6. Dread

An artist's impression of Dread.Dread sat in the corner picking his nose. He was naked. A large man, his skin took on the colour of the shadows in which he sat, altering shades of grey throughout the day, a green tint, a blue tint, a touch of magenta. It could be best described as having that quality you get if you’ve been using watercolour paints but never bother changing the water. You dip the brush in, take it out and splodge it onto the thick pimply surface of the watercolour paper, the result you get is like Dread’s skin.

Abel had been seeing him in the corners for sometime now, particularly at work. At first he’d been afraid, a strange naked man appeared to be following him. No one else seemed to notice though.  He didn’t dare ask people outright,  he knew his colleagues thought him odd already.

He panicked, was this proof of his insanity? Then he came to the conclusion that even if he was mad, he couldn’t afford treatment so probably best  just to keep on as normal and ignore Dread, everything would probably be alright.

Once he tried to talk to him, but Dread is a silent creature, the only noise he makes is a munching sound when he eats from his hands. Abel was not sure what he was eating, it appeared to be light.

Attempts at communication were given up. Gradually though, through some kind of thought osmosis, Abel knew that it was Dread, but dread of what exactly he didn’t know. He briefly mentioned it to Elsie once, but the look of terror in her eyes made him shut up. Still it left what felt like a large hole in his gut, and a churning feeling that made him manic when in public. It didn’t help that his diet now mainly consisted on Spletzer-Martins and alcohol.

After six months of Dread hanging around, Abel was getting used to him. At work in the early hours of the morning Dread was somehow a more comfortable companion than those all seeing, all knowing eyes in the machines.

Next – 7. Hallucinari

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5. Slapdash

4. Eyes in the Machines

3. Underlondon

2. Abel

1. What YOU Need!

5. Slapdash

Old woman, theatre performer.
Harmonica player outside Baron's Court Station

There’s a woman standing outside Baron’s Court tube station playing, or rather attempting to play, a harmonica. I’ve seen her here before, she hangs out at Baron’s Court Housing project where they do free meals. She wears a wig and theatrical makeup. I thought at first she was a transvestite, like my neighbour Steve who goes to the Coop in stilettos and a mini skirt, but apparently not.

My other slightly more sober neighbour tells me she is an old theatre performer, been out of work for years though, a drinker with mental health issues. “A right care in the community that one” say’s my neighbour “a real special“.

The story goes that she was having medical treatment for a congenital brain disease during the privatisation of the NHS. She could’t afford to continue the treatment with the specialist hospital so ended up going through the Charity Care system. The hack-up job the church hospital did was well meaning but naive and slapdash, her memory was blown to pieces.

This is all just rumours you understand, but she is quite mad!

Still, she stands there at Barons Court station feather bower and all, screaching out lunacy and blowing down that poor old harmonica. The Station manager occasionally moves her along but she’s back the next day. On Sundays she is particularly enthusiastic, her words seem to take on a hell fearing vigor as she denounes the Sunday shopping  public.

Next – 6. Dread

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1. What YOU need!

2. Abel

3. Underlondon

4. Eyes in the Machines

4. Eyes in the Machines

Abel held his breath, closed his eyes, and counted backwards from 10. When he opened them the machines were still looking at him. Big, metalic, shinning creatures, he wasn’t sure where their eyes were, but they definitely had eyes.

Was it his boss spying on him? New company policy to monitor staff ? Or the government tracking him? All seemed very possible, yet there was something else, something in the machines themselves, that knew him.

At first he’d thought he was delusional but now he knew it was more real than anything else he’d ever experienced. Not only were they looking at him from the outside, they were inside him as well, they could see his thoughts, they could taste the ingredients of his being.

He was coming to the end of his 40 hour shift. It hadn’t been so bad, though he’d had to take another one of those Spletzer-Martins. They were meant to keep you going for 40 hours no problem, but he always found he was flagging after 35. Not that it was tiring work, just rotating those huge machines, but failing to do it properly could muck up the whole network which would be catastrophic. Yes, better that he sneak an extra bottle of Spletzer-Martins from the office pharmacy now and then, than risk the whole network going down.

Elsie had told me he’d been feeling rough. To be honest I didn’t  care. I didn’t know Abel that well, but I was developing a certain curiosity for the dramas surrounding him.
He is a friend of my friend Elsie. I chatted to him via Facebook and met at gigs occassionally. He’d always seemed quite pleasant and cheerful until that time I saw him in Clapton. It was late at night in a small venue off the main road, he looked so tied and old then, and nervous. He’d seemed a very confident almost arrogant man before, but now he was uncertain, shaky in his speech, and with the guilty look of a man whose just rummaged through your underwear.

