Not often I show off my journalism stuff, but I'm quite proud of this one (for effort alone anyway). Thinking of turning it into a ghost story.
Elizabeth Ann Duffy Prostitutes
People usually only want to talk to us when some of us turn up dead.
Amsterdam, at the dawn of 2008. 8pm, five minutes from Centraal Station I'm waiting to begin a tour of the Red Light District. My friends are in the youth hostel, nursing hangovers or playing an air hockey 'uber-tourname
The Red Light District itself is as pretty as the rest of the city. Ignore the skull bongs and the improbably sized (yet beautifully decorated) dildos in the shop windows and you could be next to the Van Gogh museum. A canal runs through it, with great fat lights twined through the bridge railings (red of course). The light is soothing to the eyes, but there is a shock when we turn the corner and come across a row of blue windows. It takes a moment of blinking to get rid of the sudden sting and pay attention to the guide. Blue light equals transsexual. Right, I'll remember that.
From one of the club doorways an english accent can be heard -
"They suck and blow and lick and fuck, we got them busty, we got
them skinny, hairy or shaved, you will not believe -" He catches sight of me out of the corner of one eye and without pausing for breath booms out "Also for the ladies." Then carries on with an incredible stream of patter. He's well versed in luring in hapless tourists.
Then of course, there are the prostitutes themselves.
They stand in the windows as tightly packed as the buildings. All races, sizes, any age upwards of legal. Some are in lingerie, but others are more covered - mini skirts, cropped tops, the odd pair of jeans. They stand like people waiting at the tram stops, occasionally pressing breasts, stomachs or thighs against the glass, but more often than not they're just standing (or sitting if they have a chair) staring out at the passing world with a filmy glaze of boredom over their eyes.
These women are why I'm here.
There are few labels you can apply to a someone these days that robs her of her status as a woman, whore and nun being the eternal stigmas. I know who I'd rather talk to. I want to know how a woman crosses that barrier, because I cannot understand it. Maybe it's like sex or childbirth or death and you simply can't it until you've done it yourself. Still, I want to know as much as I can.
The tour ends in a little pub dotted with red fairy lights. A group of stoned business men huddle together, butchering 'American Pie' with all the devotion of a gospel choir, while the owner (an Australian man who must spray paint his jeans onto his legs) rants about the "simply awful" Madonna cover. I ask the guide if there's any way I could talk to a prostitute. After a discussion with the owner, a bottle is pressed into my hand. It's heineken, and I try to drink it without showing it tastes like stagnant pond water.
Moments later a girl appears beside me. Antke, a pretty girl. Blonde bob dagger straight over her shoulders, makeup expertly applied, making her round face soft and sensual rather than the podgy mass it would be in careless hands. She sits and orders a drink, then curtly asks what I want to know.
It does not go well. She's 21, a student - maths and economics. She came from Texel (pronounced Tessel), a northern island. But she's telling me nothing about prostitution, answering those questions with a shrug, grunt or monosyllabic reply.
"I need money for university." The only reason given for why she sells herself.
I press on and ask what it's like. How does she cope with prostitution? Does it effect her university life? What's her plans once
her education is over?
She suddenly snaps, hurling her glass directly at my head.
I escape by throwing myself off the stool, slapping the ground with my arm to stop my ribs cracking on the floor.
"If you were a good journalist." She hissed. "If you were a brave journalist, if you were a truthful journalist, you would walk out that door, climb into a window and try it for yourself."
I can only stutter and wipe alcohol from my eyes as she storms out.
"What did you expect from a whore?" Comes a nasally voice, a girl from the tour. She sticks her nose in the air. "It's disgusting. I would never do anything like that."
Suddenly a hand clasps my shoulder and I'm yanked to my feet. Glancing sideways I see a cigarette between papery lips. A heavy pause hangs over the bar until the smoke trickles out through sandpaper nostrils.
"You go three days with no food," A voice oozes from the shrivelled mouth. "And we will see what you will never do."
It is not you're fault." Turned roughly, I face my rescuer - a
woman with iron grey hair cut short and gelled up. Her eyes are steel, with a hint of rust round each iris. "My name is Gerde" She tosses a whiskey back effortlessly. "It is because of your hair."
A brunette pops up at my side and offers me a handkerchief which I clean my glasses with.
"She broke up with her girlfriend." A blonde explains, she was in the window next to Antke. "She was a redhead too. Sorry hun." She flashes a Cheshire Cat grin of apology.
All three are prostitutes, and whether because they pity me or they would actually like to talk, they agree to let me interview them.
