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

31.10.05

Who is Lazy Part III: Five things about me

Okay, so five things about me. For some inexplicable reason I have to do this because Nardac told me to, and cause it's, like, a meme, I have to.

But it's not a very virulent one, because it depends on the acceptance of it by the subject/victim. The really insiduous memes are the ones that creep up on you unawares. Theories that mug you, like the sinister shadowy shape in the alleyway that approaches with a knife and then jumps into your head instead, and suddenly you're not the same person at all any more...

Memes have been mentioned in passing on these pages (or these screens?) before, here, if I remember, in the email from the pseudonymous Dr Otter (you'll have to scroll down the page a little bit).

[redacted]

So let me drop some Shoreditch trivia here. The name apparently derives from ancient Anglo-Saxon soerdyke, or town sewer. Most people in the clubs around here are so far up their own asses (or arses, but I prefer the US spelling here) - you can identify the type by the fact that they refer to the area as "the Ditch" - that you might get lucky and get mugged outside on Kingsland Road and that's the best conversation you'll have all night, with the mugger.

[redacted]

26.10.05

I resent every minute I have to spend away from you, my friends, but what can I do? The balancing game isn't over yet, although juggling all the obligations and responsibilities just got easier (I dropped one of the balls, you see, and lost one of the jobs... Fuck it, it was pocket money...) There is already a light at the end of the tunnel (real daylight, not a train headlamp) - all debts cleared, all obligations satisfied, time to write and read, resources to travel, and realgem restored to its former glory.

19.10.05

realgem is now on emergency hold for at least 24 hours, and will then return with the silly meme Nardac (my favourite long-winded gasbag, with a beautifully re-branded and re-designed Holy smokes!!!) tagged me with - 5 things about MikeH (or, Who is Mike H, part 3 - see part 1, part 2); an explanation of what that silly competition was about; another episode of Squatting Stories 3 (part 1, part 2), the real-life horror story I am having a hard time telling properly; and much, much more
competition closed; R&B wins. He also happened to give a strong reply, as did several others (mikey, Nardac get honourable mentions, also angie, for succinctness - the quality I admire most in a writer). However, the winner was selected by the roll of two dice; R&B topped the list with an 11. Will be in touch by email for postal address; the book will follow in its own good time.

The consolation prize was going to go to transience (roll of 8), but then I realised I can offer nothing to a woman who has everything: the most beautiful way with words, her own island, and panties of the subtlest sky-blue with a rare tropical orchid print. Instead, next is tequilita (roll of 7), who wins - at long last! - a link in the Arbitrary Blogworld Sampler sidebar.

Dave Bones the terrorist lover is henceforth banned from realgem for his derogatory comments (not insulting to me, but to my readers: for ascribing - "they just feel sorry for you" - the disgusting arrogance of the sense of pity to my readers, whom I love).

That was 10 entries, just. I really would have done it - deleted it all. Girlie saved realgem, and wins a special holiday in north London starting Thursday...

18.10.05

competition (or prize-draw, rather) still open for 12 hours

17.10.05

Squatting Stories 3: Rodney Anyanwu

part 1 here. this story deserves the perfect telling I have given it before a hundred times, but I am exhausted of words. there is no continuity from part 1: part 2 reproduces the only documentary evidence that has survived from that time: pages torn from the diary of and notes taken by Mikey at the time.

[the chronological order of these notes is sometimes difficult to establish]

For the record...

Highbury Place #6 27.8.01 3-ish p.m.

I'm sitting here in this place now. It's __ eerie feeling, sorting through relics of other lives. Trying to get picture of what happened here. Notebooks with the fragments of a diary of some woman, no great diarist she, notes tracing the course of a relationship. A notebook, every page with the start of an uncompleted letter to Owen. I opened it first at a short entry describing their meeting... I don't usually go out to I suppose what you'd call meat-market clubs like that... and now months later I'm still here with you... and finished at Owen, everything that needs to be said has been said, I suppose.

[this from the first night:]

Entry through the bathroom window of the basement flat, single padlock easy to snip. That flat looks like it has been left in a hurry: toothbrushes by sink, teabag in tea-cup midway through making tea, food in cupboard and fridge. Judging by the sell-by dates, left end March. Letters addressed to "Miss Z. Outlaw, Basement Flat". There is a prescription for 8 different drugs: Otto reckons AIDS medications... Flupenthixol... no, it's a schizophrenia drug

The other two flats are sealed by doors; we have no entry as yet. Maybe when Otto and Max arrive.

