Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Dublin adventure!

I had just finished a week’s work in John Murphy’s house; he had bought a house in Llanberis that had some fire damage. I ripped all the old plasterboard down and assisted the tradesmen with their duties of repairing the gaff. £200 pounds is what I got for it; and so I packed my bags and off I went. I caught the ferry over to Dublin, £200 quid, what was I thinking? I had with me one bag of clothing and my guitar and that was it, oh yeah I had a business card that was given to me by a lad from back home that had recommended me that I go to Dublin, because there was loads of work there. Well he wasn’t wrong it was the time when the Celtic Tiger was at its most ferocious; money was flooding in from the European Union, and the boom was in full bloom. There were cranes peppered across the Dublin skyline and the prospects seemed good. I recall lugging my bag and guitar around quite the timid country boy, hustle and bustle, just crossing the road was exciting. I looked for a hostel, popping into this one and that one, noticing all the hip young backpackers hanging out; full of energy and all so cool. I wanted to be amongst them, sharing this wonderful epoch that was happening, they looked as if this was the time of their lives, and me, well I just felt a little unsure. I would have to find my feet somehow though, that was for sure.

Finally after some traipsing around and gathering information from people here and there, I ended up staying in a hostel that was just around the corner to the big bus depot. This place was massive and had lots of rooms, dormitory’s, I checked in dumped my stuff in the room and headed out round town, just for a spin like. It was dirty, grimy and busy, there were folk from all over the world there; I felt excited and lonely. I had to find ways of getting on with folks, interrupting conversations, high jacking them. I also had to thicken my skin somehow. I recall spotting some high rise office building and the top of it looked as if it had Chinese style architecture, this was my marker and what I used to navigate my way home. I liked the dirty river full of traffic cones and shopping trolley’s and god knows how many Dutch Gold lager cans.
Of an evening I used to go out busking in the trendy area called Temple bar, when I say trendy I mean it was like a stage prop, you know it looks good but was only a temporary fixture, what I mean in saying this is that it was where all the out of town people’s used to go, because they thought that that was Dublin, well it was. It was the Dublin that had been constructed for them, bright and shiny and expensive. After I finished busking I used to hit the town for drinks, getting myself in with the gentry sometimes, and sometimes not. There is no worse feeling than ending up drunk on your own; desperation and weirdness invite themselves around for a party within your soul. The Doors tune starts going around and around in your head on a loop, “people are strange, when you’re a stranger, women seem ugly, when you are down”; you internalise things like this and somehow manage to turn yourself into a weirdo, finally consigning yourself to go home and sleep it off – all by your lonesome.
In the hostel they had a common room, which was usually full of backpacking types, you know the types, they usually have their national flag stitched into their backpacks and they talk about how many countries “they have done”. I don’t know what they mean when they say "doing a country", it makes them sound as if they are comparing a country to a girl they have picked up in a club to take home for a casual shag, thusly just doing her, no emotional attachment just short lived and fast paced pleasure. I think they mean to say that they went to all the places that all the other backpackers went, and that they hung around with all the other backpackers, taking photos at the places they were supposed to take photo’s just to prove that they were there, but not really experiencing the country at all, just passing through seeing everything but tasting nothing. Well it was full of those types, and at the time It didn’t seem apparent to me of the stark truth that was staring me in the face, so I just did my best to get on and fit in, harvesting the appropriate information needed for me to get by.
One evening I got back drunk and arrived back at my dormitory opened the door to a room full of sleeping people. I swayingly took off my clothes falling this way and that. When I had finally divested myself and got my bearing’s in the dark I could faintly make out my bed, it was a bottom bunk, I dove the final three feet hoping to land right in and fall to sleep straight away; no such luck though as my body entered the bed it encountered a mass akin to a brick wall which stopped me in my tracks and nearly knocked me for six. I withdrew reeling seeing stars “ umm, what the fuck”, well evidently there was a man who had the build of a Grizzly Bear sleeping in my  bed, I had to skulk away quietly in fear for my life at present; I did this in the style of a zombie feeling the beds to see if there were humans inside them. “Fuck off” seems to be the standard reactionary blurt that comes from people who are fondled by some drunkard in the dark. After an age of molesting strangers in the dark, I finally found an empty bed; I got my money from out my trousers and placed it inside my pillow, it didn’t seem like there was much left. “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO” cried the internal voice, “GO TO SLEEP” retorted the other.