Natalie, 26, English, from somewhere near Reading (she won't be more specific). She has a Veronica Lake look, only with dark hair, and a little gaunt in the cheeks. She tells me she was once a medical student, but after "the typical drink, drugs and rock and roll" she dropped out and ended up using prostitution to fund her drug habit.
She plays the violin a lot these days "which is odd, I hated it when my parents made me take lessons." She snorts at my taste in music, especially when 'Phantom of the Opera' is mentioned.
"That's just for people who wished they were clever enough for
But then she said the Da Vinci Code was the best book she had ever read, so I got my own back.
"I don't usually talk to journalists," She says, "Cause people usually only want to talk to us when some of us turn up dead. She goes on to tell me how she once told a man she started when she was 12 and that her name was Iris.
"If the idiot hadn't seen Taxi Driver he deserved that shit."
Kelly, the blonde, is American, from St Helena California. She spends half her time laughing. She became a prostitute aged 14, she laughs at that.
"My dad was a asshole." she says, by way of explanation, She laughs again. It's like she's trying to vomit up a cheese grater. "Anything was better than staying in that shit-hole. I went to Hol-lee-wooood
She goes on to explain she had been arrested for a drug offence in LA and had fled to Mexico after skipping bail. Details of how she
got to Mexico and then onto Europe are sketchy. It's impossible to tell
whether she's forgotten, lying or just doesn't want to tell me.
"Are there many American girls in Amsterdam?"
"A few." She replied. She plucks the cigarette from the pen and stuffs it into her mouth. "They're not much fun though. There's a guy I talk to. He's in a window with a blue light." She says, nodding knowingly. "You know he's a..." She lowers her voice confidentially
I find it odd that she seems so scandalised. She suddenly resembles one of the gossiping old ladies at church coffee mornings.
I try another tactic. Turns out she's a great Quentin Tarantino fan. When she's talking about his films she brightens. The transformation is like hearing a guitar being tuned. She chatters excitedly about how he wrote the script for Pulp Fiction in a hotel not far from the bar we're in, and how she had once convinced the owner to let her into Tarantino's room. She rolled around on the bed and the floor, and found a button in the corner. She digs it out of her handbag to show me. It's a ordinary black button. The shine has dulled a little, and there is a scraggly bit of navy blue thread clinging to one of the holes. I find it hard to believe that it could be his, waiting between the floorboards since 1992, but she 'knows in her heart' that it was his, and kisses it before tucking it safely into the bottom of the bag. She would give up her body without a thought, but she would
die before letting anyone have that button.
Gerde, German, is the oldest, in her fifties. She's very guarded about her past. Poverty is mentioned, as is crossing into western Europe at the fall of the Berlin wall. Her only regret was apparently not seeing it brought down. Though she tells me the least, she's the most battle scarred. When she lifts her glass to drink I notice a quivering white line leading up from her wrist, disappearing inside her sleeve on it's way to her elbow. You die fastest if you slit your wrists that way, following the vein - scratching horizontally won't do much. Eventually she tells me that even though she has been working every night for a month (including Christmas) she hasn't had sex. I ask if this is anything to do with the 'wink and wank' service the guide mentioned.
"No, they are very drunk when they come, I put them on the bed and swear and they think they have done it."
They tell me of the different districts - european, asian, african and there is a muttered warning about trafficking.
"You won't find anything from those girls." Gerde says.
"Don't bother trying." Natalie warns "Or you'll end up with worse than a glass in your face."
The windows are apparently better than brothels, because there's no cut in the money (except for taxes), and you don't have to smile
or flirt if you don't want to.
Every woman has a different reason for becoming a prostitute. Though some are more surprising than others.
"Some girls do it for summer." Kelly explains, "But she (Antke) came back, doesn't happen much."
"Some try, but you can see the ones who cannot do it." Gerde orders another drink, and swallows it in the blink of an eye. "She can not do it. She will not last long."
"There's no male prostitutes here. Why is that? My friends say they'd love it."
"Many say that." Gerde scoffs. "But there is a reason there are no men in windows." She holds up her pinkie and lets it wilt, accompanied by a little mew. They laugh at that.
It's the truest laughter they can muster. The lower eyelids crinkle, the sound is bubbly, but the eyes are dead. Something is broken in there. The smiles melt like candle wax, in the last instant there is only painfully curled lips and those empty eyes surrounded by drooping bundles of flesh.
"She was right," Natalie says. "You can't understand what it's like in there unless you go in yourself."
Gerde leans back and takes another long drag on her cigarette.
"Do you want to see it?" She asks.
The others glance at each other.
