourbon, "Letís see, normally we start off with All Fucked Up, and follow that by Go Motherfucker Go. Kicked In The Teeth usually comes next. Let Them Eat Pussy, of course.."
Our eyes met. "My itís hot in here," she fanned herself. ..VIP..area.. I thought ..anything ..goes.. "The weather's crazy," I admitted, swallowing softly. I leant closer, eyes pretending to flicker around the clipboard as she scribbled. I looked at the turn of her neck, sprayed lightly in perspiration. I watched microscopic drops fall together and slip across the swerve of her collarbone towards me ..
"Some asspipe busting your balls, babe?" I looked up to see the Nashville Pussy miniature brick shitehaus Blaine Cartwright framed against the doorway. "Relax, hon, he's getting some details." "Oh. Getting details." Cartwright strode over, looking me in the eyes. Behind my rock-steady smile I envisage him grappling for an oxygen mask "a neighbour? from the neighbourhood!..a candy fuckin clown they call the sandman..nnnn n nn nn nn nnn don't you fuckin look at me nn n n n nnn" - but "Details!" he snorts and nods as if everything is now perfectly clear. "Details"
And here the story ends, I wish could tell you different. Or tell you why I told it. I get my details, navigate an army of stormtroopers to enter the festival and manage to catch the best part of Nashville Pussy's set.
I tape up the last boxful of kulture. The devil is in the details, as they say. I sit back and unfold the Financial Times. It's time I wore a business skin. To hell with poverty.
Lady Antonia Fraser orders sparingly: crab salad followed by skate with a red-pepper salsa. A bottle of Chardonnay is judged slightly too warm. In Marie Antoinette Fraser debunks myths surrounding the Austrian princess - "She would have been far more likely to say 'Give them some of my brioche'" Har har har. Had social welfare well in hand then. We stand corrected. I'm here to learn how to wear a business skin, then successfully spraypaint myself over the top again, not read about second-guess dressed as history.
Hang on, where's the finance? In the Money section. Duh. Huh? Property market hots up. Whoopdee-do. Molotovs out kids. "Equity prospects for the next couple of years look good. Why not take a spin in an Esprit to celebrate?" Someone else's of course. Everythings coming up Guns'N'Roses. Sanctuary Group, specialising in heavy metal bands, is on track for even more success. Net gearing increased from 26 per cent at the year end last September to 40 per cent at the end of March 2001. This is more like it. ..must.. increase.. net.. gearing..
This is useless. I throw FT into the bin-bag. Real pleasure must avoid exchange, I once heard. Another way of saying - when you look back across your life, you'll not wish you'd worked harder. The moments you will cherish will be those free from The Exchange. I feel better again already and wonder how to set all the DPS MP3s up for free download.
A pair of unfathomable faces look up and out of the bin-bag as I tie it. Tim Henman and Barry George. The face of golden boy, with the potential to make it ..gotta.. make..it.. contorting jubilantly in a quarter-final pop-shot of self (work)-validation. And a loser (unemployed, divorced) celebrity-obsessed (Heat reader?) stalker who lived in a self-made mesh of fantasy (Jeffrey Archer?) and ultimately turned (though the juries still out round our way) fucknut assassin. Military mask and matching handgun. I could have a go at guessing what Jill Dando represented to Barry George, if anything, but I'm stumped as a butter-fingered butcher by the cup Tim Henman's prepared to go to grassy hell and back for. To paraphrase Maxim - e's Completely And Utterly Lawn Crackers. Priceless.