The girl who worked in the reception was for want of better words a fat ginger haired boiler, well she was Canadian and every time I walked passed she got me to stop and talk to her, she liked the guitar and this and that, and she used to work in another part of Ireland in another hostel, on the coast somewhere, and during her time there they all used to blast ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ the song by Van Morrison, “oh it was the best Mattie”, she said to me, Mattie is my name by the way, just in case you were wandering. I mainly just listen to people when they talk and just try to find something relevant to say back to them, and more often than not they think they have been engaged in a conversation with a person who loves to talk, but in actual fact it’s them that do the talking- well to an extent you know.
I don’t know how long what little money I have left will hold out, still no sign of a job anywhere, even with the busking it is hard to find enough for the hostel and food and all the rest. Oh I don’t know what to do, so I carry on the same way going out busking, drinking and looking for work in the day time, but there is no luck. Finally judgment day comes I have not a penny on me, my mind races around thinking of the short term solutions; sleeping rough or whatever. And so I pack up my bag and guitar and head out the hostel, and on my way out the reception I hope that the ginger one is there- well it turns out she wasn’t so I hang out in the common room watching the box. Finally she turns up, thank fuck, so I casually walk past waiting for her to pounce on me. Quickly I aim some words at her with an air of indifference laced with despair and sadness, “right then, I’ll be seeing you”, “why where are you going” she says, It gets more embarrassing at this point, “I have run out of money so I’ll have to sleep out rough” I reply just staring at the ground stealing the odd darted glance at her. “Oh my god Mattie, you can’t do that”, I tell her I have no choice in the gravest of voices, I am really into it at this point, this in situ acting is making me believe myself; well it wasn’t a lie, but I was selling the story well. Of course she offered me a place to stay, I told her that I would cook and clean and all the rest of it. She asked me to play “Brown Eyed Girl”, “I don’t know it” I said and alternatively played “Blackbird” by the Beatles, she loved it.
It wasn’t like I had many alternatives; this was the only card I had up my sleeve, and so the gaff was alright, and I did do a bit of cooking and cleaning- at least the pressure was off for a while.
I slept on the floor and she slept in her bed. One evening she had gone out with her friends on the razz and came home at a late hour, when she arrived home all liquored up, she made advances at me. I had figured it would come sometime or other. I could feel her hand move up and down my waist and she gave me the odd prod, I just turned over and acted the best snore that I could; she was persistent though and became more animate and aggressive in her approaches. It came to a head when she gave me a sudden jolt the kind that you could not pretend to be asleep through, and so I said “what”, well she told me in a roundabout way that I had to fulfil her womanly needs or else I had to go! Jesus I was knackered, and besides I don’t really think I described how ugly she was to you, well; ginger hair, and roles of flab, acne-bad acne at that and to be quite frank she was just a weird boring social being, she was no oil painting. Well I tell a lie she was in fact quite similar to a Picasso.
I clambered on top of her and her appetite for lust was insatiable, she was ready and willing for any eventuality, which was all good and proper, but to be honest with you- I just closed my eyes and used my imagination. All I can tell you is that the sensation was warm, warm and moist. After this occasion she assumed I was her boyfriend and so she used to take me out for drinks and the like; when ambulances used to pass in the street she used to close her eyes and say a little prayer. I can recall one time being at a bar with her in broad day light and there was some music on, she started jiggling and gyrating and grabbed me closer to dance with her, ah fuck it if you’re in for a penny you’re in for a pound, and so I span her around the dance floor a few times.
One day I lay down on her bed in the middle of the day for a little snooze, and I felt something rustling inside the pillow case, something like paper. I stuck my hand in between the pillow case to retrieve the aforementioned object, well it was a little piece of paper and on it scribbled in pencil were these words, ‘does he love me or doesn’t he’? I couldn’t imagine that she had another love on the go and thought to myself," I have got to get out of here". I slipped the paper back in the pillow case and just went to sleep.
In the time being I had asked my mum and dad if they could send me over some money and so I awaited its arrival every day. One day I remembered that my friend had given me that business card and had told me to phone the guy up because he was Welsh and that he would give me a job straight away. I phoned up the guy and the words rang true, he gave me a job straight away, well I was to start the next week.
The next day I popped into town to waste time and when I came back a letter had arrived from back home, it was the one I had been waiting for, the one with the money in it. Shortly after the ginger ninja arrived home she quickly informed me that the land lord had found out that I had been staying at her gaff, and that I was to pack my bags and leave; she disgruntledly informed me that she had also received her marching orders as well! Well she got her money's worth out of me any road
I made my way into town walking miles from the outskirts where we lived and managed to find the cheapest hostel in Dublin, it was called Chelsea and it too was located by the main bus depot. It was a flea ridden affair, and in the toilets it had graffiti in every language stating “ostelo di merda” “ostel di mierd” and so on. The toilets had a big hole in the floor, well I went ahead and asked for the cheapest room, it was down in the cellar and I shared it with two Spanish girls, they were nice but a bit intense- they shared their tobacco with me. Maybe I looked like I needed a bit of help!
