11 October 2001

Buried in some acid-yellow Seventies reverie; a plump blister my madeleine

"I GOT BLISTERS ON MY FINGERS!!!" Well, actually, that's not strictly true. On my palms. Before you start thinking that I've grown a penile manstick and got me some friction burns, let me state that these blisters originated in a bar in Shoreditch on Saturday night, whilst playing table football. Mmmm, table football.....

Babyfoot - this last must be said in a deep pan-Euro accent: baåb-ee- foøoôøt - how do I love thee? Well, enough to wake up with two water-filled lozenge-shaped blisters on the palm of my right hand on Sunday morning, that's how. This discovery filled me with a certain joi de vivre as I pushed through the Brick Lane Sunday market crowds to get supplies for a brunch-time sail in good ship the bed. Pregnant with tiny twin amniotic sacs, middle and ring fingers folding in, caressing their charges, palpitating proudly: bliss. You may think all this blistertalk is disgusting, of course - to which I would say that you do not know what you are missing, you scared self-hating little runt of a (wo)man! Of all the creepy bodily functions, the production of blisters, scabs and - best of all - pus are so my favourites!

Blisters score pretty low on the scale, to be honest, as eventually stilettoes make trenchfoot sufferers of us all. Scabs are more unusual, though a good vodka-blackout session can provide delighfully skinned knees the next day. But pus, well... (there must be a more elegant word than 'pus', surely: I feel I am compromising my femininity with every one of those three keystrokes) ...pus is something to be savoured. *

*Ok, not literally. That would be sick, man.

Pus is something I have experienced with exceptional rarity during my (not-so)-short time on this planet. And, frankly, nothing will ever live up to the Great Pus Experience of Autumn 1979. Imagine. I am your average British Seventies Child - dressed in velour outfits with appliqué cherries, drinking milk at breaktime through a straw, running amok at lunchtime, collecting chestnuts at tea-time: the usual. One day, a splinter of chestnut-spine lodges in my left index finger. Dad does the Scary Needle Thing (Dad: 'No of course this won't hurt, Amp - I'm just going to pierce the skin, ok?' AMP: 'AIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!') but fails to remove the entire intruder.

Three days later a yellow-filled sac of impressive proportions has arisen on the end of the finger - not unlike E.T.'s magically glowing digit, I might add - and little AMP is hoarding it like a secret, afraid of the tortures Dad will devise for such an ailment. Piano lessons are attended where only the right hand can be used. Classes are endured with left hand thrust deep in skirt pocket, while the fingers of the right hand claw shakily at an unfamiliar pencil. Evenings are spent gazing in awe at the finger with its tiny, hot burden: the skin stretched, fingerprint visible as never before.

The expulsion takes place under controlled circumstances. It's Dad and the needle again: my hand held fast under the circle of lamp-bright, my little body rigid with anticipation and terror. The point punctures my cushioned fingertip. I await a pain that never comes. The liquid grows, flows, responding to the palpitations of my by now interested other hand. The tissue soaks. It's sublime. Absence of agony, a blossoming finger blooming colour across 4-ply: a solicitous father in a cardigan, cuddling.

Sunday-morning babyfoot blisters were similarily hoarded; but such pleasures cannot last forever. Nature will steal your gift from you: reasbsorbing the liquid in doleful anticlimax, or worse, ejecting it - premature ejaculation - leaving you smashed and wet-smeary without your approval. Best grab pleasure while you can, which sees me standing in the bathroom at midday, safetypin unhinged and sterilising in the flame of a This Belongs To Debbie lighter, thence - ahh, transcendent - slid under the skin. Pop!

This is the exquisiteness of the body that no computer can emulate. Cybersex? Easy; obvious; a sledgehammer on a peach; the Yates' Wine Lodge of virtual simulation. Cyberblister? Never gonna happen. These rubs and flaws, these cuts, this chafing, bruising, bleeding, healing - these are the real pleasures of the flesh. Pass me those strappy sandals, would you? I'm going hiking.

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