28 Apr 2004

Too much to smoke last night. I woke up this morning with my head stuck firmly up my arse. I have only been awake for 45 minutes and already I have made three basic errors. I've skinned my knuckles, left something vital behind and mistakenly waved at somebody I probably shouldn't have. Now I shall be in an ambigous mood for the rest of the day.

When you do something foolish and there is only one person to blame you can derive no satisfaction from taking your anger out upon a door or a bucket or anything inanimate and completely innocent. Then again, it is no good kicking yourself. These situations are why swear words are so necessary. You can relieve so much pressure by just bellowing "FUCKING FUCK, YOU TWAT!"

Marijuana. It has its uses. One of which is no longer daily puffing. The smoke of ages past reveals to the mind the fires of the present. Which is just a load of horseshit. Skunky buds. Will make you laugh harder than normal at something that is normally not all that funny. At least, not normally so funny as to cause giggling fits and hysteria that often feel that they might end up in you breaking a rib or three through excessive laughter. All in all, weed dulls your natural edge, throws off your natural rhythm and makes you make stupid bastard errors. And it can make you paranoid.

Which is why I no longer smoke the evil weed every day. When I first started to wean myself off daily consumption it became quite clear that after about six years of regular puffing, to be straight was as much of a drug as to be stoned. Discussions that beforehand I would have had a flap at and then collapsed in the corner to escape the words and to have a snidey smoke, suddenly became my playground again. I could talk authentic sounding bullshit like the rest of my friends. No longer would I consume whole jars of Marmite with lumps of cheese or take five hours to get out of bed. My life felt like it was mine again, that I was in complete control, so much so that in a sort of celebratory lifestyle change, I decided to become addicted to heroin instead. Which was fun.

Then the crack, the whizz, the acid and shrooms, the Charlie, the poppers, the pills, the K. Only occasionally, mind. Still, I have left myself with the option for dabbling in all drugs because I always managed to call it quits when things started getting properly fucked up. I no longer have a desire to be high. I like being straight far more; I find it much more fun. I am aware that everything has consequences and if my pursuit for an easy life is going to carry on in its present successful vein, a hundred quid's worth of brown is far from advisable.

This ramble is a result of me waiting for my errant boss to turn up. Now he has called me to say his car has broken down. For him, everyday is as if he's just popped some rather diabolical acid. The man is a centre of choas. Laters.


24 Apr 2004

It was the annual hockey dinner last night at the Falcon. About a hundred and fifty people were invited. This year is the 21st anniversary of the creation of Bude Hockey Club and faces from the mist of the past came along. Someone also managed to get some chap called John Shaw to come along. Noone knew who he was or what he wanted but apparently he used to play for the Great Britain hockey side in days gone by. Through the haze of alcohol I seem to remember him telling me about playing along side the likes of Sean Curley (fuck it, that's not how you spell his name) and the One, the Only, Imran Sherwani (that doesn't look right either.) John told me that Imran now works in a newsagency. How the mighty must fall. There's never been any money in hockey anyway. God, what am I writing? This is just so terribly boring. I'm sending myself to sleep. Why was I writing about this anyway?

So, everybody in tux's apart from Bruce who simply insists on being different. Aloof. Out there. Better than that. Untouchable style. Bruce was wearing his cotton beige summer suit and, wait for it, flip-flops. Yes, I am a player of great and mighty integrity. The fact that I seem to have left my nice shiny boots in some flop-house in Derby had nothing to do with it. More likely, I settled on the flip-flops because the day before I had my ankle coloured in and the bastard was hurting plenty. No, true but not entirely. I just liked the idea of it. Of course, it went down incredibly well.

Alcohol. Lots of it. Jack called me up beforehand to tell me that he had just got home from the pub and was worried that he might have drunk too much. In the two hour interval between him finishing at the dental practice and slurring to me down the phone, he had managed to sink five pints in the sun. He wondered if I thought he had shot his bolt and I concurred, telling him that he had made a school-boy error. I told him to drink as much water as possible immediately and eat bread and have a shower and sleep for twenty minutes by which time I would be there to slap him about a bit and then drive him to the dinner. He saw the night through like a trooper. He is of hardy stock.

