Opens his cupped hand to reveal, not a blade, but the end of a spliff. "You got a light, bruv?" I pass disposable lighter (warily, though) and we fall into step heading down towards the Tesco petrol station.
"You look like you're drunk, you walking like you was drinking. Or you just been working late or whatever, you tired? Cause of the way you is walking, that's just why I was saying." I'm stoned on heroin and hashish and not walking straight.
"I've been working," I say. Been in front of this computer all day. "Seen, seen," he say. So we walk and talk. "How about you, you drunk?" I ask him. Yeah, he been having a few drinks, he smile almost sheepishly. He is saying about how it would be good to get some sort of certification, work in security, something like this. "What is it... like, what is it you do?"
“I work in the newspapers.” Which is sometimes the case. "Seen, seen," he say. He have a sort of simple, forthright, friendly manner. Really innocent. "It's good, it's interesting work. You don't get paid as much as you might imagine but it's interesting work."
“Seen. Are you the story finder-outer or whatever it is? How’d you find stories?" he asks.
And then he says: "But you know about how your will is in energy centres in your body? You need to let some energy shine out of your heart and it leads you to where you need to go, innit? It gives you like the instinct for what you need to do.”
I do a sort of mental double-take.
“I mean I use it for different things, I use it to find parties and like that. But where did you learn about like this energy stuff and that?" he asks.
There is still adrenalin racing. I still having trouble remaining calm. I disconcerted and really suspicious, still, that something is not right. I am trying to reach my deep mind, which always knows about people, always has the right score on them. We turn into the Tesco petrol station, pass a car parked outside with three hard-looking black kids, go inside, start picking out shopping.
Run in to each other again in the aisle. He start to talk about some yoga he does, more about energy... One of the black kids from outside walks in, the guy I talking to turns to greet him, I walk off with no ceremony. "I was just talking to this gentleman here," I hear him saying. "Oh, where he gone?"
I pay and leave, and I am still, admit this, heart racing and expecting... I don't know what? Them four to follow me in the car and jump out and rob me? My mind is seething with paranoia. Paranoia which have out-weighed my curiosity about these unusual things he saying.
WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING TO MY MIND? What turned me into one of the easily-alarmed ones? Mentally I am still scanning for a scam or a piss-take. I am screaming inside: what the fuck happened to the happy maniac of just five weeks ago? Heroin destroyed him. Back to the walking dead. I didn't even ask him for his name.
I get home, downstairs is deserted, and heroin and the CIA are on the radio, that word stabbing into my ears from the radio. I put an instant supermarket pizza in the oven and sit alone at the table and listen. 'CIA covert operations and the narcotics trade', produced by Alternative Radio in Boulder, Colorado, on Resonance 104.4 FM.
The first website I ever made, must have been 1998 or thereabouts, had a photo of some Afghans with RPGs and the legend: Support the Taliban, buy Afghani heroin! The server made me take it down after a few days.
It may be our right to dose ourself with what we want, it's perfectly reasonable to argue. But consider, then: How many people died to get this bag here? How many wars has this drug money financed?
Even as a wave of cheap heroin hit the US in the early 80s, the CIA was facilitating setting up heroin labs to finance the warlord armies fighting the Soviets, they are saying on the radio. Meanwhile, the number of known heroin addicts in Pakistan rose from 5000 or so in 1979 to 1.2 million in '85.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the real motherfucker, the belligerent and ruthless butcher of Kabul, was receiving 50% of US arms during the Soviet years in Afghanistan. He ran a vast network of heroin labs. The CIA helping the big heroin players evade the international DEA, all agents of the same government. And like this.
It's compelling listening.
I'm nodding off over the table...
big bubbling vats of heroin mixture against a backdrop of shimmering pink and yellow mountains under a deep deep turqoise sky. What shall we mix with this heroin, Jahan Akhbar Khan? Glucose powder? No, look, we can put ground-up carcasses of AIDS-infected donkeys. Why settle for less?... because wakefulness is harried and uncomfortable and I'm feeling some measure of self-loathing for my fear. But the world is giving me clues again.
Beksinski was found stabbed to death in his Warsaw apartment late on Monday night. GOD REST HIS SOUL; I don't know what else to say. We have been robbed of the power and meaning of these traditional phrases (not to mention the power of the sometimes-important words "thank-you" and "sorry", but these through gross over-use by the English).
