Friday, 21 August 2009


'Pelvic floor: thirty-four.'

Nobody shouts out the word 'house.'

'Prince Harry: fifty-five.'


Old Miss does a little cackle, wipes the cackle-dribble off his bare knee and says, 'I'm a lucky boy. It's my lucky day.'

'Shut up, cunt-rot. Outdoor latrine: seventeen.'


'Saint Augustine: seventeen.'

'You done that one.'

'An' I'll do it again you godless gob of spunk.'

The Caller adjusts his headgear: he is wearing a pristine white apiarist's suit. The Old People are getting restless. The Caller calls.

'A girt big pair o'Bristols: number three. The number three, anybody?'


'Old Miss has got a girt big pair of Bristols alright,' says Sir James Hollyoak. ''Specially since he had his dick cut off.'

'He's just a fat fucker,' says the Au Pair, jealous.

'I'll have none of that language, slut. Cheese and chive: thirty-five.'


The Au Pair gets up off the floor and removes her underwear, as if to prove a point. Old Miss gurgles as if he has vomit in his throat. The Au Pair sniffs her briefs and folds them into an equilateral triangle. The Caller, ever-patient, lift his mask and sets to work with a toothpick. He removes and savours a fibrous scrap of Bressingham duck breast.

The Au Pair pleads to the dimness of the room. 'Swap cards with me, swap cards with me, I haven't got any numbers yet.'

'I'll swap cards with you if you let me put my balls in your mouth for twenty-five minutes.' This is probably Sir James' proposition.

'Twenty minutes.'


'Twenty-two, starting now.'

'How do you know she won't bite 'em off?' The voice comes from the back of the room and almost certainly belongs to Jacques Derrida.

'Because she knows I might have AIDS in my blood. She may be a whore but she's not totally stupid.'

'Attila the Hun: twenty-one,' calls the Caller.

'Just my age,' says the Au Pair.

'You can't get AIDS from drinking bollocks-blood, any fucking idiot knows that. She'll bite 'em off, I tell you. Don't do it man.'

'She won't bite 'em off. She sucks bals all the time and I've never seen her bite any off. It wouldn't be worth her while. She wouldn't be able to swap cards with me.'

'Hey, did you hear me? When he said 'Attila the Hun: twenty-one,' I said 'Just my age.' It could mean that I am twenty-one or it could mean that I'm as old as Attila the Hun, whoever he is.'

'Shut up, slut,' says Derrida. 'We're talking about you, not to you.'

'In any case, she couldn't bite them off if she tried. She's got no teeth. She'd be there all day. That's why I like putting my balls in her mouth, not yours. It's the gums I like, see.'

'You're a pervert, man.'

'You can talk, Frenchy.'

Jacques Derrida blinks slowly and says, 'I do not like racism. We should not have to tolerate it in a place like this. All day long I listen to you vulgar bastards talk about balls and cunts and how much you hate the French. Well let me tell you I hate the English and I hate the Irish and I don't care which you are.' He throws his bingo card to the floor and says, 'In the absence of anything resembling a glove, consider that an invitation to duel, you spastic peasant.'

'I'll think about it,' says Hollyoak. 'In the meantime I've only got eighteen minutes left and the balls are not yet in the mouth. You'll have to wait, Pushkin. I've got my priorities.'

'Jailbait: number eight,' calls the Caller.

Hollyoak with his balls poised by the Au Pair's mouth shouts, 'House.'

'Go to hell, Hollyoak, you lying prick. You do that every time. You haven't even got your card.'

Derrida recedes. Old Miss rubs himself against a wall.

The Caller removes his headgear completely.

'That, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of this evening's entertainment. It looks like we have another rollover. That means each and every one of you shitbags has to stay here until next time.'

He leaves the room and locks the door behind him. Once outside, he flicks a switch and the room he has just left is flooded with a calming blue light and once more the Old People, at least the ones with eyes, can see each other.

