Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gunman Lyrics

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Dear John,
Last Sunday me and Sal went down to a festival; I’ve never been there – lived in London all my life but never been to Brick Lane, big old scruffy streets, market stalls everywhere. There were thousands of people; all the curry places had tables outside, Indian shops with models wearing saris and bangles in the window. We were proper laughing at the waiters trying to drag us in to eat. Halfway hammered, sky shining blue, we sniffed out a boozer with a stage in the front yard, music playing loud.
Fucking excellent’ I thought; we grabbed some beers, got a couple of keys up our snozzers, started dancing and laughing at all the dickheads with stupid haircuts.
That place, the worst clothes – like Bananarama or Toyah or some 80’s shit? What a state. I was pretty fucking legless; a band came on the stage, guy in a red jacket, jumped up, bouncing about, shouting. I was thinking, ‘I know that geezer, where have I seen him before?’…
Some people just have those faces. He shouted, the band were brilliant, loud, mental, he pulled down the balloons - big gold playground ones, 200 of them, crazy bastard. He jumped, flew into the audience, landed on me, rolling about on the floor! Grabbed his cock, got it out, rubbed his crotch in my face, and Sal, she just stood DYING with laughter. The balloons flew off to the sun, melting in the glares. I never laughed as much in my whole life. I thought I was gonna piss, I swear John..
There was a reggae sound system inside, heavy, it reminded me of when we went to the blues clubs in ’89; the room was dark, they played all that stuff we used to love, slow jams and dancehall. I was shaking my big fat ass, loved it, stuck my head in a bass bin; bought some pills off an Italian bloke for old time’s sake. Proper sorted us out. We did some shots; the lights and bass were so intense, my brain flipped out. It was so long since I heard those tunes. I was wasted, throwing up; but I was smiling. The joy was a million times stronger than anything I had ever felt, just a pure drug rush. In the middle of the dance floor I saw you.
I thought ‘Fuck am I tripping or what?’, but you were there and my heart was beating double quick;
This is it, he’s back, we’re out on the town, we are love, we are beauty; together we are one.’
I blinked, then I realised that you weren’t there after all; just some bloke with a shaved head. I thought of you sat on your own in a barred cell, and cried. The world stopped for one second, in snapshot slow motion. I burned inside; the pills ripped at the side of my skull. The longing returned.
I swear I’m going fuck you so hard when I see you, it’ll be an explosion. I’ll kiss you and rub your back, take the pain away from everything that’s hurt you inside. I’m going to marry you, be with you forever, John. Just counting down the days now,

I love you.

Bernice.


Adelle Stripe








Saturday, November 11, 2006

Requiem For A Dangling Man

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Heaven kicked him out. He wouldn’t wear a necktie. In the boarding-house, he was high and dry. Well-supplied with books and dirty looks: he’ll die or get rich tryin’…

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…

Here, beauty is a stale concept. As stale as the secondhand air we’re all breathing in. As stale as the stench in the toilets. The stink of the landlord’s hand after he’s removed the lid of the cistern, wrapped an old Somerfield carrier bag around his fist and pumped away the fucking shit himself. I order us two more pints and another pack of pork scratchings for Carl. It’s all I can do to not be sick. Five pounds ten. My loss. The scuffed urn stands proud amongst the spilt beer and soggy beer-mats on a nearby table. It’s already half full of cigarette butts. It’s glinting cheekily under the faulty disco lights. I feel sick again. What exactly am I doing here? These are the sort of people who prefer Carling to Stella. The sort of people who offer to buy single cigarettes off strangers. The sort of people who would happily drink a can of lager that they found on a train. I picture my revolutionary sweetheart in her back-garden- cross-legged in her bikini – smoking cigars – and grin. A man with disturbing facial hair scowls at me. I pass Carl the drinks and head towards the toilets. Jesus.

