2006: These days I feel quite nostalgic for the reign of Queen Jordan, for a
couple of reasons (shut up); firstly, she wasn´t a real person, but a
character played by someone called Katie Price. Sort of like Marilyn Manson
(did you know his real name´s Brian ? Yes, you probably did) or a full-time
Ali G, although more genuine than JT Leroy.
Secondly, I didn´t realise how easy we had it before the monster Hilton cast its foul shadow across the globe.
Oh yes, and she married Peter Andre, so she´s clearly up for a laff.
18th February 04, RNRU Ward, Homerton Hospital, Hackney, London
first, then pets.
In Graham ward my faith was tested; devout atheism bent but didn’t break under an onslaught of Christianity. Every Sunday for thirty-two years I got up and avoided church. This is not about to change.
There’s a great difference between religion and faith. The sort of thing I object to is by-the-book, bludgeon-you-over-the-head “belief”. Derived not from consideration of the options, but simply from being told as a child, “This is the truth. It’s all here, written down.”(as Bill Hicks pointed out; credit where it’s due.) Easy answers to difficult questions; God as scapegoat.
One problem (among many) I have with this sort of approach is the supposition that there’s some sort of purpose to everything. God’s will. By derivation, that means I’m in this state for a reason, or even that I deserve to be, that I’m paying penance for some misdemeanour. Well, I must have done something pretty fucking out of order.
Perhaps I swear too much. I was actually told on Graham ward, “Don’t swear.” Fuck that. If I can’t fucking swear now, when the fuck can I? Piss in your bed, shit on the floor, shout at everyone, never say please or thank you, stink but DON’T SWEAR because that means you’re a BAD PERSON. Straight-up Christianity, God help us.
Now faith, that’s another matter. When a religion helps provide a structure or framework for an individual’s life, that can be an immensely positive thing. Some of my best friends are Christians, actually. Again, their belief may have childhood origins but in later life they’ve given the whole thing some consideration. Springer guests often used “That’s how ah wuz raised” as an excuse. Well, you’re twenty-eight now and able to make your own decisions. Can we assume you requested that haircut? Or was it your mama’s idea?
One of the nurses on Graham was that ubiquitous thing, a white Welsh Muslim. She was one of my favourites because she was a good listener; patient enough to interpret my strange bleat and even have a conversation of sorts. She’d had a fair helping of rubbish in her life and believed that, through prayer, God had taken care of her. OK…while I don’t buy the whole story I reckon her faith and the support provided by her belief (of which the act of praying is a part) helped her out.
You can see I’m having one half of a conversation here and I’m starting to bore myself, but I’m glad I got that off my chest. Apologies if you were hoping for a bilious rant…no, actually, tough.
Rebecca sent me an e-mail from Canada. For those who don’t know her, she’s an expert in animal behaviour (stop giggling and please note I didn’t use the phrase “top dog”.) They’re launching a magazine about pets over there, for kids. Rebecca asked me if I could come up with a title. Oh dear…here’s a copy of the mail I sent back:
Well, you really picked the wrong person, didn’t you? Someone who’s in a permanent bad mood (with, I think, some justification), never had pets and never wanted them (apart from Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern the chinchillas) and doesn’t have kids. To be honest, I haven’t thought of any appropriate titles and I’m afraid it will end up being called something God-awful like Pawz or Petz. I like the word “animal” because, like “alien”(or “toilet”), it’s both noun and adjective, and acts as a reminder that these aren’t humans we’re dealing with. But is that a title that will sell to kids? No.
If there’s already been a Whoa ! why not just call it Fuck ! or Holy Shit ! …or Eh?
Possible Names For A New Magazine About Pets Aimed At 8-12-Year-Olds
Yard Full of Shit
What Up, Dogg?
What’s That Smell?
He’s Just Being Friendly
Get Off My Leg
B.D.C. (Big Dog’s Cock)
Unfortunately, Little Snowy Didn’t Make It
Put That Down
I hope that was useful,
Cue apoplexy from Rebecca, Jacqui and anyone else who gives a monkey’s about doggies. Actually, I like them and think if you’re going to have one you should take care of it. Unless it’s a chihuahua.
