Prompt: Carry

Carry on luggage- The last hold-luggage holiday I was on was to the South of France with my parents in 2009. My parents go to the South of France for a summer holiday quite a lot- they’re off there again next week in fact, the spazzes. We stayed in Juan Les Pins in 2009, just down the bay from Cannes. I remember helplessly repeating ‘wan ley pan’ to a bus driver one afternoon, until a long-haired Frenchman in his forties leaned over and slurred ‘jou-an ley pan’ at him, then shot me a wink-and-click-noise ‘sorted’ thing.

The Carry On films- Parochial British sex-comedy films of the 60’s and 70’s. They still show them regularly on ITV and the even more downmarket Channel 5. I flicked past one late at night recently and thought to myself, with a surprising strength of feeling, ‘I’d rather die than watch that’.

Carrie Bradshaw- The wish-fulfillment little princess materialism thing on Sex and the City is unpleasant. Samantha was good though- that voice and manner are very memorable. Kim Cattrall is kinda interesting.


Dead Calm

There was a pile of recordable VHS tapes in my house growing up. They were stored in the cabinet below the TV at one stage, then later on they were relegated to the end cupboard in the little study room. My dad had an extra one stashed away at the top of his wardrobe I discovered. It was labelled ‘The hand that rocks the cradle’ and, as it happened, genuinely was ‘The hand that rocks the cradle’. I think there was a pattern to the stuff my dad recorded off the TV, because the only other full movies in the general pile were the ocean-set Dead Calm, Basic Instinct, and Someone to Watch Over Me, all of which are also about cheating, with maybe a ‘wicked woman’ to blame, and that being an exciting thing. In other news, I quite like this song:


Prompt: Something someone told you about yourself that you never forgot.

The best compliment I ever received was from my girlfriend of a time. It was a warm evening and we were stood in shadow on a little balcony overlooking a courtyard. She said “You just get better and better”. It was music to my wonky self-esteemy, introvert ears. I’m sure it would be music to anyone’s ears.

The prompt threw up a lot of bad memories, of fucking awful insults and generally unhappy situations. I was going to just avoid them. But, so I don’t come across a prick with my balconies and courtyards and gushing admirers, I’ll say what the worst insult I’ve received was. It was a hectic setting as opposed to a peaceful one- the center of town on a Saturday night, on a busy main road outside a nightclub. It was said to me by a friend of my American flatmate, both of whom essentially had no respect for me. (I should have been striking out and making a better life for myself, but I wasn’t capable of it). She said ‘You’re weird, but not in an interesting way’. Anyone reading this might be totally unmoved by that, consider it inconsequential silliness. But Good Lord, it did sting at the time.


An Odd Trio

In response to the daily post’s writing prompt An Odd Trio

Today, you can write about whatever you what — but your post must include, in whatever role you see fit, a cat, a bowl of soup, and a beach towel.

I’ve considered the possibility of getting a cat. I’ve come to realise that I wouldn’t like to live with a dog. All a dog really wants to do, in its heart of hearts, is put on a gilet and go rowing. But I just want to slink around the house mostly, so it wouldn’t work. I’d spook the creature out. I’d feel like an abuser. A cat would be much better suited. Me and the cat, being wee resentful dicks together. Soup I’m not a fan of at all. It’s actually surprising how awful it is in every regard. There are so many reasons to dislike it: It’s very often the consistency of diarrhea, I scald my mouth every time I have it, this old man I know dribbles it down his chin onto his big gut and doesn’t notice, I’ve sickened myself once or twice on the gloopy tinned tomato version, the metal spoon feels unfriendly in my mouth when there’s only liquid soup on it, the grim, depressed-person spectacle of pressing down on the surface of the soup and watching it flood the spoon, when you get a bit of bread like sodden tissue paper on a spoonful, the fact that it’s associated with hospitals and old people’s homes. It’s just a nightmare foodstuff! It’s profoundly terrible. As far as beach towels go, I own one which I bought in Malta in 2007 when I went on a holiday there with my friends. It’s black with a depiction of a big yellow bus and the words ‘Malta Bus’. They had these rickety old ex-American school buses running around the dusty roads there, with the interiors covered in rosary beads and other Catholic jumble. I’ve had a good long run with that towel, very fond of it.

Re: Paris attacks- Fucking psychotic fascists. I’m done listening seriously to talk of ‘faith’, of any kind. There’s nothing to understand. Richard Dawkins’ twitter feed has been the best thing to be looking at in the past few days, for me.


I Just Called to Say I Love You

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Your Number One.”

What was the #1 song when you were born? Write about how the song relates (or not!) to your personality.

It’s ‘I just called to say I love you’ by Stevie Wonder, or Steven Wonder, as he must have been originally. I don’t like that song at all. It’s miserable. I get frustrated even trying to sing that title line, with the dreary pace of it. You could get up and get a glass of juice in the dead air between ‘I just called’ and ‘To say’, then go ahead and make a sandwich and reply to a few emails before ‘I Love you’ finally arrives. You need the patience of a saint. I didn’t always hate it though. It was in the air when I was very young. In fact I was completely fascinated by it, this person calling to say ‘I love you’. It pulled back the curtain on a netherworld of adult autonomy and telephone use and making weird meaningful declarations to other people. And it wasn’t just some shit sentimental song, as I recognise it to be now, no- it was definitive; that’s what life was like out there mood-wise, I understood. Until the next song came along presumably.

Spontaneous Human Combustion

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Bedtime Stories.”

What was your favorite book as a child?

Anything macabre was good with me, I’m remembering. Yes, macabre. I like that word and I’m sticking with it. Macabre covers ‘scary’ but also the likes of Roald Dahl’s collection of otherworldly tales, such as the one about the poker player who goes to India to train with a reclusive yogi to see through cards and ultimately also levitate, which I loved. He fears his wayward use of the clairvoyant power will result in his death, which indeed it may have, you discover at the end. ‘The Book of the Unexplained’ was another- it was a big encyclopedia-sized hardcover thing, hundreds of pages thick, crammed with text and black and white photos. How it got to be in the house was a mystery to me. It was just there, downstairs in the little study room. There was no telling where it had come from as far as I was concerned. That made for a great experience reading it. One image in particular really spooked me- a small, grainy photo of a living room. You had to hold your face close to the book to make out the detail- but there on the carpet, in front of an electric fire, lay a pair of stocking-ed human lower legs- all that remained of an isolated pensioner who had spontaneously combusted.

Not an Adult

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Isn’t Your Face Red.”

When was the last time you were embarrassed? How do you react to embarrassment?

I’m embarrassed by myself a lot. It’s something I’d like to get under control. It’s often when I’m trying to avoid potential embarrassment that I really embarrass myself. For instance refusing to turn and face my friend head-on in the open plan showers after squash, week after week, unmentioned by both of us, for a whole year in 2010. I’d either get undressed quickly and duck round a merciful corner in the shower room before anyone else could get to that one, or shower with my arse to the room then hurry back to my towel. I’m fine, Joe Average, in that department- if what I read on the internet and what I’ve been told is correct. But Goddamn if I’m not a grower at times. I suppose that was pathetic though. I failed that test of my mettle that men, but not women for some reason, have to deal with in terms of how changing rooms are laid out. Failed it big time. Not an adult, for all to see. That friend is back visiting just now and he’s not so ready with the text messages any more, despite us being the closest of friends back in the day. The memory of that changing-room debacle has stopped me in my tracks several times today, where all I can do is just gasp ‘Oh God’.