02 October 2001


I fell on my arse. I fell on my arse. The feet went in the air and the arse went WALLOP. It was a slippery night. It was raining: not hard, just enough to catch in your hair and smudge your mascara. And I was drunk: not drunk enough to fall, but drunk enough not to care about the mascara and the hair. The hair looked like shit anyway, even before the pints and the rain and the fall. It needed dyeing and glossing and tweaking into ringlets.

It was one of those drinks, you see: spontaneous, exuberant, boyless. Alice had come round in the afternoon, on a high and at a loss. She had time on her hands and money in her purse. We went to the cafe where I drew my tattoo for her on paper as blank white as my skin. We laughed a lot: went into London. Top deck, front seat.

We whirled into World to watch the vids. We sat on the chairs that spin; their backs move backwards and forwards. Lots of ways to be arranged, but I couldn't find the right one: tipped back, spun to the side, elbow angled across back of chair, perpendicular - nothing worked. Barbie syndrome. Soph with her pout and her bowlie 'do: Zoe whom I have to be, textually, slipping up the stairs on legs like dandelion stalks: me, ginger frizz fleshy sprawl freckles. Watching. Pausing to sneak past receptionist into bog. Mirror-cursing morning decision to skip makeup.

Then, pub. Pub, always, pub. Pints of solace and the amber-tipped kiss of the cigarette's cylinder. We prized through faceless hordes: no fashion pub, this, no bar, no boyhole, no clothes-show. Relief. Round tables of dark oak; suits, Victorian prints: basement.

Sunk in fizzy bliss: debasement, we reminisced. Re-lived. Old sins twisted once again round tongue; memories, teased from their slumber, tasted afresh. A boy pushed up against a radiator. A kiss, not a kiss, but a slip, a dive. Braille formed of tongue and lip---

Enough of that. Twin-pint towers; demolished. Elbow forms familiar angle; forearm inscribes arc. Girlmouths smile, dimples wrinkle. Lungs drink deep. Want more. I tap-tap-tap-tap up the steps; at ground level, run to Europa. Filled with exuberance. Filled with pints. Pound coins spill from blue purse: cigs clutched in pocket. School-girls pulling faces at the door. Tongue stilled, lip bit. I exit.

.....where you came in. The feet go in the air and the arse goes WALLOP. Rubberised stairs, and a black Jack Purcell that doesn't deign to grip.

'You fell? You drunk?'

'I slipped.'

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