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…


They say small towns burn a little slower. I wish they fucking would. Starting with this one. There’s a cowpunk with a conscience standing stockstill in the toilets and he can’t stop talking nonsense ‘cause he thinks I’m gonna spoil it… He’s shuddering with vigour and bile, dissing the soul-children, murmuring conspiracy theories under his breath. I’ve heard it all before though. Pretty much every time I’ve ever been in this pub. Did I know he’d been in prison? Mmm, yeah, I’d had an inkling. Later on they’ll all be swinging from the rafters with skinny tattooed arms, drowning out the laughter … The India Arms, yeah, that’s the one. Do you know it? Have you been there? More-than-likely I’ll be deservedly burnt along with my books. That’s southern hospitality for you…

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…

I walk out and nod to Jase the Ace who’s holding court in the corner. King of Somerfield, legend in his own lunch hour. He grins back at me with yellowed teeth as one of his teenaged admirers proffers him another Marlboro Light. Another girl tries to brush the dandruff off the shoulders of his bodywarmer without him noticing. Nearby, Carl growls and glares at me, all-the-while fingering the cut-up credit card in his pocket. 8 cans for a fiver. The straw that broke the camel’s back. Cunt. I rejoin Carl at the bar. He’s started eyeing up the local talent. Nice. Cigarettes tucked behind their ears, blackened teeth, flakes of cheese and onion crisp stuck to their thick, smudged lipstick. It’s enough to bring a tear to your eye. Shame most of the blokes in here have already got small black teardrops tattooed under their eyes. One girl gazes at me through two black eyes. I stare back at her pathetic, pretty rhinestone soul uncomprehendingly. She blows me a kiss through the smoke and dust. I shudder. Yeah – I think - I’d fuck her. If I was dead.

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…

The room throbs and pulses like the stinking underbelly of disco. He prowls the stage like an electric soul bandit; a cut-price Elvis fuelled by less burgers and more speed. I know for a fact that the boot of his Ford Cortina is full of firearms and dodgy video recorders. He takes a slug from his bottle of Pils and glances around the room at his adoring public. “This one’s for a dear friend of mine. A lot of you knew him. His name was Tommy. He was a fucking diamond.” He places his beer bottle back on the windowsill. The psychopath as saint, or something like that. “This one’s for you, Tom. I hope they’ve got good tunes wherever you are now, you old cunt.” He takes one more look at the roomful of burning souls before sinking to his knees and bellowing the opening lines to another rockabilly favourite. “Join in if you know this one…” I look at Carl. Carl shrugs. All the colored girls go: do de do, do do de do… Carl looks at me. I shrug. His gaunt disciples shuffle around the ‘dancefloor’, cigarettes drooping from their mouths, empty pint glasses in hand, murmuring to themselves. I order two more pints and two double whiskies.

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…


Her obese Bacardi bruiser of a friend grabs my arse and tells me that Stacey’s wetter than Rod Hull’s roof. I pretend not to hear her and nod in time to the music. Some guy spills my pint and laughs in my face. Borstal tattoos, cheap training shoes, supermarket booze. I don’t push the issue. The woman next to me starts to complain to the barman: “Barman! Barman, there’s a string in my Bloody Mary…” I push through the crowd, not too steady on my feet. “Nathan, where the fuck are you going? Nathan?”

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…

I drag her outside for some fresh air. I’m fucked. Some of the old-timers are leaning up against the back-wall, drinking bleach, like faded angels. They don’t even look up at us. Thank fuck. Just for once I don’t want to have to look into their eyes and see the charred autumnal grace of their souls. It’s cold out tonight. I left my jacket inside. I feel sick still. She pushes me up against the greasy brick wall and gropes for my cock. Another victory for my dead heart. Over her shoulder I can see the karaoke shaman relaxing in his car: more than likely getting high on his own supply. Next to him in the front-seat sits an unconvincing transvestite. I can see that from here. Big hair and small clothes. Big hands. Big dick probably. Sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ HIV… I don’t know whether he knows or cares. I certainly don’t. Right now I don’t care about anything. Right now we don’t care about anything. Right now I live in the flicker. We live in the flicker. All of us.

