God before religion

When I was young God was just there.

I wasn’t absolutely sure what his name was and who was the father and who was the son but I spoke to him and was in no doubt he listened.

 

I went to Sunday school of my own volition. I can’t say I learnt a great deal more than sensible advise on what surface it is best to build ones house upon, or that Jacob had a ladder that we, and apparently servicemen, were encouraged to climb, but there was something nice about singing and clapping ensemble and being a child of God.  The smartly dressed ladies smiled at me a lot. I liked that.

 

I wasn’t sure either as I grew up, whose churches I had attended. I never studied the boards outside. Jesus always came up and saved the day, so I knew we were Christain.

It smelt nice. Incense or civic hall. I didn’t mind which. Polish or dust. They all smelt safe.

 

At some point I discovered that in France I had in fact been christened Catholic.

I found that exciting. I was a signed up team member after all. Colour and statues and noble fellows waving smoking golden balls and making shapes in the the air with two bendy fingers.

Apparently we had an official spirit…great!…candles, history and each a personal saint, superb.

 

A devout Irish Aunt came to visit and offered to take me to mass. I was thrilled and jumped at the chance, but soon found out it was a club to which I could lay no claim. They had secret squirrel speak. The priest said something that I gathered was not off the top of his head, and everyone but me knew what was coming next and replied in unison.

I felt  as I always did when I couldn’t recite my times tables in class, and half expected being asked to leave the room again, to the same sound of laughter.

 

Some people got to eat and drink something up front like prefects, and made an orderly queue. They didn’t invite me or some of the others, who seemed to know why.

My aunt went too without a by your leave. Rude!

I had never had my white dress day which wasn’t my fault, so I had to stay put.

I felt foreign. I didn’t know any of the songs.

 

I decided I should stick with the gang that owned the hymns in school assembly. The songs I knew well. Theirs was a benign God, an inclusive God and a charitable God. We had only to listen. We had to say Amen after the finale and learn one prayer. All were welcome and Jesus loved us each and everyone.

 

Were they Protestant?

 

Is everyone that follows Jesus’ teachings, who is not a Catholic – a Protestant?

 

Even the nutters who kiss snakes in His name and have Beelzebub

bitch slapped from their temples?

 

Who tells you what the difference is between a Baptist and a Methodist and an Evangelist and an Anglican and a Seventh Day who ever they are, and do that last lot have anything to do with Craig David?

 

I left school and lost touch with my class mates. I lost too any chance I had to ask who we were.

 

I miss the God of my enfance.

 

World Aids Day

It is early hours. I like to take care when i write but fuck it, i am drunk and it seems it doesn’t take much. Still, I suppose a blog should be about your head space. So be it. I am not too gone so as not to use a full stop…or to remember how many ‘o’s there are in which ‘to/too’.

I have just got home. Shocking I say. I am a lady of the suburbs who likes to do her Guardian Kuruko (sp?) before bed and tends to wake up oft these days at 4 am with too much on her mind.

I went out at 11pm. Bonkers.

World Aids Day today…. yesterday…I have not yet slept.

I remember Phil McCavity. His face  round, as though he stands here by me now. I see him opposite me on the train. We are singing Xray Spex and The Damned. He hams …stormy sea!…and he looks like a bank clerk but for his fluorescent socks and tonight he will wear his mohair jumper and dance like a bastard. He was my friend and I think his dad scared him and i never knew him long enough, not beyond our partying teens, not long enough to get beyond a wrap of speed or our record collection to ask him. We were Gang. The last time I saw him he was standing outside Laindon station, he had discovered the new romantics. His shirt was frothy and I was still a punk and he told me I looked a state. I didn’t mind that he wore his brave new skin like a weapon. I still loved him for who he had been to me. That is how it is with me.

When I was sick with neurosis, Depeche threw a party in the bowling alley. I should have gone. I found another reason not to. Phil was there so I was later told….in a wheel chair. Four years earlier I hadn’t known he had had sex. He wasn’t out. Then he was dead and I never got to tell him how his was a face that stuck around for me. I had wanted to find him for a long time after chance collected me and sent me skating, but i lost him to london and then to Aids, by which time he would have no idea that I laid claim to him at all.

I sang at G.A.Y tonight.

