Idle Eye 170 : The Armadillo

In a desperate bid to claw back some of the money I’ve laid out on this book, last week I threw myself under a slow-moving vehicle on Central Hill. Admittedly the traffic is usually pretty snarled up there, but I guessed I was in with a good chance of bagging a no win/no fee insurance payout if I just played it cool. Like Matt Damon would if he lived in South East London. So I risked life and limb for hard cash; this is what I’ve been reduced to.

I had it all figured out before leaving the flat. Pretending not to enjoy an Eton Mess pudding, I stealthily concealed the crushed strawberry filling inside a freezer bag shortly before putting the remnants into the green bin. No one was any the wiser. Next, I created a catheter from a decaying Dyson spare and stitched it into the lining of my overcoat, taking care that the protrusion was undetectable from a distance. Then I trepanned a small hole into the back of my skull which allowed the tube to feed its way through to my mouth, meticulously avoiding damage to any significant cells that would render me a vegetable. The bag was to locate inside my top pocket so that when I tumbled over, the contents would spew forth to an incredulous public which would not only witness the event, but also inadvertently help create my first fortune. Seriously, I had it down.

Anyway, I was walking up Harold Road when I got stopped by this old woman who wanted directions to the park. When I pointed out that she was right opposite it, she came over all unnecessary (as people occasionally do when confronted with undeniable fact), repeatedly prodding me in the chest with one of her wizened fingers. A small trajectory of puréed fruit shot out of my mouth and onto her dress, and for a brief moment there was a stunned silence as we both ascertained the situation. I knew what she was thinking, and I knew that she knew that I knew.

There was no choice; I had to do it there and then. So before things got any worse, I sprinted up to the main drag and dived head first into the flow of oncoming cars. A 1970s Leyland milk float ground to a halt shortly after crushing three of my fingers, and the driver (not a milkman) called me a twat twice before driving off. The bag in my pocket remained pristine and there wasn’t a single person about (except for the old woman, who also called me a twat). So I went home and called my insurers.

I spent over twenty quid taking the loss adjuster out to lunch yesterday. He was bang out of order going large on the Mexican meal deal, but ultimately it will be worth it. I went for soup and drank it with the tube. In case you’re wondering…

Idle Eye 169 : The Omen

I’ve been having insane dreams of late. Seriously out there. One of them had a friend of mine serving sandwiches in a cricket pavilion as it filled up to the ceiling with water, and another saw me crossing an Egyptian desert, half-starved, bug-eyed and decomposing under the relentless heat. I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure the subconscious is kicking off big time and I have no idea what it’s trying to tell me. The fact that I’ve been off the tuck for a while could be a contributing factor, but let’s be honest, that’s why we have cigarettes. No, it is surely something more sinister, possibly to do with the grim reaper approaching, and I’ve done next to nothing to prevent my untimely demise. And when I say next to nothing, I mean nothing.

The trouble with getting stuck in this mindset is that once you’re there, just about everything becomes an augury of one’s own final exit. My recent trip to the doctors is the most obvious, but less pertinent events can still give me the willies. A black cat looking at me funny doesn’t mean I’m going to cop it, or at least it shouldn’t. And when two crows run off like the clappers across the park, it’s highly likely they’ve seen a worm or mouse in the borders and are not the harbingers of doom I’ve concocted in my head. Even the washing up can get ominous, particularly when a knife clatters to the floor, spins around a few times and gurgles “Redrum!!! Redrum!!!” from the back of its non-existent larynx. It’s a miracle I get up in the mornings.

I mentioned the above to said friend (who happens to be interested in the significance of dreams), and she put me at ease somewhat. Fortunately, that room filling up with water does not represent imminent death. Not at all. Rather, it suggests deeply suppressed sexual anxiety and an unsuccessful struggle to resist evil, foreshadowing trouble, sickness and misery. Phew! And as for the other one, well that says something or other about my dissatisfaction with present companions and employment. Yeah, whatever. At least I’ll still be around to hate them when I get sacked.

Just before my great-grandmother passed away, I remember visiting her bedside in a small suburban house in Surrey. She was on the verge, but still pretty lucid. And we were having a chat, like you do when you’re six and talking to an old lady who smells of cabbages, when she suddenly sat bolt upright and pointed at a speck on the opposite wall. Her eyes were blazing, her hand trembling. I never found out what it was that irked her (she died shortly afterwards), but as I march towards the same place at breakneck speed, I do wonder if these visions become more real than life itself at the end. Or if you just need a good wank and a sarnie.

Idle Eye 168 : The Ladygrape of Wrath

Wrestling myself into consciousness on Saturday morning I noticed, right there in the bed beside me, a bump I didn’t recall inviting in the night before. It had not been a dramatic Friday, for I’d only had a quick pizza with my friend Donald before making it home without a statutory flying visit to Wetherspoons. I did briefly consider waking it and offering it a cup of coffee until I discovered, to my escalating horror that, indeed, my guest had not muscled its way back after an ill-advised drinking session, but was actually attached to my person. And as if that wasn’t appalling enough, to an area not traditionally associated with the finer points of romance.

A more intimate inspection was clearly requisite, one that involved my shaving mirror and a rudimentary attempt at yoga. And there, as in one of those early Victorian birthing daguerreotypes, was a minuscule extension of myself, nestled deep within the nucleus of an unattractive forest of hair and flesh. It was approximately the size of a hazelnut and seemed perfectly at ease with its newfound location, to the extent that it made me feel like a low-rent Henry Morton Stanley having just stumbled upon Dr Livingstone. I almost apologised for disturbing it.

Several online diagnoses later brought me to the unhappy conclusion that I was going to have to radically alter my diet, drink less Pinot and more water, do exercise and shower every five minutes just to appease the little bastard. For this was to be no symbiotic arrangement, at least as far as I could tell, which I bitterly resented. And as its correct medical moniker was way too long and disgusting for me to use on a regular basis, I decided to call it Samantha by way of softening the blow. In retaliation for this perceived slight, she made it nigh-on impossible for me to sit down for three days.

Unless I’m steaming, I’ve never been particularly deft at making new acquaintances. I tend to linger behind the protective cloak of shyness until somebody else makes the first move. The doctor at my GP’s, however, was unfettered by any such inhibitions. She and Samantha got on famously, chatting away as if they were ensconced inside a nightclub lavatory and had known each other for years. I lay on my side, facing the acid green wall with my knees pressed up against my ears and wondered at which stage of the appointment they might notice I was still present. After they’d exchanged phone numbers, I was told that Samantha and I would have to learn to get along, and turfed out into the rain.

To be fair, she’s eased off a bit on the searing pain. But frankly, I’m getting sick of having to make all the effort. If she were a flatmate, I’d have words. But she’s not. She’s a thrombosed external haemorrhoid. Try telling that to your mates and staying fashionable, bitch.

IE Audio 15 : The Sting

An early shot. Written when I was working for my brother (Nibs) as his pub blogger and trying my darndest to subvert the medium whilst still staying within the brief. Always savoured the mental image of the Live Aid crowd fighting for that rickety table by the toilets.