I take my leave of society for a few months and what rises to the top of the nation’s consciousness? Jordan ! It’s telling that in seven months I’ve watched one hour of telly (which didn’t feature her) and yet I still seem to be aware of the situation. The “News” of the World had a couple of pictures of her displaying her wares and while she’s an abject waste of space you have to admire the craftsmanship. For unfeasibly large fakes they’re very realistic. If anyone deserves fame and fortune it’s the surgeon. Or, as Marnie said, “I think he should be shot.” Take your pick.
She’s actually slightly above rock bottom in my estimation by dint of not having some spurious acting / singing / whatever “career” but by being famous purely for having big fake breasts and putting herself about a bit. When I get out of here I think I’ll have a huge scrotal implant. A spacehopper-sized ball bag banging off my knees, shagging a string of dubious D-listers and a selection of really unpleasant baseball caps should ensure plenty of tabloid attention. Beats working.
The same nurse I mentioned earlier, the good listener, once said something perhaps obvious but true: “It’s at times like these you find out who your friends are.” Well mine have turned out to be more numerous and generous than I expected. I received a splendid present last week and I’d like to thank everyone involved. Big Dave says he spent ages filing down the legs on the chips so the Mk 2 would be thinner.
Characters: It turns out that a few unexpected people have been reading this, including some of the staff here at the House of Fun. Consequently I have to be more careful; most names used are pseudonyms, except Marnie’s and Big Dave’s, which are Marnie and Big Dave.
Well, last time I called everyone “guy” which is much too Friends-y, so let me introduce Yes / No Bloke. I first saw him when he flew out of his bay in his wheelchair wearing only a pair of bright red slingshots, pointing and shouting “Yes, yes ! No…noooo…yes !” as he got someone to switch off the TV. A very good-natured fellow who walks about in a slow, determined fashion with a quadropod stick and only says - in a perfectly clear voice - “Yes”, ”No” and sometimes “Good”. (And occasionally, as we learned last week, “Bugger”). How he became so binary I don’t know – further Mysteries of the Human Mind.
The best thing about Yes / No is that there are two of him. Yes / No Junior arrived recently and is even chirpier. I hope he stays happy; he was highly amused when I sneezed on this keyboard. Unlike Senior, he’s not satisfied with just yes, no and pointing; he’s clearly fully compos (mind you, so is Sr, he just has a limited vocabulary) and does his best to get other words out.
And then there’s Neal. A black kid in a green beanie who just had his seventeenth birthday and is here because he was in a car crash. When he was fifteen. He’s essentially quite sweet but tries to hide his nature behind a tuff front, spending half his time apologising to people he’s pissed off. He’d save a lot of time and effort if he stopped fucking up in the first place. Last night he had some run-in with Janet, one of the domestic staff. Not too clever because (a) Janet’s absolutely lovely and (b) she brings you your dinner. “My boys’ll come and fuck you up,” he threatened in his nasal honk, from his wheelchair.
“What boys?” asked one of the nurses. “The only people I’ve seen visit you are your mum and dad.”
My favourite thing about Neal is hi alter ego…Badman ! I was in this Intelligibility Group thing the other week in which we phone each other and say stupid things like “It’s nearly the weekend” although it’s Monday. Neal took the message “I’ve never been to India.” He shook his head and said “Badman don’t go to India.” Did I laugh? Yes. Did I get fucked up? No more than I am already. Sonia asked him if he was going to eat his orange. Guess what? Badman don’t eat no fruit.
Now…I was about to go into one about my situation, try to give an impression of my pathetically reduced existence (having provided one and a half thousand words of pure entertainment) but…nah. I don’t want to re-tread old territory and while I could use this site as a conduit for catharsis, it would be nice if a few people actually read my drivel. Suffice to say, if you try to imagine what it’s like, you’re going to get it wrong. It’s not like that, it’s worse, and I don’t know when (or whether) it will end. When I first heard about growing new neural pathways and programming them I had grand plans for learning some stupid new physical skill – pulling decent wheelies or keeping a football in the air. Now I just want my hands back. Remember - don’t swear.