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The Other Side of Everything

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Written on August 11, 2006, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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This seven episode story first appeared in Blog of Funk 19th July 2005.

She asked this in a matter of fact way whilst rummaging in a large bag, making clear that she was going to smoke anyway whether I minded or not, so I mumbled, “No, go right ahead,” and left the room to fetch the large glass ashtray.

M this thin, reddish, crazy woman had just turned up on my doorstep unexpectedly one summer’s afternoon. I had not seen her for five years. I had met her at my first art school on my foundation course. After bumping into her randomly at some party years later, details swapped, one phone call made, and there she was, rolling up a meagrely thin combination of Golden Virginia and some crumbs of ropey-smelling hashish in my living room.

M was unselfconscious about her looks, it seemed, unaware or maybe simply unashamed of her sexuality; like many middle-class girls, it was no big deal. She was stick-thin, wearing voluminous 80s mannish trousers with some punk / goth additions to the hair and ears. Her breasts were tiny, mostly nipple, and her loose, unfilled tops frequently peeled away from her chest bone, showing what she didn’t have whenever the angle was right. She had a strong physical smell, on the edge of unpleasant, sharp, foxy, catty. She had a long, aquiline nose, a heavy-lidded smile which split her impish face, and a rather spectacularly filthy laugh.

She was anxious in a nice way, a pleasantly passionate Cancerian, and I fancied her. She seemed to be making herself at home, and since I was single and constantly horny, I decided that this was no bad idea.

I was working in a pretty good music studio at the time, and I knew that M was interested in me for that reason, but, fair enough, I thought. She got high, and two spots of red either side of the magnificent nose flushed her ivory complexion.

“Can I play you my tape?” she asked, offering me the spliff, indicating the cassette on top of her bag.

“Sure,” I said, “Thanks but I don’t smoke government drugs.”

“Government drugs?” she was visibly confused. I was being clever, this was my moment to preach about deaths from tobacco smoking and government revenues from tax. Instead, I took the tape, wacked it in the player, and turned up the volume on the amp.

It had been years since I had suffered anything so appalling and it was all I could do to maintain the volume for the five and a half minutes of the first song on the tape, which had been recorded on a portastudio in a bedroom with an electric guitar, a chorus pedal, a very bad microphone, and the most clanging, dissonant reverb unit I had ever heard. I didn’t mind dissonance, being a fan of Stockhausen, NON and sundry industrial-type art bands; but this was inadvertant. Stuck at the back of the train tunnel, she wailed through dirgy chords stolen from Siouxsie and the Banshees circa 1981. It was angst, but somehow kitch. It was painful, both sonically and emotionally. I fought to keep the displeasure from my face and my hand from the off switch as she beamed at me throughout, glowing with pleasure. I turned the second song down slightly, and asked her about the genesis of the work, in order to distract myself from the music, which was actually getting worse.

M started to explain in great detail the thinking behind the song, and as she did so, leaning forward, I stared down her cotton top at her bright pink nipples. The more animatedly she spoke, the more they hardened, and I found this so arousing and disturbing that I interrupted her flow as track three kicked in. It was slower, less like a nail down a blackboard, more like pulling a tooth.

“Do you play live?” I asked, trying to reconcile my semi-erection with my loathing of this woman’s art.

“Yes, but I need some help with engineering, it never sounds as good as this!” she gushed. I realised that her gloriously uncritical nature extended to her music making, and she really did believe that she was blessed with genius. “Will you help?” she asked coquettishly.

Shit, I thought, how can I shag this woman without embarassing myself in the studio? If I take her tape in they will just laugh, perhaps nakedly, cruelly, and despite the bravado I could sense that M’s self-esteem perhaps was not on the firmest ground. The wailing in the songs sounded suicidal. I spoke non-committally about seeing whether I could get her some demo time. As I said this, I realised that she was within six inches of me and looking at me with a combination of pleading and ferocity, and the hairs began to rise on my neck.

End part one – Read the rest of the story here…

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One Comment

  1. dweller
    Posted 17 August, 2006 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    I just read all parts of this story in a oner. I couldn’t stop, it was highly entertaining, and I laughed a lot. Thanks.

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