Alcohol everywhere. Some funny bastard who had decided upon the seating plan sat me, 27 and a well known joker and general deviant, on a table of fifteen year olds. Apart from Dan that is, who is sixteen and the only person who rambles on about irrelevant bollocks as much as me. So, actually, now I think about it, the seating planner was very cunning. We just sat there and argued about napkins and golf shots and shaving and then we starting ordering wine and then I started buying vodka for the three fifteen year old girls sat to my left who weren't making any effort at being evenly mildly interesting. Three vodkas later and Simone is telling the whole table about her horse's penis and then this strange lady comes across from an 'adults' table and asks her what she's been drinking and then looks at me and scowls. I smile back at her and carry on talking to Dan who then tells me that is Simone's mother and she is a lay preacher and my soul is in trouble.

Then John Shaw stands up to make a speech and the man is the worst speech giver I have ever had the utmost displeasure to endure. He rambles on about things utterly irrelevant to everybody in the room and finally, eventually he sits down and takes a minute to remove my fork from his eyebrow. No, that's not true. Later, however, I did accost him as he sat all alone at his table sipping on a coke and told him that his speech was crap and he must get some help. He then suggested I write them for him and I told him that I could and so he took my email address and I walked off with his pen. I was very drunk by this point.

Then the dancing started and Steph and I had a dance and then we had a few more. I was twirling her about and she was looking and feeling very, very lovely indeed. We had the occasional break which I would spend telling her other half Allan what a lucky chap he was and doesn't she have a great arse and check out that cleavage. He was nodding sagely, as if to say, 'Bruce, my boy, you enjoy yourself with my woman and try, if you like, to take her. You have two chances, N and O.' I do remember kissing her and that was lovely. I then went and told Allan that I had kissed his wife and he smiled at me and patted me on the head.

After we had been kicked out I started on Viviene, a vision in crimson. Little did I know that she had just propositioned my good friend Jason, in earshot of Tammy with the result that Jason had left to get some air and he never came back. He told me today that he suddenly had the urge to flee the Falcon and go for a walk on the beach, leaving the ladies to each other. I then suggested that he might have just missed the opportunity of a very physical threesome and he was quiet for a moment and then he swore. At this point I remember trying to talk Viv into a snog but she, somehow, resisted. As she was getting into her car to grab her jacket, I approached from the rear. She screamed and jumped in the car as I followed her in.

"Come on Viv, give us a kiss. You're gorrrrgeous!"

"Bruce, fuck off!"

Then she started throwing shoes at me and clothes and a box of tissues and finally I relented. Thank God.

It was a very good night.

I played golf today, the first time this year. The sun was out, it was hot, not a cloud, that sort of day. As Jason and I started on the third tee this old boy trundles up and asks if we mind if he joins us. I was 'awwwwwing' just before I told him that it wasn't okay when Jason tells him that he doesn't mind. That was that then. This old boy, by the name of Allan, appeared to be a bit of a tosser and I kept raising my eyes to the heavens when he started telling me how I should change my stance. However, when he started praising my natural draw I warmed to the chap. By the eighth green he is telling me his golfing lifestory and I am listening. It turns out that he has had a hip replaced, a new knee and four fingers rejointed and then he sinks his second shot for a birdie. Wait, this is fucking irrelevant. I'm going to bed.

21 Apr 2004

Good Fucking God, I am in a total bastard of a mood. I have no idea where it came from, why it's sitting in my head making me snap at my nearest and dearest, but the fucker is certainly here. I have had a peach of a day, doing my thing, and now pretty soon I am going to make movements toward the kitchen and start boiling up a pot of live, wild mussels from Plymouth. I have two good friends coming round to munch. Willem, the chippy who keeps avoiding getting invited around and Jack, the dentist, who invites himself around.

But what is on with this mood? I can tell it is a really good bad mood because I am enjoying it. It is as if one of my personalities has taken control and shut me out and smiles and eggs me onward as the other me makes contorted faces of general and all round disapproval whilst banging fists against bulletproof glass.

