The Placebo Effect of Poodles

The rot set in somewhere around the time Bill Nighy was transformed into a line drawing by a departure gate. It all became more gangrenous during during Joanna Hogg’s Unrelated, a film either beautifully hypnotic or interminably dull, the internet jury were hung. I go with hypnotic, as I kept watching even thought it wasn’t making me happy and made me feel my own middle class-ness, though very different to what was displayed, was toxic. The film displayed a middle age destiny that I imagine that has arrived upon many I went to school with. I am sure one of them is probably showing off some Tuscan couch that was once the rutting surface of a dead dictator. 

I should have stayed up for Battle Beyond the Stars, an intergalactic remake of Seven Samurai complete with a cast member of The Magnificent Seven and a film I saw on the big screen of the Gerrards Cross Odeon/Cannon/Chain cinema. 

I should have stayed up staring at the screen as I only ended up staring at the backs of my eyelids and the occasional hypnogogic vision as I sampled some insomnia, a rarer occurrence since sobriety (I blame some late night Butterscotch sauce on a bread and butter pudding with ideas above its station by declaring it was brioche).

The last minutes or seconds of sleep supplied hotch potch of dreams, as far as I can remember I was supporting Morrissey in a small, see-through leisure centre, but they forgot to introduce me, and he just went straight on. Possibly before, maybe after, I was furious that my hotel room had enormous bowls of cornflakes and milk everywhere which turned out to have been left by someone I worked with 27 years ago. She was apologetic. 

I would look up what “bowls of cornflakes” means in some dream dictionary, but it is of no interest, so I won’t. I didn’t have conrflakes for breakfast, so Kellogs somnambulistic product placement didn’t work. 

The final pestilence was reading a newspaper. This had what is, I presume, the intended effect of making me feel powerless, pointless, and depressed by the mind and state of humanity. No need to read Slavoj Zizek or Schopenhauer, The Independent on Sunday has done their business. 

I kept thinking of the Zizek quote, “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than a change in global capitalism”. Best to return to fantastical fiction or particle physics, it doesn’t have as much immediate reality. 

I skip over the conjecture of Flight MH730 that is gripping the the coffee bars, saloons and Debenhams’ queues of Britain, I turn the page on Prison overcrowding so fast it barely has the time to ink my finger. I see that Chris Grayling may be “fighting for his political future”, but I am sure there’ll be plenty of alternative futures that will keep him comfortable on leather upholstery. The BBC is about to satirise itself, though it seems to do that well enough without intention anyway. Look, there is Lady Gaga holding a purple handbag – is that a story or an advert, the line thins. 

“Osborne to put growth ahead of ‘green crap’” and my mind conjures up a scene that jumbles up Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and the final scenes of the TV version of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – it’s all jacuzzis and cannibalism. 

“41% of people polled said they were spiritual but not religious” – I won’t go there again. I don’t need to be told to fuck off by people who swell with pride as they tell me they have risen above individual ego to a pinnacle of collective consciousness. Joan Smith crushes the memory of Tony Benn and riddles me with doubt.

Then, I look out of the window and at the sunshine and the river Cam, even the toilet paper caught in the branches of a tree is made appealing by the light (I also pull a sizeable hair from my nostril while enjoying this scene, unrequired information, just a bit of “gritty middle age realism”).

Schopenhauer stated that “life was an unpleasant business and I resolve to spend it contemplating that”, then he obsessed over poodles. I am glad poodle are not my coping mechanism. I have resolved to replace reading the Sunday newspapers with staring at the sky for an hour, I think it may be better for me. 

(why has the Macarena suddenly come into my mind? Well, this won’t help.)

Oh, and for any who has asked, I have not had some falling out with Stewart Lee, who has always seen me as little more than Roddy MacDowell’s understudy.  

I am off to Southampton, Isle of Wight, Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Salford, Laugharne and many more in the next few months. Details HERE

The final London Dirty Book Club is HERE on Monday

And I am doing Your Art is Dead in Northampton on Wednesday

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