Sunday, 19 July 2009

*/ Imagining Rachel \*

A lil' sci-fi-esque, flash from me to you! xx

I should’ve flashed her with my indicator lights as planned, but I wanted to get the first good look at her, before she even noticed me. She stood poised on the steps of the Ramada, like a perfect porcelain doll from my mother’s mantelpiece. With her mouth half-open, the way she craned her neck to talk to a couple of guys, doormen I suppose, appealed to the darkest side of me.

She wore a thin, shiny dress that rippled in the wind and her fingers played with the fabric in agitated strokes. Tugging at the edge of her hem - first one side, then the other – she kept an easy distance between herself and the guys. I could tell she didn’t like the way they were looking at her, at her legs, encased as they were in knotted webs.

A tramp huddled at the bottom of the hotel steps beside her patent-leathered feet. Rocking back and forth, praying Buddha style, he held his palms up, accepting small change from people passing by. There but for the grace of God goes I, I thought and my foot jumped a little on the brake. It seemed like I was riddled with my mother’s bullshit lines but sometimes thinking of Rachel helped me to escape them.

I reached in my pocket, pulled out the photo of her and held it up to the window, studying it under the grimy street light.

That day, in a café over lunch, I’d shared with her all the things from the movie that were relevant to me; style of dress, choice of scenes, and my favourite line.

‘I’m thinking China Town, sordid little red lanterns, know what I mean?’ I’d said.

‘But none of those greasy dumps have a lift,’ she’d said, ‘Isn’t that where their last scene plays out?’

‘Depends on your preferred version…’

‘Well you and your geeks can argue the toss but up there, I bet the view looks pretty futuristic at night.’

It was tragic; she’d routinely smiled and nodded in all the right places, wasn’t able to veil the neediness in her eyes. She reminded me of myself as a kid, polishing those dolls under my mother’s watchful glare, willing myself not to break them. I wondered if I’d break her, in the end.

Shortly afterwards we’d left the café, messed about in the street for awhile. She posed for my camera, switching between pulling tongues and arching her back, like a newbie bunny girl on the block. Then she’d turned on her heel, spreading her legs to flip a foot out eastward and I’d hit the button, just managing to snap the shot. In the awkwardness in that moment, her legs cocked this way and that; I saw a sliver of possibility. So here we were, to test it out tonight.

The driver in front honked his horn like it was an emergency; the crouching bundle beside her heels itched itself and scratched. I looked up from the picture and back at her. She leaned against the stone wall in the stance from the picture, one it seemed she’d now perfected to an art. A murky yellow haze slid across her blue-black skin, illuminating the storm cloud of afro curls resting on her sharp, proud shoulders. I was reminded of the scene where Rachel loosens her hair.

I pushed the button to lower my car window and the glass slowly disappeared, letting in a rush of street noise - shoes on the pavement, juddering buses, and a choir of voices. I tapped the indicator a couple of times to get her attention, firing laser beams out into the night.

‘Rachel!’ I shouted through the open window, pinching an earlobe to disperse the sting from the frosty air.

She cocked her head, spinning around to the sound of that name, her teeth painting a crescent of white against the night’s black sheet. She clicked along the pavement in tight little steps, one silky thigh in front of the next. Crossing in front of the windscreen, the half-moon of her hips blacked out lights from the on-coming traffic. The goons by the doorway jerked their heads like cats keeping a close eye on their prey.

‘I didn’t see you pull up,’ she said, reaching across to squeeze my thigh a couple of times. Her eyes had a captivating twinkle, like the odd marble out in a bag. I liked the way our little game made them shine. Say it! I thought. I wanted her to whisper that line, a midnight murmur in my ear.

‘I know it’s strange, that I look at you and think of her,’ I said.

‘Don’t worry; I can do android girl, no problem,’ she said, pulling a cigarette from the red slash of her mouth to blow out a hazy chalk line, ‘but let’s drive round the block a couple of times.’

So I twisted the wheel and pulled away from the curb. We cruised down narrow streets; me navigating into openings and hitting dead ends; her punctuating the silence with a ‘Yes, here. No. There,’ guiding me along what we both knew was an aimless drive.

