Monday, June 17, 2013


It was a cold brisk night and Noreen and I had just walked past the cemetery. She said: "Just because they don't write essays about it doesn't mean they don't care. It doesn't mean that they don't remember everything..." I could only laugh a little, what with my wheezing and shortness of breath. I responded quite flippantly in that trade mark sardonic tone. "What are you talking about, no one remembers anything! I'd be an idiot to convince myself otherwise."

I don't know when I started believing this, but at some point, I thought that comfort comes from invention. It comes from that ability to convince yourself that they do care or they do remember or they do regret. There's always that scope to do that, if you spend enough time alone with your thoughts. In the silence, you can construct an alternative reality, one that need not be true necessarily, but one that is not quite so painful to live with on a day-by-day basis.

Lately, I've been sceptical of this practice. That's not to say I don't think it's worthwhile, I believe it encourages the imagination to provide solace at a time when it is so inclined to do quite the opposite. Saying that, I've started to resent the idea of measuring requitedness. Trying to figure out what they think, what they feel. You can stand in front of a person and they can insist that they love you and you can insist that you love them, but ultimately, it means nothing if they go on to remorselessly squash your heart.

Are those moments meaningless? Are they void of sincerity if you can't reconcile words with actions? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps I've had too many conversations to know how easy it is for other people to shelve such incidents in the mind. They don't need to invent imaginary regret or regard, they just distract themselves and move on. There's no desire to glorify passing moments or conversations, they don't even need to wonder if I care because I advertise that I do, in the most vulgar way imaginable. I advertise that I care on here.

I've been experimenting with damnatio memoriae, the Roman practice of completely wiping out a person's image and memory. It's just like carrying on as if that person never existed. It's strange and it's powerful and it's completely at odds with who I am. Yet, I've taken to it, not because it is easy to do, but because it is much easier than having to understand why. No comfort can be derived from that old practice of invention, there's no way to imagine their care or regret because it is impossible. It just doesn't make any sense.

The irony of all this is that I've started to see value in the meanings I create. I've started to see beauty in my own inventions. What they think is almost irrelevant at this point, I create consequence. I will always create consequence. I love how empowering that notion is, how it is not at all reliant upon detecting any semblance of truth or sincerity. It's all about establishing a kind of ownership: it's not meaningful because they care, it's meaningful because I care... and I express it all in a way that other people might care too.

Viktor Tsoi in Igla: get stabbed, light cigarette, walk away...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

White Belt

It recently occurred to me that the day might come when I'll have to retire my white belt. After nine years, the canvas is beginning to fray a little and those various grey lines which correlate with the varying girth of my hips have faded. The white has gone a kind of polluted grey now, I can only assume from wearing it with skinny black jeans for so long. It's funny because the truth is I never even really wanted a white belt when Madam marched me off to NEXT in Hull to get one. The design was not exactly what I wanted, the buckle being two silver metal rings instead of a solid alligator-like claw contraption. After buying it, we stood in a busy arcade in the middle of Hull city centre, looking at my lower belly, attempting to work out how to thread up my belt. I'm sure it must've been a curious scene for anyone who was there to witness it.

I'm sure to anyone else, that greyed, frayed thing around my hips is hardly becoming but I suppose it's a relic of something that I once thought was quite sexy. Much like handling a black canvas rucksack, it wasn't a style that other girls appropriated and I appreciated that act of solidarity. It was a masculine token, in keeping with the stylish men I once associated with. Gav remarked upon the belt too, how it attracted him as he spied me dancing from across the room. I never had the tenacity to say: "You like it because it's you, it's your style." But saying that, I occasionally have daydreams of going back in time and mocking his breathtaking vanity, while at the same time congratulating myself for successfully appealing to the one thing he would find attractive: himself.

I look for new white belts from time to time, but nothing replicates the one I have. Not in style or in feeling. I suppose I will replace it when the time is right and this belt will become emblematic of another era in my life, as silly as that may sound. I was thinking the other day that in spite of all that has passed in the last nine years, I will always attribute its existence to Madam. The fact that we haven't seen each other in that time makes that loop around my hips so much more consequential. It's as if he's always here, clinging to me. I can hardly shake it and I don't really want to, either. Because although he doesn't remember venturing out to buy these things that I've kept for far too long now, I don't care to forget much. I don't care to forget his legacy and how, in spite of his absence, he's helped me to shape the person I am now.