I gulp, about to say no. Then, remembering Antke's fury, I nod.
Heading back towards the canal Gerde tells me information I've already heard. Windows are rented like apartments, bikini is as naked as you can be to display yourself, the alarms are usually just used when clients try to get out of paying.
"Normally it's prostitutes and men who go in, not women." She says as she unlocks the door. The division of women and prostitutes strike me. Is it just the language barrier?
Gerde pulls the curtain over and for a moment the room is died red, blood red. Cloistered within, images of smoggy streets and rippers rise out from the shadows, until Gerde flips the light switch.
It's a tiny room, tiled - white tiles - with a chair and a table with boxes of condoms and tissues and cleansing wipes and a bin beneath - the room has to be cleaned each time. There is a bed, but it's scarcely big enough for one person let alone two. Is it up against
the wall then? When she isn't swearing at semiconscious men
who are too careless with their money? I notice a TV on a bracket, and ask why it's there. Turns out some men need a little help getting an erection, pornography helps - no, not everyone has a TV, though some have radios, it gets boring waiting for customers. There is a smell in the air. It takes me a moment to place it, it's the same smell of a recently disinfected hospital ward, one that's been cleaned to the point of stinking. An incense to cover up a far worse odour.
Why would anyone want to have sex in a place like this? It's so clinical. It's a prison cell. I can hear the jeering crowd outside, and the booming English accent describes all the delights his girls can offer with tongues.
I feel claustrophobic and sick. I've suddenly realise how stupid this is. I am in a window in Amsterdam. And how had it happened? Because someone was nice to me. Somebody talked to me, and offered me what I wanted. Maybe that was how simple it really is. Maybe there is no cataclysmic breaking point, maybe all that's needed is that little push, and you wouldn't know what had happened until -
My hands start to go numb, the first sign my body gives when I'm going to faint. Gerde must have noticed something in my face
because she opens the door and shoves me back into the street. I crash
into a group of men, and there is an onslaught of hard, guttural sounds - swearing, it's universal.
"You do not recover." She tells me. "This life. You give it up, but you never forget."
She pats me on the arm.
"You could not do this. At least, not of your choosing." She smiles "You are hungry?"
Then she shows me what is apparently the best chinese take away in the city. I carry mine with me back to the tram stop outside the train station while she eats quickly and heads back to the window.
While I munch away at the dishes (separated by bamboo tiers) I look at the sprawling city. You go right from the station and you end up in the safe, family area, with the book shops and museums, but go left and your in the middle of a world where people leap in and out of windows with all the charm of dogs shagging in the street. I crush the box and stuff it into my bag, doesn't seem to be any bins near the train station, then jump onto a tram. When I arrive back I have to endure the testosterone fuelled jeers of my male friends who can't wait to run up the left road. Brushing them off I clamber up onto my bunk and close my eyes. The overhead light looks red behind my
eyelids. It's hard to fall asleep.
For 'The Guardian'
A court in Saudia Arabia has handed down a sentence of 200 lashes and six months in prison to a ninteen year old woman who was the VICTIM of a gang rape.
The victim was raped fourteen times in the course of the attack. She was originally sentenced to 90 lashes, but this was INCREASED and a prison term was added after she appealed the original sentence.
This comes right on the heels of Saudi dictator King Abdullah's state visit to the UK, during which he was treated as a guest of honour by the British government.
Isn't it funny how the British government will go to war in Iraq to "defend human rights" (but only when we can't find any WMDs!) yet they're more than willing to do business with any number of brutal, sickening, evil regimes around the world?
The full story is at http://news.bb
If you're as sickened by this as I am them PLEASE do two things:
1 - Go to www.writetothe
2 - Pass this message on so others can do likewise.
Dear god I'm pathetic at times. Tonight being on particularly fine example of both my patheticness and my general cowardice. Ugh. It's was Deb's goodbye send off, and she was upset that her many MANY friends weren't really mingling. All each of us had in common was her, and with about 50 of us in a very noisy pub she was in much demand, and those who couldn't get within the two inches of her needed to talk to her were having a hard time breaking the ice. She told me she was so upset by the 'atmosphere' she was considering leaving. I didn't want her last night with all of us so I tried to overcome my social ineptness and got people talking. However in doing so, I apparently came over as over friendly. Apparently I was very interested in one of the guys (the fact that I can't even remember his name should show how I wasn't infact interested in anything more than being sociable). Thing is, when he asked me to go to the bar with him I assumed it was to get a full round in and he just needed help carrying them. Nope, he only wanted to buy me a drink. That done he assumed I was 'interested', and proceeded to walk around everywhere with his arm round my waist. And what do I do? I leg it. Well, I have the dignity to make my phone ring, pretend to answer it, give some excuse and offer to buy him a drink to pay him back for mine then walk out of the bar then sprint all the way up the stairs and leap across the road to jump on a bus (nearly getting crushed by three other buses in the process). I feel terrible though, he seemed really nice and looked genuinely hurt but I just HAD to run. Why? Why do I have to do something so unbelieveably stupid and cowardly? Why do I get terrified at anyone's attempts to get close to me? Is it because I'm still in love with a dead girl? Is it because the only person I cared for after her shagged half of Glasgow behind my back ending with me hurling most of his crockery at his head? Is it because of my obsession with my writing leaving no room in my heart for any kind of relationship beyond friendship? Maybe I'm just an asocial little freak who's gotten far to comfortable with being alone? Hmph, whatever the reason, it's still pretty pathetic.
