Weds, Feb 25th, 9am.
Falow Pension, Las Palmas, Gran
Loneliness, abstinence and desire.
It’s easy not to think about sex in
Plymouth, it’s such a sexless town- I don’t know how else to describe
it- the thought never even crosses your mind. Maybe if I spent longer
there something would arise in me, something which wasn’t a
slow-burning sense of dread.
Spain on the other hand is an entirely
different beast. Even in Gran Canaria, which to a large degree is
nothing like SpainSpain, there is an underlying sense of…
something. I want to say ‘sex’, but that could just be me projecting,
it could just be the racial stereotype (although if someone
stereotyped my people as sexy I could live with it). I feel banal and
simplistic thinking this way. Physical hunger gives me clarity and
desire but full balls make me feel cloudy and distracted. I’ve become
an ogler. It doesn’t help that every woman here seems to have an
amazing, shapely behind- maybe I’m just reacting to my primal
instincts. I mean, I’m nearly forty, so twenty thousand years ago I
would be nearing my expiry date and this would be my last chance to
help propagate the species.
I’ve been thinking about Franz Kafka
and Steven Berkoff- writers I was introduced to almost at the same
time. They’re very much intertwined for me. Berkoff always wrote very
directly and openly about his feelings of loneliness, for Kafka it’s
something that permeates throughout his body of work, just underneath
the surface. I’ve never dealt with loneliness well, I don’t know who
does I suppose, or how one would do it, perhaps simply accepting it
and not brooding would be a good place to start. This is the
beginning of my third day alone, I’m certain I’ll meet people along
the way, but then, that doesn’t necessarily fill the void but
highlight its breadth.
It’s early, I’ve
been waking up with the sun ever since I’ve landed in England. I’ve
been here five days now and for some reason I’m unable to sleep in.
This morning was not helped by the dog barking across the street. I
looked out of the window and a young teenager had a dog on a leash
which was barking at something off in the distance- perhaps just the
smell of a rival, or a potential mate. He was trying to calm the dog
by leaning over it screaming, “Shut up!” repeatedly in the dogs
ear. The dog continued to bark and the kid continued to scream for a
full minute and I thought about how much I despised these people.
I don’t really
know who they are. I don’t relate to them in a lot of ways. Their
mannerisms, their turns of phrase, their social graces that exist in
some moments but are completely absent in others. Maybe it’s just
Plymouthians and not the English in general, but I feel a strange
sense of alienation amongst these people.
My Dad told me
about his bowels. He has a condition. He had a camera up his arse.
While the camera was up his arse, the nurse- who was apparently quite
pretty- was making chitchat with my Dad. He said it was a bit weird
chatting to a pretty nurse while there was a camera up his arse. It
got weirder when they showed him the live images of the camera up his
arse and described to him what he was seeing. He said he couldn’t
feel anything. Which was a massive plus. He has to avoid broccoli. I
asked him what else. He was vague. I know he doesn’t know. The only
thing he knows is that broccoli gives him liquid pooh. So he doesn’t
eat broccoli anymore and sometimes he has liquid poohs- but they’re
not emergencies, he has time to get to the toilet when he feels it
coming- a good ten minutes. Which is another massive plus.
There’s a small
mirror in my parents bathroom, one of those round ones on a stand
that you can tilt. I think my dad uses it for shaving and trimming
his nose hair. Either way, I didn’t really notice it until I was
taking a piss and I realised I could see my cock in it. It was tilted
at the perfect angle. So maybe that’s what it’s used for. Almost like
the narrative of a third person.
Of maybe a dozen
or so toilets I’ve been to in the UK in the last week every single
one of them smells of piss. Not the faint odour of piss, but the
overwhelming stench of piss. This is the case even in nice places
I’ve been to, even in the places where the toilets are clearly
cleaned frequently and well looked after. I’ve been trying to
rationalise it, to imagine what it is in a
proprietor that makes them not give a toss about the fact that their
bogs wreak of urine. Either a) they collectively have no sense of
smell or b) punters piss on the walls and the floor so much and so
frequently that it has just seeped into the very fabric of the place.
Either way, it fucking stinks. Of old piss.
Obviously we know
service in England is shit. It’s one of the reasons that people don’t
tip and in restaurants where you are encouraged to tip, people don’t
tip very much. Tables in pubs are left with plates and glassware on
them for ages, pints are poured and plopped down on the bar, beer
frothing over the sides; bar staff look at you blankly as you order,
as though you’re speaking another language. It makes sense I suppose,
it’s a minimum wage job and the general public are awful.