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.

 

Idle Eye 105 : The Ron Solution

As I struggled into the flat yesterday clutching two shopping bags filled to bursting with wine, real ale, rolling tobacco & Nitromors, I spotted a flyer in amongst the many destined for recycling which blazed ‘Has Your Body Become A Toxic Waste Dump?’ Now, I’m no great fan of the door drop school of marketing (too blunt an instrument and we need the trees), but I figured they had a point so I took it upstairs. And yes, I gave it a few precious moments of the limited time I have left on the planet, only to find out that it is, in fact, the latest ruse from our dear old chum L Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, brains behind the crappest film ever made Battlefield Earth and purveyor of the grand-scale whopper. Who died in January 1986.

I have to admit, I do have a bit of a soft spot for L Ron. Back in 1983, I left a house party in Dorking, somewhat worse for wear and about two hours before the first train back to London, and what I saw at the end of the High Street as dawn broke must surely rank as one of the most ill-conceived book launch campaigns of all time. A monstrous purple metal beast lay in wait for its quarry, clutching a plethora of monochromatic handouts in which it declared itself as Terl, the Alien Psychlo. Quite who (or what) its target market was, given the time of day and stockbroker-belt location was anyone’s guess, but I did admire the balls of the thing and took home its offering. I later discovered it was pushing ‘the greatest sci-fi novel ever written’ by the man himself. He’d even composed a soundtrack to go with it (available separately) which I thought bold. Further research revealed that he had also declared war on Mexico, fired torpedoes at a magnetic ore deposit off the coast of Oregon believing it to be two Japanese submarines and spent several years in prison for fraud. Dude…

So how come he’s now back in Crystal Palace, attempting to cleanse my rotting carcass of self-imposed excess? What can there possibly be in it for him, what with him being dead and that (apparently from self-imposed excess)? And are the pollutants of yesteryear still rattling around inside me like it says in his new book Clear Body, Clear Mind (£8.99 online, no soundtrack)? I must say, I’m intrigued. Almost enough to go for the free toxic test, available at his Purification Centre which also happens to be the Church of Scientology HQ. The reviews are glowing:

“I’ve been living in a fairyland. Many thanks to L Ron for caring enough to invest his life in bettering mankind” G.S.

“Fifteen years of brain fog has dissipated in a few weeks” L.P.

And many more. Maybe this time he’s really stumbled upon something and death, as they say, becomes us all. I’ll let you know.