[then, probably on first night there, while others sleep, i stay awake and scribble fragments or notes for stories in notebook:]

"Squatters break into a house like this one. They walk around, looking through the flotsam, trying to piece together what's happened here. The realisation dawns there's someone already here, another squatter... There is a knock at the window through which they just climbed, everyone freezes then turns. There he is. 'Jesus Fuck, what's wrong with his eyes?' No mere schizophrenia. Scrawls, bloody handprints on walls, strange ritualistic arrangements of objects in the corners"

[ after, i lie awake for long, breathing to calm myself - scaring myself with ideas of something pale naked human lying out in the long grass of the overgrown back garden, something that moves fast, scuttles along close to the ground like a lizard - trying to sense the house and its atmosphere]

29.8 Wed

Had my morning coffee, made from stale coffee from flat C wrapped in doll's dress from D and dipped in boiling water, and sugar and milk powder from A. Water heated on gas stove in B; we have gas but no power or water...

Those burned out flats upstairs freak me out. I feel fear... [long digression on fear and 'fear of fear itself'] ... But surely I should find the fear's centre, combat it, learn? When the dark comes, I'm afraid... But places do pick up energies from people who have lived there. Here in flat B, for instance, there is a definite granny vibe...

(yes, yes, yes, will be continued, there is an eventual point, but i'm going to sleep now)
What a banal fuckin stupid question to ask if I'm gonna make a competition out of it

16.10.05

Still no continuation to realgem's real-life horror story; been very sick, worried to death, head-splitting headache I thought might be brain haemorrhage, unable to look at computer screen, unable to even move.

Bad news from Pakistan. The epicentre of the quake was not far from childhood landscapes. Many familiar scenes and places will be gone forever, swallowed by the earth, swallowed by collapsing mountainsides.

realgem competition::: Mike's profile photo: is that a knife he's holding, or is it a parking metre he's leaning on? Or what the fuck is it? There are plenty of you out there who visit and never leave a comment (well below 1 per cent, even before my readership dip of a month or so ago!). Make yourselves known. It's a simple question, it's a literal question: there is no need to dazzle anyone with your cleverness. Leave an answer in the comments section: two or three words is enough. There will be a prize draw (a book of my choice) among all respondents. If I get less than 10 responses, I will delete this blog.

12.10.05

In the news

realgem offers apologies for the delay in posting the next instalment of Squatting Stories 3: Rodney Anyanwu; there are obligations and practicalities... while MikeH must remain at his computer, he must stay away from blogger.com (start your own and join the babbling hordes*)... with effort, he remains away from his beautiful aquarium, where colourful and phantasmagorical creatures swim dumbly trapped behind glass...

Something for the meantime: a news story that touched me, sentimental fool that I am, about the illiterate librarian of São Gonçalo, which almost absurdly brought tears to my unhealthily dry eyes... Happy tears, you dig... I don't weep from compassion or pity, because no greater stinking condescension or arrogance would there be... so that's realgem for today, an apology and a link with a moral teaching tagged on... you always get three for the price of one around here...


*once, men quested miles to study at the great libraries or to consult the great oracles... now a gibbering oracle on every TV channel, a library like none ever seen at the fingertips of any fool...

11.10.05

Realgem's last ever heroin story

this is realgem's last ever heroin story. we return tomorrow with the next part of Squatting stories 3: Rodney Anyanwu, and henceforth, with stories, reportage and freedom information for you, the beautiful and adventurous and sexy people
"I'm waitin' for my man, Twenty-six dollars in my hand... He's never early, he's always late, First thing you learn is you always gotta wait..." So let's call him... Let's call him... (No that's not what I meant, let me complete my sentences: why are you reaching for your phone...?) ... let's call him Mucus, 'cause it's close enough.

Drug dealers operate on some sort of different time from the rest of humanity, some sort of quantum Dr Who time-vortex deal. Or then it's just the power trip. The commodity that sells itself.

A poisonous and viscous sweat, a clammy and clinging sweat rises. Joints ache, nose drips, sweat stings eyes, beginnings of terrible pain rumble in my belly. Clothes feel uncomfortable against skin, boxers and jeans chafing and saturated, want to tear them off but know not only that it’s not practicable right now but would feel just as skin-crawlingly uncomfortable with the cold sweat drying on my skin.

I dial the Number. “Yeah, so what the fuck is going on? Honestly, mate.”
“To be honest, I’ll be there in about seven or ten minutes exactly.”

