Edwyn Collins in his studio by Henri Kyriacous
‘I’m learning to sing again’, Edwyn Collins tells a devoted full house of fans in the bijou Arts Theatre in
‘I’m learning to sing again’, Edwyn Collins tells a devoted full house of fans in the bijou Arts Theatre in
I know, I know. It's all about me again and the presumption that I somehow represent elegance. All I can say is I have only my fantasies now. This is me and Pa Pants who died just before I came to live in
The dress was dark pink (and white, obviously). Ma Pants probably made it because she made all my clothes in those days. I also remember with great fondness the little baby pink angora bolero I'm wearing which probably means it was passed down to a succession of dolls. By the time my younger sister was born we were into more serviceable clothes. We were outdoor kids and I don't remember much about the clothes from then on until I was old enough to make or buy my own. This photo was taken just before my sister was born.
Another era is drawing to a close. Ma Pants was about the age I am now when Pa Pants died. When I left
I remember those last days in
Cut to the present. On any given Wednesday, like today for example, I travel to my temporary job in Ilford, which is nice and pays very well. From Ilford Station, I cut through a big shopping mall rather than walk down the dim, cold streets to my workplace. The mall is draped with pretty lights and Christmas grottoes and has been since the beginning of November. I don't even bother to protest about that any more. I do wish though that we could have had fairy lights in the trees in those dim, horrid years of the 80s when it would been really appreciated, rather than now when many of us can at least escape Britain cheaply and the feast of lights just shrieks 'global warming'.
It's fair to say I'm a little sad with the way things have turned out for me over the last twenty-five years. I love my life and I've never been unhappy in
This morning, shuffling through this could-have-been-anywhere mall, I heard good old ABC, distilled as walk-on-by musak. Shoot that poison arrow through my heart, world...
My neighbours moved out today. You can't imagine what a relief that was - not I hasten to add because I didn't like them, far from it - but because they and I have been on exactly the same sales trajectory with our properties for the last 15 months. We had the same mendacious landlord and the same sweet but slightly off-the-ball lawyer. That they completed today makes me believe it is possible.
I've spent the better part of this week trying to fit the vast amount of information required by the High Commission of India onto its one page visa form. I've printed out half a dozen so I can keep practising my miniature calligraphy with the aid of a philatelist's magnifying glass. I hope to be able to make my final submission next week. I've already been subjected to one major scare over this when the High Commission shut down its Special Delivery postal service for a time. I had heard this was the only reliable way to get yourself a tourist visa other than to start queuing immediately after you stopped queuing for
Barney, my hypoallergenic owly-cat is yet another complication in my plan to spend a month unwinding in
Unsurprisingly, Barney perceived these found artefacts quite differently. And they say relationships with men are difficult. In short, a messiah paid a personal visit and the repercussions are still being felt at House of Pants. Never mind my entreaties that the 'Maharajah' to my certain knowledge was an (admittedly talented) alley cat from
However, those damn pearls are so blatantly fake. I know this because I have a set of real pearls and they do not look like that. I showed them to Barney and he bit them. This is where I totally lost my rag. I shrieked, 'that's diamonds, you fuckwit.' What do you think Barney did? He sunk his big owl beak into my sodding finger, that's what. The small diamond thereupon is unaffected, proving my point. However, I suspect it will be quite difficult for me to play a flattened ninth chord for the forseeable future.
I had hoped that after all the trouble to have Barney classified as an interactive Bagpuss by D.A.F.T. (Department of Animals and Furry Things), I could just pop him in the top of my backpack with the zipper slightly open and no one at the border would be the wiser. I assumed they'd be so busy scanning the microscopic writing on my visa, they might not notice that my backpack was making its own way to the taxi rank.
The problem, as I've explained exhaustively in the past, is that Barney is not the ideal combination of owl and cat. For example, a cat sleeps twenty-three hours a day. What a blessing that must be for its lucky owners. Barney keeps owl hours which means he's on the internet all night gathering all sorts of misinformation. Having discovered the Cat Empire has its own national orchestra, there is no dissuading Barney that it has about as much global relevancy as UKIP. No biggy. It just means that we have to make a slight detour to Katpur to pay our homage to the 'Maharajah'. I can live with that if it means the little guy has something to tell his genome inheritors.
Fake pearls notwithstanding, you have to admit that Merlin (undoubtedly now deceased as this photo is over twenty years old), is rather elegantly attired. Barney has been at me to post an Elegantly Dressed Wednesday image that reflects his 'community' for some time. Until he came into my life, I had no idea that cultural diversity could embrace such a broad church, as it were. I'd like to be able to tell you that I feel enriched by the exposure to new points of view but when I continuously spend the early hours of the morning resetting all the spam filters on our shared computer after Barney has spent the night googling the words 'pussy' and 'lick', I'm afraid my natural inclination to tolerance quite deserts me.
Anyway, he's sulking now after our tiff. He's hardly touched his smoked salmon roulade with cream cheese cake dessert. Slowly but surely, we inch towards destiny, however hideous it might turn out to be...
