last tuesday club

"She believed the world had begun last Tuesday. January the twelfth, to be precise. When I asked her how she came up with the idea, she just shrugged, before looking at me as though it were obvious." – Charlotte Amelia Poe.

Month: May, 2016

She used to tell me she would die if she slept – apnoea. She walked with the bags of her fatigue underneath her sea grey eyes, purple bruises against pale, milk skin. I would find her curled up on armchairs, knees drawn up, eyelids drooping against the world, and I could imagine that itchy dry desperate sleep clawing away at her, begging her to just let go, to surrender. Her limbs held a nervous energy, a certainty, that this was a battle she would win, at any cost. She was a new born colt on high heels, skittering rather than walking, swaying slightly and masking it as intentional. You could hardly tell that her swings from overt to introvert weren’t chemical in nature, that they weren’t caused by anything more than a deep weariness.

I suppose she did sleep, but damned if I ever saw her do it. I wondered what she dreamt about though, and whether her breathing really did hitch and her chest flatten and stay flat, deflated and yearning, empty.

I wonder whether she ever died, just for a second, and what that was like for her. Did she wake, gasping for air, bolt upright like every bad movie nightmare ever? Or did she drift to consciousness, a barely there thing, before shifting and curling in on herself once more, almost entirely unaware that she’d breathed her last and was breathing anew all over again?

How many times had she died?

I wonder how many times you can die before you stop caring. If you die every night, under stars and sky, do you lose count? Is it an acceptance, and did that explain her?

Was her public battle a front? Did she treat death with the same ambivalence she treated life? Did she dress for the occasion, the nicest cream and white lace slip, or did she face it in ratty pyjama bottoms and an oversized t-shirt, stolen from an old lover?

I never asked her, because how can you ask someone – do you like to die? Does it bother you? She would have answered yes. To which question though, I’m not sure. I flip a coin in my head, and sometimes, she cares. Sometimes, she doesn’t.

So, a tired ghost dances in the corner to music only she can hear, the pub television blaring some football game. But drink in hand, sloshing the liquid over garments too good for a place like this, she dances, she rages, and no, she does not sleep.

“It’s a bit like Bruce Springsteen supporting Donald Trump” – an interview with my dad about Captain America

My dad was born in 1943, in one of the most bombed towns in England. His father, my grandfather, fought in the war. I sat down and asked him about his thoughts on the war and his feelings on Captain America’s new position on Nazism.

Me: What can you tell me about the war that people might not know?

Dad: People might not realise how many foreign people fought in the war, i.e. Indians, Australians. It seems to be dominated by English and American history.

Me: Your dad fought in the war, can you tell me about that?

Dad: He got mentioned in Dispatches, which means he did something exceptional.

Me: When you were older, what did you think about Nazis?

Dad: I think the Nazis were misguided and got caught up in the megalomania and I don’t think they all wanted to do what they were forced to do, but I don’t think they had much choice.

Me:What do you think about increased anti-Semitism and the rise of Neo-Nazism today?

Dad: I don’t understand it, I think they need to get a life.

Me: You remember rationing, what was that like?

Dad: For a kid it wasn’t a big problem, but I was only concerned by the sweet ration. Food was a lot simpler then and lasted a lot longer. But it used to be a mathematical trial.

Me: What was it like after the war?

Dad: There were derelict houses everywhere which you could go into and play around in, it took a while to clean up. Obviously it was dangerous but it didn’t seem to matter.

Me: How do you feel about Captain America, a hero created by two Jewish men, being turned into a Nazi for shock value?

Dad: I don’t think it’s shock value, I believe it’s commercial value. I believe it’s a purely commercial proposition – opportunistic desperation.

Me: How do you feel Ethan [my nephew, his grandson] would react to this?
Dad:
It’s unethical. He’s old enough to know that it’s a bad thing. He would be disappointed in Captain America. It would certainly confuse him. I think it’s a step too far really. Sensationalism for the sake of it.

(My dad, bless him, has asked that nobody troll him. I explained if anyone was going to be trolled, it would be me. I hope this interview helps add a new perspective to the fray – indeed I wasn’t aware of India or Australia’s involvement in the war effort. It just goes to show how far reaching this thing is.)

The Laws Of Sympathetic Magic

Amazon: US | UK

“So, what are we doing?” Clint pulls up a seat beside Sam, who just rolls his eyes.

“What we do every Saturday, Croft, we’re Bobbin Watching.” Sam replies, gesturing behind him. Ben lets out a long sigh.

Ben is obsessed. With a boy known only by the name Bobbin. Weeks of coffee shop stalking has gone into this relationship, weeks, I tell you. The only thing Ben knows for sure is that Bobbin is tall, dark and man-bunned, and utterly irresistible. He’s yet to come up with a decent excuse to ask the man out, but with a little help from his friends, that might all be about to change. And with friends like these, who needs enemies?