To be continued............................................

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Brown Carpet


The brown carpet, it’s quite repulsive, and every stain recounts a story of the people that were here before us, I can imagine that there have been a few piss-ups here in the past judging by the stains and the associated stench that the brown carpet kicks up intermittently, I should know I have been waking up on it for three months now. I have a little makeshift pillow that comprises of a rugby sweater stuffed with a few jumpers, and a sleeping bag that decides to open itself as soon as you get in; and of course in the night time when I’m asleep the bastard thing usually opens itself right up leaving me there like some flabby banana that someone has half peeled and discarded. The flat is, shit it’s the pits man, I try to stay in and do a bit of tinkering about on the guitar but It just gets me down being there, the sofa smells of fish, the toilet never flushes properly always full of foul water. I know there are kids in other climes that are suffering and that it is all comparative but I can’t think of that when I walk into the corridor where there is a hole in the roof where the shower of the Lithuanian people that live upstairs leaks; well there are some kind of fungal mushrooms growing from there: - they are quite pretty! Sometimes when I walk past them I comment on them If Sebastian is in the flat “fuckin hell Seb, their coming along good now you know” “wo” he goes as I reply “the mushrooms yea, their prize winning you know” he laughs and peppers me back with the some of our daily banter. Well you have to laugh it off somehow don’t you?

Sebastian and me met about four years ago when we were working in Traffic Management; Traffic Management-well you’d think that we were going to work in suits to push pens around analysing and adjusting data on computer screens, alas no such luck that is if you consider that kind of thing lucky. No Traffic Management in all its glory is a souped-up name for well- you know, those guys who stand there with a stop and go sign, well one of them!  We communicated through means of walkie talkies me at the top of the hill and Sebastian at the bottom. Well I’ll tell you one thing, Sebastian can talk, he can talk about the most mundane technical thing and drag it out for ages, things like the seal on his car door, or putting up shower curtains. He is a machine operator by trade and he is desperate to get on them again, but for the time being he is stuck here with me, and so we while away the time on the walkie talkies, he fills me in on his life history and on his current situation. Living with a Welsh girl called Bethan who has two kids (not by him though), he is kind of obsessive over her but her kids do his head in because he is not allowed to tell them off, because she won’t let him, ( I sometimes wonder If Seb would wish they were dead). We wear the batteries out on the walkie talkies “is it o.k to send them up Matt” “what was the last car then” “I don’t know it was blue or something”, “yea alright fuck it then, send them”. Luckily nobody got hurt it was just that the oncoming cars met each other in the middle and everybody on site had to help in the process of moving cones out the way and backing up cars; what the hell, everybody slagged us for talking on the walkie talkies too much. One day after standing there for about six hours straight, me and Sebastian said let’s just go for our dinner; owing to the fact that no one had come to relieve us of our post, so off we went, up the road to the canteen. One of the head honcho’s was there, (he was not our usual boss), and on our arrival he grunted to Sebastian, “who said you could relieve yourselves”, “well its wo we do if no one comes yeah” he said, head honcho flew off the handle at Seb he went through all the gears until he landed on the final one, which was self- importance, well he revved it up in this one tearing into to Seb. Seb just took it, just because he is Polish and an agency worker; fuck this fat slime ball I says to myself; and so I get riled up and start shouting back at the fat sad man. He is scared and backs off barking orders at the lower ranking workers to “get on the blower and find two other agency workers for the next tomorrow”. “Shove it up you’re chuffer then” says I to him, head honcho went and hid in his office-fat prick. Some of the other lads told us to go and beg for our job back, Seb wanted to go, “ah fuck that Seb, I’m not eating shit, I’d rather go down the road and try and find another job” he said “yeah but wo we gonna do” “fuck it come on lets go” 

We are in the same boat now me and Seb he has finished with Bethan and me I’ve left Siwan the ex and our kids (well I say left but it was more like I was exiled), and she definitely won’t have me back, not for all the tea in China. So me and Seb sit there in the pox hole flat and chat, he Bangs on about his ex “and I sent her a text yeah” “yeah” I go but not really listening, my own head is full of shit and besides he keeps repeating the same story’s. “Well I sent hy a tex an she didn tex me back ye” “yeah” I go begging him to go faster with the story and not to drag it out, but he doesn’t hear the tone of anxiety lacing my voice, and so he goes on; that she is hanging around with some gypo girl who is an ex pole dancer; and that she has gone out four weekends in a row now,  and where is she getting the money; she hangs around with slags and she is doing cocaine all the time and