A little over a year ago, I received a very charming, not to mention welcome note from Charles Johnson, the editor of Obsessed with Pipework. Three of my poems had been accepted for publication in the autumn 2007 edition. Not only that, he had even added the postscript ‘more poems at any time, please.’ I would have sent some too, except I thought I was going to be leaving the country any minute, as opposed to a decade yet to be determined.
1) Believe you’re right about absolutely everything.
2) Outwit any opposition immediately (not as difficult as it sounds).
3) Love the written word more than life itself (I hasten to add this does not preclude enjoying life to the brimful, obviously).
It now falls to me to pass on the roar to five other bloggers. Well… you know I’m a bit of a bucker of systems at the best of times and even I know enough maths to realise that by the time this thing gets down a few layers, you will find it quite difficult to find someone who hasn’t got one. I’m not being mean or anything (Barney – shut the fuck up! A little friendly advice to anyone who has US$4,000 disposable income lying around – DO NOT BUY A HYPOALLERGENIC HYBRID PET WITH IT). Where was I? Right. By the power vested in me (however dubiously), I bestow a Roar for Powerful Words upon,
Baroque in Hackney – Ms Baroque spends her spare time teaching lions how to roar.
Reading the Signs – As a cartographer of experience, Signs has few equals.
The abandon with which I am currently exploiting Scorn and Noise's distinguished idea of celebrating Wednesdays with elegance probably deserves some kind of public flogging. (Please someone, I have so few pleasures in life). Pardon me, my manners have deserted along with my previously strict adherence to personal hygiene. I have forgone all sense of decorum by my shameless self-promotion, not to mention my attempts to raise awareness of artists whose work I own. Be assured that I am aware that I have a problem and I will seek counselling if hell is ever in imminent danger of freezing over. You have my word.
The problem is, (and this can't have gone unnoticed), in all things blog at least, I seem to have lost that je ne
I have considered trawling the archives and recycling a continuous stream of 'best of Pants' posts, rather like one's beloved BBC does with its digital channels. The BBC delights in rolling out wonderful, wacky gems from its self-assessed 'golden era' that hardly anyone watched at the time but everyone remembers with great fondness, and rightly so. It then rather cleverly goes on to create shows in the same mode to capitalise on this touching nostalgia for false memory. Life on Mars - much as I loved you - you were that show.
Early Pants posts inhabit the same void. They were wonderful but no one was tuned in to them. You have my word for that - or you could visit the archives and post me a reality check. Or you could post me an actual cheque - I never knowingly refuse money.
I so easily slip off the point these days. Anyone who visits my comments might be aware that a well-known writer recently popped by to track down a long lost actor of his distant acquaintance through this blog. He'd googled her name and come up with That's So Pants (what must he have thought?), as another friend of this actor had commented that I looked like her in a photo I'd posted. The consequence of this exercise is a significant percentage of the blogosphere is searching for one Berys Marsh.
The other day when I was negotiating my half awake self through the increasingly chaotic transport hub of
Barbara is a great capturer of the moment. I didn't prove so great at it. I lost Barbara's number some years ago and what I should have done was run after her screaming, 'Barbara, Barbara.' It's not that I care what people think, after all. It just didn't occur to me. And she slipped away.
In my own defence, that was the day I got onto the train at Hackney Wick only to have the driver announce,
'This train is full of vomit',
or so I thought. (Seriously, it isn't outside the realm of possibility on Silverlink Metro).
Actually what he said was,
'This train is for the moment... slowing down to comply with' ... blah, blah, wrong kind of leaves on the track, classic autumn lame excuse for slow running... blah, blah.
So I was chuckling away to myself about this lovely Mondegreen and trying to avoid getting trampled in the changeover crowd when I thought I saw Barbara and reacted more like an extra in Minority Report than my true self.
This EDW I present myself (again, boring, sorry) but also this great picture of me which I think does capture both my natural haughtiness (genetic fault - can't do anything about it) and my permanent sense of just not being comfortable, no matter where I am. It also sets in stone my weirdly lazy right eye (thanks Barb - history so needed that). For the record, that's a fan I'm holding, as opposed to a pan pipe.
So, I'm hoping that this post will put me back in touch with Barbara Bennett again. I'm going to leave
If only I could still fit into that little black dress...
This weekend I’d timetabled in sending out letters to literary agents (in between episodes of X-Factor and reruns of The Lion Man, obviously). I got as far as downloading the most recent list of approachable reject slip compilers and set about trying to compose an interesting and engaging covering letter. I am still sitting here bewildered nearly forty-eight hours later.
I know what's going to happen though. They'll think I'm so boring they won't bother to read on...
There was a delectably dressed toddler in Ilford Town Centre late this afternoon dressed as a pumpkin. He was unselfconsciously parading his wee self about the mall to the delight of all assembled under the pretty mauve fairy lights festooning the pedestrianised high street. I could indulge myself in a moan about why we in