Someone poured me a slug of cognac that was many times greater than my choice of shot size. I drank it nonetheless…like a cup of tea that ceases to steam, and I changed into a mouth that works and eyes and legs that do not. I sang in some form. Who knows if it sounded right. I do not. My monitors seemed not too be working. I wasn’t too bothered. The crowd was dense…were they with me? I don’t know. I wasn’t too bothered. I smiled into the cloud of smoke and I sang hearing only the room and I felt well enough at home.

I sang Don’t Go…to a Yazoo backing track. I have not done that since last i was with Vince. It was faster than I remembered..my voice seems to have dropped lower than an old man’s naggers…this track was pitched for a girl. Was I ever a girl?

I was on and then i was off and i don’t know where the time passed.

I met some very nice people today. Briefly in that way you do when your paths cross fleetingly and you imagine they are not likely to again. Lovely people with faces as familiar as  family members. Ordinary, warm,  famous people wanting to connect for a short while..to dance and to sing and then to fuck off home. I wonder why they ever intimidated me. Age is a great thing…or is that cognac?

It will be light soon. I think I shall sleep tonight

Pets

 I know people for whom pets are their beloved children. I find it a little odd. I shall not tell a lie.

I’ve witnessed haughty middle-agers sail through rooms, all pride and hubris to lick-kiss bemused blank faced arse-eating animals.

I have heard words used like child and baby and I cringe for both parties.

If the animal could understand, I wonder if it would think…steady on, let’s not get ahead of ourselves – I want to travel…. I’m 53!

…your top lip does smell of beef though…would you mind if i just?…waste not want not….

I love being around Animals. They make me happy. Ding arches his brow when I say for the umpteenth time as a cat passes, Isn’t it amazing how a completely different species accepts our presence in its space.

I like them – but I never think that They are We.

Yeah? big deal. We do. Deal with it.

Fair enough.

This morning I had the telly on in the background as I was getting Finny ready for school.

Yes! … Says a Dog mother....he’s unfit because he does like his food….curry, fish and chips…ice-cream…he’s gotta cut back..

I look down at my dear old labrador who smells so bad I am loathe to invite in casual callers.

I pictured myself doing the same interview….Tilly?…Oh she doesn’t know she’s a dog…ooh yes, she’s a bit unfit…she needs to cut down…her favourites?…Erm?…meat, fish, cat food, bread for the birds, dirty dishwasher when she can get it…all kinds of food really..

…road-kill, chicken-shit, cat regurgitation…dirt..wood that looks like chicken-shit and do you know?.. when she walks in on someone on the toilet, you could almost hear her saying to you “well, if you’re throwing that away..” …she do like to eat.

We don’t kiss.

Fat jibes drove me to drugs

 Bet that title got some people eager to share my pain….lol

Fat jibes drove me to drugs, reads the bold headline of a red top newspaper gossip column today.

‘Is it any wonder that Keane front man Tom Chaplin had a battle with drugs after the cruel jibes from other bands?’

Laughably, on the opposite page is a full length photo of the lovely Drew Barrymore entitled ‘Drewpy Bits’

You’ve guessed it..she has cellulite and that astounding fact means that we need to be shown it magnified in its half-page glory.

I wonder if she takes drugs – or feels the need now to do so.

 

The irony of these two stories run side by kissing side seems lost to this paper. This paper of the people.

 

 

In the last year we have seen the shredding of Jade Goody’s career. Named and shamed as a play ground bully.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not sad that I am unlikely to share an interviewer’s couch with her again in the near future, but if I were her I would have felt very confused – being rounded on with such great enthusiasm that you could almost smell the little sprays of wee coming out of the circling pack’s urethras’.

In the same columns we read stories of lonely children, their confidence  shattered by humiliations, jeering and name-calling. Whose educations have been curtailed, and in some tragic cases, whose lives have been lost one way or another. We read their stories and we cry hot tears. Stamp out this bullying. Join us.

Kill the nasty fuckers!

 

What is happening to our young people? ponders one writer as the camera closes in on some broken hearted family.

Turn to the supplement, or not even that far and we can regularly read ‘Sorry love. You’re a mess!’

A happy girl has her picture taken on her big night out, and there she finds herself the next day marked as one big ugly zero.