Ahhhh, forgive me, already I'm drawn into an irrelevant and irreverent digression. There is a small selection of his work here - you'll find more elsewhere on the internet - go and contemplate...
These days on blogger you can time-stamp entries to look as though they were written whenever... I have about eight draft entries that I think are all worthwhile and entertaining stories from earlier this month... But I really have to catch up on work... I'm gonna tell you a little bit about my job, as well, but later. I'm on the clock right now, what do lawyers call it? I'm billing... but I should get on the phone and start doing my job.
But a thought for you: perfectionism is the death of any blog. I spend too long on some of these entries... Just publish, and be damned... Innit?
I bought a new cute little digital camera (with negligible shutter lag, which always have been my biggest complaint about low- and mid-range digitals) but I can't install the software to transfer photos from it because my CD drive is, technically speaking, completely fucked up. Totalmente fudido. Hajalla. Tut gia. So from Saturday I begin to publish you some new photos again. Photography is my other new addiction, and (still at this stage, at least) altogether more healthy. I got some old photography I really pleased with but want to bring you something fresh, something new, maybe something sexy... Til later, then...
you've got the saddest pair of shameless eyes
and how i hate to see them dry
and how i like to see them cry
oh i fantasize
of putting shame back in those shameless eyes
i'm longing for a long goodbye
where we can watch the feeling die
It is 365 days since I got married. Feb 20, and I wake up in moderately bad heroin withdrawal...
[[blahblahblahblahblahetc - temporarily redacted]]
(This, in itself, is not an original thought... it was one of the favourite themes of my sister E___'s smelly homeless friend in Bristol, for example... Poets have always recognised that opium is feminine.)
Enough, Jesus Christ, enough. Maybe the whole universe does revolve around my love life? More entertaining stories coming soon.
More observations about last night in a moment... I have some work shit to take care of...
Who owns Britain? Most of us would instinctively reply: we do. The British people own the British Isles. This is a democracy, isn't it? But the facts tell a different story. When you look at a map of the British Isles, you are looking not at your home but at a land mass overwhelmingly owned by a tiny aristocratic elite. Extraordinary though it might seem, in the 21st century, 0.6 per cent of the British people own 69 per cent of the land on which we live - and they are mostly the same families who owned it in the 19th century.Full text here.
When it comes to land ownership, Britain today is a more unequal country than Brazil - where there are regular land riots. We are beaten in the European league tables only by Spain, a country which largely retains the land patterns imposed by General Franco's fascist regime. It's time we realised: this land is not your land, from Land's End to the Scottish Highlands. It is theirs.
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.)
"Please make sure you remove my blog's link from yours." -Email from _____ of _____If they are your private thoughts that you want no one else to read then why the fuck are you publishing them on the internet?
The irony of this response from someone who always told me: "Share your thoughts and the whole world becomes your notebook." From someone I have heard so many times complaining in frustration about how unwilling/unable the people around us are to interact, to mesh with other people's minds, to exchange information and ideas.
This is some sort of bullshit that I would expect from the frightened and easily-alarmed ones.
"I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's the best they'll feel all day." Frank Sinatra, apparentlyI woke up two hours ago tired, hung-over, depressed, disillusioned and horrendously lonely but I'm feeling much better already.
He would like a room here. This well-spoken silver-haired gentleman first appeared from nowhere one morning in the summer, recently returned from 20 years in Italy, accompanied by who turns out to be his brother, both tanned and in straw hats.
-How can we help you? we politely enquired. -Well, actually, I own this house, he said. -No, the council do, we said, and were met with what seemed like genuine incredulity.
The story: this gentleman, Mr _____, did indeed once upon a time own this house, until his estranged son forged a signature in order to sell it during his long absence from the country. The moniker "alchemist of C____ Rd" originates in an anecdote he told. Involved in a property dispute in a county court, he had filled the space on the court forms for "occupation" with "alchemist".
"Alchemist?" enquired the judge - you will have to imagine the accent and the sudden incredulous squint over peery-downy county court judge bifocals yourself.
"Yes, alchemist. I take base metal - ie lead - and convert it into gold - ie money." This by operating the old model soldier shop near the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth.
