I Dream Of Skateboys

Thursday 27 July 2000

I wake up confused and flustered from a dream of skateboys. If dreams are cakes, this is the recipe. I recommend trying to recreate it for yourself: it's a good one. Take a liberal sprinkle of each, percolate in the unconsious for a fortnight or so; sleep on it.

1) The cute boy who smiled at me at the Couch gig in Berlin ('...fluffy black hair which he keeps digging his fingers into and scratching furiously. A perfect round face. There's a chain hanging from his jeans and he keeps hitching them up. He dances by rocking back and forwards and pointing, holding his beer in his right hand and lifting it. Poking his index finger at the invisible place in the air where keyboards, drums and bass meet and form music')

2) The teenagers on the message boards for the website I work for (the squabbles between sk8ters and townies, goths and trendies so intense, I imagine their tears falling on their fingertips, making them slip - must be some explanation for all those typos)

3) Egg's younger brother on Tuesday night's episode of This Life (I know he was gawky but so wonderfully cocky and stupid: all ego and dreams)

4) Lydia Lunch's predatory attitudes towards boys in 'Paradoxica', which I finished before I fell asleep. 'He boarded at 86th street. Young Puerto Rican boy, no more than fourteen. Small, thinboned, frail. Massive baby browns lined with sadness.... He wanted to follow me home. With his brother. I wasn't in the mood for 'legal' tender. The brother was too old. Not hot. Facial hair')

(Important note: it's best not to include any images of the real skateboys that lounge round the Southbank. They are always, infuriatingly, too old, too young, too portly, too slender: just too damn real to make the dream taste right.)

The skateboy has become an archetype for girls of a certain age and level of alternativeness. Just as blokes hear 'I'm a nurse' or 'I can bellydance' and no longer see the individual from whose mouth those words issued, but a fantasy nurse or bellydancer into whose mould you are conveniently poured: so is the skateboy.

Hitch a board under a teen boy's arm and I am all eyes, ascribing to him thoughts and dreams and intentions of artistic grandeur, when all he's wondering is whether Daddy will buy him a handycam so he can record his mate cracking a hip on the stairs by the Hayward and then his first flash of some skate Betty's tits in a piss-stinky carpark in Waterloo. Actually, even that sounds pretty exciting.

See what I mean?

That night I go into Soho and spend twenty-five quid on lovely thick vinyl (Max Tundra, Chicks on Speed, To Rococo Rot). Then to the discount bookstore by the strip bar where Frankie used to work and where her poster still stands, a dominatrix fantasy in shiny cap and thigh boots, all wrapped around a silver pole. Then on to Dionysus on the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross Road to fulfil a long-held desire for takeway fish and chips. Carried them home swaddled in paper and buried in my bag, precious to me like a baby I'd snatched from a hospital. A labrador tied to the bus stop lifted its head and sniffed and sniffed, and I felt cruel pleasure at the thought of thwarting its greed. The fish and chips were all mine. Not even Jake was going to have any. Back home, after I'd eaten them, I put the remnants and the wrappers away in the kitchen bin and it was like they had never been. It was my secret, like an affair. Every couple needs a secret.


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