What I Am To You Is Not Real

I’m sure, at home, you’re the nicest of men, and you meet responsibilities straight on in the stickiest of fashions, like jammed bread on a linoleum floor. I could bet that you do. I lose almost all bets though, betting which characters die or who wins singing competitions, like I have impeccable tact, could pick a girl by her shampoo out of a crowd and make her Blake Lively. Actually, my knowledge base makes for a mediocre CV and I could blame Isle of Wight careers’ advisers or the religious persuasion of schools I went to when I didn’t know who George Clooney was, but I made each decision, and the only problem was impressing, in the people I tried to impress with each application.

So, against you, in a bathroom, or close the way contestants are, lit un-make-upped, in your category, houses or on tour, I wouldn’t want approval, because I have fathers for that and ex-boyfriends who keep in touch with up-to-date moral codes and thin disguises, but I know when a book’s not a book but a prerogative. And you, you nice home man, are diabolic.

And when you find yourself saying, “Confidence is your only problem,” wonder if you ever knew how not to be confident, if you ever felt how it is to hold convictions lighter than plastic bags in movies which won awards but actually, commented on time as it passed, and now, its trademarked stars are good for reunions and sequels and album titles, but not quite the singularity once anticipated of them. And you, also, stand example of a time in which we wanted only the forgiveness of a person completely inept at giving it, in public.


Didn’t keep a diary when I was small, or now, because that requires a level of honesty I’ve not got. Someone always finds it and I didn’t want my secrets spread on toast. Nutella makes me hyper, peanut butter makes me sick, jam is just fruit in a jar.

Better to code it, write stories, change names, than allow for the possibility of it found, and serialised, and internet property. Not that public would care about mine the way they care about Hannah’s, Blair’s. This isn’t HBO or a show closely mimicking shows which used to be on HBO years ago. Or how about that Showtime?

If I had something important to say that hadn’t been said, I’d bitch it out loud and let the words fog up. Vocal purging’s just as satisfying: have you not heard of confession? And then it’s gone. And I’d get guilty for it because there’s no resolution really and forgiveness is a sickness – some things you can’t track back from.

Ash Wednesday

Jack says, “Remember in school when they said Rocky Horror was cult and we agreed thinking they meant cool, indie, interesting to be in to? But really they meant demonic, evil spirits, or whatever the Catholic specifics are for the other, the dark, shadows.”

“Right,” I say, “and you had the tape because your Dad copied it for you when you showed an interest in Andrew Lloyd Webber. And you’d lay in bed listening as you fell asleep, enjoying the departure from Jesus Christ Superstar which seemed a bit like homework in between Baptist Church and Catholic School, and the innuendo was lost on you at eleven, even fifteen, but really the correlation’s uncanny. We’re ants, we’re repressed, think undressing is sin even in front of doctors and we’re so pinned into our clothes any human interaction has to have meaning. We’re on a set track, a plan we can’t veer off of, and sex is so alien to us we get a Janet Weiss sort of a shock when the subject is broached. And we can pretend that Ash Wednesday’s the cut off, the second we give up every wrong thing we’ve thought, but it’s true what you put in your head stays forever, and Richard O’Brien’s the Crystal Maze guy so we don’t buy his being involved in something evil. We can’t compute that. All our favourite movies have the phrase ‘Great Scott’ in them.'”

Jack laughs. “That’s true,” he says. “And what lasts longer anyway: religion or film?” Which seems like a stupid question.