Oh what the hell did I do to get such an arsehole for a brother? I could bloody kill him, I swear it. Everytime our parents go abroad I turn into some kind of maid while he lazes about the house doing fuck all but creating piles of dirty dishes, a stack of laundry that reaches the ceiling and leaves beer bottles all over the house. This time its worse. His bloody girl friend has moved in in our parents absense and every day I get woken up hearing them shagging through the wall. Not content with that I can't even have a shower or a bath because they're at it in there to, both bathrooms now filthy. I'm not taking a moral stand against sex, but I'm sure people will agree with me that finding used condoms and blood all over the place is just not on! I had to go for a swim just to get clean today. I am going to strangle him the minute he gets in the door. And he can shove his 'my sister makes the best chicken stuff in the world' comment right up his arse! If he thinks one snidey wee compliment will get me to cook and clean and trape all the way back from Glasgow just because he's got himself locked out of the bloody house he can think again. I can't wait for the parents to get back from Spain so I can watch my dad kick his sorry arse. Serves him fucking right, bastard!
A few things struck me today. One, I have several really pish friends. A cruel one, a jesus-freak and one who wouldn't notice if I had my throat slit. Two, I'm an asocial bi-sexual that has been single for well over year now. Three, I have no job and I've ended up nearly finishing the second book before the first. This really should depress me. *Shrugs* I have no idea why it hasn't.
I'm not one for these re-post-it things normally, but this is so damn true.
(I stole this from Sam.)
America v Glasgow's take on the airport bombing incident
If this had happened in a US airport, compared to Glasgow eyewitness accounts.
America: "Oh my God! there was a man on fire, he was running about, I just ran for my life... I thought I was gonna die, he got so close to me"
Glasgow "Cunt wis running aboot on fire, so a ran up n gave him a good boot, then decked him"
America: "I just wanna get home, away from here... I just wanna get home, I thought I was gonna die"
Glasgow : "Here Shug, am no leaving here till am oan a fuckin' plane!"
America: "There was pandemonium, people were running in all directions, we didn't know what was hapenning, I thought i was gonna die"
Glasgow: "Fuck this fir a kerry oan, moan we ll get a pint in"
America: "We thought he was gonna blow us all up he had a gas canister, and was trying to get into his trunk, I thought we were gonna die, I just ran for my life"
Glasgow: "A swaggered by the motor that wis on fire, and the dafty couldnae even open his boot, he wis in fire annaw so a ran up n gave him a good boot to the baws"
America: "There was this huge explosion, it sounded like war, I thought I was gonna die"
Glasgow: "There wis a bang, ye know when ye throw BO basher (deodorant) intae a fire? It wis like that"
America: "I'm too traumatised even to speak, I thought I was gonna die"
Glasgow "Here mate, gies 2 minutes till a phone ma maw, if am gonna be oan the telly a want her tae tape it"
And finally, two quotes from an eye-witness called John Smeaton (these are real quotes) -
On the National ITV news the interviewer asked
"What message do you have for the bombers?"
he replied "This is Glasgow we'll just set about you"
John did an interview with CNN and they asked how he restrained the guy and he said "Me and other folk were just tryin tae get the boot in and some other guy banjoed him" !
