Tag Archives: Hammersmith

Loving Elvis for Elvis

Elvis Presley and Rufus revealed to me something magnificent last week.

If you can spare 3 full minutes to listen to this with your eyes closed, the rest of this post might have more meaning:

I was in the Hammersmith branch of ‘Tiger’, seeing to some functional gift buying (and it doesn’t get much more functional than prevaricating over decorative paper napkins in an urban mall shop in February)…

…when Elvis came piping in over the store sound-system, with non-functional things on his mind.

‘FFS,’ I thought crassly but accurately, in an expressive sense. ‘I spend 90% of my life trying to side-step the yawning chasm of my existential angst and now I can’t buy a bloody napkin without being pushed in.’

Back home, mission accomplished, I returned voluntarily to hand-wringing and put Elvis on the Youtube duke box.

As I revisited cavernous rooms of rank sentimentalism, I came to realise that Rufus had stopped re-purposing a tissue box as a receptacle for matchbox toys in order to listen to the ‘mugats’ and was being held quite in its thrall.

Moments later, reaching up, he said, ‘Ugg’ (a request for an embrace, not an outdoor slipper boot); I happily complied and we sort of square-danced around the study to The King.

Lo and behold, ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ was no longer the background to the ‘stories’ of my life- the soundtrack to my emotional movie.

It was the song as Rufus was hearing it, in his childish way: pure; beautiful; without narrative. It was moving him to soft kisses which, for a child, is Love.

So I listened to it one more time- without the noise of my histories, my projections, my over-packed hormonal baggage- as if Elvis was just singing it, rather than singing it with the express intention of messing with my equilibrium.

Try it. It’s amazing. It’s a liberation.

Now imagine doing this with every thing.

Imagine engaging with your day in a way that minimizes major themes and maximizes minute experiences as they are unfolding; imagine frying an egg for breakfast and not shell-covered disillusionment; imagine eating lunch without the memory of your mistakes or the judgment of your fear; imagine receiving, not creating people; imagine creating yourself in the act of being.

Imagine loving Elvis for Elvis.

It may not work all the time.

But when it did, you’d be humming a Louis Armstrong song instead.

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Sorted

You’re not going to believe what didn’t happen to me last night.

I couldn’t sleep and I’m fed up with that so I rummaged around in the dark for a sleeping tablet, swallowed it and went back to bed.

Half an hour later I was just completely wide awake and extra fed up because I’d deployed my back-up plan, clearly to no avail.

Half an hour after this I started to feel a bit unusual until, wait a minute, the running-through of my send-anyone-to-sleep shopping list was accompanied by some suspiciously pleasant blood currents.

I turned over on my back and realised I was smiling and ohmygod, are you kidding me? I’d only gone and dropped an ecstasy pill by mistake.

I did a bit of silent chortling and head-shaking at the preposterousness of the situation before investing in a few minutes to consider what I should do next.

There aren’t a lot of these sleeping-pill-esque fellows tucked deep inside my jewellery box, which is to say there aren’t any so it must have been very, very old.

Still doing it’s stuff though: ‘Quite impressive,’ said I to the imaginary supplier, who was gratified by the praise.

All the same, don’t think I need to tip up at A & E.

Also don’t think I fancy creeping around downstairs with Frank Sinatra on volume 1 (he’s what’s in the record player).

I’m just going to have to find me some action, thought I.

Not wanting to disturb the family, I groped around for some clothes (I know- you would have thought I’d learnt the value of lighting by now!) and left the house ready to party.

I did not look hot.

I wanted to run down the street but the Acton police are always on the look out for that sort of thing so instead I took big sideways steps, occasionally turning around, like in football practice; it felt good.

I wasn’t sure where I was heading but the bus is so goddam convenient right at the end of the road, it seemed churlish not to wait.

There was an ordinary lady there looking at me strangely (I was swinging around the bus stop but I kept catching my head on the timetable).

‘LOVE this jumper,’ I said, tugging on her sleeve. ‘Where’s it from?’

‘Germany,’ she said, which I thought was weird, even under the circumstances.

Once on the bus I scanned the Askew Road to see what was going down: not an enormous deal.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Lebanese flatbread, but C’mon! Where are the youth?!

We stopped outside Bruno’s school and for a moment I thought it was Winter and early in the morning and I’d left him at home. ‘Phew!’ I said to the drunk next to me. ‘Now THAT would have been irresponsible’.

Soon we were in Hammersmith. It’s not Party Central but it’s quite densely populated and recently they’ve renovated the Lyric Theatre rooftop and put wicker and grasses up there so check it out before you judge.

I leapt off the bus, trying to land on the most fun piece of pavement I could see and skipped down King Street, listening out for some tunes.

I’m going to cut a long, huge-pupilled story short here because I didn’t really find anything.

But I did chat a while to some Korean students. I said I was practising my English on them and kept asking if I could plait the girl’s hair. They both had great auras.

I also took a turn around McDonald’s. I enjoyed the green in there and slurped a milkshake, sitting in a Big Brother chair watching the staff ask all the ‘small or large’ questions. There’s not that many places where the staff is an overwhelmingly superior species to the customers and I don’t think you have to be high to realise it.

I knew the methylenedioxymethamphetamine was wearing off when I felt disappointed the post office was closed and I couldn’t get ahead of the game by posting off a birthday card so I thought, well, it’s been a good evening, maybe I should call it a night.

It was a mellow meander I had back up the road at 4.30 a.m. on a Thursday morning.

I felt benevolent and would have appreciated sitting in one of those massage chairs at airports, set on vigorous vibrate.

