the autogeography of a no/body
Oct 3

Have a Good Time All the Time

This has been banging around in my head – and I don't quite know what THIS is, but I thought I might find out if I wrote it all down.

It was my birthday on Monday (thirty nine). Birthdays in our household are birthDAYS, the celebrations usually lasting near enough a whole week. I think it's probably because we try and escape that feeling of anti-climax remembered so well from childhood. It's shit. You get one day a year. Bollocks to that. Why should anticipation be followed by happiness and then a sense of indefinable defeat, cycling ever faster the older you get?

We started on Friday, with a gig:-

I didn't really enjoy it that much. There was something static about the event. I lost my temper at one point. It was as Olly started yanking down his trousers. He has this habit of pulling himself apart on stage. I wanted to dance, but there were a million people standing in front of me, cameras at the ready, waiting for him to expose himself. Fucking gaping idiots. And they're always the same people, the spectator crowd. I bet they're the arseholes who slow down as they pass a road accident, or get some voyeuristic pleasure from watching those weirdo documentaries about murderers, or something …


On Saturday we went to B and J's for dinner. He's a good cook. Now, there's a strange friendship. J works in the probation service, is quite high up, a kind of screw on civie street. I can't stand people like her, in terms of the stereotype, but she's all right. We've only had an argument about personal politics once – and man that was some row I have to say.

The 'boys' are best friends; both did doctorates in philosophy. They got progressively more drunk as the evening wore on. I don't understand them at the best of times, but when they're pissed their conversation becomes virtually impenetrable.

B's on his second doctorate and works as a clinical psychologist. Matt lectures. I think they enjoy the role reversal, B speaking and Matt listening provides a balance to their professional lives. They seemed to go on forever though, something about assassins …

Sunday I chilled out, did some stuff around the house, prattled on to the kids, rested a bit. Couldn't sleep that night though. Just before bed I was speaking to Fiona on the phone. There'd been an incident. Her son, despite having been asked a good few times, was reluctant to get off the computer. Some days previously she'd had this conversation with him, about how he shouldn't spin things out until she's reduced to nagging. Long and short of it is that she lost her temper, turned the power off to the machine and pulled him out of the chair. It's not good, she knew it wasn't good. Reason and negotiation are the way forward with kids …

My dead Mom came and interrupted my dreams. “How come you can understand her when you always refused to understand me?”
“I just see it different now Mom.”
And I cried and I cried and I cried, because maybe it wasn't so bad after all. I tried to remember something happy. There was this one time we did a jigsaw together. She made the outside, the frame, and I filled the middle in. We took it in turns. I still have the jigsaw. I put it back in the box really carefully, without breaking it up.

I was still crying when I woke up on my birthday; this hole kept letting the water through. I went and got my hair cut:-

then I bought my Mom some flowers. I have her vase, the big crystal one Dad gave her. Usually, it sits in a dusty corner. She'd have liked the carnations, the fact I got them for her. They're a nice pink colour, all delicate, soft. I wish we could have been soft with eachother, but it was always like fist meets wall. JesusGoddamnandFuck. Some things you can't get back.

That night we went to Southern Fried – Fat Boy Slim and Armand Van Helden. I was really … I dunno. I'm not young any more. I'm not old either. I'm caught somewhere between youthful stupidity and ancient wisdom. Mostly I feel like I know nothing, maybe it's just that I'm not sure of anything.

There was the usual “What shall I wear?” panic.
“Jeans and a T-shirt,” he said, standing in front of me for all the world looking like a psycho Dr Who. Matt has the most bizarre sense of style. Recently, he's taken to wearing a pair of Converse All Stars on his feet and a tweed shooting jacket round his shoulders. Thankfully he's abandoned the 'shoot the pigs' hoody.
I ended up in my favourite jeans, that one day are going to disintegrate entirely:-

Fat Boy Slim is a strange character. He lives in Brighton and is fairly well known down here, not just for his music, but also his donations to our local football club and the free parties he throws on the beach. He doesn't seem to give a shit about making money, which is … refreshing, hence the reason the tickets were so cheap – twenty squid.

It was packed. Digital Brighton (formerly The Zap) only has a capacity of 1,000. It's a weird place, housed in the arches on the seafront, burrowed under the main road. All that tarmac on top certainly makes for pretty solid acoustics.

The first thing I noticed when I went in was Fat Boy's smiling potato head face. That guy has a lovely smile. He sort of exudes a spirit of happiness and you can't help but like the bugger. Maybe it's his shirts. I dunno. The next thing I noticed was the range of people there. Everyone was just themselves; some were dressed up to the nines, others were in jeans and trainers. I felt dead comfortable, which is quite unusual for me.

Dance floors are odd spaces, particularly when a club's full to bursting. Human bodies, in close contact, moving to a regular rhythm, resemble a seething mass. I watched them for a while, from a balcony. The flesh undulated and pulsed. I could pick out individuals, different styles, mechanical, organically loose, women with trotty feet in high heels (the dressage ponies), long haired men, hands in the air, pelvis chest, pelvis chest, pelvis chest …

We went to join them and their hot, pressed sweatiness. I love dancing, especially to bass rather than beat. You can feel it in your chest, and once the music's in your heart it's impossible not to just go with it. No-one cares what you look like. Everyone is lost in the rhythm. It drives you, from your feet right through to your face.

The atmosphere was brilliant, none of that simmering violence, no tight lipped smiles or drug fuelled mania. People were dancing everywhere and it was infectious. When he (Fat Boy) came on to do his set the cheers went up. I saw him, on stage, beaming at the crowd, his arms held out horizontally. He looked like fucking Jesus man, it was as if we were proclaiming him the new messiah and he loved it.

Well, I got lost in the music after that, carried along by the crowd. Every so often he'd drop in a bass bomb. They're incredible. They change the air around you, send a heat blast, must be something to do with the frequency . Your body's hit with a vibration over load. I fancied I felt my cells rearranging themselves, evolving in a punk soul brother kinda way …

We left at about two, tired and very thirsty. The walk home was pretty uneventful, but as I opened my front door, stepping into my mundane life, this thought overtook me … Success, achievement, status, it means nothing. Fat Boy Slim, he's good at what he does, more importantly, he enjoys himself. I'd enjoyed myself. That's all the matters. And then I remembered a line from a Chumbawamba song “Have a good time all the time, cos you don't get nothin' when you die”.

It's funny ain't it? Life's like permanently having your trousers around your ankles. You've either got to pull 'em up or take 'em off, otherwise your feet are gonna get tangled up and you'll fall flat on your face. Up down, up down, up down. Through it all though you've gotta have a good time. Don't get stuck on the shitter, worried about what's going to happen if you stand up. You can't sit there forever, with the toilet seat imprinting your arse. Don't forget what its like to have fun, how to dance, be in a writhing mass of happiness. Fake it 'til you make it if you have to. Don't just be an observer, one of those gaping idiots, or an anti-climax merchant. Grab life, as much of it as you can, before some fucker strangles the life out of you. Get hold of it with both hands, hang onto it, kiss the face off it.

That's what I learned.


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