Wednesday, 15 April 2015

P.O. Box.

I am great at meeting people. It's almost like I'm a magnet for people. I meet them all the time. Wherever I go. People, people, people. Some people have told me they find it impossible to meet people, especially in London where there's only 8.3 million of them, but it comes very naturally to me. I'm good at it. No, I'm GREAT at meeting people. It's just that once I've met a person, I ruin both of our lives. Immediately.

In the 1990's, when meeting my then girlfriend's mum for the very first time, I accidentally bit her. It's hard to come back from that. Especially as my then girlfriend and I had split up on the way to meeting her mum, it might have looked like I wasn't exactly taking it well. I'm sure it must have helped her with the decision not to see me again though. I was once introduced to a man who looked like Dave from Chas & Dave and I told him I hated Chas & Dave. I don't, by the way. They're great. I only said it for a joke because he looked like Dave from Chas & Dave and then he told me he WAS Dave from Chas & Dave. When I met my old flatmate, he constantly talked about how in love he was with a woman called Cheryl. They saw each other all the time and she thought of him as her best friend, exactly what he didn't want. So, to impress her, he decided to invite her round to meet me. (I know and you know. But he didn't know) As soon as I met Cheryl I said "Charmed, I'm sure". I may as well have said "Run for your life. I'm a cunt". I realised it was a stupid thing to say so, to put her at her ease, instead of shaking her hand I decided to kiss it. That didn't help at all. Especially as I loudly, disgustingly and completely unexpectedly farted at the same time. I don't know if they ever got together. I just know that I haven't seen him since 1995.

Even yesterday I met the new window cleaner in my street. He pointed out how nice the weather was and I replied with, and I quote: "Yes. Sun Lewisham time".

But at least I met him. It just didn't work out. It never does. That man has a skill and he has confidence. Why the hell is he talking to me? Pick on someone your own depth. Leave me alone. Even if I hadn't just said the most gormless thing anyone has ever said, what would we have in common? I don't know how ladders or suds work. I can't banter with people while whistling and winking and if I knew how to clean a window then I wouldn't be completely dependent on him doing it.

But at least I met him. And he was right about the weather. It was beautiful. Even Lewisham looks lovely in the sunshine. There's a sort of shimmering haze that beams off the graffiti and sick. I decided to go for a nice stroll around the town and passed a church with an adorable little bric-a-brac market right at the front. I say an adorable little bric-a-brac market, basically a load of angry people put everything they hated into plastic bags and then fucked the bags over the church wall but it was as close as Lewisham gets to a Moroccan bazaar. It was mainly just clothes and baby toys lying in a puddle but, as I passed, I couldn't help but notice a large box sitting away from all the other junk. I couldn't help noticing it because it had about 15 Doctor Who DVDs in it.

Right. What ones do I not have? Even as I got closer to the box, I knew this was going to be pointless. I have them all. It's not like they found Fury From the Deep and put it out and forgot to tell me. They always tell me. But I'll have a look anyway. The DVDs were in great condition so whoever buys them has got a great bargain. That's if you COULD buy them. There was nothing around to suggest you could. No till or charity money box. Not even a person. It was just a box of stuff sitting on the pavement all on its own. And it wasn't just Doctor Who DVDs in there. There were two Alan Partridge DVDs too. I have them already. And all The League of Gentlemen DVDs, which I also have. And Dark City, one of my favourite films. The same DVD sits pride of place on my shelf at home. So many CDs in there too. Most of which I had and a few that I think I wanted to buy at the time but glad I didn't because I'm sure I'd have regretted it. I have quite a few regrets in my CD collection myself. There must have been 30 Star Wars figures in there, just like the ones I have and even a Death Star T-Shirt almost the same as mine. And underneath the DVDs was a pile of collected Kerrang! magazines from the '80's.

I have found my soulmate. 