Hysterical (deranged by withdrawal) giggling: what the fuck is that meant to mean? Cigarette. Pace. Legs dead, stamp feet to explosions of pins and needles. Pace, cigarette. Fifteen minutes gone. Or twenty or what? Forgot to check the time. Every clock in here shows a different time anyway. Like my doctor’s waiting room, the walls (the walls – stretching junk-sickly, impossibly, forever in every direction) covered in plastic clocks bearing the brand names of forgotten and discredited pharmaceutical companies. “Which one of these clocks shows the right time?” I ask the sardonic, sour old receptionist. “None of them,” she says without hesitation, without looking up. I nod; that seems about right, somehow.

And I don’t even feel that bad, on the scale of things. But what else can I do? What else is there in life? (Where are you, girlie? Where are you, mi princesa gitana?)

I call the Number. “What’s goin' on?”
“Yeah I’ll be there in five minutes.”
“That’s what you said twenty minutes ago. What the fuck, where are you now?”
“Yeah I’m in Kilburn, I’m driving your way, I’ll be there in five minutes. You always calling me up like this - what's that about, yeah? I already said: I'm on my way there.”

Kilburn is not fucking five minutes away and your fucking wog ass knows that. But that’s unusual, usually it’s Holloway Road, they’re always on Holloway Road when you ask. “Yeah I’m on Holloway Road, I’ll be there in approximately five or three minutes exactly”. And in West London it’s that fucking Shepherd's Bush roundabout. Two places you could hit with a bomb and take out half the drug dealers in west and north London respectively.

Mucus, you are going to hell for all the heroin that you ever sold me, and for all the heroin you ever sold my true friend the Doktor, and for every generous-looking deal that turned out to be three layers of tightly-wrapped polythene around three-quarters of a proper hit. We bought your big fucking silver car for you. You are going to hell for that bag (what was your profit on that? all of £5?) that you sold ___, who was 21 when he died with a needle in his arm, listening to Don't Fear the Reaper.

You are going to hell for every lie you ever told me, and for every junk-sick minute I sweated that poisonous and viscous sweat waiting for you. Mucus, you are going to hell.

7.10.05

In the news

Jon Snow, writing in Snowmail (sign up), a blow against those sinners who cast the first stone at Kate Moss:

Robbie's battle lines
===================

Robbie Williams has come bursting out from behind his tattooed musical
performance to inform a news conference in Berlin that not only has he
snorted coke,
but that he's snorted it with a lot of journalists who've
been writing in diabolical terms about Kate Moss's love of the white
line.

He's hit hypocrisy in the gut, but what's the betting that tomorrow's
tabloid splash will crisply attempt to nail him as some jaded immoral
cokehead?

Watching it happen, as I just happen to be, was spell binding. He's as
good a talker as he's a singer - depending on how good a singer you
think he is. I think very good, his Sinatra covers are out of this world.
But that makes me sound a bit of a fusty old trout.

Thank God it's Friday. I must say when we rang his PR people, we
appeared to know what Robbie had said before they did. Their head-in-hands
posture was audible over the telephone… We are on the case at 7.

realgem's story on Rodney Anyanwu continues shortly...

6.10.05

Squatting stories 3, or Rodney Anyanwu

first of a special real-life realgem crime feature

According to the local paper, Rodney Anyanwu was just sentenced at the Old Bailey for a murder he committed several years ago, to "time without limit" in a high-security mental institution.

I feel I know Rodney - the same way you get to know someone through a blog, cryptic clues on the great toilet wall - from before. But this is the first time I have seen what his face looks like.

Described as a schizophrenic who refused to take his medication and as a heroin user, he stabbed to death an old woman, 82. Violetta. This happened two or three years ago; according to the initial report (I've been following Rodney's career across Islington) he raped her first, but not so according to today's article. They also give the address of where the murder happened as different, not Arundel Place (Barnsbury) just around the corner from the old St Clements St. house, but somewhere in Finsbury Park. This too is strange.

Back then, when the murder was first reported, I phoned up the reporter for the Islington Gazette and told her I knew of two people Rodney had killed before Violeta, never reported in any publication. I was hopeful of selling a story or at least getting a tip-off fee, but she was not interested in knowing; nor were the Evening Standard. It was a story hardly big enough for them, on the London scale of things.

At some point, Islington housed him at number 6, Highbury Grove; that's right on Highbury Field opposite the aqua leisure swimming place, just off Highbury Corner. I happen to know because I lived there, for however short a time; perhaps ten days or two weeks, though it seems strangely longer, in the warm August of 2001. Way back in squatting days, before it had ever even occured to me to pay rent to anyone in this town to live somewhere. I have lived in the most amazing houses in the most desirable locations in London for free; and the best thing about 6 Highbury Grove were the amazing giant bay windows in flat 3.

