Derek is a big man, he must be he’d been making such a lot of noise up there in my loft. I could picture him as I lay naked and shivering under my duvet, still drying off from the bath. I could picture him naked like me, and vulnerable, a big man crouched painfully in the tiny corners of my loft.
What did he eat? How could he survive up in my loft with nothing to eat? Well he eats the dust and bugs to survive of course, and drinks the water from the hot water tank. I breath in deeply remembering the smell of sweat in the loft, that was the smell of Derek. I imagine his pink bulky body filling that dark space above my head.
But then I think to myself, what if Derek were to come down from my loft to live with me in my flat? What then?
When I started telling you this story I said it would be the truth about Derek, and I am trying very hard to tell you the full truth. But it’s slippery. My memory has wobbly parts. I remember when I came round I didn’t know who I was, I had to piece myself back together like a jigsaw puzzle. Remembering what a bath was, remembering how to get out of it, remembering that there was a world on the other side of the bathroom door. So much stimuli hitting me, using me as a punch bag. Such a strenuous and desperate process fitting each piece into the correct space, and knowing which pieces to ignore because they’re part of a different jigsaw altogether.
How long did I lay in the bath? How much water did I cough up? How long did it take me to open the bathroom door? Truth is supposed to be “in accordance with fact” as it says in my computer dictionary here. Me on my own alone in my flat, entirely dependent on subjective experience percieved through my own battered senses, ordered in my error riddled brain, how can I ever be in accordance with fact? How can I alone ever tell the full truth?
It is just as well then that I was not alone that night, for the fact is I had a man in my loft.
After that I noticed lots of tiny little holes in my ceiling. Whoever or whatever was up there was obviously spying on me. Watching me eat, watching me sleep , watching me get dressed, watching me…
One evening I was lying in the bath and noticed a hole in the ceiling directly above me. I was sure I could see an eye staring down. I tried to get out of the bath but couldn’t move. I was paralyzed, naked, lying there in the bath.
For just a moment it was fascinating, everything suddenly made sense. The bath water and I had a deep, intense love for each other as we swapped atoms, and everything was going to be wonderful.
Then snap – the sound of the radio playing in the next room. I didn’t have the radio on. No it wasn’t the radio, it was people in my flat talking about me, I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. Suddenly the walls came alive and were walking towards me. The ceiling started collapsing, crumbling into the bath. Then the part with the eye came to float just above my head. I was staring directly into the eye. It was reading my mind. It knew my guilt.
The walls were laughing at me now, almost deafening laughs, the people’s voices had turned into a huge black raven, swirling around in the sky above.
“Remember me remember me remember me” came the voices
White white white bathroom walls, holes and cracks and yellow stains, breathing, everything breathing, all seeing, all knowing, remembering everything ever.
The heroin addict smashed the rooms up in a rage and disappeared. Police men came. Impressive karate kicks were flung at the doors, just in case, then they had a cup of tea. The one with the gentle face told me “get out of here love, get yerself down to the town hall and tell ’em they’re to give you a place to live”. I did. And after the necessary form filling I was allocated a top floor one bedroom flat on a small council estate. To me it was a luxury apartment! So much so that I felt guilty and worried endlessly about what I’d done to deserve it. How had I gone from a squat in White City with the bath under the kitchen table and the toilet outside, to this nice clean warm flat all to myself? At night I lay in bed worrying, had I without realizing made a deal with the devil? Then the banging started.
Showing you these images feels a bit like showing you pictures of me naked. They are of the Alien in my brain from different angles. Every few years, usually after a bit of wobbly health, I reconsider whether or not to have it operated on.
It is the size of a human fist. The veins attached to it are feeder veins, they keep the thing alive. To have it removed each one of these feeder veins must be glued up from the inside, one at a time. Between each procedure there would need to be about a 6 month recovery period. There are a lot of veins to be glued so the procedure would take a considerable number of years. Once the veins are glued and the Alien is nolonger being fed it would be zapped with lasers in radio therapy. Success is a 50/50 chance.
So what does it do? Sits there mainly, grumbling. It feeds on the blood making the rest of my brain a little anemic. It’s damaged part of the temporal lobe giving me frequent epilepsy (which is unlikely to be cleared up by the operations as the brain damage is already done). Sometimes it leaks a bit of blood which is bloody painful (excuse the pun). But the question is more what it might do. It might, as it did 10 years ago, decide to pop, explode, literally burst a blood vessel. This could cause a stroke, disability or death. Or I could be fine.
