Sext: Balance on account ending *** on 08 Feb is £XXXX.XX. Now playing: Cochon Ville by Sébastien Tellier. I look up. Overcast. A hand hooked into place by its thumb at the waist. 100 grammes de —————, s’il vous plaït. Life after sundown. No screen burn, but adjusting to night vision. Ouais. The scene is Paris, but the background is the paradise of the Moroccan countryside. I start whistling. The only thing warm is the blood in our veins. So I think of warm days as a getaway. I hear Hocquenghem laugh. What the young gay man says to the Arab is still an avowal of guilt: “The bourgeoisie exploits you … so fuck me!” Whistling. Put me on the floor, push me against the door, bang me through the wall—this is rough trade. This is rough trade. This is rough trade. Deeper underground. Confusion is a luxury which only the very, very young can possibly afford and you are not that young anymore. Street level. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Let’s have another drink. Now: running to the Farmiloe Building. Fantastic men in plastic masques. But isn’t this always the case? Look 23. I sketch the double-breasted jacket placed over the silk robe for no reason. GUEST. Then: smoked Loch Etive trout with a fennel and mixed radish salad. Before this: I’m on my knees somewhere. I see a critic, an actor and a businessman. PLUS ONE. Oliver Sim. I remember the last time: words exchanged en route to Rescue Rooms. I look up. Overcast. A hand lifted to touch lips. I spoke to a girl and a boy—at length—about strangling good guys, death in 1955 &c. My dictaphone did not switch on. I was left with her red lips and his black eyes. I went home with a friend. We used to do everything together. He paid. I think he does something that requires him to wear a suit. Tim Blanks. A director at the Tate. Other faces. (Not like mine). But I want to avoid him. What time is it? I remember: she enters a bar at The Savoy. Faces distort and melt around her. She leaves immediately. I didn’t. Well, I couldn’t. Not now. What else is there? A drink. Conversation. Now: walking under sodium-vapour. Whistling. Can you sing that? What? What you’re whistling. I mean, what is it? Well, I can’t sing because I’m having difficulty speaking. You seem lucid. OK. If we go out tonight, with that blood on your shirt, would it taste like a brand new shirt? ‘Cause I don’t know. Can you teach me how to fight? OK. So. That’s the song? Yes. Why that song? It came to me. How can a s/h/i/r/t/t/a/s/t/e/his shirt was still crisp as he came through the door. His hair was still in place except for one strand. His hand was held in a soft fist. His index finger pointing to the floor. Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop. The cuffs were bloody. The face was smudged. Streaks of rose madder and amaranth where he was struck. He moves forwards. I’m stupid. I k/n/o/w/./I/t/’/s stupid. I know. They are just lyrics. I look up. Prorsum? What? Is it? Yeah. Overcast. You look good. Isn’t it Latin or something? Hands swing and the knuckles touch. Yeah. It is.
I’ll miss you, I’ll miss our walks, trying to pretend we are in perfect step. Out of step now, sick on the floor, out of the room, fenced in, trapped. I can still hear the schoolchildren play outside at their usual 10:30. It always used to annoy me, as I was trying to sleep, but it doesn’t now. It seems alright. A replacement, a continuation. Their sound jangles around the room, it sounds so different from where I’ve been. A party, alone. Packed in with others, but never feeling so alone. People dance too close.
She was there, I had only gone because I hoped she would be. I had arrived early, as the the streetlights were coming on, so I took a long walk around the block, taking a few extra lefts and rights, past the Chicken Cottage and the Costcutter, then along a crescent that arced me out of my way, past a group of figures huddled under the entrance to the flats, shielding the flicking lighter from the wind.
Look, there’s the hardware store. It has a large cutout of a radiant man and woman in overalls, the woman handing the man a tin of paint, up his ladder, beaming. It has faded in the sun. I bought creosote from there, once.
Fuck me! What a night! Pure fuckin mental! It was messy! It was out of hand! It was out of space! I rapped on that track once, at Bagley’s, remember it?! Skibbadee handed me the mic, I got to shout “I’M GONNA SEND HIM TO OUTER SPACE TO FIIIND ANOTHER RACE!” Fuckin fantastic, those days…
The pills these days are shit, they don’t work. No love. I was chatting to this bloke in the kitchen, and he said something, I can’t remember what, but I had to push him over, crashed his arse on the coffee table, ash tinnies and CDs everywhere! Spilled the lines too, the fat fucker.
I can’t get you out of my head, your loving is all I think about, no I can’t get you out of my head, something something is all I think about. I can’t get this loop out of my head, no I think I’ll have to… I need to sit down. I can’t stop my leg jiggling, it wants to be somewhere else. I need to get out of here. I can hear sirens – can you hear them? Then again, they are always here, the background to day to day life here. When music is playing, and they come, they sometimes sync up. The New Cross Remix, I call it. I used to call it.
This isn’t how it advertised itself. It was fun, it was Technicolour, the music made me feel liquid, I melted into the company and was chief among them. I was in the kitchen, pouring pint after pint of water over myself, insisting to a stranger that “No, no… The drinks are on me!” I can’t remember what happened after that. Except her there. I had managed to talk to her, I was talking about an art gallery, I thought she’d be impressed, but her eyes kept dancing around the space behind me, smiles flickered on her lips as her eyes focussed on scenes I was oblivious to. I heard laughter. It was from my throat, but I didn’t feel it. I was just trying to breathe life into a long-dead persona.