Somewhere in Lewisham is my best mate. My life-long buddy. My brother from another mother. My... Friend. He likes EVERYTHING that I like. I looked further into the box hoping to find psoriasis cream or some bottles of very, very vegan water or a really adorable dog. I mean, he's bound to have asthma like me because... Well, look at him. He IS me. And he's right here in Lewisham. My BEST FRIEND lives in Lewisham and for the first time in my life I'm excited to meet someone. I'm not afraid to meet someone. I actually WANT to meet someone. My best friend. We can watch Genesis Of The Daleks together and record our own commentary to put out as a podcast. We can go to Forbidden Planet together and buy those Doctor Who t-shirts designed to look like The Doctor's clothes. Him Tom Baker, I Peter Davison. We'll go to see Morrissey together and talk about how great he is all the way there and about how terrible he was all the way back. I'll introduce him to great vegan restaurants and he can show me where the best Heavy Metal bars in London are. And we'll laugh. We'll laugh all the time. Of course, we will because my best friend and I don't just like the same things. We also hate the same things too. And we'll spend all our long, sunny days taking the piss out of idiots and laughing and even laughing at each other. Yes! We're best friends so we won't mind having a matey pop at one another. I tell you what, I'll certainly be having a go at him for throwing Doctor Who DVDs out, that's for sure. "Mate!", I'll say. "Why you throwing these bloody brilliant DVDs out? Mum think they're too scary for you?" and we'll laugh. We'll go to the pub for a tankard of the barkeep's very finest - OR TEN - and I'll say "Mate! Why did you throw these DVDs out?" Ha! Yeah. Yeah, no, but really. Why... Why did he throw all this stuff out?

He's dead, isn't he? My best friend in the whole world. A man who knows me, who gets me, who is me... and instead of meeting me, he's dead. Typical. He's even just as selfish as me.

But my best friend left me with a message: stop looking at crap left out on the street and DO SOMETHING. They say that no matter what you do in this life, we all end up in a box. Not true. Only the good ones end up in a box. They leave their legacy behind them for everyone to enjoy long after they've gone. The rest of us end up in two boxes and one of them is full of crap and gets dumped in the street. I really can't be two boxes. And I thank my best friend for teaching me that.  

Friday, 10 April 2015

Do Not Read This.

Something changed the day I saw my beloved dog eating the contents of a discarded nappy. I saw her happily eating something on the ground and assumed she had found some bread or something. As I got closer, I saw it was a full nappy and... I dunno. Jerk became slightly less magical that day. You'd think looking at the most disgusting and sad thing you'd ever seen would be bad but you'd be wrong. It was amazing. Amazing because that was it. I've seen the most disgusting and sad thing that I will ever see. I've got it over with. All the bad and sad things I see from now on won't quite seem so tragic when I remind myself of that sunny summer morning when my dog ate a whole nappy full of human faeces. And the great thing about seeing the most disgusting and sad thing that I will ever see is that if I'm looking at it, then it isn't me. Yes, yes, yes. I could look in a mirror and think that I was the most disgusting and sad thing that I will ever see but I wasn't looking in a mirror. I was looking at my dog. Eating shit.

I always think of that day when the weather starts to get nicer again. The sun comes out, I go out without a coat, put on my sunglasses and just think about that awful, awful day. I also think about my psoriasis. The sun helps my psoriasis clear up. Also, because I like wearing t-shirts in the sunshine, I want my psoriasis to clear up quickly to stop people thinking I've clearly just risen from the dead. So, at the first sign of good weather I get all my anti-psoriasis ointments and creams out and vow to apply them to my skin every day. This normally last for about a week. My psoriasis is pretty horrible to look at but it's nowhere near as bad as seeing your dog eat poo so I just give up after a while and learn to live with my lumps and flakes. 

The thing is, after about 3 days of putting on lotions, the psoriasis gets incredibly dry and sort of flattens itself. You can then peel it off bit by bit. It's very, very addictive and disgusting. But that's not the fun part. The fun part comes on day 4. Because now my psoriasis isn't flakes anymore. It's dust. Even if I just lightly rub my psoriasis riddled elbow a little bit, it's like slamming two chalk dusters together. Just a massive white cloud of dust. Basically, it's the dust of my corpse.