this weekend she is going to go to Blackpool or somewhere. I keep going Yeah, yeah yeah and throw him the odd lifeline to try and rescue him from his despair, offering sound advice like,” well fuck it Seb even if she’s shagging just let her be, the only thing you can do is carry on with your life the best you can”, (I want to shake the hell out of him). Yeah yeah yeah by now I think it is so obvious that every shred of empathy has left my body, I am non- responsive, but Seb is relentless, grind grind grind. Right that’s it, I am going to tell him in no uncertain terms what to do, I flash my head around quickly and look him square in the face; this catches him unawares and then I say to him “Seb shut the fuck up”, I carry on gazing at him to see if this body blow has worked. He was slightly confused for a while and I could see his cognitive process, he discarded it, it didn’t affect him at all, no he just kept right on “yeah bu the thing is yeah, wo she did yeah”. I have never had an outer body experience but I could figure that it would be a simile to this affair, he’s numbed me. I can’t leave straight away though, and so I wait until he pauses and dart off through the door for a pint, just to escape. I can tell Seb to fuck off and he doesn’t care he just carries right on, that’s a hell of a quality to have, he was genuinely unfazed, I wish I was like that-I just use my humour to gloss over everything. Well I wonder if I’ll get lucky tonight-probably not on a Tuesday night, well what the dickens you never know.
Off into a pub called the Black Buoy, it’s the oldest pub in Caernarfon town and it is a pretty one, incidentally the street that I’m walking on is called the 4&6 street, it is named thusly because when the sailors used to dock in the port and come into town, they would be granted the deal of paying 4&6 in old money; and for this they would get a bed for the evening, a pint of Gin, and the piece de resistance………..drum roll please! Yes they got one of Caernarfon’s finest ‘ladies of the night’, darn it, unfortunately the deal isn’t going anymore.
Into the pub I go and sit up on one of the bar stools; I like sitting up at the bar, my Irish friend Andy Connolly converted me to a barside sitter. The young lad asks what I would like “Guinness please” goes up my cry. Staff come and go and there is a funk in the air, usually they cook fish here and my sense of smell could not gauge the odour properly, ‘tis a strange mixture. I don’t recall the barman’s name so for ease of conversation let’s say his name was Garry. Garry and I make idle chit chat, then in walks this Irish guy, he was from the south not far from Cork, by the coast somewhere but the exact location escapes me, and is of no real relevance at any road. I went out for a smoke with him, he had working man’s hands and a colourful flat hat on, he bordered on being dry to the point that he almost didn’t laugh at things externally, (well he said he had only had three hours sleep), which might have had something to do with it and not the fact that my jokes were worn out. He had an interesting job though, he had come over from Ireland to pick up a carriage, I didn’t get it at first but it turns out it was a horse drawn carriage, one of those old fashioned ones, he picks them up and restores them and sells them on for thousands.
Curtis an old friend/acquaintance arrives behind the bar, I’m really not sure how to categorise him, I think he is my friend, after all who isn’t? Curtis is quite high up in the pub now, he did a business course in Liverpool and came back home and landed this job. The smell keeps coming now and again wafts of slightly offensive odours-but they keep hanging there. I sit there watching the staff go about their everyday banter and take it all in, pitching in every now and again with a quip. Then I saw him do it, there was nobody else there and Garry went to the back where the glass cleaning machine was, he did some funny little move that was Michael Jacksonesque lifting one foot off its heal ever so slightly and with one arm respectively turned to his side open palmed, He had a look of relief on his face, and then it suddenly dawned on me as I was consumed by a cloud of noxious gas – that it was him all along! He had been the creator of the foul stench that had loomed in the air all night long. “So it was you all along then, you dirty swine” I said, he crumpled with the hilarity of the situation.
In walks Charles, an old Australian bloke, he had come to see the Welsh guards the following day putting on a display or some shit like that. He was of Welsh decent and so he had come back to his routes, I asked him his name and he said “I am Charles like the prince of your country, except I’m a decent bloke”, I wasn’t sure what to think of Charles, because I have met like 15 or 16 consecutive Australians and most of them pissed me off, loud and abrupt and stereotypical. Well it turns out Charles didn’t add to my statistics of Australian wankers, firstly because he bought me a pint, and secondly cause it turned out that he was a decent real person. Well I would like to say that the wine flowed and the good times rolled, but that would be a lie- the beer was poured and we drank it and got merry, me Curtis, Garry and Charles. Charles was a real charmer with the ladies and fearless at that too, straight in he went grabbing their hands, going in close and introducing himself “I am Charles like the prince of your country, except I’m a decent bloke”, I think he was getting drunk, he hadn’t had many though.
