Sunday, May 07, 2006


Yesterday was sickening. Today is only mild nausea with sunshine. Small whirlpools in my stomach to remind me of recent upsets and little shocks, of all the changes that are coming at me in an unhaltable tide.
      And chocolate tastes creamy in my mouth, a friend feels close on the phone, the sea is near enough for me to walk to when I finish this post, and I know the blue waves will be comforting. Today, I like the hazy sky outside my window.
     And listening to The Beach Boys "Don't Talk, Put Your Head On My Shoulder" feels good. It is reminding me of when I was 21 and I'd fall asleep to it in a vodka stupor at 7am beside my friend David on his Didsbury living room floor - the kind of drunk that's  addled but intensely clear at the same time.
     These are some of my fondest memories of my time in Manchester - my times with David. He had a star-like quality, and people wrote poems about him. Like most people I have loved, he had a death wish, and an enormous record collection. He was visibly shocked when his 27th birthday arrived, and somewhat disappointed to have survived it. He would turn up at the Corn Exchange cafe on a Saturday afternoon, where I worked part time, 'Ee-ed 'off his head. I would make him free cups of Tetley tea and nudge him when he started passing out under the table. Self obsessed, childlike, brilliant, reckless, he lived with his sister who cooked all his meals and who had platinum blonde hair and clicked her heels as she walked up the hospital wards where she worked. He was also a great writer and had an incredible way with words, saw all life through a camera lens. And I loved him.
     The first time I met David was at Sankey's Soap, a new club night at the time ,run by a couple of guys who went on to produce a successful, trendy dance music magazine. He had just got out of hospital, zig zagged razor marks up his arm. He regaled me with stories of his hospital stay, and, in particular, about his recent and unlikely conquering of a local gangster in his home town of Oldham. He'd been about to receive an almost certainly fatal battering, but survived by throwing a nearby glass ashtray at his face. David was one of the funniest people I had ever met, turning tragedy into a 'fuck it all let's breathe the stars' mentality.  He lived for rock and roll, and knew what made a good film, and he understood why Easy Listening music can be transcendent.
     Skinny, and proud, he was a geek and a muso. He was also renowned through local circles as an extremely cool person to be around, until he got too depressed, too manic. Then no one wanted to be seen with him anymore. That was one of the things that made me want to leave Manchester, that kind of superficialty.
    After I moved to Brighton I tried writing to him a few times, and he even came down to visit once. But he always was hopeless at staying in touch, his sister moved away and had a baby, dressed it in designer babyware and David became an unlikely uncle. The last I heard of him he had moved back to Oldham, was working in a factory and living with an old lady in a granny flat on a snowy hilltop.
     I don't know why I think of him today. Perhaps it's because 'Pet Sounds' was such an important, life changing, album for me. I haven't listened to it for such a long time. Perhaps I miss the North and the past.
     No, I don't think so. Those times are gone. I'm glad for it.

1 comment:

Will said...

You describe people so well Clare, I feel like I've actually met these people. When someone touches one person's life and that person shares their experience, it touches everyone else's lives.

Your blog's style has become very Analucia-like. It especially reminds me of a little village I stayed in near Granada. But I already know that place is in your heart anyway, so maybe I'm cheating.

Missing you my friend, let's catch up soon...