…and the song-and-dance-man with the tattooed hands keeps dedicating records to the dangling man…




Tom Leins

Skyfloating

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Got to tell you about this feeling that’s running through my head right now… I feel like I’m flying. Floating – I’m a see through helium balloon, the string cut from beneath me, and it’s taking me up, up towards the night. I keep pinching myself, opening my eyes, I can feel the tears tingling on my cheeks. My tongue feels soft and velvety. The lights keep appearing when I close my lids. The light rolls around me like a million optic fibres swaying from the heavens. There’s a bleach taste in my mouth. I know I’m back in my familiar place.
I am high again.
Tonight – I just wanted it to last forever. I woke up under a Christmas tree, in a living room with the dawn warming my sweating skin. Bombed out on ecstasy, wrecked my brain after a New Year to end all New Years. Music playing loud from the decks, playing Ghost Town over and over. I’m rolling about and there’s people shouting, laughing, drinking vodka. A man turns himself into an upside down crab, walking on his hands and feet across the inspiral carpet.
Don’t know how I got here. But I’m feeling out of place, feeling sick, just want to open my eyes and be sat in an Oak tree orchard. I need this to stop. The drugs. I can’t take it anymore; I don’t know who I am. I’ve lost myself.
This guy comes over to me, blue eyes / black eyebrows, takes my hand, and pulls me into the kitchen, makes me a Sea Breeze. It hits my stomach and I retch. I throw up in the sink, fill it with pints of vomit, blood stained and acidic – no food for 4 days. He cooks up a saucepan with water and a carrier bag of mushrooms in it, a little sugar to sweeten the taste. He cracks a joke, lights me a fag. I come round a bit. Then drink the tea; the black nipples turning grey as they swill around in the sieve.
A girl takes hold of me, wraps me in a fur coat, pulls me down to the park, and I have to piss. There are people around, but I don’t care, I climb onto the back of a pick up truck, filled with tools and sheets, pull down my trousers, wet myself by accident. I piss in the wrong place. All over my hands. Don’t know where I am. Lost. Again.
Can’t stop laughing, the ground shifts from under me. Is this what the Shamans feel like?
We end up on the grass, this girl with pale green eyes and red hair, she looks after me. But she won’t stop talking. She is my new best friend. I know for sure. Nobody else would bother to pick me up off the floor covered in piss.
I sit in the Buddha position, a lotus, try and centre myself, but she keeps on talking, at herself, at me. I just want the noise to stop. The grass carpet is rolling up and down, dipping in the winds that blow through my hair.
Take my pissy trousers off, casting them aside, just sit there in my knickers and vest, trying to be sick again, shoving my fist down my throat. We smoke some more. I lay out, close my eyes, and float up into the skies. Relief from the chaos, I am locked in my own world. Taken away from the red bricks – I am free. To fly up from this mess, into the light. Warm light that calls to me.




Megan Hall

Friday, November 03, 2006

Wallowing Johnny Of Wine

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'Where the hell is science!'
extra in Deep Impact


Hey you!
Johnny!
Drinnkking wine from the bottle now-
put on some bad TV and a new t shirt.
Give up your wallowing for one minute, Johnny,
'cos the old lady is
putting scissors to her throat.
Blood on her pyjama top.
Now she wants to go home.
Now they found her-
spoiled her plan.
Now she says she wants to go home!

Does she know her mind is twilight?
Is this her lazy decision?
Wants to die she says, scissors to her paper throat.
Is this sanity shining through her grey days?

Lay down the Fist of Light Johnny,
LEDs punching into the corners.
Clip on the Knightrider-Cateye blinking red.
Go sup Johnny,
one time now,
sup the bargain wine Johnny.
Last years Bin 45-
necking it with dry lips
and selfish pondering wonders-
Is Johnny ill if he doesn't drink?

Leave it!
Johnny!
Leave the voices be.
The voices plugging the dream wares you cannot buy;
the voices you know, helpless.
Johnny; there’s News!
News from the System;
an old lady is crying
invisible goodbye tears.
Its death she lays down for now.
Calling with scissors, with eyes and hands.
Calling with immobility.
And Johnny!
You lay drinkning on an unmade bed.