I have the answer to it, of course. Alcohol. I have lager in front of me, wine in the fridge and more wine for the moules. Instead of being in a bad mood, I shall be drunk. I am a lucky chap because whilst some drunkards become angry, morose, agitated or asleep, I get happy. Anyone who knows me knows that I am obtusely happy anway, so me on the piss is simply one big grin fest; to the point of Chelsea Grins all round!

So fuck you pal. You can take your snappy retorts (which are actually awfully witty) and snide remarks (which are accurate, now I come to think about it) and go and vent your spleen (but it feeeeels so good) and take a hike.

Actually, you could go to the fridge, my glass is mostly empty. A state of affairs that must be redressed immediately.

20 Apr 2004

There's not much to be said when someone's sitting on your head.
Plenty to be mumbled.

As long as I have a face you'll always have somewhere to sit!

Read that on a T-shirt in the back of a biker magazine I flipped through when of tender years. My mind boggled and imagination blew cylinders trying to create for me exactly what that might be like.

To want to have your face sat upon. That bit I pretty much dealt with by comparing it to my constant craving for sucrose.

To have your face sat upon. This bit was more tricky as I really had no idea how it might work.

As the years passed, things became clearer until that wonderful day when some athletic young gal leapt, did a back-flip and landed on my face. There was grinding of her crotch on my jack-hammering tongue and lips.

I felt like a man, like a badass, hairy, smelly and moist, manly biker chap, man, in that special way that you only can when your face has been used for a saddle.

In the morning I went down stairs to squeeze some gooseberries for two refreshing drinks for the parties involved. I unexpectedly ran into Father. I was smiling. I couldn't help it.

He: Morning young Bruce. How are you?

Me: O, absolutely fine father.

He: Really? Glad to hear it. Did you sleep well? You'll need to be well rested for your thirteenth birthday party later!

Me: O, I slept absolutely fine father.

He: Really? It sounded to your Mother and I that you had a very disturbed night.

Me: O, not at all Father.

He: Good. Two glasses of juice?

Me: O, yes. I could not find one large glass so two smaller ones had to suffice.

He: (with raised eyebrow) Really? Bruce...

Me: Yes Father?

He: ..you appear to have something in your teeth. Here, let me get it for you...

There was nothing I could do as both my hands were full and so I stood there and smiled as my Father pulled one very long and dark and unmistakably pubic hair from between my front teeth.

My smile was fixed as his brow furrowed and then his eyes opened very wide for a brief second and then he smiled. He let the hair drop into the sink and then he gave my cheek a paternal slap and turned to the door of the kitchen to leave. As he departed he stopped, turned and said:

He: Are you at all hungry Bruce, or did you eat enough last night?

I stood there smiling inanely as he left and then ran very quickly upstairs.

Me: Kerist! Gezelda, you'll never guess what just happened?!

We were young, it was fun.

13 Apr 2004

I awoke on Sunday morning a broken man. As I rolled over to grab for the pint glass of water I yelped like a small puppy might, having had its little paw accidentally crushed in a ten-ton industrial vice. My brain rushed to present my mind with some reason for this excruciating pain emanating from the small of my back. It ‘ummed’ for awhile but then had other matters to contend with. My congealed eyes focused on my outstretched right hand and then on the plethora of Kenji written upon it in bright red. I held my hands in front of my disbelieving eyeballs, rotating them to fully appreciate the intricacy of the writing upon them. No, not writing, but scratches. As I fearfully exposed the rest of my body to the light it became apparent that I must have, at some point last night, forced myself on some mountain cat who had returned the favour with the five sharp ends of its arsenal of six. I was at a loss and feared for my sanity. As my mind careened off in dark directions of supposition as to when, how and why I was so dilapidated, as so often in these cases, reality arose to slowly but surely shake the facts of the matter into shape.

‘Listen mate, or shall I call you Bruce?’

‘Uh?’

‘Bruce it is then. Listen Bruce, you were very pissed last night because you didn’t eat enough and you drank far too much….’

‘Eh?’