Elsie told me he was worried about debt, working long shifts to pay it off. It is a relief that one can do that now, what with these new tablets, just keep working and working till you pay off all your debts, as long as you resist the temptation to get new ones come pay day.

Next – 5. Slapdash

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3.Underlondon

2. Abel

1. What YOU Need!

 

Notes on the Grand Plan: The Further Adventures of The Spletzer-Martin No 5.

Warning – If you have never read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells this blog may well spoil it for you. Not completely ruin it, just tell you a little bit too much.

So this grand plan of mine, solo album/sci-fi novel/musical/radio show/religion,  is called The Further Adventures of The Spletzer Martin No.5.

I cannot just work with the Rude Mechanicals on it as it would just turn into the Rude Mechanicals. Besides Cos and Guy are sly cold blooded men, especially that Cos. He’d have slit my throat from behind by now if only he could find another blonde wigged front person like me. All smiles on the surface, he’d never show a sign. The two of them would be on the radio interview and Guy wouldn’t say a word and Cos would be saying how they miss me and how they are waiting for me to come back, whilst I’d be bleeding to death in some gutter, gnawed by flea-ridden dogs he’d been breeding and raising for years specially for the job. And Guy woudn’t rescue me.

So this project is going to take a long time.

I’ve been round recording noises, water, tunnels etc. It involved a vile poo-bathing incident with Monty which I won’t go into now, but I did get some good sounds. Now what?

Well I’ve got the story started. Its about a man called Abel, set in London during a recession, in the future, but not that far in the future. There is a mad woman in it who accidentally starts a new religion.

In The Time Machine  the human race has evolved into two species: the leisured classes have become the ineffectual Eloi who live on the surface, and the downtrodden working classes have become the brutish light-fearing Morlocks who live underground.

At the same time as I was reading The Time Machine I read an article in The National Geographic about how there is a community of people in Las Vegas who live in the tunnels under the city, coming up at night to feed off the leftovers of the above-landers. The start of the split between the Eloi and Morlock? Hmmm…

So this is the basic premise of my story, but its set in London. London has many tunnels and hidden rivers.

Carnival will be very important in the piece. Some experts think the term Carnival comes from carne vale a Latin expression meaning “Farewell to Meat”. Traditionally it was a festival before Lent when rich foods such as meat had to be consumed. A meat eating festival.

And Rough Music, plenty of that sort of stuff: Noisy, masked processions held outside the home of the supposed wrongdoer, involving the cacophonous rattling of bonesand cleavers, the ringing of bells, hooting, blowing bull’s horns, the banging of frying pans, saucepans, kettles, or other kitchen or barn implements with the intention of creating long-lasting embarrassment to the alleged perpetrator. (Wikipedia).

I think I will have to have a recording session where the musicians wear masks and hit bones and frying pans.  No I’m not joking.

Musicians, now there’s a tricky question. I have to use them, can’t not. I’m interested in the group, improvisation, collective action and rhythm. Slime Mold cells in sync! ( the majority of people who visit my blog seem to be looking for Slime Molds. They are great). But musicians do insist on doing music. And a lot of musicians see improvisation to be merely about individual grandeur rather than working together.

“Well”, you might think to yourself, ” Miss Roberts is very into individual granduer”, and you’d be right. That could be why The Spletzer Martin No.5 project might have to kill her off.

I went to exchange chilli peppers for cups of tea yesterday with Django Bates, and we got talking, or rather I harassed him with questions, about vocal improvising. He told me to listen to Phil Minton and played me some great stuff by Salsid Endersen ( I have probably spelt that wrong). The first one he played was just vocal noises she made in the more avantgarde album, appealing but noone would ever listen to an album of me doing that. No one would listen to more than 30 seconds. The second album was more like poetry, I may have to ask to borrow it. I like Phil Minton’s Feral Choir, will have to pinch that idea for the masked musicians.

I don’t know why I’m even interested in this vocal improvisation stuff really, but it seems I am, and Phil Minton can now be held responsible for some of the noises I am likely to make in this album/sci-fi novel/musical/film/radio show/religion/artwork. Which, although having considerble resemblance to music, will be everything but.

So first recording session end of January. Any questions?

Update – This has now been put off till May when I will be celebrating still being alive. 

Stalking part 5. The Knife

Performer naked in mask - Oil painting by Jo Fisher Robers
Watch

The dustbin of The Desired is nearly always a let down, but I did find an old steel knife, 9cm long, amongst potato peel and Kleenex. I hid the knife from Sasha.

