Saturday, 28 March 2015

By The Minute

I went to the higher education facility to watch four women dance in salt. It was in the next town over. It was about rituals and saturation. I left work at lunch and on the top deck of the first bus I ate a meal deal and all its packaging and the bag it came in and the change from the fiver. The next town over had been straightened and polished since my last visit and I could see my face in the pavement. I spent one pound seventy nine on two books and went to catch the second bus. It drove with its door open, and when it turned to face the way it came I began to suspect I'd assumed too much about my ability to follow basic instructions. I told the driver all about my problems, using small words that fit through the holes in the perspex. I'd meant to catch the fifteen but ended up on the five. I was now late for the thing I'd set off two hours early to be early for. He cackled and burbled and said he hadn't been this amused since he found out his energy provider was the French government and he'd been giving them four or five pints' worth of his sterling every month for the honour of electrifying his hard-working British hovel. He said he couldn't help optimistically remembering that this didn't used to happen when we lived in the past like total idiots who knew nothing about how things were going to have to be in the realistic future. He naively syringed his memories of the public ownership of essential services into my astonished ear canals, then immediately realised he'd have to bury the bus with himself in it under the nearest rugby pitch to atone for this heretical sharing of fact. By this time I was disgracefully late, so I told him I couldn't stick around to help but that I hoped I'd never see him or his opinions again. The third bus took me to the higher education facility, where I crept obnoxiously into the theatre in time to see four women kneeling on a bed of salt scooping air into their mouths.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Squish

Kids in Lidl shouted Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at each other and prodded donuts unforgivably. The SWAT team asked them not to come back. Sliced mature cheddar was 99p. Improbable hashtags hung from the ceiling next to photos of meat. I piled packets and boxes of what I didn't go in for between my arms and chin. A goblin asked its dad what's for dinner and he said orange juice. Tubby magazines flopped their guts out next to the wine. That guy from that time in the pub slapped a divider on the conveyor belt. I thanked him profusely in five languages while we waited a couple of hours for a problem to dissolve.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Something At Least

The underpass has been turned into a bath, with cement soup for water and just enough room between its surface and the tunnel ceilings for a human head to gasp and remember its swimming lessons, when Mrs Fuck Knows kicked it into the leisure centre swimming pool on primary school afternoons, for it to do spluttering widths in the shallow end while at the bottom of the other end the kids with gills were having underwater conversations before wrapping their mouths around black bricks and shooting into the air like buttered dolphins, and landing, on their hands, on the edge of the diving board.
Fill the pool with cement, Mrs Fuck Knows, I used to think, and we'll see who can follow your strict incomprehensible instructions.
So far nobody's surfaced in this particular bath. The lack of fanfare surrounding the project makes me doubt that it's art. But it follows on from all that fog that hovered around one end of a footbridge a couple of weeks ago, which I didn't see but was certainly a big fan of. I'd go as far as saying that that was the best thing I haven't seen all year. Its only flaw, which no-one seems to be willing to talk about, is that it didn't appear on any of my ways to and from work. Unlike Giant Public Bath of Wet Cement. Also unlike Never Open Bagels and The Pickled Athlete, though neither of these are really works of art, which isn't to say they're not putting any effort in.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Pearskin

Obviously I've been forgetting to ring Forgetful Martin a lot and noticing things I forget in my own life and doing nothing to help myself remember them. It's never too late to not improve. Part of my job is to tell people to enter rooms, and press a button that enables the entering of the room, and I can forget to press the button up to forty times a day, and go home stinking of quizzical glances, thrown my way when the room-enterer, having pushed the door and found it unforgiving, comes back to my desk and wonders whether I'm doing it on purpose. Sometimes a crowd of unlikelihood enthusiasts gathers, between the desk and the doors, while a white-gloved man taking notes on a clip board shakes his head in business-as-usual amazement.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Fruit Beyond Price

I'm reading a book that cost seventeen quid and I'm not sure what fifty percent of its sentences mean. The first of its two introductions says style is a complicated terrain. Everything in the following two hundred pages sounds absolutely something. The style is uphill underwater. The plan is, after I'm done, to read an article about the book that sums it up in five or six sentences, and adopt these, garnished with a couple of go-to obscenities, as my uncompromising and sexy opinion, should I ever be asked what I learned from spending nearly five pints' worth of quids on a rectangle full of words, and what on earth the point of all the effort and expense might've been, and whether or not I'm sorry.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Nixon Affinity Brunch

Forgetful Martin came round, fixed a cupboard door and talked about roofing and memory lapses. I've found that if I'm worried about forgetting something, one thing that can help is to apply the meaningful end of a pen or pencil to some paper and make a shape or series of shapes that will evoke the thing to be remembered, and lacking the ability to draw anything that looks like what it's supposed to look like, I most often resort to aligning little groups of "letters" into "words" that describe the thing to be remembered, and, if necessary, underneath these "words",  other shapes called "numbers", that represent the "time" by which the thing to be remembered is to be remembered. Or if you're in the future you could chisel these words and numbers into the little yelping screen that lives in your pocket and abrades your thighs whenever a deadline looms large enough. Just some ideas Martin. He became a mumbling mist and rose through the ceiling, leaving a faint brown smudge and the smell of incompleteness.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

To Help

I go to the section where the magazines about books live. I ooze hope. The American ones - Onslaught, Paragraph, The Wagon - twitch their corners and rustle their edges. The English ones - Mmmhmm, Apt, The Brow - stare at my mouth and sniff. I take all six to the counter and ask the fragrant young waltzer which one will make me feel like its purchase is a small part of what I should be doing with my life. Halfway through the sentence she puts one hand on my collar and the other on the back of my head and says it's all on the internet, everything is on the internet, if it doesn't light up it's not worth looking at, get out, get out of my area.