Friday, 27 June 2014

A Grape of Plastic Heads

We walked by the sea, and stopped for refreshments. When a few people neared our table to pinch a few salty peanuts, I saw what strange looking folk they were. Blow-up people just a few inches taller, and wider, their faces fuller, and their eyes further away in recesses than usual. Uncanny valley again. Something told me I knew them, or used to know them. They seemed too tall and wide, moved in such slow motion, and had such a distant look of sadness and revenge in their eyes as they were cracking painfully stupid jokes, laughing the metallic laughter of robots.

Someone was giving a speech in this great and tall Victorian hotel dining room. The large overlooking the sea trembled in the wind and a salty mist was rising from the grey ocean. The speech was tedious and stilted, we crept out on to the muddy slopes outdoors.

In our absence there had grown a Stonehenge-like stone circle on the field, and just as I was thinking how odd it was that I had never noticed it before, it morphed into the ruin of a Roman forum, an amphitheatre on the hill...

There were broken columns and a pile of marble heads on the slope, cluttered together in a pyramid, looking like a super-stern conference of disembodied policy-makers. Next to them, a grape of plastic heads with black sunglasses and headphones on, a transparent vacuum in their head, reminded me of the blow-up plastic people from inside.

I started talking to an old teacher, and her frozen raspberry pink lipstick disappeared from one minute to the next.

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Platform Shoes and Acrylic Sweaters

One day, I walked through a shopping mall with someone much older who, hating it there and looking at me sideways, threw out "You used to be a mall girl, didn't you?" 

The shopping malls I had known, with glass ceilings, part fake and part real potted trees, bright lights and hot air vents, was a strange con on my generation of teenagers. On the one hand, an industrially repetitive architecture of cheap thrills created a feeling of familiarity in almost every city I went. The magazines I read went with the malls, too, kids all over the land were reading them, rushing to follow trends. Mostly, this involved sticky lip gloss and novelty nail varnish, platform shoes and acrylic sweaters.

This glassy place created and served the artificial need to reinvent myself through the medium of disposable clothing. I reinvented myself lots of times, believing I might find myself. But there was a glass ceiling, it was all skin deep, and teenagers go through momentous turmoil. These polyester and acrylic moments were not built to last, they were built to wear off and become truly ugly. 

I stopped the shopping mall weekends, the sneaky cigarettes by multicoloured indoor fountains, the snickers ice cream bars and Britney Spears tunes. It was surprisingly easy and I wore blue jeans and black old hand-me-down sweaters, old cords and men's shirts. 

Some day, I was the right age for Vogue or Harpers Bazaar. There it was again, that same call to self-reinvention. Updated and upgraded of course, incorporating some of the old princess myths they tried to sell me already when I was a little girl, a bit Barbie, and a bit grunge and britpop, too, cause they figured...

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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Pitiless Bite of Bleach

Vestiges of an abandoned fantasy world from the 1960s lurk in the corners of my kitchen sink. It may be the 2010s and overcrowded conditions have made London deeply dirty and infested. Black mould gnawing at it everywhere. No less, a pristine charm of iridescent soap bubbles still sleeps within bottles of poisonous green liquid called Fairy. The tired genie wheezes, remains stuck on crumbling rubber gloves and foams inside of gargling siphons. Now, Fairy finally shows its true identity : toxic goo. The pitiless bite of bleach, channelled through the image of a muscle-man stud with a diamond in his teeth, returns the familiar smell of indoor swimming pools to my clammy shower room at home. Those old city pools, all hairy drains and germy shower walls, no longer  keep up the squeaky clean and shiny, spotless turquoise tiled glory of the old futurism. 
Environmental disasters, acid rain and clogged sewers, the burnt faces of industrial janitors are now more readily associated with that chemical spectre, and the happiness of cleanliness shrivels. Still, remains of the old fantasy castle silently line the tiled walls of every kitchen. 
Once, for a month or two, I took Cerazette, the anti-baby pill : instantly, not only did I go up a cup size and develop an hourglass figure, but also, I felt like a blow-up doll, nervous, neurotic and fragile, a bit Plath, and a bit Monroe. It was like going back to the 'sixties, and then I too had this dream that everything would be wonderful, if only things were bright and clean.

