Author Archives: unstrung

ego bird

They fly at me, a spread of green birds with long tails trailing behind, squawking, screaming, laughing. I keep running. I wonder if they will turn around and attack, but they disappear over the tops of the new line of stables and a large navy horsebox. I overtake a walker with a wet lurcher trotting slightly ahead. I turn right, into the field that was dug up for the Olympics and became home to protesters who were homeless and decided to protest to earn a place on the camp. I run around the edge, heavy legs stamping on short cut grass. It’s not raining, but the air is wet, like cold steam, and as I turn the corner towards the Lea, another much bigger flock of birds appears in the air, flying straight at me, swooping towards me, at least 20 of them, squawking, cackling, squabbling.

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henna, highlights & whitening too

whiter for £25

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November 18, 2014 · 1:13 pm

KFC bed

KFC bed 2

I took this in Soho, London, shortly before I went to see Finding Vivian Maier.

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Um,

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Barnes

Just keep saying it over and over and you start to understand it. In the dawn sunshine, it conjures ideas of France. Something rustic and solid. Quiet, yes, and definitely tranquil. Sensible white walls and heavy trunks of tree, twisted with wisteria and stock brokers and men of metaphorical and physical weight. Coffee in a plunger. Thick cream curtains that make your arms ache. Polished floors that remind you of the instability of life, and help you to hide the fear. Weeping women with the menopause. Teenage girls with long straight hair that will start to fall out in their forties. Boys smoking “pot” and playing snooker in the basement of their splendid family homes. St Paul’s School. Rowing. Oxford. Bicycles. Solicitors. Harrods recreational ground. Pubs without televisions and with jazz around the back. Snogging by the pond among the ducks. Feeling faint about your A-level results. Daddy. Mummy. Jessie, Jo-Jo, Dobs and Eds. Skips the dog. The cats. The horses in Ham. Towels from Egypt. Rugs from Persia. Garlic from Aix en Provence. The sound of water. The romance of war. A train to the National. Kew Gardens. Victoria Sponge on Fridays. Scones with Jizzie’s jam. A hankering for the countryside. Villages. Ponds. Converted barns. Writers who lunch. A vintage MG. Jogging. Sprinting. Rowing. Waitrose. Wine. Three-piece suits. Pink shirts with gold cuff-links passed down through generations. Kites. Tate postcards. Agas. Rubber boots. Tears. Stress. Golf. Squash. Sweat. Wimbledon. Bridles and other random collections of leather. Greek soap. Organic kale. East Sheen. Men who lunch. Men in sheds. Men who read the Telegraph. Heterosexuality. Independent bookshops. Surgeons. The Priory. Elm Guest House. Oil paint. Bathrooms with big mirrors. Bedrooms with books. A red Vespa. A baby-blue Vespa. Laughter — loud, assertive, defined. Clean pavements. Clean streets. Litter monitors. Trust funds. Pensions. Bees. Birds. Labs. Laughter. Laughter. Laughter. Barnes.

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the interviewee on the interviewer

A bit stiff. That’s how she seemed when she arrived. A bit stiff. And quite forward. She stepped into the hallway and I thought, Well that’s pushy. Friendly and informal, but sort of awkward as well. Yes, an awkwardness. Like she wasn’t in full control of the whole thing. I mean, you’d think. wouldn’t you, that a journalist like that would know what they were doing. But she was edgy. Sort of like she was trying to be polite but it was, like, forced. D’you know what I mean? Like she was following the rules but didn’t actually want to. And she kept playing with her hair. That was another thing. More of a flick in fact. Sloaney, I guess. And she was quite posh. What you’d expect really. But I was surprised that she swore so much, later on, when we’d loosened up, she swore a lot. That took me back. Yes, definitely. You don’t expect people like that to use the F-word. Not in an interview. But she used it like I might use the word like. Like a lot. Like really a lot. Nerves maybe? I guess it probably was. But I’d expected her to be kind of… in command. Which was another thing. I made her a coffee and I could tell, when she was asking me questions, that she didn’t know when to drink it. Like the way you get really self-conscious about stuff when you’re with a stranger. D’you follow? Yeah, so it’s kind of hard to sum her up. But someone should try. One of the others maybe.

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the shop window

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times you look into your reflection, there’s always that feeling of surprise, that you are seeing something you hadn’t expected. Even when you prepare for that, it’s never quite the right preparation. Another space opens up in your skin, or an altered gaze loops out of one of your eyes at a precise moment that immediately escapes memory. Curiously, sometimes it’s possible to look into someone else’s face and to see the bits that elude them. Sometimes you can imagine, with startling accuracy, the younger face of a stranger, the particular beauty that they yearn for. The ghost of the younger body reveals its form only to those who don’t care and never knew. Those who are familiar have to live with the experience of repeated disappointment, right here, right now. Once or twice, I’ve watched the gaze of a stranger on my younger form and, moments later, that look of pity.

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