Firing up town in an 8 seater at breakneck speed. The streets you travel every day zoom by, a wet mess. After pre’s your well on your way, driver turn that radio up. The loud likely lads are up for it, feeding the driver some tipsy tips. The club glows like a flame, a beacon almost, amongst the drab greyness around it. Revellers form an orderly queue, patiently waiting for their shot at a good night. The odd few are hoping their older family members photo and birthday will make this happen. For them, nights like this hang on a constant knife edge. Pounding bass and a buzz in the air. Short skirts and punches that would hurt. Nobody wants to go home alone, but some must. Some people look good in a certain light after a few drinks, this is their kind of night. They will not look so stunning in the sober light of morning. Get me drunk, get me drunk soon. You’ll drink what’s cheap. Surrender to the notion of music you’d never listen to, to being surrounded by people you’d never talk to. Such is the standard night out. Kisses on lips, hands on hips. Take a chance, spin the roulette wheel one last time with your last fiver, caught in the moment as per. A moment that’s gone as quickly as it came. Bouncers get picky, situations get sticky, as the clock ticks and tocks, soberly they mock. You survey it like a battlefield; the walking wounded, the leaders, the loud ones. Fuck this. Get me home. Right now. It’s not for me tonight.
Blustery wind creates a howling blue sky. Can’t hear a thing. The sun is absolutely blinding you; you soldier on through the gusts. Standing step, striding solid, solidarity stone. The salted navy blue ripples and spews in against a sparkling damp golden cluster. There’s always a really weird smell at the sea, eh? Glistening water in mid afternoon, it’s all over the world and it looks fucking massive right now. Never ending blue for miles, it gets all cold and frozen if you go far enough. A body of what could be liquidated glass, flat, calm, translucent colours. Sail away on the ocean waves, sail away on the airwaves. The ocean; a deep looking glass.
I’m sitting in a hotel room in Glasgow looking out across the Clyde, decent view. I fired into a Subway footlong and watched a show at The Royal Conservatoire which made me think and made me act. A guy called Gary McNair performed a comedic, down to earth one man show about the effects of money on the world. It’s worth, hyperinflation, examples, audience interaction, it was great. It really did make me think. His final challenge was to prove to us, the audience, that we as individuals and our lives are far more valuable than any sum of money. He invited willing audience members to come on stage and shred notes of money, to show they and their lives are more important. I stood before 150 people and shredded a £5 note. Not massive amounts, but the guy had a great point and displayed it in a quirky, funny and realistic way. I wandered down Buchanan Street on the way back to the hotel listening to Bye Bye Badman by The Stone Roses and I felt like a bigger, happier person.
He looks in the mirror with a few hours to go. Fuck man, this is shit. Staring back at himself he thinks it can’t be him, but it is. Standing with a towel watching himself drip dry, he thinks. A shirt? Maybe aye. A jumper? Maybe naw. Have you ever noticed when you’re nervous your hands get hot and a bit sweaty? That’s odd, isn’t it? He stumbles out of the blocks looking fresh but definitely not feeling it. His stomach is tight and his heart’s going like a train. That’s all adrenaline though, people say they love that kind of thing, do they really? Because it’s sending him sideways just now. The air is warm, the drab grey colours of a retail park that’s had it’s day glisten almost under a pink setting sun. He can’t sit still, legs jangling with nerves. It’s then he sees her. Bright, radiant, he can pick her out right away among the workers in black getting the late bus home, it’s when he sees her for the first time his chest does a wee jump as he waits; smiling thinking she’s close enough for her to recognise that she herself has been recognised. He takes a very deep breath. Here goes nothing.
Dreams. Dream. Drea. Dre. Dr. D.
Images of obscurity and sadness dominate my mind in the night. Some you can remember, others not so well. Even when you wake up, the dream you just encountered is mostly patchy at best. The best ones are the vivid ones that play in your head like a film, and pauses very suddenly as you’re awake. A friends death, random people, places, events. I remember a dream years ago when Norris Cole and Emily Bishop and another elderly character on Coronation Street, whose name escapes me, flew in my bedroom window as I lay on the floor and looked up at them, floating in the window frame and behind them, moonshine and a clear night sky. I remember flying with them in the streets around my house, just taking off from my feet and blasting freely through the air in the middle of the night under the stars. What a moment. It didn’t happen, but it’s a memory I know everything about, and could recall it so carefully at the drop of Noris Cole’s little hat. May your dreams continue to take you to places you could not imagine.
General the time has come again, a child’s went mental at half past ten. You’re on the case because you seem to love a good drama and a story. Shuffling feet on dusty corridor floors, hunting unruly pupils banished to the outside of the classroom door. We’ve done this all before haven’t we? Your tall figure and booming voice are like a nuclear 4 minute warning. Yet you haunt me in the darkest hours of the night long after your influence has disappeared. You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t of been back anyway, it proves your a mortal like us all. Yet you lie, a miserable lie, with no substance. Remember that day I had you in my hands in front of them all? How could you forget I suppose. Whatever happened I always had that day. You gave me the boot, as a result, I wore no suit. But I always had fresh air.
*Somewhere south of Carlisle but north of Birmingham, June 2012.*
Disoriented, dizzy and dazed. You stumble outside slowly as the bright rays fry your retinas like morning bacon. Might as well be that, it’s 7.46am. Just as the house lights came up half an hour before, the big natural light in the sky signals the shutting of the bar and the end of the night. Stray cans of lager still half full lie strategically across tables between the minefield of empties. The kids danced ‘till dawn and left as legends, on a wave of ultimate sounds that pulsate the soul and stale scent. Legs and heads ache equally as the relentless action of evening gains ground on their bodies quickly. My how it was worth it, though. Who would have thought records made negro artists from across a big ocean would cause such hysteria among the kids? Sounds you couldn’t help but move to then, and now. Uplifting and satisfying. Your favourite song, and that moment of eye contact on a busy dancefloor with the bird you talk to all the time but blatantly love. It all went down in between the slices of multicoloured light that pierced a black dancefloor and glowed in the dark evening, just like their mums and dads done one generation before. It all went down and they love it. Same time next week? Its not the same as it used to be, but if theres kids listening, it wont die. Keep the Faith.
I listen to The Stone Roses when I’m ill. No matter how sick I am they uplift me, their music defines optimism. I remember going to Musselburgh house parties when I was 16 thinking I was Ian Brown: I styled my hair like his, walked like him and dressed like him too. That’s the power the Roses have on people, they were a seminal phenomenon who produced the one of the greatest albums ever written. I studied the photographs and videos from 1989, desperately trying to soak up that era and the moments that defined it. I remember watching in awe of the persona of the band, particularly of Brown. Ian’s perfect hairstyle, John’s massive Gretsch guitar, Mani’s swagger and Reni’s famous hat. I was a teenager captured in euphoria. Their 1989 debut album has a place in my heart, a masterpiece from cover to cover. It’s soaring vocal melodies and gorgeous guitar solos really made you feel like you were elsewhere; on a higher plain where nothing was impossible. Instrumentally solid and looks that could kill! What could go wrong? Those four men mean the world to me.
A forgotten general returns to the forefront. In a flash he returns, and it’s like nothing else happened. Fuck sake it did happen. A lot happened. Recalling tales of far off front lines and a £7 pint. SEVEN QUID?! That’s a nice name! National tradition spars with contemporary thinkers on the streets, the churches and in the courthouses but they just don’t care. Reading up on a mental tour before going on one of his own. It’s a far cry from a big red bus at a Dover sunset in May. Sitting on my own, chewing on a bone, a thousand million miles home. No more bone.