Minutes later we stopped right back where we’d started, outside the Ramada. Another motor passed slowly by, its dipped headlights threw narrow, sickly beams into the filthy streets. I locked off the engine; the slight jingle of my keys was the only sound to linger between us.

‘It’s cold. No messing about,’ she said, stepping over a puddle to get out of the car. She shivered a little as the wind whipped through her dress and for a second I felt kinda guilty about forcing a girl as cool as her to live in an impossible shadow.

We walked arm in arm towards the Ramada and at the base of the incline she lowered her arm to squeeze my hand. The goons shuffled from foot to foot, owning the doorway space with exaggerated gestures. I watched them intently; never once saw the whites of their eyes.

‘Spare any change,’ said the hobo, camped at the hotel entrance.

‘No fixed abode, mate, tell ‘em no fixed abode’ I said, dropping him some coins from my pocket. We stepped past him into the hotel and I felt good, like I was somebody.

The lobby was sandwiched in silence; its steel pillars were punctuated by panes of glass that sparkled like ice against crushed velvet armchairs. I headed straight for the lift, my feet treading brisk, springy steps against the plush red carpet. She swayed seductively to the faint notes of saxophone sounds, her satin dress rustling on her hips.

She tapped a chic black fingernail against the elevator button; I doubted my ability to wait another moment to hear her say that line.

Inside the lift I backed her into a corner and we waited for the doors to close. But instead of cocooned silence the doors sprang open; out of nowhere another couple had arrived. Reluctantly, we shuffled closer together, making room for the intruders who’d come along for the ride.

She pulled my jacket towards her, brought her mouth right up close to my ear.

‘Put-your-hands-on-me. Deckard,’ she whispered.

And then she laughed; a throaty laugh that rang metallic against the walls. I winced and shrugged my shoulders; I should’ve been melting and closing my eyes. About three months had passed since we last had sex. Still, it bothered me more that I’d never have Rachel in this lifetime. Selfish huh?

Copyright Bella Nexus 2009. All rights reserved

Monday, 11 August 2008

*/ Rubbing Me Up the Right Way \*

Manchester’s graduated. No longer must we rely on our reputation as a nation of rain-weary, morose bastards. Now we have lap dancing lounges and sex shops a-plenty to act as diversions in our miserable lives. Like it or not, Joe Stretch’s Friction has marker-penned our misgivings onto the indelible world map.

Meet Johnny - the excruciatingly pimply and sexually repressed student; Colin – a psychopath if ever there was one; Rebecca – the Mills and Boon girl gone bad; Steve – a vacant poser of the highest order; Carly – the page three stunna’ if only she applied herself and Justin – a true rebel without a cause. Sound nauseating? Don’t worry: Stretch has the power to make you empathise with each and every one of them. He flaunts a highly-sexed mother who virtually flirts with her salad alongside the ‘unseen lives’ that set a new precedent for experimental sex with equal aplomb. Quite literally, his turns of phrase and descriptions paint virtual rainbows in your brain.

Johnny and Colin aside, Stretch’s characters are the epitome of ‘waste man and waste gash’ slang: Ol’ English boys and girls who boast enough cash, charisma, tanned skin and feathered haircuts to have been so much more and ultimately waste it.

Stretch suitably deconstructs the timeless obsessions of the young, restless and carefree, namely sex, cash and shopping – or the lack thereof. The monotony of our modern lives is well documented, even as I rushed out to consume and, as such, buy the book. So accurately does he pinpoint man’s excesses that it’s disturbing to know that this guy has only spent twenty-six years on the planet.

Written to the beat of indie angst (well he does front-up a band too, you know) Stretch delivers the kind of science-fiction that’s avidly sucked up by a Radiohead generation – sneering, melancholy, sarcastic and cynical. These are digital desires wrapped up for an analogue generation.

In my opinion Stretch’s metallic narrative has only the issue that it moves fairly swiftly to some rather obvious conclusions as its downfall. Still, it’s a fittingly cold and clinical tale (like all good sci-fi should be) that’s set to become a classic text.