Johnny!
Stop changing your socks!
Your two-tone socks of secret sport.
Stop changing your socks-
just for a stripey buzz.
A logo hit on your soft underside.
Labels on the back of his thigh-
like a 1977 Han Solo doll.
And yes, Johnny, your socks are new.
Creamy and fresh.
Yes it’s a treat,
a dawn,
on your feet,
Johnny,
you’re a dawn against the yellow tide.
Pelted political slick, with the brown rain.
The brown rain falling.

And those lights.
Johnny!
The fists of bright rage.
Anger lined up in dark LEDs.
A bar on your fists in the Corringham night streets.
Johnny!
You used to be a person, Johnny!
You used to be a person.
Johnny nods for four seconds but he’s pondering on a white van.
Forget that van Johnny!
What of the old lady, ancient origami frayed?

But the van,
the van, spoke to Johnny.
It said A.A.H. Pharmaceuticals.
Aaah! Pharmaceuticals, Johnny sighs!
He read…
oh Johnny!
he read in his shrunken paper
of Valium for sale.
50 for 30!
And he’s budgeting it in.
Says they are blue.
But Johnny; he seen them vanilla.
Says there's dangers.
There dangers Johnny!
May be morphine!

You wish!
Don't you Johnny.
You wish you had one now.
With your wine and your English spliff.
Braving your face for tomorrow.
Braving your face for the weekend.

Johnny,
he come begging.
Johnny,
he come giving.
As Johnny must in a merlot aura.
'Where the hell is science' he cries.

Be calm!
Calm Johnny!
Be immobile.
Maybe you'll be amazing by accident.
Maybe Valium is where the worlds end.
That pill that really touched you, Johnny.
Johnny sits, bemused.
Its all correspondingly shabby he says to me with child's eyes.

He declares moments Truly Spectacular.
His screen saver in his inner eye
rolling moments Truly Spectacular.
Movie!
Johnny - movie!
Only sad dreams still perched in drunken stasis.

Johnny!
Smashed in a room.
Ha Ha,
Blocked.
Crying in a room.
Now high in a room.
You bought the wrong smoke, Johnny.
The wrong smoke from Londons exciting racks.
Lost. Aren't you Johnny?
Buying your boots alone,
holding on in a crap shop.
Your dreams Johnny!
Of two hip flasks and stolen cups under the fire works.
Your dreams Johnny!
You shopped, didn't you, for an afro-comb?
Dreams Johnny!
You conjured in a lucid prescence.
Your dreams, Johnny, eat themselves, Johnny, not you!

Neck it!
Johnny swings the bottle.
Hold tight your bat in the night alone.
Johnny!
Holding your own on the psychedelic toiletstep.
Doesn't know his CGI
from his computer reality.
Or this future
from his twentieth century.
Maybe, Johnny,
Maybe you'll be amazing by accident.
Ford Dagenham

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hooligan Foodchain

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Fourth division. Strictly small-time. Number twelve bus to Castle Circus, £1.20, quick pint in The Pig with Joe, up to the ground. Traipse up the hill through the meaningless rag-trade sprawl. Lousy housing for lousy people. Rainy day, shoes squelching like someone else’s blood-filled lungs. Later. Buy a sandwich from Somerfield. 55p. Out of date. Sit on the wall outside. Get a wet arse. Dead streets. A broken maze of of kinky, Kinksy dead-end streets. Read them their last rites. Suburban perversions kept behind drawn curtains this afternoon. Armed robbery and daylight yobbery outside. Plenty of fresh air. Dye-pack powder-blue stains the pavement outside the Post Office. Endless CCTV reruns, glum black and white loops. Never did catch him, though. Probably in the bath scrubbing at his blue hands with sand-paper and wire-wool right now. Cheeky fucker. Into the nearest pub, we two dervishes. Standing on the toes of giants.

