Bristol 19.1.19

Clouds drift over Clifton in thick clumps and, as daylight fades, patches of blue start to appear with the slightest flush of purple touching the breaks. A seagull flies west. The hunched man opposite’s light is on. Nicotine orange. And nothing else happens.

Something’s changed inside me. As I hoped it would. I am suddenly happier. Since the start of last week. It’s too complicated to say how but I just am. This is what I hoped for. Yes. Life is sweeter without losing the satisfaction I get from work. Note to self: Teaching is fulfilling and I’m good at it. Don’t forget it. I have a regular school where I am happy. And I have 2 other places that also want me every week. I need work to be happy. Otherwise I’m a spare part. Been there before. Now – of course – it’s on to the next thing. What must I do next to fit the narrative of my own self made story? What feels right and will it make me happy? A job in Bucharest? Or Bratislava? While I still can. I was tempted. But can I really be arsed to start all over again? Again.

Before Christmas I was feeling too blue. Supply at various places where I could never quite get to know the form or the kids and vice versa just sucked me dry of all my verve. That interview for a job in a miserable looking school in a miserable looking town was the final straw. Daily life can be so fragile. One day you’re on top of the world, flying high on your good luck, prowess or just burning with being alive. The next day you wake up leaden, confused and full of questions.

I’ve given up drinking (and therefore smoking too – the 2 go hand in hand) for January. I think it’s the first time that I’ve actually managed a whole month and of course there are exceptions: dates. However I have had a total of 4 alcoholic drinks so far. I feel positively angelic and of course happier not being in a state of recovery and thinking about what is coming next.

Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story. My appetite for enjoyment is undiminished.

Paramol is my evening friend. And Xanax is who I share my bed with at night. They are both reliable and kind as long as I don’t abandon them.

Girls are a constant source of fascination. My attention and focus and ability to talk to girls is a bottomless pit. A carousel of new meetings, new opportunities, new stories, new eyes, glances, voices, laughter. I’ve forgotten what I’m looking for and maybe the idea I had about the one, the cottage, the baby, the view, the sunset – that photo I’ve always had locked inside me – maybe I don’t want that anymore. It’s fading like an old Polaroid. So many meetings but nothing ever happens. I approach these meetings with the same thrill that I would have as a surprised teenager when I discovered a girl may have an interest in me. The flush of warmth. The fascination of the new. The exotic. That hasn’t faded. As always I wonder when will I ever grow up? Never, I hope.

Last night went to dance, dance, dance along to The Allergies and the LA rapper, Andy Cooper. They were great. For the first time in years I saw a crew of break dancers all older than me meeting up and doing their thing. They were all over 6 foot and several of them big guys but they were as light on their feet as ballet dancers. Two of them greeted each other with shouts and cheers and one grabbed the other by the neck and they pressed their foreheads together both wreathed in smiles. I wonder how far they went back. Good to see something ‘real’ in a town where sometimes I sense phoniness. Phoniness is everywhere because people don’t know themselves. Where is the real? (More about this later). And some other really funky dancers. Think Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, James Brown. Couldn’t do it to begin with. Trying too hard in front of an attractive girl. Started really bugging myself out about how I had to make that move, man, can’t just fucking do nothing and she getting closer to me within touching distance, her hair spinning from one side to the next. Like hypnosis. And me dancing in treacle and unable to think of anything to say like that night in Cordoba when I got so drunk and was chatting, chatting with the girl in the silver dress and was so, so close walking in slow, slow motion. Did I even have my arm round her? And them getting to the club where she turned and said goodbye to me at the door. I woke up the next day with a foul head and her yellow lighter, a reminder of what could have been, what I should have done. But that’s wrong. It’s not down to me.

We did eventually meet. Outside. Phew. Jeez, I’m a loser. Honestly. In the end she was too old for me. Ha. Oh, you fickle fucker. Eventually my limbs loosened and I went off like a spinning top – wriggling, skipping, gyrating. An amphetamine Houdini . Trying to get out of a straight jacket while keeping in time. And more girls. More looks. And the groove. Good dancing to good music cannot be beaten. And when I left she was chatting up Andy Cooper. Good luck and good night!

All this time I’m planning music to mix, mix, mix. Mixomatosis. It fucks me up. And I love it.

I have a sauna and a cold swim every evening. It’s more for the aesthetic than for my health. Me mesmerised by the light off my own bow wave and the half moon a perfect half a slice in the black spirit of the night while others pump their muscles, mouths open, begoggled, plastic hats squeezed over their thin heads like mother aliens unaware of their surroundings only thinking forward to achieving their 2 miles, their PB, their strength for the next triathlon. Someone was talking the other night about in ear headphones to wear inside your hat. The water is just an arena for pushing themselves to the next level of fitness. For me the water IS the experience.

Tonight I want to dance again. Just to feel it and look. I know I won’t sleep. Like last night. It’s always a toss up. Is it worth it? Damn it. Yes.


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