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Friday, 20 June 2014

A Poisoned Hive of Uncanny-Valley Girls

If I had the money, I would have tried joining this post-punk resurrection tornado : a bleached and black leather, distressed denim army of middle-aged faces in glitzy jackets and skinny jeans. But since I didn't have the money, the next best thing was to see through the facade. Now that I frequent the grown-up, elegant shopping malls, where scary make-up ladies give me stern looks of disapproval, I'm right in the middle of a never-ending, perpetually self-repeating, graduation prom for big mall girls. Full of 300 dollar skull t-shirts and a kaleidoscope of handbags in the spotlight, and though I can window shop and walk through these glassy walls, I can't join the party. 

I decide that this, too, is a pretty vacant corporate con. Subtly invasive images of starved, enslaved women wearing almost nothing except jewellery that no real man can afford, float in and out of mind thick and fast, like a poisoned hive of uncanny-valley girls for women to look at, to feel represented by, and understood in their fragile sense of self, in their atrophy and imprisonment. 

So now every woman starts to need to date a prince, and to achieve this, has to go around life disguising herself as a princess. There are many princesses in the adverts. There is Snow White, there is Cinderella, there is Pockahontas; which one are you? Change your face, change your body, and buy a piece of beauty right from this store... oh, the phrases they tell these salespeople to say. I wonder what would happen if one day they stopped the machine? There will be nothing left in the soul but empty shells and bulky, undigested memories.  
When I was away wandering burnt landscapes, my angry feelings didn't change. Life slowly rolled forwards and its toxic-particle-laden tide sometimes buried me whole, the wind and the waves threw glassy sand in my face and the skin on my hands became a bit rougher. I never thought back much about our old fights that we used to have, how brittle and ashen they would leave me feeling. I didn't feel happy, but I carried that brittleness along, thinking, at least there is one person out there, who knows how I feel, because they did it. It took me so long to see at last that even you had no idea, and I am alone with the strange trees and the ashes within. I started building my own little house. Now that many years have passed and I once again look in your eyes, the will to fight back and to say how I have felt and where I've been, now that I am strong and you are old, has turned sour like the old soups from my kitchen, when i forgot to put them in the fridge.

One sentence from this blog was already published on:

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Monday, 16 June 2014

Tutu and the Crossroad Blues

I've been meaning to answer you all these years. I was locked in a cube of time, like a glass brick in a wall. In a present that never becomes past, like a past that moves itself along. A soap bubble should hold all that has happened since, and take the rest of life on a fantastic voyage. And I would sit in the old four walls, staring at something, letting time freeze, as life coagulates darkly. Afeeling like snakes in the stomach, hissing rains in the window, a night walking soundscape of unknown noises and painful flashlights. Walking at night on the glass shards of other days, under street light hummings, the squeal of crystal at summer weddings rises and falls in my lungs like a fire-spitting dragon, locked in a cube of time.

In between the flames of two candles on a late night table, everything a bit woozy through drink, as I can see from that man's cartoon-like head motions -- his gaze shoots through the two dancing flames like an arrow. I think he is thinking "hey, I'm still waiting for my life to begin and it's already half over!" as he examines some ash on the table -- and the other people in the room turn blue, like poisoned aspidistras, and their chairs grow taller, and taller, and taller...

My disposable childhood rises from the ground like a ghost : all flimsy cartoon strips from the back of cereal boxes and ice cream wrappers, all freebies and kinder surprise eggs, crocos, hippos, turtles and glitter stickers, plastic toys from Mc Donald's kids' menus, dinosaur magazines, tiny toon pogs from crisp packets, collectible bumper stickers, and endless bubble gum from bubble gum machines, smurf sweets, cola sweets, and slime jelly toys, glow-in-the-dark plasticine in a pot, and worthless accessories from a teen girl's magazine, like stick-on tattoos and rubber bracelets, and fruit flavoured lip gloss. One day we bagged it all and threw it out, since then I have taken to burning clothes.

I don't know what poked open and collapsed the bubble of cheap dreams, with all its fake needs and sheepish wants created by salesmen and adverts, the Diors and Zadigs of this world, that still want me to want to be a princess -- but why would I want to be a fucking princess? The faces of the past have vanished like ghosts, and all I have left is a tutu, and the crossroads blues.

 my first novel (similar style) on amazon :