Friday, 7 May 2010

Why My Landlady Should Have Me Thrown Out.

A desperate friend of a friend called me up asking me to complete the final month of her contract after she was offered a six month placement with a Spanish dance company. Having hit the wall after living with my parents for four months, only a fool would say no. I was then to find out, to my absolute delight that I am now spending the next four weeks in a house full on hippy-like strangers that are touring a theatrical comedy around the North East…and our landlady also lives here (they are almost always ladies). After living in lots of accomodation, I am used to staying in digs like these and find it quite exhilirating living with complete strangers. These are people who volunteer to go on a theatre’s list of possible places for actors to stay when away from home. The composition of a digs list is normally 90% gin-addled widows, 5% couples with no children and 5% men who don’t own the house and might kill you. I think I have done pretty well to finish up with these people

“Pets welcome,” means the landlady (never actually had a landlord) has between 4 and 16 cats and will expect you to laugh and coo while her beloved mogs claw painfully at your bosom and spray piss on your legs and possibly breakfast. Expect to be woken in the night by the friendly little fuck batting your face like it’s torturing a frog.

“Smoking allowed,” means the landlady (in one instance landlady equals Grandmother. An unfortunate turn of events landed me living with my Grandmother for two months) smokes between 80 and 1000 cigarettes a day. You will live in a permanent fog like a lighthouse keeper, everything you own will smell like it has survived cremation, you will no longer be able to taste and you will turn the colour of Mr Happy. But you won’t be happy. I am certainly not happy, as a labelled ‘trying to quite smoker’ I have already accelerated my own death by 16 years and potentially the next eight weeks could pile on another 4000 like a ton of bricks upon my chest. My grandmother is a woman whose ashtrays looked like tiny horrific Kilimanjaros. She is the only person in my life that I have genuinely had to check whether they are dead or not.

In my last shared accomodation I lived with “Likes a quiet house,”lady. This lady (majority are women) is a nazi. She will come into your room without knocking. The heating only goes on between 5 and 5.15pm. Your socks need to be separated before going in the wash. You left a cup on your bedside table. You forgot to double triple lock the inner outer gate. Kill yourself. Kill yourself. Kill yourself.

After only living here for nine days, I can tell that my latest landlady is a gem and I think sub-consciously I am wreaking revenge on her for all the previous landladies. I am enacting my vengeance in the drunken phases of an evening known the next day as the “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about” phase.

A case in point, the other morning I awoke in Leeds to a lovely fresh chirping day. I could not remember getting home but that was OK. I’m not hurt, I thought. I’m home. A success. Wait. Something weird underneath my pillow. An empty squeezable mayonnaise bottle? But where’s the mayonnaise? Oh it’s in the bed. I must have squeezed it out. Oh well. No harm done. I’ll wash the sheets. Downstairs I am greeted by what looks like a crisp black coin that has been taken from the oven and carefully displayed for my benefit on some kitchen roll on the hobs. There is also the smell of fresh cleaning. All rather suspicious I thought. Why was she making pizza for herself for breakfast? And why has she burnt it so badly? Then a realisation that was too long coming. It was my pizza and I had left it in the oven and gone to bed. Upstairs my drunk mind must have got distracted by the hilarious sport of turning myself into a giant sandwich before passing out. I later learned that when my landlady had got down the stairs she discovered a trail of destruction that could only be explained by my bouncing off the things in her house like a pin ball and I had left mayonnaise everywhere. I was so contrite that it was embarrassing for everyone and I bought her nice things and have been fairly well behaved since.

Amazingly she hasn’t thrown me out. Thank goodness she doesn’t like “a quiet house”.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The Problem With Oscar

Writing regularly is proving helpful so I am going to carry on doing it. What do you mean stop? Why? Why read it if you just want it to stop? How perverse. I bet your sex life is really weird. “I’m only doing this with you because it really shouldn’t be happening.” Anyway screw you. I like the practice.

I live in fear of two things at the moment (three, if you count The Count of Monte Cristo reading this) one is the ever-growing inevitability of a Tory government. Something which inspires in me a revulsion entirely separate from politics. An instinctive reaction, like your hand rapidly drawing away from a hot hob, or an ex-boyfriend fancying Pixie Lott, something hard-wired. I can’t pretend to have a grand knowledge of the finer points of Tory policy, I know they’ll cut spending on public services, but apart from that my only argument is look at Cameron’s face. He looks like Casper the Friendly ghost’s twat of a cousin. But then again, Gordon Brown looks like a man made from the parts of other men and I keep expecting Nick Clegg to try and sell me a time share via the TV debates. Politics is shit.

Fear number two is Oscar. Every day I wander past a front garden on the road where I am living. This front garden is the kingdom of Oscar. Oscar is like the angriest pillow you have ever come across. A little white fluffy cloud of hate. Mutilated plastic toys strew the decking of his domain like some sort of novelty Ypres. Cuddly bears with their mangled faces seem to plead, “Keep on walking, for the love of God, keep on walking.” Oscar is a yapper. He yaps feverishly at anything that moves; crows, trees, the sky, you. I have started to take this personally and am on the brink of doing something quite nasty to Oscar if he doesn’t pipe down. He sees me nearly every day, and yet despite knowing that I have made the same journey every day and not once displayed any unruly or unpredictable behaviour, he yaps his tits off at me as if I were about to steal into his house and kill his owners.