Friday, 7 August 2009

First Thing

A sorry story: he woke without knowing
he had woken, still in the wide mouth
of a dream about a childless female friend
who was babysitting, at the end

of her tether. Their home town was a crater
full of smaller craters and fenced off
like a building site or an archaeological dig.
He saw two men by the fence,

they could have been friends of his,
or they were following her. Nobody
was tunnelling underneath, and when he woke
it was not like coming out of a tunnel,

it was more like dying after the war
had ended. He had no hard-on: sorry
because of this and because he went
downstairs to cook breakfast

and put his head in the cave of the oven, just
for a second or two, to see how it would feel.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

A Detective Story

I went into a noisy cafe where the seating was cramped and the clientele gratuitously ugly, bourgeois and complacent. There were many children. It was not the ideal place to conduct a murder investigation. Or indeed to begin writing a short story. This, however, is what I did. I began to write a short story about a moderately-respected police officer. A plain-clothes detective already descending from the dubious zenith of middle age. This gentleman - I believe I called him Inspector de Bleca - had a decent if not unblemished record and liked to think of himself as a homicide expert. Every homicide, he said, can be solved. Easily solved too, if you know what you are looking for. There is no perfect murder, he told himself and his colleagues on an almost weekly basis. But as you know, if you say the same thing too many times it becomes unbelievable or meaningless. This came to be the case with de Bleca's mantra. There is no such thing as the perfect murder, he said, but what his ears heard was something completely different, something that was indecipherable, uncanny and foreign. When his colleagues repeated it back to him it just sounded plain ridiculous. Over time he was beset by a suspicion that expanded like damp wood - a suspicion that every murder was the perfect murder and no murder was could ever be solved fully. The problem gnawed at him, as they say, and he began to lose sleep and weight. His eyes grew redder and blacker. He found an old hipflask that a great-grandfather or great-uncle had used in some small country's war of independence, and he put it to good use. All the usual actions of a man, possibly lonely, in the grip of a crisis. And like any man in the grip of a crisis, when the the solution came it was like a meteorite. He realised that he had to become, as it were, a scientist. He had to test his assumptions in a purely scientific manner. It was obvious. The only way to find an example of a homicide that would define or defy his idea of the perfect murder was to commit the murder himself. The mode of logic that had taken hold in him when the meteorite had hit told him that no man could ever possibly solve a murder that he himself had knowingly committed. This was perhaps not the answer that he had initially wanted, but he had to have proof either way. And if he were to solve the case, then of course he would be hailed as the greatest homicde detective that ever drew breath. Science dictated that his victim or subject be chosen randomly. He picked a street blindly from his local phone book and killed the first person he saw going into a house on that street. The subject was a young man who worked as an assistant in a local museum, but that fact is superfluous to the story, as is the method of execution which, it hardly needs to be said, was clean, silent and professional. How could it have been otherwise? De Bleca carried out the first part of his experiment at two thirty on a Tuesday afternoon in September on the anniversary of the 1973 coup d'etat in Chile and the 2001 attack on New York's World Trade Centre, a fact that wholly escaped his notice. The murder soon came to the attention of the police force for which he worked and naturally (it was a condition of his experiment) he insisted on taking up the case, despite the fact that he was due to take his annual leave. As you would expect, he threw himself into the investigation of the murdered museum assistant as if his life depended on it, which, in a way, it did. He worked harder than he had done since he was thirty-five. He devoted more thought, time and effort into the case than into any he had previously solved. He tried to put to the back of his mind the financial costs that were undoubtedly being incurred by his beloved police force in his name. But nevertheless the answers, somewhat predictably, eluded him. None of the facts in the case added up. Worryingly, there seemed to be no motive whatsoever. When, after months of wasted time and man power, his superiors told him to call it a day, he demured with a disappointment that was soon replaced by an inexplicably increasing sense of pride. I would like to continue but it is impossible. Mr de Bleca has ordered an Americano above the noise of children, finished writing in a notebook and placed himself under arrest.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Notes on the Existence of Myself, by Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile

I am Jimmy Savile. My life has never been turned upside-down by slow inevitable death, or death that comes quickly and unexpectedly, by love that hits you like a sound wave or by unfathomable, creeping depression. I suppose you'd say I'm average in that respect, average to the point of boredom, but there are things that have happened in my life, in my sphere of existence, that are worthy of note. So think of these words, if you like, as notes on my existence. But before I go on, let me tell you a quick story. I used to have a rotweiler called Blue, but he died. He died quite young, in fact. I don't know how long they're supposed to live for but I'm sure it's more than six years. Anyway, I recently replaced him with a young doberman. When Blue was still alive I had a sign up on my window that said Blue Lives Here and a picture of him looking slightly cheeky but also quite scary. So when I got the doberman I decided to do the same for him. I put up a sign with his name on it: Evander Lives Here, but I didn't have any pictures of him except one as a puppy that the breeder gave me but I decided not to use because eight week old dobermans (or dobermen?) are considerably less formidible than fully-grown ones. So, to get to the point, I put the sign up without a picture to start with. It soon crossed my mind that people seeing the sign might not realise at first that Evander was a dog, and that, for a fleeting second, someone might get the idea that I am living in some kind of non-sexual union with the boxer Evander Holyfield, like Brian May lives with that girl who used to be in EastEnders. This struck me as funny and interesting and I made a point of observing peoples' reactions to the new sign. (Let me say at this point that my dog Evander was of course named after the boxer, whom I admire greatly in a strictly non-sexual way.) Well, you'll never guess what happened. The next day I saw my postman and the very first thing he said to me was 'Hey, Sir Jimmy,' (he always calls me Sir Jimmy. Polite lad.) 'Hey, you'd better be careful, people are starting to talk about you and Mr Holyfield.' He said it with a bit of a wink so as I could be sure he was only joking. So there you go. Proof of the strange and beautiful ways people think. And proof that great minds think alike. My postman is a genius. Anyway, that's the end of that little story. Back to the point. Physically, I'm not an old man. Not your typical elderly gent, by any stretch of the imagination. I was middle aged when Flock of Seagulls released their debut single and I feel no older than that now. I'm still a patron of the Highland Games. Look it up if you don't believe me; it's on Wikipedia. The tracksuit ain't for show. But I realise that people will look at me and see the silver hair and think it's grey, will look at me and think, He can't have that long left. I know otherwise. I know I've got a good few years left in this body. But the mind, that's another matter altogether, the mind. Who knows when that could go. I'm as sharp as a lemon at the moment but tomorrow I could wake up mad. You never know with the mind. I've seen it happen so often, especially in my line of work: the pressure gets to you. So to get to the point, that's why I'm witing this: to get down on paper, before I go mad, some of the important things in my life, some of the little, life-changing things that maybe you don't know about. And maybe you don't want to. But in all fairness, this isn't about you, is it? My life has been all about helping other people, and I just want to set the record straight. I may seem like a saint, but I'm no better than anyone else really. I'm just as selfish as any human - though humans aren't really that selfish compared with other animals. I've told a lie or two. I've played some songs on primetime radio slots when I knew full well that they were too sexually explicit for some of my listeners. I've never hit a woman, though I thought about it once: she spelt my surname with two Ls and when I explained her error she still would not believe me. I really wanted to smack her, but in the end I just told her to look it up on Wikipedia. It's a marvellous tool, that Wikipedia. Type in anyone's name and it'll tell you all you need to know about them, even if they're not that famous like Edwin Collins or Federico Garcia Lorca. Want to know the difference between a hacksaw and a coping saw? Wikipedia's your man. But that's beside the point, unless you're planning on doing some marquetry, in which case, good luck to you. Now I'm going to talk, or rather write, about myself - why is it that writers always say they are talking when really they are writing, and are the least talkative people on earth? I'll tell you a story about a writer, and it's also a story about me, so it chimes in nicely with what I'm trying to say, or what I'm trying to write. If there is anything to be learned from this story it is that you should never be a writer if you don't want to lose your mind. When I was growing up there was a kid in my school who used to write poetry. He was a big fan of Shelley and that other one, the queer chap. Well once upon a time, this kiddie, William something, came home and found his mother hanging in the stairwell for no apparent reason. William was understandably upset, but seemed to get over it pretty quickly. His dad, on the other hand, lost the plot. Started pissing it away down his local boozer, and ran out of money. He had to move himself and his sons from their nice suburban house to one of the back-to-back terraced houses we had in Leeds back then. I used to have to walk past the place on my way to school. To start with William used to join me. Then, to put it plainly, he got into poems in a big way, like his old man got into the booze. He got a bit more mental every day, then one morning I found him at the end of the row of houses walking repeatedly into the brick wall where the gap would have been if the houses hadn't been back-to-back. His forehead and his nose were all cut up. When I asked him what he was up to he said he was trying to reclaim space, something like that. Now you'll be expecting some kind of poetic resolution to this story, or something Freudian, something to do with wombs and his dead mother. But there was no resolution. I was too scared or shocked to stay with him so I carried on walking and never saw him again. I guess they carted him off and put him wherever they put mental kids in those days. Whatever, it didn't seem to put his dad off his stride. I don't think he even missed a darts match. Now, you'll excuse me if I cut this narrative short. I think Evander just shat himself on the kitchen floor. You can't blame him, he's still only a pup, really. But I will come back to this. There are still plenty of important things I need to say before I'm finished.