Never Too Late!

Never Too Late!
any resemblance to anyone real or imaginary is mere bad luck
we are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are trying to get up


Nothing is happening here. The lights are off, the fish are hiding.

Allow me to point you to a fragment of sheer beauty, where one prays for reasons to hate the city.

No? Still here? Appalled at the off-hand ease with which one casts us these pretty words - for free - for any to sniff at or trample on? Then keep company with me, one who has lost his mastery of words.

What is the evidence? Exhibit one: a month or more I have struggled to tap out a simple article for a paper and ink publication. The brief: write about "squatting", your choice of angle and tone. That's a real London thing. No. No no no. Look here instead. The scatology repulses me, squeamish as I am; the absurdity of the whole thread delights me. Clever cross-referees find hidden references shared with realgem. They can be the "easily alarmed ones", or they can be the Wooden Bead Cartel. Whatever.

A blog is like nothing so much as an aquarium. Out in the inky blackness behind the screen, I watch colourful and alien creatures swim in the depths of the glass box.


Once upon a time was VFEC

VFEC was my personal project to explore evolution towards Nietschzean übermensch-hood. A side-effect of the programme are the detailed diaries I kept over the last five years, until very recently. I glance through and can usually identify what I was doing on any given date. It is like an Aleister Crowley style magickal diary.

It is almost eerie. These books, better or for worse, seem to have been written by another person entirely. It is like holding a body of work by a dead man.

So I used to do things like see how long I could keep functioning without sleep (and without cheating by taking wakey-uppy drugs). The answer is: about a week, comfortably, with only one- or two-hour naps. Can you see me doing that now? Or, how long I could stay on the edge of orgasm without actually coming (I never got any of that Tantric effects when I was consciously trying for them). Or, how long I could stare at the moon without my mind starting to produce hallucinations to make me look away (it’s true, it happens).

VFEC embodied certain principles that predate VFEC. The very first notebook I started keeping (it was torn apart by an incensed ex-girlfriend years ago) listed some (somewhat facetious) Rules of Engagement, created under a thrumming tropic sun, viz:

1. be aggressively friendly
2. be un-apologetically non-sensical
3. open fire on unarmed enemies: it’s their fault they’re unarmed
4. do not wear a shirt tied around your face, lest the non-believers strangle you with it: for is not the Lord good?

Later, these developed into several central principles which guided the whole VFEC programme. Some examples from memory:

1. Find the fear, explore the fear, destroy it. (This is to say: it is what you fear most where lies the direction of advancement. Find out what you fear, what your weakness is, and force yourself to experience and explore that fear – that is how you will learn most about yourself.)
2. Vary your habits. Do something you’ve never done before every day. (Take every opportunity you are given to try something new.)

corollary to VFEC are the dream notebooks, an archive of many fantastic and banal dreams, some of them lucid or premonitory and all of them a delight to re-encounter and not have forgotten, spanning some 7 or 8 years in total and therefore predating VFEC.

VFEC, by the way, stood for Valid Fucking Experiment in Consciousness. It is the result of one man’s manic need to write everything down. It distills the wisdom of 6 major religions, 212 self-improvement manuals, 3 Maharishis, 111 self-help books, 13 CDs of NLP self-confidence boosting affirmations, one and a half Robert Anton Wilson books and 500 microgrammes of acid.

This last comment was a cheap and cheapening joke at the expense of a strange and singular work (ie. the VFEC journals), purely to anticipate snide jokes at the pedantic New Age tone of the thing. This is why you should never immerse yourself in self-deprecating self-justifications, because in the end, there is no way out; the serpent eats its own tail. Indeed, never apologise. The modern cyber-age Magus’s magical diary is, of course, his blog.

I never took the programme far enough before running back to the safety of heroin or some woman’s bed.