So what would you do? Leave it, live with the risk? Or spend the next god knows how many years going under treatment for it?This is more of a note to myself than anything else, so I’ve made things clear in my own mind. This time round I hopefully won’t have to go abusing other peoples heads to find the answer. And maybe this time I can avoid some of the guilt because no I didn’t ask for it, I don’t want it. Maybe I wouldn’t be performing Miss Roberts on stage if it wasn’t for the Alien but then would I need to be performing? Jo + Alien = Miss Roberts?
Perhaps I could have a normal life and be happy? But a decade of being ill on a fifty fifty chance of a normal life is quite a bet. I’m not unhappy now.
What would you do?!!
And no it isn’t the result of watching too much porn.
Stars. They’re useless! Up there in the sky with that know it all look about them, that “I can tell your future” twinkle. But they can’t! Hot Passion, huh! I had a bad cold and the electricity men hitting things with hammers in my hallway. Rubbish! Then there was that greasy good-for-nothing guitarist Mr Cos, coming round here stealing CD’s, thinking he’s got the right just because they’re his. The cheek! Mr G Avern, my reliable bassist and Other One, has hand lurgy so he’s no good, he can’t protect the CD’s from Cos. All useless!
At least I have my ghosts:
I made the box for the bones found in my back garden. I have only drawn a dog’s skeleton on the top because I don’t want to think of it being a murdered wife or anything. I like this flat I’m now in and love the garden so don’t want them to turn bad against me. It probably was a beloved dog whose flesh has fed my garden, yes I like that. When I die I want to feed other things, to rot, to be eaten, to have the roots of nettles and sycamore trees creeping through my bones. I say sycamore trees because my garden is full of them, the garden must have been a tiny sycamore forest till they were all chopped down, now they’re growing back again with avengence which means at some point I might have to do some gardening.
Interestingly I’ve been having a good hallucination of late. There’s a dog in my flat, a mongrel, very friendly wagging its tail , I bend down to stroke it and it’s gone. I like it though, beats the usual insect and bird monster hallucinations. I did consider that it might be the ghost of the dog whose bones I’ve put in the box. Possible. Or it might be that dastardly part of my brain that does things without my consent deciding that it wants a ghost from the bones and therefore creating one. It does that. The dog vision isn’t as strong today as it has been the last few days, I kind of miss it. I’m still trying to get a real dog though, the lady from Battersea Dogs Home is coming round to inspect my flat on Friday. Worrying. Do they give dogs to people who hallucinate dogs? Perhaps I shouldn’t mention it.
I spent most of today making paper in the back garden which should have been lovely but wasn’t. Partly because I kept hoping George would suddenly appear but he didn’t, partly because what did appear was the largest rat I’ve ever seen aside from Stanley Bad.
George is my cat. He got beaten up by one of the local tom cats and has since disappeared. It has been three weeks now.
Stanley Bad is the perverse Lynda Beast replacement in the Rude Mechanicals that turned up as Lynda disappeared behind a beard. He plays violin, saw, trumpet and spoons just as well as Lynda so I’ve agreed to let him stay untill Lynda reappears. However, now I find that he is plotting against me.
I found this out at the Against Nature club opening at the Proud Galleries in Camden. Dickon Edwards is starting this new night every first Wednesday of the month and invited the Rude Mechanicals to play at the launch night. It is a lovely venue, what used to be a horse hospital with the old wood beams still holding up the place, and he booked some excellent acts. I particularly liked the magicians BARRY & STUART, one of them had a wallet with an entrance to hell in it, really, he opened it up and flames burst out. Dickon makes a fine DJ in his silk dressing gown and I think this could become a really good popular night.
Anyway back to the evil plot. Rude Mechanicals had done their soundcheck, gone to a pub to be indecisive about a set list, and were just on the way back to the venue when I heard Stanley trying to steal Tommy G away from me. Apparently Stanley wants to start his own band as a rap artist and reprogramme Tommy G to play hiphop!
Stanley the rat, the evil poisonous mutant! How dare he!
But what am I to do? He woos Tommy with his talk of exotic jazz complications. He says he will be of a higher standard than me. Huh!
That is Stanley Bad for you.
And he can’t do chocolate ads as well as me! Not that I’ve ever done a chocolate ad, but I will and it will be much better than his! Just you wait. If that doesn’t put him in his place him I have a cellar I could lock him in, naked and chained to that giant rat I saw this morning.
(The rat was in the garden, not in the house, but should I still try to get rid of it? And how? Isn’t London flooded with them? It wasn’t in the least bit scared of me, but I think I’m a little bit scared of it!)