‘…and then you drank some more. Then, if I remember correctly, you had something to smoke whilst you drank some more again.’

‘Arrrgh.’

‘Exactly. Then you popped a couple of sleeping pills.’

‘Bollocks!’

‘I’m afraid you did. You had a very good time, yes?’

‘Well, I suppose I did. I remember having a few drinks up at the Manor bar with Willem and Rene. How do you spell her name by the way? Do you know?’

‘No Bruce, not a clue mate.’

‘Anyway, yes, I remember. Drinks at the Manor and then Will’s sister Helen turned up and we had some drinks. Then I think the rest of the crew turned up a little later and then we had so many drinks we needed a tray.’

‘That is correct. Go on.’

‘Must I?’

‘Aren’t you curious as to why your back hurts when you try to fart?’

‘God! O no, I dread to remember. What happened next then?’

‘Well, I’m not too sure either, but you drank some pink tequila liqueur with Emma and then Will smuggled some Vaseline into the club for you.’

‘What? O yeah, for the tattoo in my armpit. Nice chap that William.’

‘Isn’t he just. To be honest Bruce, at this point my recollection gets a little blurry but at some point the whole gaggle of you left the bar and headed for the caravan at John Fowler’s.’

‘Yes, I remember. It was dark.’

‘No shit Bruce, it was nighttime.’

And then it all came flooding back at once, and what a sorry looking grimace of remembrance I must have had on my face as I lay there in bed, contorted and covered in crimson welts, reliving the night before.

The evening had continued until its demise as people headed to bed. I remember Will and Rene departing for the van and the others for their rooms and then I remember a brief reappearance by Emma who was dressed in surgical overalls, for some reason. As the final few flaked Helen kindly offered the couch for me to spend the night on but some reason I found that objectionable. I thanked her and informed her I was intent on walking home that very minute and bade her a good night, as my head lolled precariously upon my shoulders. She then expressed the idea that such an idea was ludicrous. I insisted that it was not. Helen then offered me directions as to how to exit the Caravan Park. I pooh-poohed such concern and insisted that I would have no trouble at all. She probably saw that she was waging an unwinnable campaign of reason against my determination and so said goodnight gave me a couple of goodnight kisses and shut the caravan door.

The night was quiet, warm, and covered in similarly looking caravans. I headed along the tarmac road in the right direction. I came to a fork in the road and turned left up the hill, past the small cabin, in the right direction. I then had to walk for some time, in the right direction, until I came upon the entrance of the Caravan Park. At some point, however, the right direction must have in fact been the wrong direction. I think it was about an hour later that I found myself outside the caravan which I suspected was the one I had left earlier in such an optimistically triumphant manner. I couldn’t be sure though, and so set off once again in the right direction. I took the left fork again, the one by the little cabin and strode on with purposeful gait, in what I suspected, but could not so sure about anymore, was indeed the right direction. All of a sudden the tarmac ended and I was standing on grass. I stood there for some time mulling on the indubitable fact that I was lost and had no clue as to where I was or where I might be going but wherever it was that I was, was not right.

As I sit here much later and write this sorrowful account of the fateful moment of drug induced decision that led me to strike out for the A39, across field and glen and the rest, rather than stick to smooth, flat, blunt, dry, animal-free tarmac, such a decision seems inane. However at the time, it made perfect sense. It must have as before I knew it, I was tramping across wet grass in the right direction of the road that would eventually lead me to Stratton, home and bed. After a while I encountered an obstacle. The moonlight revealed to me a brambly hedge of about two feet high and wide, which did not appear too densely thicketed to traverse. So, I carefully made a passage through it by lifting each tendril of vicious bramble and hooking it onto another bit out of my way. With such a methodical procedure I felt sure of my success. The road was not more than three, maybe four, fields away.

