Questions framed themselves in my mind.
Disorderly, sure, but a pattern began to emerge. Ok, so I wasn’t bothered that the guy was reading some splatter fanzine. Guess it’s pretty dull between Tottenham Court Road and Kentish Town on the Northern Line. I mean, Mornington Crescent is not exactly a cultural oasis in a sea of decrepitude. More kinda the other way around.
Oh yeh – anyway, some woman was giving this guy (the one with the gruesome black and white picture book) the kinda frown usually reserved for a kid at boarding school using the wrong spoon, or something. Not that I went to boarding school of course. But I could sympathise with some of the aims – you know; know yourself, accept yourself and then the mastery of self can begin. Jeez, are spoons really important? Then why did British Rail coffee come with a stirrer so short you generally got wet fingers?
Perhaps it was her attitude I disliked. Then again, gore movies had a tendency to the kinda society decent people like to think they uphold in rather a bad light. Saw this movie one time. Something to do with living dead and split dogs. Anyway, they eat the medics and the police who don’t have the brains to stay away, so the military nuke the entire area. Not that I’m implying anything about standards of taste over the fish-pond, just that America is the only country in the wprld that could make (good) films about it’s own headlong plunge into the Cro-Magnon era. Various parts of the New York underground are already inhabited by tribes of kids who never really grasped the Robin Hood concept, and who paint their cave dwelling with Chrysler and Ford touch-up colours. George Clemenceau was right about the Ewe Ess of Ay. He said it was the only nation in history to pass from Development to Degeneration without passsing through Civilisation. Smart guy.
Anyway, I dried my fingers while I watched the cleavage of the woman behind me in admiration, or to be precise, in the window. Well, they had given us the horror movie, but I was hard pressed to think of anything else that didn’t make you fat. Nastassja Kinski wasn’t American, but maybe that proved my point.
It was then that I noticed the girl with the reflection was holding one of those CD sized plastic bags. The ones you feel such a dick carrying. I figured it probably contained one of those horribly commercial love-song compilations from the dreamy look in her eyes. You know the type – a passing extra-terrestrial would be forgiven for believing that sex and love are merely consumer durables, as clean, polished and translucent as a smoked glass coffee-table, and ultimately as useful. But that was the ad- man’s dream, the notion that love and sex note only are, but ought to be, contactless, bodyless. By inference, sex is dirty in a CD world. Hell, heavy metal guitars don’t burn your ears and fry your brains any more.
I figured a good quantity of cherry yoghurt would help her sort it out. But I figured wrong, her boy-friend could obviously buy her things I couldn’t spell. The guy learning anatomy had the right idea. I reckon he had discovered that Pop-Art was all trash anyway. Pop-Art, one of those doublespeak words like Fresh Frozen and Military Intelligence. He was seriously into self-exploration, or seriously sick.
But why did I care? I guessed if you scratch the surface, you might just find out what’s underneath. The guy in the book was a mess, and I had a sneaking feeling that below the product and packaging of our conveyor belt existence things were pretty much the same. I mean the woman with the attitude problem had probably got more hang-ups than a cloakroom.
I sorta read this ‘graphic novel’ (what?) recently. There was this Public Spirit character who shot anabolic steroids and tried to ice his wife for getting a touch pregnant while defending the American Dream, and I mean that both ways. But the funny part was the hero – a leather and barbed wire clad sadist upholding ‘Justice’. Shit, it was good stuff. Exactly the kinda breakdown I was talking about. Some guy with a smile that would get most people locked up in a room with soft walls said that ecstacy is having the sweat licked from your armpits by a leather-clad dwarf on a Harley Davidson.
So was I crazy or was all hell gonna break loose sooner or later. I figure if you don’t accept the shit you’re told is ‘good’ for you, then can you accept anything? Rome fell into the pits of decay by people so far removed from reality they didn’t see it happen. Here I am, 368 years almost to the day since Cromwell was publicly denounced for playing cricket, with a head full of crazy questions, like I said, and I can’t even ask the guy with the ‘zine where he bought it. It’s not, well, done to talk to strangers.
Guess it’s best I don’t know, my world is fragile enough with all these contradictions already.