So, if it wasn't bad enough my friends insist on meddling in my affairs and try to set me up with a man I couldn't stand, now said man is taking a hissy fit and telling everyone in earshot am the easiest slut in scotland. Apparently I was so sexually depraved he rejected me, as he was too damn good for that. He also adds in a very loud whisper that I must be on drugs or have some kind of STD, strange that my mother who is a nurse never picked up on that huh? Funny, his account differs from my recollection somewhat - he was a complete arsehole who felt that insulting everything I hold dear would make me melt and become nothing but a device of complete adoration for him. I defended myself and challenged his narrow-minded, self-rightous assertions and by the end of the night he was so infuriated he was swearing, shouting and looked as if he wanted to hit me, he looked and acted like a lunatic. He managed to snort he didn't take kindly to girls 'who play hard to get', to which I replied that I don't play hard to get, I just don't settle for anything I feel repulsed by. Hmm, maybe that's where he got the idea that I was easy. I guess I shouldn't be surprised "God's Gift" to women got a little annoyed by me giving me the brush off, but I can't help be angry. I'm glad I never go up to Dundee, I don't want to be anywhere near him, and socializing was bad enough with people who called me an idiot for not wanting to get drunk till I throw up, a snob for knowing about literature, now they'll have 'rampant slut' in their arsenal. Anyone who knows me wouldn't believe it, but I wish my friends would take the time to at least tell the bastard to shut up. Fucking hell, how on earth could they ever think he and I would be perfect together? Do they really have that low an opinion of me? I shouldn't care, but I'm so pissed off that my friends haven't defended me. I found out through a person I met once through fucking myspace. I'm grateful to her, but to think I only met her once and she has more consideration for me than the friends I've had for years. God, the specifics really got to me, total degradation of my character. Ugh, I do know blackbelts, pro-wrestlers and viking raiders, and I learned about castration on work experience back in high school. Still, even once the bastard has been sufficiently dealt with, I still have to deal with my friends. God, sometimes I envy men, they don't have to put up with all this girly shit. Aw fuck it.
You ever have one of those moments where you feel like a heartless bitch monster of death and full of righteous indignation at the same time? Oh (digs fingers into scalp and ignores the pious look of the cat whom I've disturbed with my groan) what the fuck am I going to do? My friend, the male nun (lives in a nunnery, with nuns and does nun things therefore he IS a nun) is doing charity work in Eastern Europe in the summer and so his mum is doing fund raising for him. I've already donated £50 (which is a lot considering I'm a student with no job and the SASS bastards won't even give me my bloody travel expenses back), but his mum called looking for me tonight, to ask me to help out with a sponsored bag-packing day in the local supermarket, and I have to have an answer for her in under 12 hours (anymore and I'm being rude says my mum). Now, I know the morally right thing to do would be to selflessly offer my time to help my friend in his charity work, but I have a few reasons for being pissed off at this proposal.
1. His mum put strong emphasis on me being one of his dearest friends, and like a daughter to her. However, I've not seen the boy for nearly a year, and when we did briefly meet up it was horribly uncomfortable, and I've been told his mother feels I am being a stuck up cow for 'ignoring' him. I honestly can't help it if he only visits during exam time! Not only is she saying one thing to me and other to everyone else, she has asked no one else in his circle of friends for help. I can't help but feeling this is some kind of punishment for having a life that doesn't revolve round her son.
2. The boy has been bragging for years about how he had over £2000 in his bank account because he's much better at saving than scatter-braine
3. Much as I hate to say it, there are better charities I'd rather donate to. NSPCC, WWF, Amnesty International, Womansaid - they are the ones I most like to help out, and I want to do volunteer work for Childline, as I was helped by them and know the work they do really makes a difference. The boy and the Christian lot are going to spend the summer making ONE football pitch, without tarmac or goal posts. Basically they are weeding a field.
4. I really get angry when people try to emotionally blackmail me. All this "like a sister/daughte
5. I'm not Christian, fair enough if you want to follow a religion, but I'm uncomfortable giving money to any religious organization, I don't want to be seen publicly to work for a cause I simply don't believe in. I grew up Catholic and I rejected it. I know and respect that fact that religion can be a great force for good, but I would appreciate people accepting my belief system as I do for theirs.
Last but not least - IT'S ON MY FUCKING BIRTHDAY! This woman who I'm like a daughter to, she's known me since I was 3 and she conveniently forgets my birthday is on the 30th of June? For the first time in years my birthday promises to be something exciting. My uni friends have something planned for me, all I know is I need to bring money for a train ticket, a change of clothes, a camera and I shouldn't expect to be home till sometime in July. I'm really looking forward to it, and selfish as is may be, I don't want to give that up to spend 12 hours packing up shopping.
Oh.... ooooohhhhh. What the hell do I do? Do I say "No, birthday, sorry."? Or do I be a good friend and help him raise the money for the trip? Bollocks bollocks bollocks BOLLOCKS! I hate feeling like a guilt-ridden yet heartless bitch-monster of death. Advice will be greatly appreciated.