Curtis and Gary challenged me and Charles to a game of darts, Charles as it turns out had never held a dart in his life nor had he ever attempted to throw one at that matter. I coached him telling him to relax and aim and visualise where he wanted the dart to go. Charles had a funny stance when throwing the darts akin to some warrior wielding a spear; we tittered as we exchanged looks when he was throwing. When he got it right and it went in Charles exploded with joy and shook hands with me, we were bonding ever deeper every minuet, and we were winning, they played week- in week- out, but we were thrashing them; all we needed was the bulls eye to finish. I popped to the toilet and when I came back he had done it, he had hit the bull-he was over the moon; you had to admire his enthusiasm for such a small feat but this was the best thing for him-getting in with the locals and winning at a game he had never played before.
Down the hatch the drinks go and through the door we trundle off to the next pub The Ship & Castle.
The Ship & Castle was the only pub that had a lock inn on a week night, it was busy and people kept coming and going, “must be the local hotspot” exclaimed Charles, “yep” I replied-Garry bought us all a shot of whisky, “come on Charles, down the hatch then”, I egg him on; and so he swallows it down in one swig, winces and goes “bloody hell mate”. Another game of darts is on the cards with the same set up as earlier, by now though Charles is inebriated, he closes one eye as he takes his throws, sometimes hitting the wall and sometimes getting it perfect. I buy drinks for everyone and an extra one for me, some old lady who is an accountant is counting the scores for us, marking them with chalk on the chalk board; she eggs on Charlie.
One of the lads asks what Charlie’s name is in his presence, (the smell is back, Garry’s a dirty bastard) “I am Charles like the prince of your country, except I’m a decent bloke”, “bloody hell Charles you’ve said that all night, could you knock it off please” I say to him, the lads laugh and so does he, it was becoming his mantra. We are ahead again and everyone is egging Charlie on, in-between he manages to charm every woman in the pub.
I duck outside for a fag feeling more drunk as the minuets pass, and when I came back in old Charlie had done It again he had won the game for us; I suspect that he might be some kind of hustler (the smell hits us again), Garry is basking in the glory of his farts, he’s so proud.
Charles bids us farewell and it was a short affair, he had to get up to see the Welsh guards the next day, what a charmer and a gent he was. So off we go to Curtis’s gaff with carry outs galore; Garry’s mashed up by now all over the place one step forward, two to the left, leaning back, in view, out of view hanging on to railings. There are some other stragglers that join us on route also. Garry and Curtis are acquainted with them. When we got to Curtis’s gaff it started off alright but I don’t recall at what time of the night it was, but a certain drink tipped me over the edge; I don’t know why I didn’t go earlier I sat there probably looking like some person who could neither understand English or speak it. I eventually had enough when Curtis was speaking directly at me but I couldn’t compute, “am am gnna go you know Cyrt” “why” he said, “am am focd ye no” I slurred. So off I went back home again feeling, well I don’t know really, indifferent but fucked, happy but sad, because once again I had failed in my questing to secure some female company, even if I could get a girl to breathe on me, it would be something! Anyway enough fantasising for me I have had my skin full, I am rendered useless and I know my place, the only place fit for me the floor of the flat sprawled across the repulsive brown carpet.



Thursday, 24 November 2011

A day in the life of a loser who sold his sole(excerpts)


I’m doing all the things that I’m not supposed to be doing as usual, I am supposed to be immersed in my studies at the moment, but instead I find it easier to listen to some old blues songs and while away my time (wastefully). This is all inconsequential though for I am happy with the fantasy that I am an unrealised genius and that one day my true potential will be discovered, all be it too late maybe, that is if I haven’t drunk myself to an early grave, but that, bye the bye though is off the point.