Let’s all have a disco/Let’s all have a disco/La La La La/La La La La…

Pub goes quiet. Someone else’s youth group. Horrible hierarchy. Strictly fourth division. Rotten English, disused voices, unfed jaws. Two pints and two doubles. Foundation of malevolence. Match on telly early doors. FA Cup. Massive screen. Load of bollocks. No one cares. Can’t see the telly. What’s the score? Guy jerking and twitching next to me. Birmingham 6 Guilford 4. Fucking travesty of a result. More beer, more drugs. Cheap, tinny techno. Everyone doing speed in the bogs. Glance around at the maimed survivors. Murderous dexterity. Time for one more? Yeah, fuck it.

Let’s all have a disco/Let’s all have a disco/La La La La/La La La La…

Eleven quid with an out-of-date NUS card. Sorted. Queue up with the pensioners. Padded down by the steward. Nothing to hide, except a special kind of madness. Buy a pasty, plenty of ketchup. Get right down near the away end. Hoodlum priests lead the charge. Give it the big, fat fuck-off. Communal smash ‘n’ grab. Youth squad going wild. Plenty of Burberry. Some real, some not. Want to prove themselves. Growing up on the terraces. Singing, chanting, not arsed. Fourth division. Waste of fucking money. Stained and disgraced journeymen. Grinding out a bore-draw. Jumpers for goal-posts. Three-and-in. Half-time, bursting for a piss. Hassle off some guy in the bogs. Look away. Don’t want any trouble. Seen him around. Big fella. Shaved head. Brute energy. Stone Island all the way. Mid-thuglife crisis. Saw him throw a man through the Chinky window last season. Dusted him down and bought him a pint after. Aggressive compassion. Nice to see… Half-time scores. Don’t care as long as Exeter are losing.

Let’s all have a disco/Let’s all have a disco/La La La La/La La La La…

Second-half. Nil-nil still. Bored shitless. Gasping for a drink. Fat pint of fizzy orange chemicals. Anything’ll do. Not fussy. Not arsed. Fourth division. Smashed minds and broken bodies. Roll on quarter-to-five. Cadge a fag off some guy with a maniac tremble. Nil-nil. Awful match. Southern culture on the skids. Floodlights split the sky. Rain lashing down. Absolutely soaked. The queasy meat-hook cabaret continues. Ten minutes to go. Ten minutes too many. Some of them start to filter out. Ready for a dust-up. Knowing Torquay viscerally. Fuck it, let’s go.

Let’s all have a disco/Let’s all have a disco/La La La La/La La La La…

Running with the wipe-out gang. Following the fat tracks. Bricks and bottles flying. Fourth division. We’ll hammer them. No contest. Feel like a fat, little sweat-bag. These streets are blank pages. Know them like the back of my hand. Unlit brick plastered in floating street literature. Blank pages, or something like that. I hear the screams before I see the machete. Fuck. Embittered air. Gloomily soulful protest. The sour sweat of too many people backed into too few corners. Fevered dialogue/severed dialogue. Cornered by suedeheads. Identikit photofit cut-and-paste blend. Edge backwards towards the greasy piss wall. First punch misses. Second breaks my jaw. Third one loosens the spastic glue around my brain. Down and out. Kicked to a shambles.

Let’s all have a disco/Let’s all have a disco/La La La La/La La La La…

Wake-up and smell the concrete. The sound of two souls coughing. Why? In a greasy spoon with the Butcher Extraordinaire. After dark. Closed for business. He’s talking and laughing, but I can’t hear a thing. Stone Island label flapping needlessly. I feel drugged, but not in a good way. Takes off his jumper. Unsightly TEDS KILL PUNKS tattoo across his arm. He sneers. Lot of meat on those bones, boy. I blink uncomprehendingly. A nearly-pretty estate girl brings over some condiments and cutlery. She smokes heavily even though she’s got serious respiratory problems. Her smock-apron splattered in the fat of the land. She smiles an almost-beautiful smile. Fourth division. Whatever that means. The butcher says something, but I don’t catch it. The girl grins. I try to smile, but end up wincing. A little salt and pepper, plenty of ketchup. The cannibalistic pavement menace feeds me my own ear.






Tom Leins

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Have No Wit


I Have No Wit
[Elevatory Study #3]
"Truly my life is void. And brief. And tedious."
Joel Dever