Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Clock

It’s an odd thing, having kids.

Every day they have sprouts and spurts that inch them on towards adulthood, offering up with every smile and curse a sort of mirror in which hitherto buried aspects of your past have one last chance to be reflected.

Not that it was like this right at the start, of course.

My first few weeks as a newbie parent were tinged to the point of saturation with a sense of yearningly cavernous brain death, and even if I’d had the wit to foresee how the workings of my son’s emerging prodigy organ would one day spark off memories in my own, I couldn’t have made use of this bizarre intergenerational phenomenon. At FOUR WEEKS, getting dressed was hard enough. Truth be told, in those crazy days between his slither from Girly of Whirly’s distressed undercarriage and Michael Owen famously baffling the Argentine defence, Son of Whirl had more cerebral nous than did I.

It took until Christmas for the full Dad/Wibbleblob hook-up to crank into gear — and only then thanks to a set of curling tongs in which my son became entangled after we forgot about him and went down the pub. Never abandon your six month-old baby beneath a Christmas tree.

I don’t know about you, but after the age of 18, the quality of the Yuletide gifts you receive starts tailing off with a vengeance. Instead of All The Things You Want you get All The Things You Bloody Don’t, Things You Can’t Work Out Why Anyone Would Want, and Things You Can’t Believe Anyone Would Want To Manufacture or Merchandise Let Alone Purchase.

When Son of Whirl arrived, my descent into a pan-Yuletide Argyle sock swamp came to an abrupt end. Beneath the tree were presents — real presents — resplendent in their all-singing all-dancing fluorescent plastic funnee animalz in-yer-face-ness, allied to a sense of excitement about the place not witnessed since my mum’s now-deceased bugger of a beagle ran off with my grandma’s false teeth midway between the turkey, the Christmas pud and the return of our Saviour and all of his angels (and possibly Nat King Cole).

That’s when I first realised I was about to embark on a journey that would involve me replaying my entire life from the perspective of an evil fascist dictator/overlord metamorphosing, year on year, into a hapless, gibbering slave.

But it meant I got to watch Naomi Wilkinson on Channel 5's Milkshake every day, so I figured it was worth a go.

Since then, there have been numerous fits and starts in my son’s growth and development, each one challenging the cosy understanding of yes, yes, he’s growing up to which I’d become accustomed in my slackness.

The transition from Thomas The Tank Engine Boy to Evil Star Wars Light Sabre Wielding Mutant was particularly distressing. Gone was the constructive linking together of a railway line for the good of Sodor. Instead, we had to endure the wanton destruction of cherished family heirlooms for the good of sod all. Why do they all get such a kick out of batting for “the Dark Side”? And — oh — the fun of ‘learning to start a fire’.

With every change comes a hinny of sensations that won’t rest anywhere for a few days. It shuffles up and down your spine as if Patrick Moore were playing the bones like a glockenspiel (with thistles) and in dark of night, hovers between eye and lid with the flicker of a monitor streaming images of Max Schreck brushing his teeth.

You want to keep them preserved in time and space but you can’t, and the worst part of all is when the changes are so subtle, the growth so slow and sneaky, you don’t notice it until well after it’s happened.

“Oh, he’s stopped doing that.”

So, today is a That Day — a day when the clock has run on a few hours without me — and I’m sad.

Things will return to normal by the end of the week, I know, and we can all get back to the genuinely enriching business of watching him grow into a mature adult like the rest of us — obsessed by money, power and sex (and possibly some hopelessly whiny pop star).

Until then, I’m going to mope about the place like wretch.

Monday, June 27, 2011

And A Big Red Bow For My Bonnet

I love it when Whirl Towers plays host to weekend guests.

Gone are the workaday slices of toast and Whoppashoppa’s own tea bags, the paper underwear and the plastic knives and forks.

