Monthly Archives: May 2011


You think I’m suburban

with my butter dish

and your forward shoes


Smiling too much

Talking air to your fire

My horizon close and grey


A teatowel ironed

to shine your creative windows

Reduxing my sub

with every schoolgirl grope for cred


Do I counter-think to defend my honour

and with spiky precision

poke out the risible

in your uber schtick


Or do I learn from you

and with stealth

paint my rainbow

in your colours


No need for either


The things for which I ache

live somewhere over it

in a place where

we both would meet


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Beware Your Pockets

I love my dry cleaner (which is to say, the dry cleaner I go to the most; he’s not on my books or anything.)

He is good looking and very well turned out.

He’s Iranian. I can’t tell if he’s gay.

He once chased me down the street to give me back a tip. He said where he comes from tips are offensive and that he had made his profit and was happy.

I was taken aback and quite delighted.

Yesterday, I took in two of Gethin’s suit jackets.

He asked me to check the pockets and when I was doing so I said, ‘This is the bit where I find a lipstick’ (quite funnily, I thought).

Whereupon, he opened up, like a man who had been waiting some time for just this subject to be raised.

‘Let me tell you, I am 11 years in this business and I have seen it all.

Many, many problems between the man and the woman because of what he leaves behind.

Two break-ups. One, the man has Viagra in his pocket. I see little blue pills. I think ‘medication’. I give it back to the girlfriend. It’s news to her.

The other time a notebook. But not the one he likes his wife to see. She reads it. She doesn’t like what she reads. She leaves him.

And what do I do? If I tell the woman, I cause trouble. If I wait to see the man by himself, I am guilty, complicit.

And they see me differently. They get defensive. I think I’m doing a favour to be discreet but now I know something about them I should not and they get angry.

Drugs: cannabis, ecstasy, coke- lots of it.

And they call to find out where it is!

They say, ‘This cost me a lot of money. This cost me £150’ and I say, ‘I can’t keep that in my shop. I’m a dry cleaner, not a dealer’. And they say, ‘Where have you put it?’ so I point to the manhole outside and they get angry.

Now we know men. We know how they work.

We make them check their pockets.’

And throughout the story I gasp and laugh and exclaim, ‘No way!’.

But when I leave the shop and sit in the car I’m thinking, well, there are a lot of people from the BBC around here.

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Everyday Earrings

I have three holes in my earlobes, two of which I decorate most days.

And a very limited selection of everyday earrings with which to do this.

Here they are:

Even though they are essentially indistinguishable, I have noticed that I am particular about which ones I honour for self-adornment.

One pair I wear when I’m feeling a bit urban or a bit money.

Another pair I wear when I’m feeling ever so slightly flamboyant.

One pair I wear when I’d like to be feeling a bit cool.

One pair I wear when I’m feeling a bit suburban and proper.

One pair are for when I’m feeling a bit indie though- let’s be clear- they’re not the same ones I wear when I’m feeling a bit Lewes: I would never confuse these pairs!

One pair I wear when I’m feeling fairly neutral but can still be bothered to don jewellery: I don’t think I’ll be judged on the strength of them, in the way I would if I were wearing the others.

Then there’s a second neutral pair but these are a bit more upbeat, more directional.

If I wore the Lewes pair to Shoreditch or the indie pair to Knightsbridge, a small part of me would feel really quite annoyed all day.

(Though I’d never want to bring any of this up at a psychiatric assessment.)

What I take this unremarkable little dance to suggest is that self-esteem relies more on perception than it does on reality.

In other words, it’s more relevant for me to believe that you’re approving of my urban earrings than for you to be approving of my urban earrings.

If Cognitive Behaviour Therapy unravels negative thought patterns by holding them up to a more positive reality, then couldn’t a fantastical personal reality build mega-fab thought patterns?

Meanwhile, for those struggling, Delusion Therapy would involve the creation of entirely bogus stories around one’s problems, in order to nuke anxiety.

While Neuro Linguistic Programming interests itself in the universal thought processes of successful people, this approach would focus on the idiosyncracies of individuals and the concoction of success fantasies around them.

In actual fact, on a small scale, it is what man does intuitively.

The most ingenious of all natural creative processes, every soul on this planet is doing it right now, in one way or another.

It’s called survival: the creation of a million self-motivating narratives.

So, imagine if we did just a little bit more of it, in as many ways as we could think of, as often as we could.

Then, before we knew it, we would be thriving all over the place, even if only in our own heads.

Today, I will wear upbeat and directional.

I will be the only one who knows this and it will make me smile.

Make sure you’re smiling for a bonkers reason too.

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