A dizzying wave of nausea hits me. I lean out of the rear window, swallow vomit, and start singing the Finnish national anthem but realise I don't remember the words so I hum it but it's over before the kettle has boiled. I mumble words to myself, something rhyming, I need to fill my ears with something, I'm mumbling some sort of rhymes to myself...
What do you see when you stare in the headlights, yourAnd like this. Or something. Finally the kettle boils.
Nerves are exploding with white blasts of starlight
Voices are screaming and pleading to vacate the
Place where you’re standing to placate the hatred...
You’re screaming your hatred it feels like it’s wasted
The sounds of the parties the women you’ve tasted
The freedom you fought for is given to
Pasty-faced leeches who feed on the victories you’ve tasted
People you’ve hated return from the shadows
To haunt your depictions of far-away places...
So let me tell you about this house, then. Before us, but after the alchemist of C__ Road left the country twenty years ago, this house was occupied by an organisation called SPOD. SPOD means Association to Aid the Sexual and Personal Relationships of People with a Disability, a self-explanatory description of their function. The original acronym comes from:
SPOD = Sexual Problems Of the Disabled
This is an absurdly appropriate description of what it is like here now, I think sourly. Houses certainly do retain some sort of energy... I think of the magnificent Hoxton house, originally a hostel for getting child prostitutes off the streets (but that's another story)... I think of the haunted house in Highbury Fields which didn't like us (but so is that)...
SPOD, the only organisation of its kind in the UK, was hounded out of existence by an indifferent, unsympathetic and at times downright malicious local council and health authority. Or, as an email they sent me has it (I am leaving out the really vitriolic stuff about the council because it might be slander or libel or something):
No one actually does what we did. SPOD closed mainly because disabled people in the UK and their organisations and charities are like the rest of UK society - they dont want to deal with sexuality at all.I have started opening the mail that still arrives here for SPOD. If I open it, it is in sensitive, understanding hands... Letters written in shaky, uncertain hands... I am disabled and lonely (so am I, goddamnit), can you send me information about your services... Some letters I return to senders, when I can, with a note informing them of the sad demise of SPOD... Today I got this:
Dear Sir or Madam, I am a student... Much of my work as a student midwife will be based upon research projects into services such as which you provide... etc...I took the trouble to type out a proper response, especially as there was an SAE enclosed, encouraging Miss ___ ___ to include in her dissertation an examination of this society's attitude to people who believe everyone, including the disabled, have the right to a fulfilling sexual and social life. I also invited her to drop round for tea, coffee, wine or cocktails any time. But she won't, because I guess from the tone of her letter that she's not adventurous. In that sense, she's just like the people I live with. (There is one shady character who is the exception here, but you know who you are.)