Ironically, the more he does this, the closer he is to inspiring some sudden psychotic episode in me whereby I grab him by the mouth and use him to deck the windshield of his owner’s vehicle. As I atomised the glass with his little ragged body I would laugh and laugh and laugh myself hoarse, beating him into a glass and dog mush in the rhythm of his own yap-yap-yap. That felt amazing by the way, writing that. I normally like dogs. I mean, they're no cats but some dogs, I can even love them. Rarely do I want to kill them. This is all Oscar’s fault.Oscar’s owner is a lady that stands in the doorway observing his behaviour and merely repeats his name.“Oscar,” she says with mild surprise and admonishment, as if she were to add, “I can’t believe you’re behaving this way. After winning Crufts and everything.”Oscar is a bad dog. He has never won Crufts and he never will. He is a little psycho. I fear him and respect him. I find him cute and I want him to die. Any politician with a ‘Kill Oscar’ policy gets my vote.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Tis Pity

There’s this woman making me cry. There are certain scenarios that guarantee my tears. When hungover, for example, I could cry at car insurance adverts. I once cried at that scarecrow advert, the one where the scarecrow loses his scare. Seeing somebody who looks unhappy and vulnerable will normally choke me up. Fat children. Fat kids get me going every time. Very fat kids that look sad will get my mind inventing whole elaborate scenes of misery with them at the centre. I imagine the bullying they’re victim of. The long nights alone in their room while all the thin kids go to discos and kiss. I want to scoop him or her up and be there friend. I’ll be your friend. Don’t worry about a thing. Let’s go to KFC.

Whilst at Uni I worked in a womens prison on an arts project.
There was a woman that worked opposite me who was the size of a transit van. She was single, middle aged and didn’t seem to have many friends. I used to look at her sometimes and imagine her Christmases. Her sat on a sofa eating a selection box with the pathetic blink of fairy lights reflecting off her damp cheeks. A single Christmas card hung on the wall which her local takeaway sent her. I could barely get anything done through the blur of tears.

So there’s this woman. She sells the big issue outside the West Yorkshire Playhouse. She sits and very meekly plies her trade. She smokes and has cups of tea. She wears glasses that make her eyes the size of dartboards and wears the same colourful headscarf every day. She looks like a massive homeless cartoon mouse and everytime I see her I want to fall on my knees weeping. “Take it all take everything I have, here’s my address, live there please, what went wrong? What happened to you?” I empty my pockets of all bank cards, I write my pin number on her hand, I start giving her my shoes. She stops me with a withered hand and stares at me with her eyes like faces. “Big Issue?” she asks.

I have come to the conclusion that this dispensation to weep makes me a a bit of a knob. Who am I to assume that these people are unhappy? Mouse woman might be perfectly content and have an amazing life full of nourishment, friendship and good hard sex. Pity when you get down to it is a pretty cruel emotion. I am going to give it up. Maybe then I will actually buy a Big Issue off her instead of just crying in her general direction. I am going to have to stop writing. A fat kid has just come into Caffe Nero. Oh God he looks so sad. I am going to buy him a frappe filled with my tears.

For The Count

I have decided to start blogging. I reckon this would be a good place to keep my thoughts in order and I figure writing a little something regularly will help conjure some discipline and a blog seems a rather good focus, rather than my bedroom wall.

It is Tuesday and I am at the top of Leeds Central library which is, to my eyes, the brownest place on earth. The floors, walls and pillars are great swathes of brown in tile, mosaic and marble. It gives the unfortunate impression that you’re walking around a museum of dirty protests. The IT suite smells like the unwashed operator of a waltzer ride and old men are playing giant chess outside.

After a brief visit to the IT suite I am currently sitting in a room marked ‘Study Room’ posing as…a student? I came in here in the hope that the actor, from The West Yorkshire Playhouse’s current show, The Count of Monte Cristo would be in here…
Reports earlier this week suggested that this floor is one of his recent places to visit during the week and due to my recent stalking habits I thought I would check it out.
I walked into the room, out of breath, hot, rained on and actually thanking God that Mr Rigby himself isn’t in the room due to my current appearance. Of course if he were in here there is no way on this earth that I had any plans speaking with him.
I am unsure of what led me to believe that there would be no studiers in The Study Room but after making quite an entrance it was too late to turn back. I didn’t want these middle aged male men thinking I was simply nosing at the room and so I decided to become one of them. I sit; unpacking my bag, praying that there is something in there that suggests I can blend into the silence. Luckily I always carry a bottle of water, a sketch pad, a pen and some kind of book. This week it is one of my all time favourites: Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Unfortunately I was nearing the end of this book and within the next eight minutes I would be finished. Looking around I see four middle aged men, all terribly unattractive and not one of them is, much unlike myself, forcing themselves to appear busy

Remembering I had my laptop in my bag I checked for an Internet connection. Bingo.
Three blissful minutes pass which allow the opening paragraph of my blog to take shape before two hands forcefully squeeze my shoulders before one swiftly moves to the centre of my back. It made me feel as though I was about to be sexually abused by a stern Victorian school ma’am who is dabbling in medical experiments. After a swift turn around, heart thumping after the unexpected harassment, I am soon to hear that laptops are now banned from the top floor of the library due to complaints of ‘loud tapping noises’.
I asked for a complaint form in order to complain about, well, the complaint.

In a fluster, I slap my laptop shut and resume the blog on paper. With the blood rushing to my cheeks, I look around to find sixteen male eyes on me- not one of them The Count of Monte Cristo. As a single tear roles down my hot cheek, the room returns to it’s silent state and I wonder ‘was it all worth it?’

I shall type this up later.