I love my city. As a Mancunian you could say I’m biased – and you’d be right.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

*/ Mammaries and Digital Mass \*

A good tune can do wonders for writer’s block especially when it delivers a bit of digital tease and robotic wonder. Maybe it’s just me but that’s what happened when I caught Mr. West’s Flashing Lights. This lil’ vid has all of my favourite things: dawn skies, robotic voices, strip tease, slapping beats and of course, Rita G portraying true Russ Meyer ‘vixen’ style.

Rita’s alien chick chic combines outta this world 't & a' with a real and powerful figure…I guess that’s what LL meant when he sang “they’re jingling baby,” all those years ago. I mean, fur coat, lingerie, heels and stockings – what more eye candy could you want? My interest in modern hip hop is fully restored and ‘Ye’s slurred delivery style is pretty hot, too. Check the video out on my facebook page and tell me you don’t like what you see!

On a completely different tip, Radiohead stormed my city lately providing a perfect Sunday mass of a different kind.

I didn’t need a trunk or tail to hold up an umbrella; there was no rain. In my book, rain always equals a right, royal Northern show – and I missed it. But dark storm clouds gathered nicely to the droning, melancholy monotone.

There was no dancing either; we swayed collectively like thousands of people on a tilting dancefloor, all infected with an anti-establishment, anti-social, defective gene. Simply amazing!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

*/ Sucker For A Big-time Masochist \*

Was it only a coincidence that the familiar horns from Ain’t That a Kick in the Head could be heard as I exited the movie? Or was the latest from Sex and the City really messing with my mind? Never has a song been more fitting. Sure, there was plenty of cooing and sighing from the perfumed, peacock-bright crowd in the theatre courtesy of New York’s, knockout fashion but these snatches of satisfaction came a close second to the dominant debates I overheard. Namely, that the on-off, ten-year relationship of Carrie and Big was rubbing this female crowd up the wrong way. Hallelujah! It appeared I wasn’t alone in feeling a little queasy over Big’s extreme fickleness and Carrie’s virginal patience. After all that she’d endured from the guy, would marriage still be uppermost in her mind? Surely a hasty exit from the relationship would seem the sanest option. Honestly, am I lying in saying that the acidic romance and perfunctory soul-searching on offer chafed far worse than Miranda’s renegade brazilian ever could?

Big looms suitably large in the movie but that’s an easy task considering the fact that he’s the only male character with a smidgen of depth on offer. Where the series earmarked plenty of time to beefing up the supporting boys, the movie gave Steve et al the elbow in favour of fashion and the girls respectively, to its discredit. It’s Big’s third wedding; he wants a small ceremony, ideally one that only Carrie and himself attend. And as the wedding veers further from his control, Big’s angst and anxieties are laid bare, showing us a little more beneath his crystal-cool exterior. But it’s also Carrie’s first strut down the aisle. That should count for something, right? Apparently not. In doing her best to meet Big’s needs, Carrie steps right up once more, allowing him a few more pot shots at her fragile heart. We are left with the conclusion that Carrie’s precarious place in the world (aka forty and “on the shelf”) is every woman’s nightmare. And her final acceptance to do things Big’s way proves just that. So much so that, in the end she’s prepared to scrape the egg from her face and still enjoy the omelette.

Refusing to talk to Big for as long as the length of a whole fashion season, Carrie first tortures herself in solitary confinement (presumably picking over in her mind all the possible reasons why things went wrong) before finally blaming it all on the flippant comment of a female friend. This neatly ticks the box for a little girl-on-girl action in the form of some good, old-fashioned female mistrust.

It made me think about a boy I’d dated last summer. He was funny, charming and bastardly as hell, so it ended badly, of course. Boy A carried on super poking pussies, whilst I made an effigy from a shirt he’d left behind. Still smarting two weeks later, I stood poised, pin in hand, to stab the dummy when he telephoned. We talked, made up and were back together in the flick of a well-cracked whip. How could this happen? I can only surmise that in our pursuit of “happyness” us girls sign up and agree to take evermore pain and drama, and men, just like Boy A and Big, deliver it by the sledgehammer load.