A knife can have a funny affect on you. You know what it is capable of,  it knows how weak you are. So on a cold hard night when I couldn’t sleep the knife gave me the idea to sneak out of my family house; the drama to keep me going through the dark pouring rain; the arrogance to wait there in front of his house. It knew me well.

I stood leaning against a roadside tree, watching what I thought was his bedroom. The light was off. I imagined him asleep, I pressed the knife against my hand in my pocket and realized how very alone I was.

I had pretended to know him.  It had been an intense passionate relationship in my head, he was a brave hero who looked after me come what may, in my head, my very own personal Jesus, in my head, but the knife told me it was all a lie. With that lie there were many more lies, friendships evaporated, what was Sasha to me? Or I to her? Who was my brother when he wasn’t with me? Right there standing in the cold rain outside a stranger’s house the knife was my real friend. I knew it was real because it hurt when I pressed it into my flesh. I picked up a chestnut lying on the ground, took the knife and cut into the shell,  it slid open easily, inside it was empty accept for a shriveled old skin. The rain became huge great shards of ice between me and everything else, and I was just a cold shell, hollow and hard.

Action was needed!

Somehow.

I couldn’t have come this far and done nothing. There was meat in that house waiting to be taken. I felt so cold and wet, my mouth watered with the thought of his warm body, the need to clasp hold of it, the need to devour hot red blood fueled flesh. I had a knife in my hand and it felt a strange attraction to his back.

Stalking Part 1

Derek – The End

Today has been a bad head day, and my brain is now all over the place making connexions where their are no connexions. The temptation on these days is to talk about it. I try to avoid having  much to do with people on these days, try to stay in and out of trouble, but sometimes the connexions seem so important its difficult. I just must make contact with…

Today I did some gardening and the plants knew me. Their electric greens and blues crawled inside me. They had a beat to them like a heart. They knew I couldn’t separate myself. I was weak and they were everything. My head clings on to hundreds of half remembered stories, something very very important, but what?

So maybe now is a good time to end the Derek Story, for Derek is very real in many ways and he knows me as the plants did today. I dream of sharing that with another human, but so far, although I have imagined friends have understood,  Derek is the only one who I can be sure really knows.

Have you ever been convinced of something even though you know it will sound like madness to others? Have you ever tried to cling on to your sanity whilst doing some serious tango with the alternative? Knowing for certain that there is something there that is vital to you? People ask me about Derek when they hear the song or the poem, they ask me what he symbolizes. He symbolises nothing. He is Derek. And I have a cunning plan for if he should ever venture down from the loft.

I’ll sit him in front of the TV and feed him on oranges and custard creams, on semilena pudding and rice crispies, on cucumbers and baked beans and mashed potatoes and monster munch and ice cream and apple pie and yogurt and more yogurt and more custard and cheese. I’ll feed him up till he is big and fat and huge. I’ll feed him until he is enormous! Then I’ll squeeze him into the tiny gap underneath my bed, so I can hear him SQUEAL whenever I go to bed at night.

THE END.

Cheshire Cat from Alice in WonderlandPostscript…

A bit of old fashioned stalking

Stalking, what is it these days?

The idea of a Facebook Stalker is perplexing to me. So you put something up in a Public Space with what amounts to an advertising board notifying others that its there, but anyone you consider to be undesirable who looks at your page more than once is a stalker? Is that how it works? To quote the Urban Dictionary  “It seems to be that the term ‘stalker’ no longer means what it used to mean–the pathological ANONYMOUS follower and tab-keeper of another person or persons”.

Now I, and this may disappoint some people, have never been a Facebook Stalker. I try occassionally, but get insanely paranoid (he/she can feel me looking) so it never lasts more than one click. I have been stalked in the real world, in the old fashioned way, it was terrifying! And I have, in the old fashioned way, stalked…

———————————————————————————————–
When I was about fourteen a new boy started at school. The school was the rather run down remains of a secondary modern with 2000 students and a reputation for hooliganism. My best friend at the time was Sasha.  We had both started the school in what were termed “the units”, a dumping ground for all low achieving/problem children.

By the time this story is set we had both just managed to scrape ourselves out of the pit of abandoned “specials” into the next more respectable level. But to the other children in our new class Sasha and I didn’t belong. We were freaks from the lower level who would never manage to fit in. Thats why this new boy was particularly interesting to us, he didn’t fit either, but for very different reasons. He had been at public school.

What was a public school boy doing at a place like this? He spoke “posh”. He was fairly good looking with blonde hair and an expensive haircut. Expensive watch and expensive shoes.

My best friend Sasha and I were exceedingly curious to know more about him. And once you are labelled a freak it is easy to behave as one.

To be continued…

Stalking part2.