Nor do I have anything to obsessively document, and there are loads of things that scare me, loads of places to start… an explosive combination of circumstances…

H * A * T * E

ABATE the hold of fate BY KILLING

KILL A MAN (the voices say – only way escape your fate)
Salvation is through anger, transcendence through hate
ACT NOW! Or forever hold your piece

The oil-smooth metallic beauty of the ACTION
Snicker-snack! And there is a round in the chamber!
Ugly face explodes in a shocking spray of gore.
Like I came in your head! Ha! And now I need some more

Already the stinking cowards run in mortal horror.
So easy would it be! How can you not do it? Seek them out and kill them all. Indulge your fantasies of revenge. Indulge your lust to be HIDEOUS arbitrary.

I stop posting for a mere three weeks and lose all my readers. Well, good riddance to you, if that’s how faithful you are. I don’t want readers. Realgem is changing.

Nevermind literary experimentation or underground journalism: I am here, now, with a new honesty. I am here, now, to indulge my self-pity, self-loathing and self-contempt to the hilt. That’s what sort of a blog this will be, now. See how long you can stand it.

I seethe with hatred for poor people. Why the fuck do they have to shop in the same shops as me? I walk all the way down to the bottom end of the high street so I can buy a bottle of olive oil for 99p, and I have to fight my way through clutches of frantic ugly poor people, glancing around with their fear-filled rodent faces and their lifeless poverty-dulled eyes, desperate to save some pathetic 20p on a packet of nappies. Why does their peripheral vision never seem to function? Inside, I am a tall, wizened, howling monster, like in the Aphex Twin video, bellowing at the trembling temorous moustached grannies who “Excuse me” and “Oh I’m sorry” and clutch their shopping baskets protectively to themselves like a baby.

And this is only one jagged corner of a vast and ponderous submarine hate. And then an alarming thought awakens. How many of the other faces who float past in the mist of rain (I am out in the street now and striding long angry strides) conceal twisted angry hatreds like mine? How many look upon me and see everything they ever loathed?

How can this city be viable?

London stings
Little things
Don’t apologise for things

This is what a day out in town does to me. Sitting on the top deck of a bus, inner clothes soaked with sweat, outer clothes dripping with rain, when the bus stops at a crowded bus stop to let on an endless stream of ugly wet people, I feel like nothing so much as unloading into all their faces with a heavy handgun. Go go go, driver, I left a window open at home… and it starts to become clear, why those bus drivers were so crazy.

Once upon a time, I lived next door to W___, a Welsh girl, and D__, her tall black dreadlocked boyfriend. They were both bus drivers.

The walls were thin. The rest of us who lived on that landing heard everything that went on in W__’s room. Viz, every second night, loud and violent sex. “Suck me, suck me bitch!” – “Glglglghhkhhhglupglup…” Every second night, violence sans sex. “Bitch! Whore!” Things smashing.

One time we are smoking in D2__’s room when W___ runs in, frantic and terrified. D__ is after her, grabs her, starts throwing her around the room as if we weren’t even there. And all in all, when it comes down to it, I can sympathise with D___. I never ever met such a dysfunctional evil bitch. She wantonly destroyed anything of beauty anyone placed in the corridors. She mercilessly provoked people into attacking her and then ran to you for sympathy and support. She went into paroxysms of self-loathing frenzy, smashing up everything around her, slashing at innocent bystanders with her nails, then breaking down sobbing in desperate misery. The mindless violence and abuse they faced as Hackney bus drivers possibly accounts for, but hardly excuses, this behaviour.

I arrive home and heave a sigh of relief that no opportunist burglars have taken advantage of the open window, then settle down to do what it is I do all day: stare at the wall and contemplate changing my life. Tomorrow. Fuck you. It’s my party and I can cry if I want to.


I'm still here

I have not stopped blogging. Things are uneasy now. But check back within the week: realgem endures!



Demons… You’ve got to go pretty deep to get demons. My closest encounters with demons have been at squat parties. It takes the extreme measures of dancing for a day and a night and obliterating the rational mind under a merciless chemical onslaught to get the vision.

It's strange how Adam’s eyes have changed since the incident. The corneas have become a pale, pale, icy blue, almost dissolving into the surrounding white, with staring dilated black pupils. His gaze is never focused on anything that anyone else can see, although he reacts to things in his immediate vicinity as if his visual perception were unimpaired. He stumbles rather than walks, and he stumbles along regular twisting geometric paths, as if trapped and wandering in invisible corridors. He lifts his hands to his head every so often, as if warding off blows.

