Idle Eye 183 : The Curse of the Nipple

Yesterday, after completing a minor household task, I managed to create a monstrous black stain on the bedroom carpet. I am no stranger to incidents such as this: invariably, the fulfilment of duty spawns a plethora of resultant issues which, in themselves, take as long (if not longer) to address as the initial assignment. Some American bloke on YouTube made out that it would be a breeze to shift, so armed with a can of WD40 and a can-do attitude, I set about re-absorbing the thick treacle into an old pair of socks. To begin with, everything went swimmingly: the socks gobbled up the stuff, and I could just make out, mirage-like, faint traces of the biscuit-coloured original peeking through. But then I got bored and went off to make a sandwich.

When I returned, it was to a scene of unimaginable horror. Emboldened by my absence, the stain had swollen to approximately ten times its original size, with concentric dark rings of ever-increasing viscosity working their way towards its demonic nucleus. The ribbed nature of the Axminster, combined with the brutal raking light of summer, lent the whole terrible scene the illusion of depth, as if an Ordinance Survey map had been 3D-printed onto the floor by David Cronenberg. And then, as the sun subtly snaked across the sky, the nipple (sic) began to move. This was too much: crashing down the stairs and onto Facebook, I begged my virtual pals for assistance but was met with barely-concealed hilarity and erroneous advice. “You don’t understand,” I pleaded, “this is no laughing matter. I’m trying to sell the flat and there’s an enormous breathing nipple in the bedroom. Who’s going to want that?”

After being directed to a couple of (let’s be honest) wildly inappropriate websites, it dawned on me that I’d have to solve this one alone. That I would have to become that cute, swotty chick at the end of a teen slasher movie, single-handedly dispatching the killer after all her chums had been seen off (and then, sensibly, going for a lie-down in a boat on a lake). I made my way back up the stairs and opened the door. The nipple appeared to be dormant, pulsating gently in the afternoon haze. Things had clearly gone beyond a simple Shake n’Vac solution but I had to think of something. And quickly.

So I rang Foxtons. I dropped the bait of a well-presented Edwardian flat, pregnant with original features and within walking distance of the shops and amenities of our vibrant, artistic community. Next, I mentioned one particular feature unique to the property; indeed, perhaps to anywhere in the world. I could hear them frothing down the phone, drunk with the lure of imminent commission, and immediately set up a site visit. Then I found another can of WD40 and rolled up my sleeves: I had work to do.

Idle Eye 112 : The Shock of the New (Glastnost)

Having enjoyed over a month of writing bugger all for you lot, I was beginning to slip into a self-induced torpor that required little else to assuage the crippling guilt of non-delivery than doing the dishes occasionally and hoovering up the encrusted remains of tobacco strands beneath the bedroom window. And consuming my own body weight in pink and/or white wine (legit now that it’s getting hot). But this could not last, of course it couldn’t. Something more appalling than there are words to express is about to happen and I need an outlet: Glastonbury.

In a moment of weakness, I agreed to this monstrosity many moons ago at a time I thought it unlikely I would be unlucky enough to have to attend it. But, due to the tenacity of a fine friend, I now find myself in the horrendous position of having a ticket with my photograph and assorted personal details attached to it. It cannot be sold on, and unless I can find someone with the enormous good fortune to resemble myself, I am duty bound to turn up and mingle with people half my age, with half my acceptance of failure. In a field without a flushing lavatory. And for this I am supposed to be grateful.

What the young people don’t understand (and why should they?) is that the ceiling of maximum thrill is drastically reduced beyond one’s fortieth year. We no longer need to experience popular DJs pumping out their thing from the artificial thorax of a gigantic spider, whilst acrobats in their prime dangle themselves provocatively from its leg joints. In order to feel better about ourselves. Really, we don’t. This weekend I managed to source a toilet seat/lid combo from B&Q in Sydenham that I’ve been hunting since November and the joy that this has brought knows no bounds. And it is these tiny, visceral pleasures that constitute the fabric of our everyday, sad though this may sound. So, to put myself back into the lion’s mouth after 22 years is nothing if not somewhat alarming to someone who has learned, through bitter experience, to lower the threshold.

Nearly everyone I have spoken to about this (analyst/partner/check-out lady at B&Q Sydenham) makes out that I need to get a grip. But my fear is far more deep-rooted than you might otherwise believe. I am projecting waking up in the Healing Field after a sedative evening of west country cider, with local stones placed around me in a circle and violent, semi-clad children worshiping the oncoming dawn as I dribble my discontent through a crumpled tin. And as I make my way to the missing persons tent, I am accosted by a dayglo mono-cyclist with pamphlets. The horror, the horror…

I shall report back next week, unless you find me leaping about in my second flush of youth. Which, to be honest, is unlikely.