The movie trots out hunting feverishly for the next big dick, a la Sam Jones, as the fashionable thing for modern girls to do. “Happy ever after” is horribly shredded and hastily patched up right before our adoring, mostly feminine eyes. No matter, we still hold our breath and wait for Carrie to put herself out there, knowing it could lead to further misery and disappointment, but hoping that this time she’ll get it right. Walking the paradoxical tightrope between liberal promiscuity and conservative marriage ain’t easy.

Maybe I should have left the cinema with the feeling that if that’s what love is, then I’ll take a cat, a granny flat and a good bottle of red wine. In reality though, just like the girls, I know I’ll be back out there sprucing, preening and waiting for the next dose from Mr. Wrong. But don’t worry: according to Dean Martin “my life is gonna be bea-uutiful!”

Friday, 13 June 2008

*/ Friday Night at The ‘True Blue’ Last \*

“Wanna dance?” asks the boy.

“Dance?” repeats the girl.

The boy’s dressed nice and neat. The girl’s got feathers in her hair, scuffs on her golden boots and a ladder in her metallic, Lycra body stocking. They’re standing in the centre of the pub’s floor. Lights flash. Beats beat. His question makes perfect sense but she doesn’t respond immediately.

Instead, she screws her face up into a rumpled half-smile, as if there’s a pile of poo right under her nose and yet, she kinda likes the smell. Something of a devilish flash skips across her face. I caught it; I’m not so sure the boy did.

Next thing you know, she’s undone his fly and her hot little palm’s disappeared inside his pants. He’s shocked! I mean, the boy could catch tennis balls in his gob.

“No. I don’t want to dance with you,” she says a few seconds later as she pulls out her hand. With a little hop and a skip she’s gone, leaving him standing there alone.

Poor lad. I’ve been there myself, I recognise his confusion. He doesn’t understand that this is the girl’s calling card, her signature piece. It’s just the ‘thing’ that she’s got goin’ on. Nothing more, nothing less. He just wants to dance with the pretty girl and see where the night takes them. He ain’t from Laanden Taan.

I’m still watching as our man slinks off to the side of the dance floor. When he isn’t looking down at his shoes, he’s shooting daggers at a girl to the left of him, who’s got some lad half hidden under the ruffles of her ra-ra skirt. And he’s sneaking peaks at the agitated boy-on-boy action to his right.

A bit more sleaze here; a little more smut there. Just when did ‘normal’ life get so x-rated? I mean, you can’t blink nowadays for strumpets who’re willing to bare all and get their stuff read ;)

And what was I doing, you ask? Let’s just say that, like you are right now, I was a voyeur.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

A Net Presence Ain’t Good For The Body

Let’s start this off with a little techie moan. I love technology but the bitch don’t love me back – she keeps giving me the cold shoulder. It feels almost as if you’re getting somewhere and then – bumpf – you’re bounced out and in free fall mode, getting nowhere fast. It’s a technical K-hole.

Sharing work online - contacting people - adding friends - reviewing images - editing work - diversifying markets - adding layers and ‘depth’ to my page - tagging. We’re a nation, no planet of ------- (add here as appropriate, I’ve got my word) who go from the house to the car; from the car to the office; from the office to the sofa and from the sofa back to bed. And I’m just as bad as everyone else. I spend days looking out the window. The sunlit lawn in my garden taunts me as another day is spent in front of my computer, smoking too hard and drinking too fast.

*** slurps ***

*** burps ***

*** rubs back ***

Really, is it anything more than just staring at a screen, clicking buttons, watching shapes, colours and lights? Just like the nation of Mercer followers in Phil K. Dick's most famous novel – are we nothing more than a sleeping herd, dreaming of electric sheep?

For me this blog’s about trying to re-dress the balance of consumption and creation in my life. Game online, play music, spend money – in short, just clickin the effin’ mouse. I’m doing my best to tame my inner industrial beast.

What am I talking about? I love this!

Add comments, leave cookies. I’m sick of eating y’all: come and have a nibble on me!