I don’t think I can respect anyone who ostentatiously gives up drinking for a healthy lifestyle of water, green beans and brown rice, just so they can live longer to reminisce about the good old days of whiskey and soak.
In a shop full of soap a young female staff member, half my size and twice my superior, leaves her position by the door and stands next to me. For a brief moment I delude myself that there is chemistry there, but I’m sure she has me nailed down as a shoplifter.
There is nothing so obvious as a liar who tells the truth, which is why I cannot relax in expensive shops. I nearly had a panic attack in Selfridges once, and I found myself stumbling around as though blind drunk, instinctively flinching away from anything that brushed the hairs on my hand, whilst my friend floated around looking at lipstick. I wanted to stand on the beauty counter, open my coat wide and say I’M NOT A FUCKING THIEF and, for a moment, it seemed like a foolproof plan.
I’m much better in flea markets, car boot sales, record shops, one-old-man-and-his-dog pubs. I sat in one the other day; one regular with an empty pint waiting for a refill at 12.15…. fifteen minutes after opening…. old Louisiana delta blues on the stereo, hard wood, beer with twigs in it and a haphazard pile of vintage typewriters. I’m comfortable here. You can’t be judged by the judged; it’s like trying to multiply zeroes.
One day this week I must drink some wine, write some filth. A load of mad, teeth bashingly, hip shatteringly, thigh slappingly, dirty old sex, with deranged women cutting up silly, piss-weak boys into ribbon strips to tie up their presents, and decorate their fireplaces.
‘Tis the season after all.