Four fields later and the hedge that I found in front of me was as tall as me and had trees hidden in it. My approach to the hedges had changed somewhat between the first and fourth and now I gamely threw myself into the hedge to gain as much clearance as possible. Then it was merely a question of disengaging sufficient bramble anchors in order to stand and then stomp my way through the remainder of the hedge. I couldn’t feel the thorns, no doubt due to the carefully concocted combination of alcohol and pharmaceuticals, but the barbwire was a different kettle of fish entirely. At first I thought it was just a particularly stringent cord of bramble and so, perhaps deservedly, lost the waterproof integrity of my lovely jacket for all time. I also had puncture marks on my thighs and forearms from that cruel invention that was first pioneered to keep cattle in or out of a place, not to injure innocent early-morning ramblers. As my addled brain came to terms with this new discovery, I felt the light of hope wink out of existence. I was wet, lost, bleeding, injured, angry, fenced in, I could not hear the road nor make head nor tail out of the arrangement of streetlights that I could barely discern miles away. My will was at a low ebb.

Once I had struggled into the fifth field, through the brambles, it became apparent that there was no road to be reached in the foreseeable future. I stopped and listened for road noises, but it did not occur to me that at four thirty in the morning, these would be sparse at best. The fifth field itself was one big bramble patch. I embarked upon an internal collapse of depression. To go on was nigh on impossible and quite probably, judging by my prior adeptness at finding the right direction, utterly pointless. Yet, to turn back and surmount those four fucking bastard hedges again was just as bad. I was at a mental impasse and would quite possibly still be standing there this very day if not for fate.

You see, two days earlier I had fortuitously watched a film called ‘Touching the Void’ about a climber who had forced himself to survive odds which really were insurmountable. For my hedges, he had miles of treacherous glacier; for my cuts and bruises, he had a shattered leg; for my half mile of Cornish country terrain, he had miles of the most inhospitable Peruvian mountain available. ‘If he could do it’, thought I, ‘Then I bloody well could too.’ So I turned back the way I had came.

Things blur at this point apart from three separate incidents. I remember, in a moment of ingenuity befitting a member of the Special Air Service, finding a big knobbly stick with which to feel out hidden barb wire and to beat back the bramble bastards that littered my way forward. Then I remember coming across two strips of barbed wire, at about knee height that were placed in front of a stream which was at the bottom of a gully about two feet across and four feet deep. To such a gangly chap as myself such dimensions were of little threat. I remember thinking I would step over the barbed wire and then leap carefully across the gap. As my second leg followed my first leg over the fence, Newton ripped away the relevance of gravity for a split second and I found myself hanging in space, not falling yet, but overly aware that it was only a matter of time until I would start. Then I thought about how much I was going to be hurt and then I landed in the stream. A rock slammed into my lower back and I lay there motionless, hardly breathing. The only real sound was the trickle of water over the collar of my jacket and down into my shirt. I lay there still for sometime. Eventually, I remembered that I was not going to spend the night there and so, with the belated help of my stick, I righted myself and sallied forth once more.

The last memory I have of my ramblings in the dark was perhaps the most disturbing. I had just found an open gate from one field into another, a direction I chose so to hopefully be able to skirt around a hedge rather than struggle through it. As I entered the new field I felt a presence. It felt big and black and it breathed heavily and snorted in my general direction. I froze and slowly turned my head to look into the shadows from whence this beastly noise came. I could see nothing. Suddenly a svelte flank of some despotic demon creature sent here to torment me until my demise caught the moonlight as it leapt toward me. I may have screamed. I would like to think I managed to contain my utter terror but judging by the velocity in which I took off in the opposite direction of this foul fiend, the likelihood is that I screamed like a petrified eunuch.

Perhaps it was twenty strides, perhaps two, but at some point rationality struck me dead between the eyes. ‘It is a horse, not Cerberus, and I have a stick and horses do not attack people, or do they, fuck it, I’ll find out.’ and so I turned and the pair of jet black mares walked toward me warily but with assurance, as if to say,’You are very strange, bramble man, and you surprise us at this hour but this is our field and it would probably be best if you off fucked,’ or mannerisms similar.