In their place come muffins hand-rolled into Greek letter shapes by Belgian TV celebs as part of a charity drive for abused donkeys and their trainers, top of the range lingerie that rustles like a collision between two distant gas giants unless you bend your knees like a chimp, and a collection of background operatic favourites so shamelessly highbrow and Italian as to prompt the corpses of slain ancient Britons to rise from the sod and make a beeline for the nearest Roman ruin, there to daub spectral runes of protest ‘pon the mottled stones.

Plus — I got to iron my doilies.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How To Live In San Pedro

How to live in San Pedro?

You carry a whip on your hip.

I really ought to write period or full stop now to illustrate the simplicity of my insight, but I’m not the kind of blogger who ever writes period or full stop (apart from when I’m making some kind of point*) so I won’t.

* this not supposed to be a pun, btw — it’s just what happens when you get sidetracked**

** like a donkey falling into a ditch along with a painted caravan full of cheery Irish ruffians***
*** see?

How do I know this?

In the merest whisker of the dream I had last night, I’m walking down the street in San Pedro. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do. It’s back-to-back terraces on a sloping hill and though I haven’t yet altavisted ‘San Pedro’, I’m guessing said US burg doesn’t boast those. Gauchos, probably, and some twat dressed as Yul Brynner driving around in a car the size of a beached whale (I’m presuming San Pedro is by the sea).

Anyhow, I have a whip on my hip — in a Didn’t Watch Indiana Jones Or Miss Bondage Queen IV Last Night So WTF kind of a way. Maybe there’s a shortage of belts in the dream world, I don’t know. Maybe the angels of the unconscious were being kind to me by handing me a whip to tie round my waist so my modesty wouldn't be compromised when my trousers fell down in San Pedro. I don’t make the rules.

So: me, whip, San Pedro. That was my dream.

Or almost.

Just as the delights of Cheesy Classics FM roused me from my sleep with some chorale nightmare, a guy cries out (and I didn’t see whether this was from a diner, a parking lot, or the saddle of a whippet while bounding down the aforementioned sloping hill), “that guy knows how to live.”

It’s not often my dream observers are so kind to me, particularly in so brief a dream, but as I meandered downstairs to make a cup of tea, it felt like I’d been lent a certain swagger, like I was that Dream Me, strolling down the street in San Pedro with my whip.

But not for long.

Sometimes, reality can be so cruel with its Hard Rocks Of Reality disillusionment: I’d left the back door open last night and as I stood to boil the kettle, whip almost in hand, my all-too-real foot squished into the back of an all-too-realer a guest slug.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Sunday Feeling, Scummy Gnome, Ovaltine

How can one resist the lure of a Sunday morning car boot sale, with its fields of rubbish and tat piled high against the horizon as if a thousand refuse lorries had gathered back to back in a wagon trail circle of the damned and defecated en masse till their groaning steel ani could take no more?

Bizarre as it may seem, I can resist such a lure with ease.

So while Girly of Whirly pounds the cattle-free turf hunting for plates and bowls we don’t need, attachments for utensils we don’t own, and anything reduced from over fifty quid to under fifty P — even if it’s signed by Dale Winton and comes with a spare plug — I shall languish at home with my muffin ‘n’ egg breakfast, clad in slippers of softest fluff and gown of M&S, possibly freaking out to something by Bach or Mozart or Bruckner c/o my Kidz Kazoo Klazzikz CD.

Truly, I am “easy like a lucky bastard”.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Rubbing Hieronymus On Your Koch

Why on earth do drug companies insist on giving their hi-tech pharmaceuticals such ridiculous names?

Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Cogibobamucophren — what have these names to do with pain relief or freedom from underarm polyps of a bulbous nature?

Okay, so I made up the last one, but if the -phrens win out over the -phens and -fens in any future nomenclature trends, maybe it will find its way into your medicine cabinet, possibly even your bloodstream.

When your head is pounding with the quasi-migraine throb of a full-on post-editing zonker, wouldn’t it be so much easier to reach for the Jim?

