October 10th 2017 (Whitley Bay)
“A small home needs tiny, separate areas.” This advice is offered to me by Martin S (from the 1980s). He begins to rearrange my belongings around the flat. “Here,” he says, picking up a cactus plant. “I would put this here.” He places the plant carefully on a window sill with a collection of other things. He writes out a card that reads ‘knick-knacks’ & puts that there too. The window is open & I lean over to close it. “You should leave that open,” he says. I notice that the window sill has a collection of letters addressed to me on it. “How else will the letters be delivered,” says Martin S. I open one of the letters. It is from Jackie S. She says that she is coming to visit. ‘I will meet you at the ______ pub’. She has included a flyer with both the pub address on it & Mark S’s name printed at the top. ‘Mark S – Malfunction DJ’. Jackie writes that she will meet me at 2pm. I check the date & realise that it is today! And, sadly, it is now 7pm! I quickly open the other letters. They are all from Jackie S & have been here for quite some time! This one bears a Christmas date. Inside the envelope I find that she has sent me a Christmas cracker game of blow football! Martin S says, “Ooh, do you play?”
October 11th 2017
On a train to East Croydon. A drunk is refusing to show his ticket to the conductor. He sits with his arms folded across his chest & wriggles as the conductor & several passengers try to prise the ticket from his hand. I sit opposite him watching it all in the reflection of the window. Infact, I am so engrossed by the commotion that I miss my stop. “The next stop is Exeter,” says the conductor. He is now tickling the drunk in an attempt to get him to release the ticket. Exeter is very far from where I need to be.
When I get to Exeter I decide that the best way back to East Croydon would be by sea. I climb onto a ship that is on a slipway & wait for the launch. It is a stormy night & the sea smashes against the side of the vessel & up & over the harbour walls. I hold on tight to the railing. Eventually, the captain announces that we are going to sail despite the poor weather conditions. The ship slides down the slipway & crashes into the sea with a mighty creaking sound. We begin to float away into the night. Many people have been thrown over the side. I pass a searchlight over the water. The beam of light reveals many drowning people. The sea is strewn with inflatable lifeboats but, due to their poor design, they are all either capsized or sinking. The screams are lost in the storm. A silver disc, a UFO, flashes across the beam & disappears into the clouds.
I decide that the best thing I can do is go inside & get out of the storm. I wander into the ballroom & a girl presents me with an unopened bottle of champagne. “But we haven’t got any glasses,” she says. We go back up on deck where I’m sure there are some glasses. But, once there, all I can find is a steel bucket, an ice bucket. “My name is Kerry,” says the girl. I pour the champagne into the bucket & we pass it between us. We are both soaked to the skin from the rain. We huddle in a doorway & kiss. When I look down into the bucket again I am horrified to see that beneath the bubbles the metal is filthy. It is rusted & spiders float on the surface. I spit out the mouthful of champagne & pour the rest overboard. “Spiders,” I say.
October 12th 2017
Cutting Luther G’s hair in the back of a limousine. He is most insistent that I ‘cut into it’! We are on the way to a Mott The Hoople reunion gig. “I must look right,” he keeps saying. “Thin it out more!” I chop at his hair & the car weaves in & out of traffic. I’m worried that I will cut him. Luther brushes at the hair on his suit. “More,” he says. But, to be fair, there is little hair left on his head, most of it is on him & on the seat! We pull over at a lay-by & we get out to brush the hair off our clothes. Then we have a picnic. Afterwards, I make sure that all the rubbish has been cleared away & then we set off for the venue again.