So, exams are awful, as we all know. Normally, you'd think my inability to study would make things worse, but I can say now to all you uni people, don't stress out, don't bury yourself under books so pretentious you need a dictionary to understand every word. Stay up to about midnight, do a bit and sprawl infront of the TV with the discovery channel on. Worked for me, Terry Jones saved me in Journalism Theory yesterday thanks to his program on the history of sex, I managed to write a whole essay on how print fueled the French Revolution, and mention the pornography that undermined the upper classes. Now, I remember FUCK ALL from the year of lectures from the big B, as soon as a Python says something educational it stays in the student mind forever. I can't remember a thing from Politics last year, but I remember Michael Palin's face when he got hit with that stick during meditation, mathematics has gone from my mind forever, but I Know everything the Romans did for us thanks to 'The Life of Brian'. Universities should ask the Pythons to read for audio books of academic work, I swear we'd be the most intelligent nation on the planet, but of course no one takes the idea seriously. The lecturers are too proud to admit they're dull, and the students I know are too busy with... stuff. Ah well, I appreciate the help of the Pythons, especially Terry Jones in this instance, and say THANK YOU!
Now I'm furious! I have told my so called friends that there are four things to avoid with me. 1. Don't meddle with my affairs, work or possessions. 2. Don't bring me into a house with a ouija board. 3. Never try or let anyone attempt to hypnotize me and 4. NEVER try and set me up with someone. Today, they came over without an invitation and interrupted my studying, brought a ouija board and tried to set me up with a guy who was utterly repulsive (not physically, but his personality was disgusting - smug, self-satisfied
Now I'm pissed off. I hate it when people come round uninvited. I hate it when people touch my stuff without my permission and I HATE it when people make changes to my things without so much as a by your leave. Now I've lost half my songs, most of my movies and ALL of my audiobooks on my ipod. I am not impressed, I just left the room for a minute and then it's all screwed up. Grr, I know it's not a major catastrophe or anything, but these people never stop meddling, with my possessions, with my art, with my love like, as well as making fun of me for being afraid of ouiji boards and my absolute refusal to let anyone try and hypnotise me. Grrr, I wish they would just leave me alone.
So it turns out I won a free photo-shoot. Well.... Um........ Weird. I've never been chosen for anything like that before. Writing competitions and the occasional art contest, but this is... very odd. To think I entered on the spur of the moment when I was sick of being pissed off at academic drivel. This is a great advert for the success of procrastinatio
Well, it's easter break, two weeks before plunging headlong into revision for exams in may. Then after exams, 4 months to get my final draft of the novel ready for publication. It's odd, I'm broke, I handed in an essay late for the first time in my life, my love-life is non-existent and my room is a tip, but I can't stop smiling. There's been nothing out of the ordinary happening, but I have such an air of contentment. I spent four hours sitting at my window blowing bubbles over the back garden and I just couldn't stop smiling. I even started laughing for no reason at all. It's not love, I have no-one to be in love with (except perhaps one of my novel characters, but I've always been a bit in love with her - ever since I dreamed her up when I was 6), so what is this feeling? Perhaps it's because I'm living out my natural semi-nocturnal state, perhaps it's because I'm free of the tension of the past. There's just a lingering sense of freedom, soft and gentle that holds sway over my whole being. I've begun to look, I mean really look, at everything from the window of my everyday bus route. There was the man in the tuxedo chomping down on one of those giant rainbow lollipops you only seem to get a fun-fairs. an old lady has spent the last week getting her window-boxes ready for summer, but her cat keeps going to sleep in them or eating the leaves off the flowers. It's old lady 3 cat 7 by my scoring. There's a street near Ibrox where the light always turns the shop fronts gold, and everything looks like it could come off one of those old fashioned biscuit tins you get at Christmas times (for nostalgic value). There was a little boy with a new puppy running up and down the park, that dog amazing paws, it's gonna be huge. There was a guy on the other bus reading poetry to his girlfriend, I heard a few snatches at the traffic lights as both buses had open windows,it sounded pretty good. And there was an old man reading Roald Dalh to his grandchildren, and he did the funny voices, it doesn't work without the funny voices. Someone has a new bike, at least, the old black one always tied up by the library has a new one (red) in its place. I liked the old one better, (black with stars painted round the mudguards) but I guess it was past its time. Hmm, well I won't see that route for two weeks, so I wonder how much it will have changed by the time I get back to the routine? I'm going to work flat out on my writing for the first week then give revision my all for the second. I want to do well in these exams so I get my first choices next year. Ah well, I guess that's it for now.
