Monthly Archives

August 2008

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Squallyoaks, the Album

August 27, 2008

“The best music ever!” – some drunk guy in the off-licence near our house.

“I’m not sure I understand it, put I’m proud of you.”- My mom

“No comment.” – The Guardian

My house, Squallyoaks, has made an album of music. It’s really good. The album in a collection of 12 “songs,” all of which were recorded in our house when we were wasted.

The launch party in tomorrow night at Catch in Shoreditch. It’s free entry and we will be giving out free albums on the night. Be there or be somewhere else (which is probably playing better music).

Album sampler:
http://media.imeem.com/m/i7vFi7ee4I/aus=false/

http://media.imeem.com/m/xsoFjQujxL/aus=false/

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The Alchemist

August 18, 2008


Photo by Matthew Stone

I’ve spend the past twenty-four hours locked in my bedroom immersed in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, trying to read myself into a better person. The decision came after I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I read a book that wasn’t authored by someone even more profoundly cynical than myself. This is just one of the many steps I’m taking in journey toward mental health.

“You should read The Secret,” my mother suggested during a recent phone conversation. She’s a member of Oprah’s Book Club, obviously. “It’s really amazing,” she beamed. “It’s all about positivity. It teaches you the power of smiling. I think it could really help you.” Gag me with a spoon.

“Don’t think it’s for me,” I say, blankly shoving a handful of Corn Flakes into my mouth. “Has Oprah suggested any books that make you feel better about yourself by pointing out how disgusting everyone else is?” My mother wasn’t pleased.

Our conversation continued as we talked about Katie Holms’ new haircut and our current celebrity crushes. We both have the hots for Wentworth Miller, the guy from Prison Break. I love phone calls with my mom because I can talk about things I would otherwise be far too embarrassed to bring up with all my pseudo intellectual friends.

“Michelle told me that Mr. Gates got fired because he’s a pedophile,” I said, suddenly remembering this vital piece of information. “Is that true?” Mr. Gates was my history teacher all throughout junior high, by the way.

“Yeah, it’s true,” said my mother with unexpected calm. “You didn’t know?”

“No, I didn’t know,” I shrieked. “That’s disgusting!”

“Yeah, I wasn’t surprised. I always thought there was something creepy about that guy. You know who else is a pedophile?” she continued nonchalantly, as if she was reading the weather report, “Mr. Ribici, your old basketball coach. Weird right? Didn’t see that one coming. Apparently the girl was nine. Horrible, horrible man.”

It was then that I recalled the numerous times my Under-12 basketball team had ‘team-unity’ camp-outs in this “horrible man’s” backyard.

“That’s gross,” I said. “Didn’t we see him at church last Christmas? I swear you forced me go say hello to him.”

“No, that wasn’t him.”

“I think it was.”

“No, you’re confused. You’re thinking of that other guy that everyone thinks is a pedophile. I can’t think of his name right now.”

I refrained from saying something malicious and instead thought of Paulo Coelho, someone far more at peace than I will ever be. In The Alchemist Coelho says, “The universe is conspiring in our favor” and “The soul of the world is nourished by people’s happiness.” Well, look. I’m doing my best, ok? But it’s kind of hard to be happy when practically everyone I’ve ever known is a child molester, I have a gay hospitalized boyfriend, and the last meal I ate was a prawn salad out of a garbage bin. The world is fucked up.

If nothing else, The Alchemist taught me this: “A man’s heart helps those who are trying to realize their destiny, as well as children, drunkards, and the elderly.” The ‘drunkards’ bit makes me feel oddly at ease.

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I Smell Dead People

August 4, 2008

I’m in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and I can smell dead people. The foul stench of rotting flesh and fecal matter is crawling its way up through my nasal cavity and into my medulla oblongata, causing my heart to beat worryingly fast. Or is it slow? I guess that’s the NHS for you. Jesus, I know they’re cheap but surely they could splurge on an air freshener. It’s times like this I wish I didn’t have such an acute sense of smell. Note to self: snort more drugs.

My boyfriend is asleep in the bed next to me hooked up to all sorts of machines- some that flash, some that buzz, and one that looks like a giant sponge which is connected to his foot. There’s an IV in his arm, his skin is so pail I can see each and every one of his violet veins, and he’s wearing nothing but a hospital gown. Can it be that for the first time in my life I actually think a boy looks too thin? Survey says: no. I’m a real sucker for that whole “about to die” look. It really turns me on. We fucked in his hospital bed about two hours ago.

The old guy in the next bed has no teeth and keeps shitting his pants. Hence the smell of excrement. Every time it’s the same- the air turns foul, he starts screaming uncontrollably and then eventually one of the fat Nigerian nurses comes stomping in, making a squeaking noise with her mouth that sounds like she’s sucking air through her teeth with her tongue (this apparently signifies disapproval in their culture). This is when old man begins squawking abuse at everyone in his general area, but because he has no teeth you can barely understand a word he’s saying. Last time I managed to make out both “you’re a monster” and “I’m going to kill you.” He seems like a nice guy.

The worst, however, is the guy directly opposite. He’s half bald and his eyes are wild and evil. He looks like a psycho killer. Actually, I take that back. He is a psycho killer. I’m certain of it. You just don’t have a face like that unless you like to chop people up into tiny, neatly packaged pieces. He never has any visitors. When he first came into the ward he was wearing a beret. Killers wear berets.

I’ve been here in this portal of human decay nearly every day for a week now, and by the sounds of it I will have to endure this torture for at least another. It’s a bit of a soul rotting experience surrounding oneself with death and disease, loss and sadness, misfortune and disfigurement. The anger within me is boiling and my head is not in a good place. Sickness is a seriously bad game, and I’d like to thank whoever it is I’m supposed to be thanking that I have my health.