And I love it. On day 4, I can't leave myself alone. Rubbing at my psoriasis and watching it float away like I was grating the very finest of fine Parmesan. Even if I'm in public, I'll give myself a quick rub and watch the floaty cloud of death appear.

Yesterday was day 4 and it was a beautiful day. I was meeting friends in Greenwich and, as it was so lovely, I decided to walk. Greenwich looked perfect in the sunshine and, while walking through the park there, it felt good to be alive. The sun in the sky, the birds singing merrily, the grass bright green and lush. All this ruined only by me walking around leaving a floating trail of my own dead skin behind me. 

But it is SO ADDICTIVE. You must have picked a scab before? There's a real sense of I HAVE TO DO THIS about it so imagine that feeling multiplied by a thousand. It feels so good. I don't even need to pick at it. Just a quick rub and I leave death floating behind me. And I can do it in public. I can do it in a public park on a sunny day in front of everyone because, as horrible as it is, it is nothing compared to seeing the thing you love the most in the world eating shit and licking her lips. I have seen the most disgusting and sad thing that I will ever see and therefore it doesn't bother me in the slightest that I am leaving tiny flakes of my own dead skin to fly off my body and float away behind me as I walk. 

Unless there was someone behind me. I wouldn't like that. I wouldn't like that at all. No, because if someone was behind me then they'd have a load of my dead skin landing on them. My dead skin on their clothes or hair or face. Why hadn't I thought of that before? I was too busy enjoying the freedom that the sight of a dog eating shit gave me to think about anyone else. I mean... If someone was behind me while I was basically flinging my dead skin over my shoulder... well, that would be revolting. So I looked round. And that's when I saw him.

A little boy. Looking disgusted and sad. Yet still licking his ice cream cone. 

Jerk, you're off the hook.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Gimme Shelter.

The great thing about living in London is that everyone thinks you're a dick and won't speak to you. I don't know how people can bear living in the barbaric "outside London" where people confuse respect and friendliness with talking. "I hate London", they say like you're in anyway interested. "No one talks to you on the tube". Take a look around, mate. These are commuters on a tube train. Angry, angry London commuters forced to be sardined together and read the Metro. Who here do you really want to talk to?

I traveled back home on the tube on Friday. The downside of travelling by tube is that you're unaware of the weather, so as my journey went on and I saw more and more soaking wet passengers get on, I started to regret not bringing an umbrella. Not that I ever bring an umbrella. That's one thing you can be sure of about me. I will never have an umbrella. Also, I will always regret not having an umbrella. 

A man sitting in front of me looked at me and raised his eyebrows twice quickly. That's fine. He's clearly not from London and doesn't understand that eyebrow cheekiness is just as illegal here as talking. It's still a form of communication. A few seconds later, I looked over and he did it again. Great. As always, the tube nutter is attracted to me. Why must I always be the most beautiful thing on the underground? A few more seconds pass and he raises his eyebrows twice quickly at me again, this time adding a nod. Well, I now have no choice. I'm going to have to punch him. He has broken all laws of the tube. He has taken an interest in something and that is not allowed. A good punch to the throat will let him know that he is in London now. His nod started to get a bit more... noddy. His eyebrows were frantically bouncing and his nod was insistent. He was actually using his nod to point. At my shoes. 

You know when two old Volkswagen Beetle drivers pass each other they toot their horn or flash their lights at one another as a sign of respect because they're in the same club? Well, he was doing that with shoes. We were both wearing the same Converse shoes. 

That's not the same thing at all, is it? Old Beetles are probably quite hard to come by these days, I imagine. Mass produced popular shoes, less so. It's not like we were going to get into a deep conversation about whether or not we still have the original laces or did we have to go on eBay and try to find the exact insoles from a spare parts shoe expert. I smiled at him though. If he leaves London thinking it was amazing because he saw a man wearing the same shoes as him, then let him have his fun. I hope that will be of some comfort to him on his deathbed. As he got up to leave, he curled out an almighty turd onto the London Tube Rule Book and spoke to me. "Goodbye", he said.