Today I feel some deep routed depression for I have just returned from Manchester where I prostituted myself in an audition to appear on a TV reality singing competition, (what a TWAT I have been), why did I endeavour to do such a thing. Well It wasn’t for the fame believe me, I have thought long and hard about fame and my prognosis is this; when you become famous you by default end up hanging around with other famous people, and I suppose that the crop of famous people is smaller than that of those in the normal world, thusly it can be compared to going to Wait Watchers or some other similar club and ending up with a bunch of people that you don’t like really you know. Yeah, you just have to get along with them because it’s the simplest thing to do given the situation that you find yourself in, agreeing with the shit that comes out of the mouth of the fat cunt next to you who lost two pounds in as many weeks (whether that is an achievement in the weight-loss world, I do not know); at any road you have to defer yourself from your own trueness and concur with the insignificances of others detritus filled conversation. It isn’t the fact that you are superior to these beings, it’s just that you think differently and that you cannot throw down the shackles of society that bind you together to just break free and talk about and do what you want and comport how you want; because if you did this you would be considered slightly nuts – and so you conform, as much as it bores you it’s what you do.
After five hours interrupted sleep in my damp dank car, that smells like a sock that was brought to the laundrette to get washed, but somehow missed the actual part of getting put in the machine with the other clothes and ended up being kicked into a corner, where it has been left to fester and no one daren’t touch it for fear of catching some new age fungicidal flesh eating disease. I awoke slightly hung over from the bottle of Strong bow cider that I had procured and consumed to set me off; proceeded to make my way to the audition. I asked the parking attendant how much it was to park the car in the park all day, £3.50 he replied and so I gave him £20. His set up was pretty good inside his cabin, TV, sofa, a kettle and much other stuff that would make a human feel comforted. “Pretty good set-up this one” I commented trying to come across as a city wise chappy (excuse the word chappy it makes me feel like Jamie Oliver when I say words like this). “Aye it’s all right” he retorted but added, “it gets boring though”, “I know, mate I’ve done it myself” I replied. “Paper” I said to which he replied “you what”? I tried again “paper” to which he replied again “you what”? So I ventured another go with the same line of approach, but this time I doubted whether he understood my accent and so I shouted it “paper” “you what”, evidently he did not understand  the intonation in my voice, thusly I phrased it so “ do you have a newspaper”? “No I’m going to get one later”, I quickly added “aye, when I used to do it I read the paper from front to back, even the adverts”. He agreed with me and gave me my change, I asked him directions to the hotel where we were doing the audition- he set me on my way.
Outside the audition there was a small queue, I joined the end of it, they were enthusiastic youths, the types that went to acting school and were flamboyant in the way they moved and talked (they can’t switch it off), it must be a terrible affliction to not be able to switch off your acting skills and constantly have to flaunt them, to innocent people who are forced to listen to you talking really loudly and enthusiastically about fuck all, it’s akin to some kind of tourettes syndrome or any of the syndromes where you can’t help them. I am not egocentric by far (as far as I’m aware), but these kinds of people make me feel edgy, aggressive and superior all at the same time. At any road this woman saddles in beside me, she had spotted that I was making role ups, and she wanted the “lone” of a cigarette paper, “how are you going to loan it” I replied, “yeah I know” she said. She was an older lady and she came from Devon, “where the custard is nice I said” but I don’t think she understood how shit my joke was, it was one of them that are so shit they are funny; she asked me what I was going to sing I said “nobody knows you when you’re down and out” “oh I love that one, if I was in the same group as you I’d sing the harmonies”, to her I was being nice but inside my head I don’t think I really liked her, she talked incessantly and was nervous, there was no grit in anything she said, it was just pure shit flowing at breakneck speed, apparently she had lived in Manchester for 10 years but drove home to Devon every couple of months – the drive took 5 hours; and she was going to sing a song that her mother always asked her to sing (what the fuck)? I really did not request this information from her at all and was wondering why I was on the receiving end, plus she had started rubbing off on me, I had started to waffle as well. I briefly had a fantasy of ending up back at her gaff for some sex, but the urge to consume some coffee became so strong in me that I had to respond to it. “I’m going to grab a coffee” I blurted out and then asked, “do you want anything” “no I’m O.K.”.  “O.K. then can you hold my place in the queue then”.