The alchemist, we believe, is immensely wealthy, at least compared to ourselves. Certainly his portfolio of restored medieval properties in Italy is impressive. Now, he wishes to have a room in our house, our humble squat, in order to be able, as an occupant, to muddy the legal waters and involve the council in a protracted battle over ownership. In return, he will pour any amount of money into this house, which, dear as it is to us, is crumbling and decaying even as I type, and under the shadow of two (or is it three?) magistrate's warrants for London Energy to come and finally disconnect the power...
The cautious, sensible and easily-alarmed ones object. They don't want to let him get involved.
Hahahaa!! What the fuck are you scared of? ____ is going to start showing up with his posh friends and playing loud jazz and drinking red wine at 4am when you need to get up for work?
______ and his posh gang are going to surround you on the stairs and intimidate you, my dear?
"Oh I say, are you a squatter?" (Again, you just have to imagine the accents...)I don't know his motives. Not money. Maybe he has read the stories of squatters keeping multi-million pound properties through adverse possession and thought: I want to try that. He a chancer. He adventurous. He doing it just for the fuck of doing it, for the stories to tell about it later. Like Lazy in that respect. Although I can't know for sure... Perhaps the easily-alarmed ones are right and he has secret plans. So what? You are going to lose this place sooner or later... whether to the council or to the alchemist is somewhat immaterial... So let's go with the alchemist...
"_____'s a squatter too, you know..."
"Yes, he's squatting his own house, imagine..." Ho ho ho...
Good side of if living in a assexuada society, where all the predios the same seem to be, all the equal houses sao, all the store if are similar and the gostos of establish in one danca robotica without taste, smell of nothing, flat, where the unica badness eh the propria badness, violent naked and, far of the meat but close to the knife. So I read the bad news for here. Nao I remember if it read as much when Pablo liveed in Sao, but I find that yes. Nao I remember. Nao I rememberThere is black magic here, my child, and you will remember suspecting so, as soon as you got here. Their web of evil feeds on us, even as this old and evil city sucks sustenance from the Earth, and cargo jets and freight ships feed it with the wealth of all the world. The blinking eye in the pyramid atop Canary Wharf sweeps us with its malignant gaze and millionaire sorcerors laugh all the way to the bank, fat and engorged with the energy of slaves...
We are at one of the nodes of the global flows of information and money. Parasites in the belly of the great beast.
I am at a so-called slam poetry night at a place called Manjaro. It's just around the corner from me but I don't know it from before, I found it on the internet... It's not like the open-mic stuff at the Foundry or what have you.
For a start about three-quarters of the faces here are black. What does this mean? People from hiphop or MCing circles... Then there are some from performance poetry circles... What they calling slam poetry. The crowd favourite here tonight wins £100, audience votes...
Everyone in the audience writes a word on a slip of paper and the master of ceremonies puts them in a bag. The score is, the contestants get up in the first round, they get three of these word papers, and have a minute to improvise something around those three words...
Up in front of the mic, third turn, is a girl. She is beautiful, and what else can I tell you about her right now? I gonna tell you nothing... She is having bad stage fright: "No, I can't do this shit. No, I'm not gonna do it."
"If you do it, I'll do it!" I offer her, and so she has to... She says her three words and sits down and that's that... I am left with an awful feeling of nausea spreading through my body, waiting for my turn...
I get up there, then. This is the first time I ever did any shit like this. The master of ceremonies welcomes Mike onto the stage... "Too many MCs, not enough Mikes, yeah?" I slur into the microphone. My three words: sunshine, innocence, bend...
Innocence with twisted facesAnd I manage a few more lines and I got some sort of rhythm (I think?) and everyone is cheering and stamping... This is how the audience votes, by how loud their cheers are... And Mike gets, and this is the truth, the loudest damn cheers... "Do you have something ready, Mike?" asks the MC. "I got nothing!" says Mike and gladly give his place in the second round (3 and a half minute improvised rhyming) to someone else.... Next time, okay? So some black guy take the £100 tonight with an amazing stream-of-consciousness epic...
Sunshine in in-between places
Breathes deep, circulation races...
Lights fag, checks watch, paces, paces...
And after that the girls in the place really smiling at me but fuck them. Because the girl who was on the mic is called _____ but I gonna tell you nothing about her. We walk arm-in-arm a way up the street and then she just vanish into the underground and back to her life and say we gonna meet some day and she'll call and I don't know what or who it is in her life that she need to get back to so quickly.