And when me and Max and the others who weren't there when it all happened were evicted illegally, summarily thrown into the street because we were unwittingly living in a crime scene, we had no will to fight. Because the house was malevolent (or it had become malevolent) and it didn't like us there.

I know the whole story, now, but at the time, it unfolded slowly, obliquely, through clues and strange incidents, as I wandered through the abandoned relics of strangers' lives.

The top flat (apartment, US visitors, of five - one on each floor) was burned out. Part of its floor had collapsed into the flat beneath, a place with the touch of a woman, a woman's things strewn around, a cot for a child, and toys... a double bed in the other room, untouched by the fire.

The first time I went up to the top flat, on the top stair, there was a page torn out of a paperback, burned neatly around all the edges. I sat down to read it. It appeared to be from a horror novel. The scene: someone was investigating a fire, a possible case of arson: a case with inexplicable features. Finally the investigator can only suggest one thing to the other character (unidentified): "Do you believe in ghosts, Mr _____? Have you considered there may be no other explanation?" The last sentence on the page is: "I'm desperate. I'll try anything, even spiritualism."

I entered the flat. The smoke had blackened the walls, but only above a certain level: there was a clean cut-off level on the sooty, blackened parts, neater than many painters would bother to have painted it. I wandered, and stopped, and faced a cupboard, door burned or torn off. There was a crystal chalice, and scraps of torn paper, and seeds arranged in strange patterns. I entered another room, tip-toed across a precariously creaking floor. Bleakly bare, but for one collapsed shelf and a pile of books in the corner, cheap horror bestsellers (Koontz and similar) and a cheap New Testament. I flipped through some of the horror books. There were marginal notations in tiny letters in pencil, words or passages underlined alongside quotations from the Book of Revelations, or other cryptic phrases.

The kitchen, too, completely blackened, appliances scorched by fire, broken copper pipes jutting from the walls, dripping water. A thick pile of papers spilled from the cupboard under the sink. I crouched to look through them; legal orders to be sectioned (involuntary incarceration order on psychiatric grounds), psychiatric case-notes, letters from lawyers, immigration papers. I read at random in the stark light shining through into the shadowy kitchen from the corridor and living room, where the roof had collapsed.

But I think the first strangeness we came across, before we had explored that high in the building, were the scribbled notes on the backs of envelopes or on Post-Its. It soon became evident the former occupant of flat number 3, Mr Oliver Tindle, was gay (that's all I can say about him: blatantly hilariously gay, one room piled to waist level with gay porno mags, posters, sacks of condoms; the other rooms tastefully furnished to a gay man's fastidious taste - I chose his living room with two huge bay windows in which to sleep, and I still use his dressing-gown) and that someone, someone Dutch had been staying with him, who was mute. Therefore the notes to communicate.

They read things like "Is there a black boy? Is he here? Mentally deranged" and "My brother's danger, I am call gang, so I think you better leave now... I want you... Beg you... please forgive me... we are in danger", half of the text legible.

In flat number 4, I found the woman's diary, along with large plastic envelopes full of glossy photoprints, and letters with model agency letterheads. I sat down with the notebook to read.
(...to be continued. part 2 will be edited from the notes/diaries I kept at the time )

5.10.05

I am not feeling at all well. I am very stressed out. Everything (already precarious) is about to come crashing down around my ears

absit omen

I have really fucked up a lot of things and I am paying the price now. I'm sick with worry. I have too many obligations to too many people and I can't afford to lose any more time.

Nor can I lose the courage, the conviction (politics and isms are banned from here, but yes, I have fucking convictions, too) to live with:
if, as it seems, we are in the process of becoming a totalitarian society in which the state apparatus is all-powerful, the ethics most important for the survival of the true, free, human individual would be: cheat, lie, evade, fake it, be elsewhere, forge documents, build improved electronic gadgets in your garage that'll outwit the gadgets used by the authorities.
(Philip K Dick, The Android and the Human, via timboucher.com - go and read the rest of this extract)

Did you find me on the internet yet, girlie? The stats and the traces showed an IP ghost that might have been you, looking for me... Once you find me online, you'll see how intimate I am with my readers and you might be able to put words to that "something missing about you..." What do you think of my double life? Cause I know what I think of you and your tawny skin and your... (oh old and scarred me, hahaa! the years fall away from my shoulders with you!)