Anyway, at some time around five thirty, somehow, I stumbled out onto the road that lies next to the Manor. Somehow, I had completed a circle, nay, a complex-chaos octagon and had ended up behind my starting point and with tears of relief in my eyes. As I started a gentle perambulation up the hill towards the A39 with my knobbly stick still in hand, I walked past the entrance to the Caravan Park. This fortified my belief that I had not had a normal night. Things became even more unrealistic when I heard the sound of a car behind me. I stuck out my hand, forcing the thumb into a vertical stance, feeling the throbbing numbness that coursed throughout it due to the numerous wounds it had incurred. I almost laughed when the car came around the corner and it was Shaun in his taxi. He stopped, I dropped the stick and ran to his window.

‘Shaun, it’s Bruce. I need a lift.’

‘You look like you do mate! Where to?’

‘Home.’

'No worries Bruce.'

'Thank fuck.'

1 Apr 2004

I suspect it is only a matter of time before the Mosques are put to the sword. Before that the British National Party will come to power, a rise to prominence facilitated by our fear and an increasingly insular perspective towards Arabs and Muslims. We have yet to suffer from a global terrorist attack, at the hands of Al Quaeda or some other battling brigade of believers, but the first one cannot be too far off. We may be bracing ourselves for impact but when it does happen it will change much. Being an island we have always a sense of separation from even our closest neighbours and from that comes a sense of security. When the Docklands in London suffered bomb attacks thanks to the IRA, it did not come as a great surprise nor did it shake the foundations of society as the perpetrators were well known to us. When the London Eye is blown off its spindle and rolls ponderously into the Thames where it falls to one side, crashing into an office building several seconds before two men dressed all in black run into Waterloo station at rush hour and press the buttons for self-detonation, at that point we shall know a collective fear that has been extinct for centuries. It will be as if we have been invaded by a foreign force. Then all the suspicion that we have subdued will come boiling to the surface. We shall realise that the enemy is already in our country, neighbours, colleagues, strangers. This will cause extreme turmoil, as the hawks battle the doves and everyday people take to the streets.

How can we hope to win. We do not understand the fight. Is it religious, political, social, all of the above? A better and more revealing question would be to ask how many people we will have who will be prepared to become a suicide bomber, of their own free will. I admit that there must be much indoctrination and brainwashing involved to persuade a young person that to die in such a bloodthirsty act of indiscriminant bombing will bring great honour. A place guaranteed in heaven and your family honoured. However, I am sure that by no means do all suicide bombers need such persuasion. They will win because they are readily prepared to die. Perhaps the difference is in the religious connotations of suicide. It is heavily frowned upon by the Catholics and Christianity in general whereas the Koran speaks of it as a righteous action in the face of defilers.

Every empire in history has crumbled eventually. It is an inevitability. Nostradamus predicted that the Third World War would result from tension in the Middle East. Western infrastructure will crumble without oil.

A quote from Private Eye:

‘ US President George Bush is attracting support from unusual quarters in his bid to beat John Kerry to the White House this autumn.

Joining the neo-conservative chorus rooting for Bush is none other then the Abu Hafs al Masri Brigade, one of the shadowy groups that claims responsibility for the Madrid bombings.

“It is not possible to find a leader more foolish then you [Bush], who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom,” said a statement sent by the group to a London-based Arabic newspaper. “Kerry will kill our nation as it sleeps because he and the democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization…Because of this we desire you [Bush] to be elected.”’

Of course, this may well have been sent into the Arabic newspaper by one of Kerry’s cronies. No American is going to worry about Kerry ‘embellish(ing) blasphemy.’ I wonder if this would affect the polls at all. Will Kerry pull out of Iraq if he wins the presidency? American contractors have started to be killed, burnt, mutilated, hung and dragged in Iraq. The last time that sort of thing happen was in Mogadishu in ’93. America rapidly pulled out from there and spent the next decade being rather shy on their aggressive foreign policy. There was no oil in Somalia though. If they stay, will they have flashbacks to Vietnam, a conflict they had to run from, as, despite their far superior war machine, they could not dispel the guerillas nor native's belief that they would eventually overcome the Yankees. Will there be a point when the people of the United States demonstrate for an end to their residency in Iraq? What happens if Eastern Europe flares up once again?

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