She is the one who make Mike H take up writing rhyming words again.
So, it was like that.
She doesn’t exist as a real being, but as a nexus of gossip, as a cut-up collage of other people’s lives and overheard stories.
She has never, in all the time I’ve known her, said anything that makes me laugh or smile<>She has never said anything interesting of her own. Everything she says is “Did you hear what ___ did on Friday?” or “What a weirdo that ___ is…”. She only ever talks about other people. She has no ideas of her own. Everything she says is party bullshit and the scene. So you look over my blog and it look like I'm just writing about parties I been. And so it is. But when I hear them starting with the party gossip now, I start singing with abandon. Anything: the Finnish national anthem, the theme from Carmina Burana. I don't know why these people like me.
She is alarmed and thrown onto the defensive by anyone who doesn’t follow how she expects normal people to act. People like this are easy to deal with: you call them “crazy” and then give a relieved smile to your friends because you figured it all out: ah, that's okay, I get it, the guy is crazy. Like, to name names, _____ of bostumana (see sidebar). I feel like saying: “Maybe he’s crazy, my dear, but from where I’m sitting, this fucker is 100 times more alive than you.”
I don’t think she’s a bitch because I wouldn’t dignify or flatter her with the term.
I don’t want to give her any energy. Don't want to smile at her or say anything to her.
When the beautiful and perfect one, once upon a time a long time ago, in an episode of paranoic jealousy, suspected me of having an affair with her, I was deeply offended. I would rather fuck a boy than that stunted travesty of femininity. I feel a wave of revulsion and nausea just thinking about it. If you are going to suspect of infidelity, my beautiful, at least do me the dignity of suspecting some girl who is feminine and beautiful and curvy.
If she read this she would come out with some excruciating retort and prissily conclude with: “…well what do you have to say to that?”
“A quote from Shakespeare, maybe, my dear? There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your stinking philosophy…”
Downstairs in the kitchen there are load of these rude-boy types sitting around... the people live here are deeply civilised and involved in jazz and classical music for a living, and I'm wondering how they know people like this? Ok, everything cool, they're offering me lines of c and someone keeps my vodka tonic fresh and I'm having a great time, everyone is beautiful... There is like this Italian chick and some other girl against the wall kissing and tonguing each other obscenely for our benefit...
Maybe it's at this point things are getting rowdy? I can feel it, there is gonna be a fight... Things are getting a bit messy, cocaine and alcohol are factors, there is gonna be some stupid fight over a girl or something... Shit, I have another party to go to anyway cause I promised my friends months ago... These guys in the kitchen are suddenly looking very ugly and someone is threatening to kick my fucking head in and fuck knows, maybe knives are coming out soon, but I'm leaving anyway... [Afterwards I find out things did get messy, J got smacked around the head and someone was thrown down the stairs and like this... and who were these people? The front door was open...]
It is about 5am and I have to get to the depths of East London. How the fuck? I know, I'll take the motorbike. This is an email I wrote to a friend when I was at home to pick up the bike:
“i got that sihhti??So. On the way somewhere, I slam the bike into the back of a car without even slowing. I am here now, alive and walking. I stashed it in an alley in Whitechapel somewhere. I hope the firestarter kids didn't get it yet.
i'm really fucked up goonna take theb ike tro esat .londohn. oar
How was the party? The Debunker party? Look, this is a party/club review of sorts as well... How was it? Um. Techno. I don't know if you like techno. It was good techno. The damn thing is the people I have the misfortune to know who come with it. If you look up the page, you will find a word portrait of one such.
I missed the bands. I missed Smatka Molot, who I should have gone to see just for the name, who are German and they are sexy go-go girls playing intense psycho rock n' roll. Next time...
It was my squat party friends' bid to go legal, and it seem to have worked... No one got stabbed or mugged, the surroundings were almost squalid enough to suit people's tastes, and people were even smiling... And it's all over so soon, and I find myself lifting gear into vans and I don't know why cause I didn't sign up for this... Loads of junk computer monitors, for example, which the excellent Nitin wires up in some mysterious way and then plays the bank of monitors like an instrument... It growls like an angry giant synth or something...
On Monday morning I feel like I've been beaten with an iron bar and there are four empty vodka bottles in the rubbish.