Ugh, there's a reason I only write poetry when I'm drunk. Help me out people, I don't know which one to enter.
A shoe has lain in the cemetery for years
It’s partner abandoned it,
save a broken heel lodged in a drain
just before the exit.
The owner had obviously never been to a funeral before.
If she had,
She would know stiletto heels,
no matter how fashionable
how damn fabulous
are not suitable for a rainy day by a grave.
Not in a city where cemeteries are squashed in,
the city sprawls out and the past shoved aside
She had to stand while the preacher said his bit
shiny and new
pierced the soil,
sliding into a strangers rest.
She must have run,
leaving one of those precious, shining shoes,
stuck in the mud,
Had she tripped in the drain?
Or had she run straight on running
when the fabulous silver heel
(the one she and the designer swooned over)
had snapped off,
fixed itself in the gutter?
The shoes are almost a decade behind fashion now.
A lot of money.
And they would have come back in style,
if she had waited long enough.
Fairy Godmother’s Revolt
Today we march,
Put down your wands.
Chuck the frog princes back in the ponds.
We’re sick of microsoft
Of the unisex uniform
Of the deputy-sub-ass
We’ve had enough
Permission slip here safety reg there,
No time for Cinderella’s hair.
If isn’t fair
Health and Safety took our mice
Bosses slash the budget on the roll of a dice.
Who let’s Disney do these crappie sequels?
Tinkering with our classic fables!
No more bloody princess league tables!
So come on girls,
We’ve had enough
Let’s see how these bastards like it tough!
You wander the forests of the world,
Shining in the dark
You wander through dead people,
and even deader deities.
You came from Africa a powerful grey beast
Travelled through India a gargantuan
turned east and took scales
west and tried the wolf’s skin
before you met the deer and the horses.
Glimmering in the darkness.
with a single spiral of silver
or blood red
Reaching for heaven.
You wander on
Past our cities
And our Gods
The Half Dead Piano
3am I stand at your side
Listening to the strains
Of your half dead piano.
All the notes are lower
And I’m sure
Concert pianists don’t swear every two minutes.
Still I like it better.
Too see you smile
and blush at applause.
Better than musicians who sneer at their fans,
or a soulless CD.
A unique imperfect moment,
That brings you,
Kept in little glass jars
On neat labelled shelves.
A host of pickled monsters
Held and displayed for the public.
Once wise men coveted these creatures.
They were a treasure,
giving up their secrets to the chosen few.
Before they were unknown,
And now there is something else for them.
For the mermaid
and the cyclops
and the the one with four legs
the one with no heart.
They’re just little babies
dead in glass wombs.
While we paying tourists
wander their tomb.
I miss you.
I don’t know who you are,
no idea where.
I don’t even know when I started missing you.
It’s an odd feeling.
A gnawing kind of hollowness
right in the centre.
Not the head or the heart or the gut
tugging at all three.
It gets behind my eyes
and smoulders cold behind my sight.
I wonder if you’re somewhere
near or far?
Would I know you
if you passed me by?
Would you know me?
whatever you are,
Live to the fullest
so when we do meet
you were something worth missing.
An iron glove has my heart,
squeezing it till I’m sure
it will snap.
Iron nails buried deep in my lungs,
rusting as they pin me shut.
An ocean of blood trails my shadow
Blood, blood everywhere
but not a drop to breathe.
Fingers to the wound.
Pale digits tremble
slicked with blood.
the ocean pooling round my tiny feet.
The claws grasp again
choking the last drops.
So pale, they say
But I never did drown.
Dancing softly down,
when we’re at our worse
brilliant on the blackened sky.
Sparkling over grey earth.
I reach up,
smiling as it lands feather kisses on my skin.
Don’t worry - it whispers
See, the world can change.
Notebook found by a very nice old Irish man called Stephan (who coincidently I met on a bus), who said he bits of my handwriting he could make out were good, and a young lady like me shouldn't swear so much. Also gave me his special singing potion, and advised if that didn't work to just try whiskey, as it makes everybody sing. Murderous rampage is now averted, return to your normal lives. PS purse still not found, but have my precious notebook so couldn't care less.