Or when your piles are gorged to the point of poking out the neck of your sweater, how much simpler to spoon on the Gemima?

I’m compiling a hit list of new pharmaceutical brands to mail out after the weekend.

After all, if ‘Dave’ can be TV channel, surely anything goes in this hip new millennium.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Plus, I Can't Find My Bloody Sunglasses ANYWHERE

What a great Spring we’ve had here in the UK.

In years to come we will speak of “our little April drought” and “a sun aglow with the radiance of a prince’s baubles” as we scroll through screen after screen of whited-out megapixel memories.

But hasn’t it been chilly with it?

With every splash of sun has come a snap breeze — whooshing from under bluebell and around bud, then up between your legs like a born again gooser with Edward Scissorhands hands (only instead of scissors, they’re white chocolate Magnum ice creams. And maybe it’s Francis Rossi.)

One minute, you’re (like) Let’s take a gentle stroll to the greenhouse in this uncanny Spring heat, let’s bathe in the warmth of the sun like some weird kind of human basking reptilethen the next you’re (even more like) For fuck’s sake! Has a miniature intergalactic freight cruiser of liquid Nitrogen just nosedived into my bum crack? No, waitaminute it’s just some weird-looking guy with Mr Whippy’s top-of-the-range merchandise glued to his wrists as if by Glacerie Magicke!

But not this last week, not since May became June — and thoughts turned to tennis and nightmare vacation shark attacks.

Since Monday, I’ve been blissfully able to stroll to my greenhouse free from rectal peck of chilly gusts. Shorts have been donned, and with them, the gait of a cool dude surfer boy in full Languish Mode, swigging from a can of kerray-zee Ginseng nonsense drink, with a hippyesque girl on his arm and his surfboard slung from his inner thighs in a harness arrangement because he’s run out of free hands c/o the chick and the drink and his backpack is locked away in his sun-drenched ole VW (and would have been useless anyway on account of his board being ten feet long and he a midget).

I realise now I should have eased myself into this Summery arrangement more gradually — potted a red and then a yellow and then a another red instead of tipping up the whole snooker table and having done with in a flurry of balls.

For the frosty clench of a gust-shocked backside is as naught in the agony stakes compared to torment’s blistered red leather carapace screeching DIE! DIE! DIE! from my shoulders.

I’ve rubbed my scorched wound with numerous healing unctions and balms — including a whole bottle of Girly of Whirly’s Opium and a chunk of Extra Mild Cheddar — but I can’t bear the touch of anything resembling clothing. It’s like the skin of a burned roast chicken: hard and crusty and cracked and liable to slip right off the sinew from the merest prod.

All of which makes walking Geoff’s ghost round the neighbourhood something of a potential embarrassment. For years she had a special Cat Lead we were told “cats love”, complete with instructions of how to coerce her into wearing it without breaking her neck or courting imprisonment. She was never a walky kind of cat, so until she died the lead lay idle in a box in the scullery along with an Alan Titchmarsh hallowe’en mask and job lot of laxatives I won in a pub quiz in 1988. I have to tell you, walking a dead cat’s spectre round the place is a difficult enough business without looking like a suicidal maniac dragged from a pyre. As the cat lead’s chain chinks along the pavement just inches from where my faith in the afterlife keeps it soundlessly aloft, some fat kid or some bony old git or some dog-walking harridan will come bounding round the corner, instantly expressing with their faces a sense of wonder-cum-rudely-probing-bemusement as to whether I lost my cat in a house fire despite a brilliant rescue attempt or burned it to death to save putting my back out burying it alive and got unlucky with the petrol. You try mustering an apologetic shrug under these circumstances.

Until the soreness dies down and I can construct a wheeled feline doll to trundle along behind me, the best I can hope for at the moment is an encounter with Mr Do Something. If anyone has a selection of bizarre cream in his medicine cabinet, it’s him.