It’s Sunday, the best day of the week. Poisonous remnants of last night’s vino destructo lumber around my cardiovascular system, but I wouldn’t call it a full-blown hangover. This fuzzy, achy feeling is nothing two of pints of Ribena and a day of frenetic activity won’t cure. I tell myself that feeling slightly woozy during yesterday’s somnambulistic drone gig was well worth today’s mild discomfort, but as I slide my diary from the bedside table onto the duvet, a searing bolt of pain passes between my temples causing me momentarily to doubt my Ribena theory. A blank page. Right then, I’d better make some art before apathy kicks in and leads me to the sofa; where I’ll have the option of remaining, in this unflattering knickers-and-a-jumper combo, whining at my housemates to bring me food from now until nightfall.
A friend has recommended I research Mark Thomas’ ‘100 Acts Of Minor Dissent’: a selection of sociopolitical subversions such as ‘causing a flashmob in an Apple store’ and ‘winding up estate agents’. It makes for inspiring reading. With trembling hand I write myself a list entitled ’10 Inferior Acts Of Very Minor Dissent’. Great. Now I’ve got ten things to squeeze into my day of rest. I’m having a blast already.
This will show the world, or at least the neighbours, that I’m a free sprit – unaffected by the corrupt world of fashion and unwilling to conform to stereotypical gender presentation. I will not have my individuality suppressed by this patriarchal, consumerist culture! Oh, it’s raining really hard. The new plants are swimming in the flowerbed below my bedroom window. I was going to walk down the road barefoot, in nothing but the unflattering knickers-and-a-jumper combo, but I might catch a chill. I’m already hung-over as fuck. Right, never mind about that one, onto my second Inferior Act.
Empty Nitrous Oxide Canisters discovered under a park bench next to Special Brew cans make a rather futuristic hanging mobile, if suspended from an old wire coat hanger procured from a skip down the road, by fishing wire that was just ‘in my garden’. Nobody’s going to be mistaking it for an Alexander Calder… but it could be a punk art comment about the recent glamorisation of NOS as a recreational drug, rather than the thing that makes squirty-cream squirt. It’s not though, because I made that up after I’d tied the whole thing together and it had been rejected as a bathroom decoration by my housemate for being “a bit Blue Peter”.
Somewhere, a neighbour joins in. Trees obscure our view of one another but it doesn’t matter. We do it six or seven times before I suddenly feel self-conscious and duck back inside.
Yes, I’m going to gib off the traditional British Sunday roast, and eat a sandwich instead. It’s two fingers up to the old institution of breaking your fast after church on the day of worship with some overly salted veg and the severed, antibiotic-ridden limb of some poor miserable beast. Clearly I won’t require such a decadent feast as I won’t have been working up an appetite by praying to a God that has people killing one another in ‘his’ name.
Fresh sourdough bread, still warm from the oven: thickly cut. Dijonnaise. Watercress. Fried free-range egg, salted and peppered. Warm sundried tomatoes. Pinch of chopped black olives. Regular Mayo.
(I ignore two important phone calls whilst devouring the above and am not even slightly angered by egg-yolk spillage on white jumper.)
Sometimes, well fairly often, I feel as though my heart might physically rip or burst from all the love I feel towards my friends. Not just burst, but explode like a canon of red matter, glittering stardust, magic rockets and pink light. It seems grossly unfashionable to display your vulnerability by going around telling people you actually ‘love’ them, even when you do, in case for some reason it makes them feel uncomfortable or as though they owe you something in return, or think that you want to have sex with them. Screw that, I’m doing it with good intention.
I send a text to my old pal Crystal Dave (pictured above) telling him that I love and miss him.
Chase and Status – Blind faith ft. Liam Bailey. The official video is a disturbingly realistic portrayal of early 90’s rave culture. It reminds me of teenage trips to Lydd Airport in boy racer cars, feeling way out of my depth in the back seat as we raced parallel around blind corners with a glove-box full of illegal cargo and a boot full of zip-up tracksuit tops to keep us warm in the morning. These are good memories, despite making me shake my head at my own lack of moral judgment in those days. I dance like a nutter around the living room, pens wedged betwixt middle fingers in place of glow-sticks. I’ve changed my mind; this is horrible, horrible! Turn it off!
Instead of going to a doctor and wasting valuable NHS resources on removing a non-life- threatening skin blemish, I persuade my housemate to play ‘Home Surgery’ with me. We need boiling water, razor-blades and Lavender oil. After a few precise incisions, that red insect-bite scar on the inside of my calf muscle should become a perfect diamond shape that will hopefully turn white and fade away. The cutting hurts. I wriggle around and bleed a bit and look at the wound, which is decidedly unrhomboid. We both agree that it was probably best left alone.
To whomever this may concern; I’m not precious about what happens to my inert flesh, so please dispose of it in the cheapest, most environmentally friendly way possible. Thanks. However, I sometimes romanticise about my headstone. Let’s go with, “In life and in love she tried hard…and succeeded.’ No, scratch that, I want Martin Gore lyrics:
Now I’ve got things to do
And I’ve said before that I know you have too
When I’m not there
In spirit I’ll be there
Here is a plea
From my heart to you
Nobody knows me
As well as you do
You know how hard it is for me
To shake the disease
That takes hold of my tongue
In situations like these
(Oh God, the bit where Martin earnestly sings ‘understand me-ee’ to camera and he’s wearing his purple lipstick and leather jacket with nothing on underneath, looking like a frizz-haired, transvestite James Dean. Subversion of the icon; simply iconic. Or is there a single word for ‘icons of alternative culture’? Answers on a postcard please linguists.)
Always best done late at night. Up close to the microphone, lips slicked with gloss for extra lubrication of pronunciation, I capture the following onomatopoeic words and sounds:
Lissssssp, slip p p p, tsk, tsk, phwssk,
whissssk, lissp, slip p p p, tsk, tsk, phwssk,
whissssk, lisp, slip p p p, tsk, whisp, slip,
ssssss, hisssss, click, slip, bliss.
loop X 7
(Try reading it out loud slowly whilst being aware of your breathing, it has it’s own rhythm that’s really hard to resist. So strange when you write something that has its own agenda.)
It is the ‘es’ sound, close swallowing and salivary gland secretion that, when played back through headphones at full volume, make the nape of my neck tingle. Lying back on the bed, eyes closed, I empty my head of superfluous thoughts and let my senses respond to the aural excitation. Sleep soon follows cranial arousal, bringing dreams of his fingers teasing my curls. Digital stimulation.
Yeah, I know that’s only nine things, but between eating chocolate and having wistful daydreams about a boy, they took all day – which was the ultimate point of the exercise, OXI? OXI. Okay:
By Rachel James