It’s been a while since my last post and there’s a very good reason for this. I don’t go outside much, and even though I seem to have a talent for writing lengthily on dry, insipid, colourless, grey, bland, anaemic, watery, tame, flat, lifeless, lacklustre, tedious, vapid, humdrum (and other synonyms provided by Google) subjects, there’s only so much inspiration I can scour off the stark and pale walls of the place I’m told is my home. Nevertheless, rather than brave the (unacceptably) outside world I have done my best to combine brain, fingers and household objects to rustle up a passable piece of prose. Here are six items from around my house, each with an accompanying story.
1. The mysterious mask
This is my mask that I wear when I become Mysterious masked man of the night. I bought it for a masquerade birthday party from a dressing up shop and it was then that I realised that masks are really expensive, so I went for this one, the cheapest mask I could find that wasn’t a Batman mask, and even this was considerably overpriced. Fun tip: if you ever get invited to a masqueraded event and you don’t have a mask, do what I did at Christmas and shape a crudely-cut piece of paper around your face and fasten it with more crudely-cut paper. Or better still, just don’t go: parties aren’t fun – staying indoors is.
I always liked the pattern on this mask: it always reminded me of GCSE Physics. Our teacher told us that in hospitals, if someone has a brain tumour, the doctors often treat it with several low doses of radiation from different directions rather than one beam of high dose which would cause great damage to the brain cells it passes through. You can see in the picture how the rays are all really focussed around a pinnacle at the bottom of the forehead. So for me this mask is also souvenir of the continuing advances in modern medicine, and of my accomplishment as a GCSE scientist.
2. Fish the fish pen
I got this pen for Christmas one year and it proved to be very influential for my social success at school. When I arrived started my lessons at the beginning of the second term, my classmates found this sea creature deeply fascinating; they just couldn’t get over the fact that it was a fish that moved and wibbled like a fish, yet could also be used as a writing implement. It was the first time that some cool people talked to me: suddenly everyone wanted to know everything about fish boy and his cool fish pen. And it was this that set in motion the constant theme of my life: being appreciated for my material worth rather than my less tangible qualities. Indeed, that was the reason I started this blog – acceptance: I knew that people had appreciated my literal pen, and so I thought they might also like my metaphorical pen.*
Unfortunately in the horrific ‘I lost the nib of the fish pen’ incident of 2011, I lost the nib of my fish pen, and that’s why Fish always carries that uneasy look of someone who has found a slug in their food but is too awkward to say anything.
3. A prised DVD
I found out last year that when I was eleven I was known by my peers as ‘Snooker Jesus guy’ because of my obsession with that noblest of table sports and because of my profound, messianic teachings. Please note that on this DVD weren’t just any old trick shots: they were the MOST AMAZING trick shots that the game has seen. You can tell how amazing they were because of the big white bubble writing. John Virgo was a really top guy: his easy Lancashire manner and a stolid enthusiasm for snooker really captivated my young imagination. The film quality was a little dated but John’s spotted waistcoat/bow tie combination was almost futuristic.
4. My book
Another of my fanaticisms as an infant was constellations: there was something about the random patterns of the stars that was just really swell. As a seven year old I fancied myself knowledgeable enough about the night sky to write a book, and this is a picture of the front and back covers. Unfamiliar with the publishing process I decided to start at the front of the book before devising any of the content within. As such my enthusiasm for the project soon waned and all that remains are the covers, the introduction and the acknowledgements section. Some of my favourite features of these covers include the hand-drawn ISBN code, the poor quality counterfeit of a logo I once saw on another book, and the hand-wrapped sticky back plastic lamination. I’m surprised my parents encouraged me in this young man’s pursuit in that it was unlikely to end in success and was bordering on the illegal.
5. Skirting board of doom
There was once a programme on TV called Maestro which was a reality contest in which celebrities competed to find out who was the best orchestral conductor. Just before the second episode started I quickly got a glass of water and as I heard the opening titles emanating from the TV, I sprinted back to the sitting room, such was my enthusiasm for orchestral music. On my journey though, I accidentally whacked my toe against this skirting board and almost broke it. If you look really carefully you can just about see the blood still there, as a stark reminder that this is not a skirting board to be reckoned with. I always think it was a very middle class injury to have happened: ‘he was unable to walk because he loved classical music too much’ would have made a satisfying epithet.
6. The vegetable oil
We’ve only had this bottle of vegetable oil a few days and I haven’t really got to know it yet but it looks like it’s going to be good. The plastic bottle makes it squidgy and light-weight to handle, so I have high hopes for the future.
*i.e. My writing. Do you get it?