Yeah, idiot. Goodbye. Fucking stupid idiot.

As he got off the train I saw him taking an umbrella out of his bag.

Why didn't I bring an umbrella? I'm an idiot.

I never bring an umbrella. I don't know why I never bring an umbrella but I never, ever bring an umbrella. Maybe it's because I'm just not that uptight about a bit of rain. Maybe I just don't care about anything. Mavericks never care. Maybe it's because I don't actually have an umbrella. There are more and more soaking wet passengers on the tube now. I really wish I had an umbrella.

A man and woman get on and sit near me. The man sits right beside me, the woman sits facing him. They are a couple. I can tell because they are arguing, but at least they're arguing quietly. They both have umbrellas. That's also not a good sign. If they were happy, they'd have one umbrella. Yes, they'd both get a bit wet and look all sexy but at least they'd have each other and who cares about anything if you have that? Is it still raining, I hadn't noticed... etc. 

"I don't want to talk about it", he said in his London accent. See? Londoners get it. You're on the tube: no talking! "I'm not being unreasonable", she replied in her northern accent.

Ah, well. They NEVER understand the tube, do they? This is the London Underground where every carriage is the Quiet Carriage but still their argument whispered on. To be fair, I couldn't really hear what they were arguing about but their faces said everything. She looked tired, he looked furious. I heard lots of "I don't care" and "You don't listen" from him but I couldn't hear her at all and that's fine by me. Like I said, they were breaking the rules but at least they were doing it quietly. Until... he said "shut up". Not loudly. Just louder than before. Clearer. Nastier. "Shut up". 

She responded but every time she spoke he got louder. "Just shut up", he kept saying. People around us felt uncomfortable, she looked mortified. "Stupid bitch", he said loud and clear and everyone around looked at him. I was one of them. "Got a problem?", said the 40 year old teenager. And that's when I broke my own rule: I spoke to someone on the tube.

I thought about northerners. Talking in a friendly, cheery tone. Warm. I replied quietly and with a little laugh, thinking that would help (also, I was a bit scared). "I'm sitting next to a man who just said 'Stupid bitch' on the tube".

He ignored me and the couple went back to arguing. Her quietly, him getting louder all the time. Everyone around us feeling very uncomfortable. He must have said "Stupid bitch" another 6 times before getting his phone and earphones out. That was it. The man had spoken: You're a stupid bitch, the argument is over and now I'm going to listen to Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. I don't quite know what happened next but clearly, after speaking to that horrible man on the tube, I'd got a taste for it. I started talking to the woman. "Bloody Londoners", I said to her. "Always so unfriendly".

Turns out she was from Halifax, which is nice because I've got friends there and I've been a few times so we chatted about that and her work and why she moved to London. It was a nice chat. It was a very nice chat because she was friendly and I could feel him getting angrier. It was a very brief chat though as the tube arrived at her stop and she got up to leave. He stayed seated. "You coming?", she said to him. "I'm going home", he replied". She said goodbye to me and left. 

The horrible man and I sat there for two more stops. Sitting silently and uncomfortably, like all good Londoners. Then, once again, he broke the rules. "You don't know what she's like", he said. Again, I was northern friendly and northern cheery in my tone (because I was still a bit scared). "I know I don't know her", I said. "But I know a bit about you. You're a bloke that calls his girlfriend a stupid bitch in public". He leaned into my face and invited me to go fuck myself. And then he got up and left.

I understand the barbarians of "outside London" a bit more now. We don't like talking to each other in public places in London but maybe the "outside London" weirdos don't like it either. Maybe they've just figured out that if we're all a bit friendlier then it's much harder for people to be horrible. Being horrible in London is easy. It's normal. But being horrible in front of people who are friendly, warm and welcoming? That's tough. And look where our commuter isolation gets us: being told to go fuck yourself by a man who considers his girlfriend a stupid bitch.

Oh, look. He's forgotten his umbrella.