I let myself back in, ate a tube of smarties and snuggled back into bed, resuming that list, adding, ‘sweet potatoes’ to it at the end.

Then I felt sleep washing over me with time for just one last thought: What are you like, you silly old 80’s bint?!

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Blissfully Naff from Hammersmith

Dear Auntie Soph,

How right you were.

I’m so naff I could marry Geri Halliwell at a Sandals Resort.

Not too-naff-for-Hoxton but properly white Ugg boot naff- right to the tips of my highlighted hair.

I feel like I’ve been trapped in some kind of hellish media-world merry-go-round and you’ve come along and set me free.

Everything about me was a lie (apart from my thing for karaoke, which friends thought was ironic but wasn’t).

I’m out and proud and being slightly too friendly to cool people.

I’m telling them that I like white bread.

Not hunks of thick-crusted rosemary and walnut bloomer but thick-cut Sunblest slices with iceberg lettuce in the middle. And malt vinegar.

I’m rubbing their eye-shadow free faces in my French manicures and taking mail-order catalogue gifts to their ‘kitchen suppers’, with a bunch of garage flowers.

Before your letter I was ashamed to say three little words. Now I’m prepared to shout ‘Malibu and Pineapple!’ from the back of the Eight Bar.

I love Dale Winton, roller-blading and yellow sports cars.

I think Mr Bean is comic dynamite.

Plus I’m going to let my parents stay with me and leave the house in daylight. They’re not as naff as me but they are old and unsightly.

Gastropubs are arse.

If you want the truth, lentils make me gag.

I crave breaded mushrooms at a Harvester.

And if it’s my birthday I want them to turn the lights off and for the whole restaurant to sing to me over a Viennetta with sparklers in it.

Don’t give me a glass of dry white wine, for crying out loud.

I want it sweet and I want a bottle. Wearing a dinner jacket wine-cooler.

And at Christmas you can ***k off with your Jo Malone.

I want a perfume gift set from BHS and tickets to see Gareth Gates. In anything.

Today in Waterstones I bought a copy of ‘Girl Power’ when I was waiting at the desk to pay for Kerry Katona’s autobiography.

I’ve enclosed it for you to sign (remember to dot your ‘i’ with a little heart).

Love and hugs,

Blissfully Naff from Hammersmith xoxoxox

*

Dear Blissfully Naff from Hammersmith,

Please stop writing to me.

Auntie Soph

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James Morrison Agony Aunt Letter

Dear Auntie Soph,

Something bad happened in my life last week and I don’t know where to turn.

I was driving along listening to the radio and this song came on.

It was easy to listen to, catchy: I liked it.

I didn’t hear who it was by but it reeked of dairy products so I tried to put it out of my mind.

But the next day it was on again and, damn, I wanted more.

The next time I got into the car I started channel surfing to find it.

It got nasty. I ended up on Magic FM.

I turned it up loud- so loud I had to sing and close all the windows.

My son was sweating. He was asking me to stop.

The whole thing was Wrong.

Finally, I Googled some of the lame lyrics and, Holy God, it was James Morrison.

Worse than that- James Morrison with NELLY FURTADO.

It’s been less than a few months since I stopped knifing her in my dreams and replaced her with Amanda Holden.

I’m a mess and Broken Strings is only the half of it.

My finger slipped on Youtube (I was looking for ‘Two Girls One Cup’, honestly) and I ran into one of his love ballads, If you don’t wanna love me – hell, even the title knows what I’m saying.

Now I’m angry.

It sounds like Otis Redding and it’s O.K. to like Otis Redding.

Why can’t I like a song by that man too?

Who makes the taste rules anyway?

I’m guessing you’ll tell me to buy an album and try to get it out of my system.

But I can’t go fouling up my Amazon recent orders list with stinky artists.

Do I wear a hoodie to HMV? Book a long-haul flight and plug in?

Please help.

Yours,

musically compromised from hammersmith


*

Dear musically compromised from hammersmith,


Of all the mail I received this week, yours stayed with me the longest.

You’re struggling with a big issue here but some people touch children and that’s almost certainly more shameful.

It seems to me that your musical sensibilities may have been damaged when you were young.

Maybe your mother liked Richard Clayderman or there were a lot of pan pipes on in the house.

Either way, the most well-meaning of parents can unwittingly make it difficult to provide their children with the foundations for healthy musical appreciation when they reach adulthood.

Also, you’re trying to Google scatological porn so you probably went to a girls’ boarding school- the odds have been against you right from the start.

You don’t say how old you are but elsewhere you mention that you’re partial to a bit of a duet so I’m guessing you were a child of the 80s: Always by Atlantic Starr was probably a seminal moment for you.

If I typed in ‘D’ on your computer’s Youtube would ‘Dollar’ appear?

When I scratched the tippex off the bottom of the letter I could just about make out the word ‘Bolton’.

Just how much Mariah Carey is at the back of your C.D. cabinet?

In conclusion, I think you are asking for the wrong help.

You want to know how to rid yourself of bad musical taste because agreeable people disapprove of it.

In actual fact, you should embrace your true feelings and recognize this affliction as a part of you.

If you carry on listening to some good stuff this may eventually take a more natural place in your preferences.

But essentially you need a more rubbish crowd of friends, who will not judge you- ones who laugh at Russell Brand and wear t-shirts with hilarious slogans.

Then you can relax and indulge.

So James Morrison is lispy and wet and looks like Chris Martin’s weaker Siamese twin (the one who didn’t get the vital organs) but he’s not James Blunt, unless…

james_morrisonchris_martin000x0591x600james-blunt


If you finger-tap to any of his stuff go to a door and repeatedly knock on it using your head.

Yours back,

Auntie Soph x

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