Thursday, 23 October 2014

Fine, I'll Tell Him

Some people don't use the underpass on the way to work. They don't save any time by doing this. It's large and arena-like, with indirect paths, but on the roads above they have to wait for a gap in 40mph traffic, and get through it without the help of stop signs or pedestrian pomp. There's a story going round I haven't heard.

A man rapped his head off right in front of us. It tumbled to the front of the stage and was picked up and passed, rhyming the whole time, between three hundred pairs of hands raised high in disbelief. His body stayed onstage in a floor-length black gown, shimmying and jerking with a microphone held to its neck.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


I requested and paid for a piping hot sandwich and the man said I'll bring it to you and I sat down. I read the paper given away on raining morning corners by the evangelical ponchos who've lately begun unzipping my coat and tucking it under my armpit while saying paper, paper, paper, you will not live without this news. And you get it indoors and it's three-quarter page adverts for slightly larger phones and pictures of professional disgraces with incomprehensible teeth.
The sandwich didn't appear. I put the paper back on the shelf and tilted my head at the man. He asked if I was the man with the sandwich and I wanted to say no, I'm the man without the sandwich, my popping up here with an angled head ought to make that fairly clear, wouldn't you say, but I just said yes. He said he looked everywhere for me. I told him I was starving to death, and he threw four pound coins one by one at my face, screaming well here's your bastard money back you filthy haddock. I couldn't help thinking his response was disproportionate, and was reassured by the next day's free paper, which contained news of his protracted and gloopy end-of-shift kidnapping, opposite a full-page advert for a better kind of water.

Saturday, 4 October 2014


I get emails from Honda. They're glad I bought one, and eager to know if I'm also glad I didn't spend the money on something else, like a degree I might actually use, or a small holiday on an unmapped island, or enough sardines and gas masks to last through what's coming. I haven't read any of these emails, only guessed what they want from their titles and first lines. I don't need to get any more involved in the life of the person they're intended for, who isn't me, who lives a few thousand miles away under a similar name and nearly identical email address. I've been sent his friend or business associate's vacation snaps, featuring a baseball stadium in China with directions and a let me know what you think when you get there. I responded saying I keep telling you people I'm not him, though Google has a little pop-up flag that insists I'm in the intended recipient. I've been invited to urgent-sounding seminars and asked what I thought of the synagogue last week. Now it's a needy car dealer and a Chinese baseball nerd. And I don't want to tell Google it's lying when it says all my messages are for me, in case this either triggers a global knowledge crisis or it says it just doesn't care, try telling someone and see if they believe we could ever make a mistake. I wonder what deluge of astonishing treats intended for me the other guy might be enjoying, while he remarks to his rabbi that his recent Honda purchase has been remarkably hassle-free.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Our Thinking Equally

The advertising-enhancers have been quiet lately. I hope they're planning something gigantic. For a good month I've not seen a single thudding obscenity scrawled across an immaculate chin, no happy genitalia slapped across a logo, and no oh for fuck's sake smeared over a slogan.
For the summer, the billboard by the roundabout showed a blue sky with popcorn clouds behind six towers of silver squares that spelled out HATE.
Somebody used to tear down the new posters on the billboard on the corner as soon as they went up, a knack for disfigurement that gladdened the spleen and made questions grow: do they climb up there somehow or use a thing on a long stick or what? Are they one person or a few? Are they afraid of getting caught? Have I met them and not known?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Took Me Ages

Concerns have hatched: Your last entry fell into some kind of hole shortly after its appearance. Could you bother us with an explanation?
It was a durational text not designed to be viewable for any longer than five minutes.
You could perhaps have announced this.
I didn't realise that that was what it was until I realised it was over.
We brim with suspicion.
Also there was a particularly bad comma. And two phrases that seemed to demand a semi-colon be inserted between them. But when the semi-colon was inserted, it looked completely unnecessary. I was signed off work for two weeks with acute perplexity while I added it, looked away from it, looked back at it, removed it, looked away from its absence, tried to think about something else, looked back at its absence, then re-added it, over and over again.
We detect a lack of commitment.
Fortunately a film was made of this interlude, a sort of tedious crescendo which is lapping up the plaudits in niche cinemas nowherewide.
Had you considered either releasing the thing in both versions or choosing to care less about piffling trinkets?
We believe the content of the thing contained regrettable details.
Not true.
And that there was never a semi-colon or (or nor) the glaring absence of one.
Could you then enlighten us on the subject matter of the thing?

Monday, 8 September 2014

To Be A See Also

Here is a few slices of what we did last Christmas. (It's still basically August and you're going on about December already are you, you rotten bollock, while we still owe the butcher a grand for the outdoor meat marathon, and the pineapple wallah's got his wide tangy blades at our necks twice a day saying pay up for Pina Coladamegeddon or I'll really set the fucking juice loose? Sorry. I just wanted to share.)
This Christmas we've formed a cross-continental task force to assault all eleven of your seasonal senses and you'll be like Christ that's nice. In the meantime the rejections from agents make me feel like I'm progressing with the second book, while the third book is still a festival of detritus awaiting a suitable container. I really appreciate you putting these things in front of your eyes. Thanks.

Thursday, 4 September 2014


Outside the front of the train station in a place I wasn't expecting to visit, a man walking a hammerhead Labrador asked me if I knew what time it was. I looked behind and above me, having assumed there'd be a big accurate clock there and that we might then have a terrific little chinwag about how we don't look up enough when we're in cities, it's nice to notice the good bits every once a year or so, isn't it, god you're so right, nobody has ever met an architect. After I'd untwisted my neck and looked into his baffled eyes, I took out my phone, and it wasn't displaying any time because the battery'd gone. I looked at the Labrador's two-foot wide head and back at the man and said no. He said thanks for trying.