Friday, 2 September 2011

Well I suppose it began with a decision, like most evenings, thoughtful or not. September 1st 2011, Stuart's 24th birthday, I went to buy him a drink that he never received, although the offer was made--insincerely, but earnestly. I'm poor, but customary. He ended up buying half of my second draught, which I was hesitant to ask for, but desperately desired the courage another pint could provide. Rachel was scrunch-faced and decidedly "trendy", but too flirtatious from the start.  Well aware of the proximity of her hand to my groin when she marked my hand with an X; awkward, awkward. Okay one two three go faster faster faster. Donkey faced? Maybe. Far too much make up and too "current" in a lot of ways, but she pulled it off well, or passably. "In the corner room" read Stuart's text, and looking to my left I saw him striding towards me, my arms akimbo ready for the usual hug, which he normally provokes. This time he seems more hesitant, coy, shy, maybe "cool"? I mean that in the typically ironic sense: too cool for manliness, or maybe a bit intimidated, or trying to be intimidating (unsuccesful in all three). The ottoman is fit for me; low and backless-- I accept my lot. Rachel is talkative, Im feeling out of place, there is no room for me in this close-knit group. Kidding, its a bunch of pallid, taciturn Londoners darting their eyes about in their typically demure way. Deferential little school children, out of their private school uniforms and into their new 20-something swank (faded denim, boots, slim fit, drop crotch, quaff, boat neck--yea we get it, you're "cute" or something). I'm trying to paint an image in your mind that I don't necessarily agree with, it's intentionally exaggerated (i mean hyperbolic, because this is literature or whatever). And go go go, the usual superficial bullshit that everyone indulges: "where are you from what do you do and how did you get here what are your plans how do you know so-and-so oh and what did you study thats interesting this is okay we're moving along nicely whoops you dribbled a bit of beer on your collar bone and now Im starting at your bare skin for an impermissible span of time, blahhhhhhhhh"; she stares into your eyes and you at her mouth, protracted close conduct is a strong signal and your lips become dry as the conversations become more emphatic, you say too much and keep on going. She thinks you're intellectual, you go in the bathroom and lament your verbosity. Upstairs, the band is loud and decidedly noisy, its a sound soup with few discernible rhythms but everyone bounces and pretends they hear something that isn't there. In truth, you like it; but there are too many cameras flashing and the scene is anachronistic with everyone dressing like they live in the 90's as they "accidentally" amble into the frame of some photo-bloggers SLR. Stuart and Rachel step outside to have a talk, presumably about Rachel's forwardness. Standing by the door, do I look like Im trying to be cool or just getting comfortable in the lull? Whatever, I stick to the frame like the flyer from a bygone show.  Stuart gets back and I mooch two "quid" from him with the promise that it will come back two-fold (i.e. im going to buy him a drink sometime, sorry for my language Im kind of old-modern). This event has been told, but that's okay there should continuity. Earlier in the corner room, which pretended it was a v.i.p. lounge, a friend of Stuart's gave us free passes to the show by marking our hand's with an X-- a nice surprise because the show was sold out well before I got there. He had the marker because he played for Eagulls, the second-to-last band that night. After Eagulls finish their set Stuart leaves, we touch chests (some people call it hugging) and Rachel steals a kiss from my sinuous neck-- I didn't know of it's appeal. Iceage played last, the latest incarnation of this goth/dark/wastedletsstickourtoungesoutateverything-phase I and all my friends are enmeshed by. Basically, they were a hardcore band with a twist of post-punk and a dash of industrial, or maybe it was lime, sorry my pallate is underdeveloped. During Iceage's last song I witnessed something uniquely morbid and uncanny. In a whirlpool of haphazardly dancing bodies one of my coevals fell and was carelessly stepped on, probably numerous times, by the rest of the ongoing surge. As he was lifted by his armpits, horror slowly welled up in his eyes and his mouth steadily widened, but no sound came out.  He was staring directly at me, and not a single thing blocked me from his distorted face and the utter pain that it displayed. The show ended no more than 20 seconds after, for he fell in the final frenzy, and the singer leapt off stage to see how the the guy was doing. I needed to get out of there so I bolted for the door while everyone else was busy wiping the sweat from their forehead and reshaping their "fringe". My coeval lay passed out half-way down the stairwell with some knob-headed "punx" trying to wake him up. As I passed him on the left I said that he broke something, but according to  them he "just passed out or something"-- I didn't feel like debating a conspicuous point to any drunx. The underground was about to close so I ran to Old street and was on the phone with Natalka recounting the whole thing in 45 minutes, or "three quarters of an hour". The English are even more oblique than I am. I can't stare at this mass of letters any longer.

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