We're in the yard of the squat party building, Adam is stumbling around in the sunshine, lost. The pikey kids are pushing him around, laughing at him. But a bit scared and apprehensive, too, they back off when he turns to look at them. The way he looks at people is just too weird.

"Are you trying to find your way out from somewhere?" I ask him. He nods. The pikey kids look at me strangely. "You're a bit fucked in the head, too, aren't you?" they ask me.

I used to see Adam around a lot at those parties. Every time he sees me he gives me a great big bear hug. Probably no one else ever thought he might be trapped in a world that is just as painfully real as this one. Shit, I don't know. I do know that it's not always wise to interact with psychotics on their own terms, to enter their mirrorworld. If you can let go of consensus reality at will enough to do that, you're in some risk of losing yourself in there.

I think he was really, really alone in there.

A story with no events: part I

About an hour's drive from Nowshera, on Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, you will find a cluster of villages, one called Japon. Nearby, there is also a Jermani and an Amrika.

In the village called Japan: Wazir Shah, Saheb Shah (audacious name, audacious moustache), and Edward Shah, elders, lounge around on charpais. Smoke rises into the shimmering air from an immense hookah. A Datsun pick-up drones up towards Malakand, away on the main road.

The road bisects a vast borderless dusty yellow plain, over which a parched breeze whispers. Here, conversation is unhurried and there is no need to have a punch-line to your stories.

There is an impressive bank of largely redundant light switches, traditional to Pakistani electricianship, on the wall of the house against the wall of which Saheb Shah leans his back. Japan gets a few hours of electricity each day. There are two electrical appliances in the house: one ceiling fan, and one lightbulb. The remaining switches play a role later on in the story.

What sort of a place is Japan? Noseless ghosts of dead Buddhist monks (butchered and mutilated by the armies of Mahmud of Ghazni) from the ruined monastery on the hill sometimes come down into the town, and are not liked by the superstitious population. Little boys with braziers come and shoo the ghosts away with acrid smoke for two rupees a go. Itinerant salesmen of dentifrice with loudhailers mounted on bicycles and sample cases of bright pink powders periodically pass through the town on their endless journeys. Legless men, scuttling through the traffic on powerful overdeveloped arms, gather to beg at the customs toll booth. They are heavily involved in the heroin trade, smuggling wads of drug-money under the noses of policemen. The police and army shoot it out sometimes, at the petrol pump on the corner of the road up to the red hill.
(nothing has happened yet; to be continued...)


Based on a true story

This is what Labour’s £X billion for education and training is being spent on… motivation classes for the unemployed. The tutor holds up a sorry-looking rubber chicken; it is passed around the class.

“What is wrong with this rubber chicken?”

Correct answer: “It’s unemployed!”

Archive material: juvenalia

Forgive me my Lord, my Lord the Creator,
I worship, praise on my lips.
But before the Creator I place the created,
I worship the curve of her hips.

One day

One day the engine will howl with power. Until that day I tinker, polish, test, adjust, hone, discover new tricks of the engineer’s art, search for untapped sources of energy. One day the howling of the engine will be fearsome, its power monstrous, its momentum unstoppable, its inevitability awesome.

The Edinburgh Fringe

Even as we sit comfortably enjoying the sultry London evening, 600 miles north the Edinburgh Fringe Theatre Festival will be opening. Artistes whose poverty is absolute and abject will be involved in a bizarre and deadly race to wallpaper the designated pillars along the Royal Mile with posters for their shows.

The layers of paper grow thicker as the pressure grows… How did we find ourselves in this surreal echoing nightmare? Sweat runs into reddened sleep-deprived eyes and little bits of brown packing tape coat everything... Can’t afford to drop behind… must keep papering… The sedimentary layers of promotional material grow thicker at the rate of about an inch every 45 minutes... How many shows have been swallowed whole by the strict rule: posters for shows only in designated places?


I am absolutely determined not to catch scurvy

Its smile is unsettling. Is that an eye? Is it watching me? Or is it blind, trapped sightless inside its grapefruit skull?