This girl has been sweating, the freak.

This girl has worn the same shoes twice, the slut.

This girl has been dumped, the sad old loser.

Look at the babe now she is 60. Rip her to shreds.

Hey Dolly-shit-dress!

Fat, fat…oh glorious god thank you! She is fat.

 

It turns my stomach . The hideous glee that we are being encouraged to feel in the shaming of another human being. A human being. A human being.

 

And when that writer is a woman it sears my heart two fold. Oh the mindless misogyny from our very sex.

 

 

Spam

Spam used to be pink stuff that I coveted.

When I had a packed lunch as a 60’s child, it was all wholemeal bread and grilled chicken and celery sticks and homemade yoghurt sweetened with pureed fruit. (take note parents of small children determined to feed them fit)

My mates had white packet bread and spam with pickle. I remember thinking that it was because we must be really poor that we couldn’t buy processed. That somehow their parents loved them more to give them cake.

We had home made food, home sewn clothes, camping holidays. Phumph!.. every year I longed for Butlins or just to be home alone like my mates.

Spam now is something you can’t give away and it tumbles into your inbox every time you log on.

This morning for example, instead of grinding my teeth writing this blog, I should be sifting my mail and answering what I know are some really pressing questions.

I cannot be arsed!

Why?

Well…. just because it is like picking up after the kids all over again. I leave a messy living room and enter a messy in-box and I want to turn and walk out of that too.

Who are these people that think  …hehe…we will have them…I have in my hands many email addresses……we are made brother!….we will send them an offer they cannot refuse, in something that approximates their mother tongue…like this!…

“We are most earnest moguls with unfortunately large sacks of dollars currently being transported on sick donkeys for delivery to you, and added to which you have won a lottery $9,000,000,00, and your bank asked us to represent them in wiring to you many things including shoes of your choosing for quick response lady friend. Our church needs a roof Quid Pro Quo Clarice. Send  who you are or a nation is lost.”

 

What is that all about? Do people really respond?

 “Great! Yeah fab, I think we can do something here!”

 

Do these entrepreneurs  have offices and work experience translators and venn diagrams?

If we ever managed to rid ourselves of them, would a premiership football club collapse over night?

 

You would think not.

 

They should try plumbing.

It seems to be a lucrative enough career.

…..and before you go all right-on on me. If they’ve got a sodding computer, they can lay their hands on a wrench.

 

 

Poem

 

today I fell in love

 

not the stuff to rock a marriage

 

or smooth the skin

with hope

 

or flushes cheek

 

or sucks in lazy belly

 

or lasts beyond the kindest

word remembered

 

but catches in the throat

 

 

and shifts for some small moment

 

mote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Knits

So…

Monday morning and I’m gathering up the scrappy heap of weekend newspapers for the recycling of, when my distracted hand falls upon a magazine from one of those big ones, the kind that used to require some sizable knowledge in origami to read.

It falls open at a rather beauifully photographed page, where a lovely young woman is modeling a warm chubby knit. Oooh!

I think of my eldest daughter who has no natural insulation and spent most of the summer holiday teeth chattering in someone else’s wooly, having packed nothing more than could half cover a wiry elf.

That would bring some colour to her cheeks I thought.

Small print. £56.00 ..ok.. It’s a modern girls world.

Small print with a squint applied. Socks £56…or you’re having a …

Thick-Knit jumper- fifteen hundred quid. Fifteen Hundred Quid? Fuck off!!!

 

Who are these birds who live on air and cigarettes in deference to their tiny and undoubtedly enviable silhouettes, that can or would cough up such wedge to bush up chunky, thus?

How cold have you got to be and doesn’t that say something?

What point am I missing? Is it the global warming issue that has them running for Bond Street or where ever else they pop to in an emergency? Are they time sharing this green artifact with the poor old dear upstairs who can never hope of laying siege to the ozone?

My old gran would have knocked up one of these hairy monsters on a Saturday afternoon, too busy shouting down Jackie Pallo to notice she’d picked up broom handle needles and a large stray poodle.

Good lord. Those of us blessed with a knitting relative used to pray for the onset of arthritis and the glamour of a machine made.

Will you look too big in one of these? You bet your arse you will.

 



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