Brand new article in Issue 16 of Boneshaker, “Crank Punk,” with a suitably renegade comic book illustration by Sam Dunn.
Issue 16…Has it been that many? I’ve written for every one now except the first.
It always astonishes me how natural it is to write about bikes and cycling, as if the bicycle itself is a separate dialect through which anything can be expressed. Whenever I look at my old touring bike now I see not a truck on two wheels but a language of rusting words. Give me a bike and I will give you the world. Or at least an oily phrase book with the corners furled up like an old man’s eyebrows, Denis Healey style, for those who like to cruise Google images for mementos of old school socialism. Those half forgotten moths.
Audio interview in which I bumble along on my trusty steed being interviewed about cycling, cows, songs, mind, body, Dervla Murphy and hot pasties.
I’ve lost my lens cleaner, that blue silky slip that comes with the newly folded receipt and the unscuffed glasses case. They tell me I can use washing up liquid and a hand towel. But I would never stoop to that. I want my lens cleaner. I want to rub the bevel of ground glass between thumb and forefinger. Wouldn’t you?
Want to rub the ground-glass bevel with the blue silky slip that comes with the newly folded receipt and the unscuffed glasses case?
“Yes I would, Jet, despite your poky one syllable name, want to rub the ground-glass bevel with the blue silky slip that comes with the newly folded receipt and the unscuffed glasses case.”
And so, with your rhetorical support, you find me, stubbornly, adverbly, with due disregard for the kitchen towel and the gut punched fairy liquid container, staring out at the world though today’s salad cream and yesterday’s sneeze. This world is no better or worse, it is only less than.
It is <
A ducks beak. A muted ducks beak.
And yet with one rub of my blue silky slip I would see those ducks up high, see so much more than these lopsided lenses. With my blue silky slip I would see those ducks migrating in a squadron shaped >
The clear eyed one at point.
I did have a beard you know. It was a good one. I liked it. It was good to rub. Now its gone.
It wasn’t a purposeful robbery. There was no broken glass, the Chubb lock was unbothered, the cat flap unflapped. And when the men in white boiler suits came round, when they dusted the chin with a soft brush and peeled off the tape, the only prints they found were my own rubbin.
I don’t blame myself. I probably had to do it to pay for drugs or something. Maybe one day I’ll get it back. I keep checking gumtree and the small ads but no ones sellin. They’re probably fencing it to a middle man. My beard. Probably loading it into a lorry with some middle ranking oil paintings to offload to private collectors in Scandinavia.
It’s not the money you know. Easy come, easy go. It’s the memories. You can’t buy back the memories. Sure you can delete the blog posts but you can’t buy back the daydreams; the curious fingernailing of the deeper tundra, the knuckle rocks in the shrubbery of a good think, the beardy mid winter kiss, the Frostie crystals on the wispy bits above the scarf.
Maybe I’ll get a “fresh” one. But it won’t be the same. A “fresh” one. It will be far too young, no root structure. New turf on old hard core.
Shame on you, razor.
You flinty vagabond.
I jumped, I shot, I popped ’em in the hoop.
“The Engineered Soul” appearing in a raucous rail rattling anthology of train stories “Rustblind and Silverbright” by Eibonvale Press
Launch for “Rustblind and Silverbright” is at the Peckham Review Bookshop Thurs 4th July
“Cookie” appearing in “Astrologica” an anthology of star sign tales by Alchemy Press.
Back on the court now. Bouncing my ball, passing to Obama, him passing back with talcum powder hands, me taking aim at the hoop net, thinking better, bouncing the ball, marking time, crouching, leaning back, getting ready to heft those words into the hoop…
What I like most about five a side football is slumming in goal. When it’s my go I like to lean my tall back against the low crossbar, rest my arms either side, like a man about to launch into a swallow dive, and stare at the sky. The rest of the team don’t appreciate my Zen moment. “You are meant to try and save the ball Jet.”
But slumming on the goalposts is one of the simple and indulgent pleasures that highlight my week, like picking out the sugared raisins in a bowl of healthy muesli. It is purely because the rest of the team are so energised, trying to score goals, that my lack of commitment to saving them is so satisfying. I’m not a defeatist, I do want to win. But amidst all the winning and ambition there is a safe house of nonchalance There, in goal, I’m trapped within the game, thirty minutes each way. I can’t check my texts, write another short story, write another song, cycle to the shops, buy that thing, hop that scotch, deliver that important news. All I can do is wait in goal till its someone else’s turn to wait in goal. And it is a profound waste of wastefulness to let that moment pass unwasted. So what I do is I stare at the clouds. I’m not seeking meaning in them or some wacky abstract shape I’m just looking for the sake of looking; worthlessly, sensuously. In the dodgem car hustle of existence, this is the glorious second before the coin rolls into the slot and we zap about the funfair, ramming into our fellow man, like so much masochistic fodder.
Of course the rest of the lads don’t see it that way. They’ve started firing long range shots that ram straight into my body and not the net. And, well, we are there to play football… If I need a Zen moment I suppose I should lie in an empty field with the bumble bees. But the point is there are no goalposts in an empty field. And you need somewhere to rest your arms as the balls fire under your armpits. And your heart goes thumpety thumpety thumpety thump.
It’s Monday morning and I am in a cafe. I am a bad man. I repeat. Bad. The rest of the world is cleaning the streets, digging up clods of earth, ramming hedge funds into their foaming mouths, earning a living wage, earning an unlived wage, crying into soup cans, wiping baby mush from howling lips, delivering carpet, ripping out carpet and throwing it into skips, making chips, drumming fingernails on squeegee wiped counter-tops But me. I am in a cafe on Monday, oh glorious Monday, morning. Drinking very pale tea. WITHOUT SUGAR. I am a bad man, howling at the crescent moon not yet dipped into the dark of someone else’s pay-packet.
I am a vampire of the good times. I am a werewolf of the leisure industry. I am a unicyclist on a four lane highway eating carrot cake I barely deserve. I am a bad man with an ebay laptop.
They won’t put me in prison. But they might scrape my skin with a razor blade and send it for analysis.
Who is this human being? Who the hell does he think he is? Sitting in a cafe on a Monday morning. Drinking pale tea. WITHOUT SUGAR.
I am a bad man. And I like my carrot cake. And Mondays better get used to it.
And you Wednesday! Stop shaking in the corner with your thumb in your mouth ! I own the exclamation marks and it’s your turn next. You mid week slob.