Tag Archives: Rufus

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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Urban Shed

If shed is a place where undisclosed activities take place- where private time is spent, time spent not playing with the kids, playing with nose-hairs instead- then car is urban shed.

A child got into mine last week and observed that it smelled- not just of poo, but of old poo.

Naturally, I blamed Rufus but the stench of shame out-stank it: I have since set about sprucing up the interior by means of hoovering and coconut waxings so that now the old poo odour wears the whiff of a Caribbean holiday.

World of Car is peculiarly intimate- a traveling capsule wardrobe of its owner. It distills all the charming character traits a casual visitor to the home would need a cup of tea to pinpoint: Aha! Directionless list-maker with a questionable taste in music.

Like the open-plan work station, it is designed to feed basic ugly needs within the proximity of an outstretched hand: communication, sustenance, excretion absorbancy, lip moisturisation.

Unlike the open-plan work station, finessing is redundant as passers-by are a.) strangers b.) passing by too fast to pass judgment. Intrusions will be shortlived:

‘I’m in my World of Car. You’re basically looking into my bedroom. I may be in a queue, plucking my eyebrows and scoffing a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup while mouthing the words to what you deduce to be Barry Manilow’s hit ‘Mandy’, but as soon as the lights change I will be out of your life for good.’

Only here is rubbish allowed to co-habit undisturbed with snot tissues, a mauled A-Z and the spoils of dehydrated motorway service station hang-over stops, for interminable stretches of time; only here may penicillin party on the remnants of a Ginsters sausage roll.

Except in the inner sanctum of those for whom car-as-extension-of-self is exaltatory: people who arrange, suspend or otherwise undignify fluffy animals in the business of hauling their public-transport-averse bods from A to B; for whom a plastic tulip in a vase-effect plastic moulding is a day-brightening experience.

Or in Clean Cars, to which adheres (as to the virgin bride) the indelicate aura of ravagings ahead- the releasing of a toddler into a decontaminated rental vehicle aping the proposition of blank canvas/ paint bucket to Jackson Pollock: it will be transformed.

Meanwhile, usually NOT to be found in boot- the only proper secret space- is a corpse. But universally not a spare tyre, oil, water or health kit.

Because in an emergency- when the engine dies and the nearest phone is 3 horror-film miles away- what will really be required is a fishing net and nibless biro, those well-known objects of redemption…

Possibly sensing his work as exposer incomplete, poo child fiddled in the glove compartment on arrival and out fell a packet of marshmallows.

Our exchange of looks, wordless, was loaded thus:

‘You conceal sweets.’

‘Don’t tell.’

‘Bruno’s Mum is a sweetaholic.’

‘Don’t tell.’

‘I’m telling.’

‘Please don’t.’

‘Why not?’

‘Because what happens in urban shed stays in urban shed.’

All the same, double helpings of chocolate ice-cream with mallows on top for a certain little sir at tea-time.

And just a cup of green tea (one day at a time, one day at a time) for me.

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