Off I went glad to see the back off whatsherface for a while; down the road to ask one of them men that sells newspapers in the street where to get some coffee, he pointed me in the direction of MC Donald’s and added that it might not be open due to the fact that it was 7:30 am; I told him that I would not hold him accountable if it was not. “What I do is bring a flask” he offered up these pearls of wisdom with the greatest of ease, and a slight air that wisdom fell on the side of the older folk who came from a generation that understood things like flasks, I assumed he thought I came from the Facebook I-pod generation that had lost those all so valuable skills. He came closer to me after saying this ( he must have been as lonely as I was), now I had to answer him telling him that I had slept in the car last night and therefore even if I had packed a flask it would have been cold by now. I bade him farewell feeling non the richer for our exchange and non the poorer. Mc Donald’s Mc donald’s Mc Donald’s, just as I was walking towards it I spotted a Costa coffee cafĂ© on the  other side of the road, it was a big one but just as soulless and cold as all the others, but at least the coffee was going to be the only redeeming feature.  I enquired how many shots of coffee does the flat, tall, grande, doppio have in it. These places can’t just say big, small or medium coffee, no they have to give them names that people in this country can’t pronounce to make them sound better you know. So anyway the spotty lad at the counter gives me my coffee, I walk over to the couches by the window whilst vigilantly looking to locate the toilet at the same time only to find that all the sofas were occupied anyway. Down stairs! I noticed that there was a down stairs and ventured down there, there was sure to be a toilet there, and sure enough there was. After placing down my coffee I strode over to the toilet and could see on my way there that it had one of those locks that had numbers and letters on it. I tried the door but was denied, up the stairs I flew to have a word with spotty about it, “eh the toilets locked, what’s the code for it” I asked hurriedly. He was in the process of making a flat white mocca chocca with wings when I disturbed him, he gazed at me through the steam that the machine was making and searched his memory for the code, “it’s ehrm.. ehrm”, blinking heck I really had to go and he is fumbling around inside his head for the code, I would hold him entirely responsible if I was to soil myself there and then. “Ehrm its 72169Y” I repeated it back to him loudly and quickly, and proceeded to make that hurried run (the one that can’t be mimicked, and can only be utilised through the process of actually needing to go).  Finally I reached the door punching in 72169Y, well low and behold it didn’t work, I said to myself “maybe you aren’t pushing the buttons hard enough” and this time I proceeded to aggressively stab each digit with my fingers precisely, just whilst I was doing this though another thought process crossed my mind; what about old people, they too have to use these mechanisms so it can’t be a matter of forcing the buttons aggressively. Anyhow the aggressive tact did not work, and then another thought struck me, maybe in his Mancunian accent ‘spot face’ was trying to or did say 7169Y, and so I tried it all in a fluster the soft approach and the aggressive one, and low and behold it didn’t work. Up the stairs I go all contorted and spasmodic “hey mate it doesn’t work you know I tried it and it doesn’t work, what was it then 72169Y?” I asked belligerently, no he replied it was “7169Y”, “I tried that as well you know, ah I’ll try it again O.K”. Jerkily I made my way down stairs but in a rather foul mood at present, muttering to myself- “I just want to go for a shit, not feel like some secret agent in a spy movie, and if this precaution is to stop drug addicts shooting up then it’s not worth the bother of us normal folks who nearly have to shit their pants whilst simultaneously cracking the code on the toilet door”. Low and behold the code did not work it was definitely wrong, spot face was in for a rollicking this time. “It’s wrong you know” I think the veins in my neck were bulging at this point, at this conjuncture the foreign girl who worked there interjected and thrust her hand up pointing at the corner uttering “you can use this one round the corner, is always open”, “thanks”, ‘spot face’ you are a fucking dick.
After my expedition had come to an end I winded back up in the queue for the audition again, I felt sad, I felt like I had become one of those pricks on telly who just do anything for their moment of fame, selling a sole for a flutter of fame, glamour, singing the same old shit songs that only appear on TV talent shows like “You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings” or “You Raise Me Up”, or some other garbage that fits the bill. Later on appearing in Iceland advertisements or maybe O.K magazine, at least if I were a prostitute I would be getting some money, but this is more akin to selling the lining of the jacket of your sole; evidently ending up slightly colder after the process. I was doing it for the money that was the sole reason for me doing it, all the rest was a thing that must be endured for partaking in the process, kind of like chlorine in the swimming pool. At any road there I was with my guitar stuck in the queue shuffling along intermittently, making role up after role up, sipping my water and sucking on a voice lozenge (taking it all rather seriously). Well I just like singing, I always have I suppose, ever since I can remember, in fact I sing all the time in my own company-for my own company. Due to the fact that I am a social maverick and that I like to distribute my time between lots of people and not be bogged down by the comfort of having the same social beings to keep me company eternally, in other words I am a bit of a loner and so I sing.