I though the loss of my purse was annoying. But that was easily coped with, my notebook being gone on the other hand (the most recent one, the ONLY one that isn't backed up because of the fiasco of getting new computers in the house) can only be dealt with with a special mixture of a complete nervous breakdown and murderous fury. My phone number is inside the front cover, so someone should get in touch. At least, that's what I'm telling myself while frantically turning my entire house upside down looking for the damn thing. If however they don't, and I find anything anywhere that resembles my work it will mean all out fucking WAR! I was prepared to take legal action when someone stole a short story of mine, but this is my novel. One of my three 'heart' novels. I will go to the ends of the earth for revenge if someone tries to pass it off as their own. So, if anyone has it, this counts as a warning. Do not steal my work (or the work of any artist)! Because if I WILL find you, oh yes, and I will personally rip you to shreds, tear your heart out and keep your head on a spike to warn off other would-be thieves. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
Next week is the week! After all this time saving up, I'll finally get my shiny new 13inch Macbook. Then I'l be able to type long into the night (great considering I'm nocturnal) without disturbing anyone else in the house. I won't have to put up with the PC's in Uni, I won't have to stop halfway through a peice of writing because someone else needs the computer for thier work. And I'll have money again, for things like food and books. Oh god how I've missed that bookshop smell of paper, oak and coffee. I'll be able to pay back Debs for all the food she's bought me to keep me from starvation, I should take her to Ichibana or the Frankenstein bar or Cafe Mao. And I should be able to push the boat out for Dad's 50th. Though my plan to get him a fifty year old whisky died pretty quick. I couldn't even afford a shot. Hmm, when I get the macbook I will use it's superior mac-technology to find him a present.
I'm under the strong impression my brain doesn't actually like me. Aside from technique block, which as I discussed earlier, is a bitch, it sometimes cuts out altogether, usually at the most embarrassing times possible. Today for example, I was so looking forward to the authors reading at 5pm. A fantasy writer, right up my street. Then, when he was reading from a particulary grusome extract (which incidently was excellently written) my right hand goes numb. Oh God. Then I feel the right side of my face go numb. Ooooohh God...... For those not familiar with how my brain malfunctions, before I get a migrane, my right hand, right side of my face, and the entire right side of my body goes numb. I reached into my bag for migraleve. None there. I'd goven it to Owen (my brother) and he hadn't given it back. Oooooooooooooh
I think I know what my old drama teacher was talking about when she told us about true friendship. Not the same as being in love, but damn close. Like love and friendship are two sides of the same coin (or 'the same magic') This weekend I stayed with Debs and I haven't been so carefree in a long time. She's introduced me to sushi and the music of Ludovico Einaudi, though I like it better on her half-dead piano. We went to her local pub and had red wine at a friend's house, we stayed up all night watching movies and she played the piano for me. I love hearing people play music, those moments are precious and unique. There aren't enough of them She even made me CDs to help me writing. She told me what it was like to be musically minded, apparently music is always in patterns. I'm teaching her to draw, and now trust her with my stories (a big deal for me, I'm overly protective of my writing). She's going to create theme music for my characters. I can't remember when I've laughed so much, I suppose when I was little, but you'll laugh at anything as a child. It made me realise how unhappy I was with my old friends. They ignore me and make me feel guilty for not getting drunk and slavering over men twice my age. I've finally cut all ties from them, and it feels like dropping an iron weight from my heart. I'm passed caring about how angry they are to lose thier glorified baby-sitter. I want real friends. I want real love. I want to stand next to a piano at 3am an hear amzing people make it sing. I want to talk about my violet skies and starry snow without being made to feel like an outcast.... I want my life as my own. Free and happy.
Writer's block, as anyone will tell you, is a bitch. But what is worse, much worse, is technique block. Writer's block is when you have no ideas, nothing, nada, zip , zilch. This personally only happens to me when I have to do academic work. Technique block is far more frustrating. I only ever get it with creative writing, the writing I want to do and would, if I could, spend all my time doing. It happens thusly - a brilliant idea pops up in the brain, in my case it's usually scenes that play out in my minds eye. In the mind, it's all perfect, everything is in place, the characters say the right things, thier movements boldster everything, the setting is beautiful and the eyes of characters glimmer with strength, burn with rage, smolder with passion. Then my hand cannnot keep up with my brain, and what appears on the paper is utter shit. Everything that was so perfect falls to bits and looks pathetic when read back. Ugh, it is a nightmare, a complete and total nightmare, worse than the one about machinegun-bea
Just so everyone knows, migraines suck. It's like having someone force red hot spears through your eyes and inject mercury into ever crevice of the brain. They strike without warning and ruin your whole day, sometimes even three days in my case. And of course, the pain isn't enough, there just has to be nausea too, because it clearly isn't horrible enough. For some reason my right hand and right side of my face (lips in particular) go completely numb, so it feels like having a damn stroke. Worse, I'm right handed, so I can't even write or draw because of it. And the pounding, it feels like some demon is trying to break my skull open from the inside. God, it's hell. Right, just needed a rant about that.