33 years old, it’s a last chance saloon affair, at least that’s what I figured on, get rich or die trying, or just get rich and not die trying and buy a nice house and live out the rest of my days comfortably, working on side projects like ‘The Silent Hoover’ or ‘The Eternal Motion Engine’ you know shit like that to keep you busy, the kind of things that rich folks take up because they have nothing else to do. So here I am 33 doing something I vowed never to do in my life, becoming the person that I sneered at, I might as well bleat like a pathetic lamb, who is caught in the brambles whilst his mam looks on helplessly; “bleat” “bleat” “bleat”, “mam” “mam” “mam” please help me. “Money money money it’s so funny it’s a rich man’s world” I don’t like to quote Abba randomly at any given moment but I would like to rephrase these words and point out that just to be comparatively rich would do me, and that comparison is a juxtaposition of me at present (nearly always destitute) and me at some point in the future when I am not always nearly destitute.
Wishes do not have to be big, I have a friend named Pat Kyle and he is fifty years old and a recovering alcoholic, he’s clean. Pat writes his own songs and they are really good you know, he’s got one called Baby Go Home and it’s a hit in my opinion and I told him so, and that is on some authority because I listen to a lot of music. Pat made a recording at someone’s studio for free, the recording is awful, but anyway Pat sold 50 copies of his C.D and he is chuffed with it; over the moon he is. I just think it’s nice that he hasn’t set a bar so high that he can’t be satisfied. I on the other hand am eternally searching for something that I can’t and won’t get (never satisfied) stuck in some sort of purgatory in between pipe dreams and schemes. It’s all I’ve got though, some people are dreamers, they can’t help it, it’s like playing the lottery, it’s the thought of winning-that’s the only thing that keeps you going; Opium for the poor-or so they say.
Finally we get in, I find this sort of thing so excruciating, being nice being cordial-being a social butterfly, small talk shit talk small talk shit talk. I mean I don’t mind small talk-because you gotta make it, but small talk mixed with nothingness capped  with a helping of over niceness is like sprouts that have had the living day lights boiled out of them on a Christmas day; grey, colourless and tasteless. Wanker wanker wanker, “what’s that” “yes I came from Wales”, “how about yourself” “oh just around the corner, handy” wanker wanker wanker. I am tense morose almost, clammy sweaty hands, irritable on the inside but cohesive on the outside. I change my stance and the eternal internal argument turns on myself, I declare that I am no better than those around me and that in the stark cold and sobering light of day as I so convivially put it to myself that “I’m a wanker”, the rest of them are not redeemed though they still will take their wankerlyness to the grave with them.
Anyway the moment comes and they call us through in droves of ten at a time, our names are called and we have to stand in line accordingly. Off we pop into the room were the producer talent scout types inform us of the procedure, “the standards are high” they say and “if you fail this time, keep on trying”. I am in the centre of the line and the singing starts to my left. Out they walk one by one, full of uber confidence, they all sing modern generic shit pop songs, the ones where they try to emulate a sole voice (it is like being raped listening to this garbage) as Bob Dylan once said “it’s greasy kids’ stuff”. There was one guy who did have a good voice, he sang just before me. It was my turn and I was nervous and unsure what song to sing- I stepped up and I sang ‘No Body Knows You When You’re Down And Out’, I thought I sang it pretty well, at least it’s a song that means something and has some actual content; and besides since splitting up with my ex and having to leave our dwelling and our children it’s been my theme tune, I have sung it everywhere I go. After I went on a little dumpy girl stepped forward to sing, oh my God it was fucking weird man, she sang one of those show tunes I think it might be called “somewhere”, I know I am a bastard but I couldn’t stop the smirk appearing on my face, I tried contorting my cheeks upwards and stretching them out with tension, but the smirk kept coming; I stole a glance at the judges to see what they were doing and when I did, I noticed that they were in fact sombre and were looking directly at me. It kept on coming though, and it was a miracle that I did not erupt into a fit of laughter; from here on in I had to concentrate on stopping the smirk and the laughter appearing.
We had to wait outside whilst the judges deliberated, at this point everybody enthused about what the show would be like, I stood on the side lines. The door finally opened and they let us back in. After a short moment the judges announced that three were staying, the boy who sang well was one of them so that was O.K and the other two were just the show pony girls who were all substance and no matter. Well what a blow-rejected off the talent show and there was me thinking that I would walk it. At any road I congratulated the boy with the good voice and told him that I thought he had the best voice out of all of them, he coldly said thanks as if he didn’t need the affirmation as if God had appeared in an apparition the previous evening telling him that his singing would change the world (I thought he’d previously done that to Bonno from U2), but anyway I have made a mental note not to congratulate someone on their talent ever again!
Back down the road then bleary eyed and depressed I go, at least when Robert Johnson sold his sole at the cross roads he got some guitar skills in return, I have slagged it for nought! There is the title of my next song- Slagging it For nought.