Thursday, 18 February 2010

Crazy in Lewisham.

There's something on my mind and it's been there for the last week or so. It's a realisation really and probably really trivial but I can't quite shake it. There has barely been a moment over the last seven days that I haven't thought about it and it's starting to upset my sleep and make me drift off for hours during the day when I should be working. You see, sometimes I think that Beyonce Knowles and I have very different lives.

I never considered the gulf between Beyonce and I before. Perhaps I didn't want to. But it's there. Maybe I'm not the booty shakin' RnB diva that I just assume everyone thinks I am. Maybe.

It all started last week when I was in Exeter. After the delightful gig where I spent more time than I should have listening to the theatre manager telling me about her seven cats and how they all have jobs (except one. She's a retired lapdancer. Christ Almighty), I decided to go for chips. There was a really scary looking chip shop that I thought would be perfect. It wasn't.

The chips came in a polystyrene box. You know the sort that actually melts itself onto your food? And makes that noise that sends a kicking down your spine when you scrape your tiny, tiny, tiny plastic fork across it? Yeah? Well, that's what I was eating out of. Sadly, I had put a litre of vinegar on them by accident so when I got out of the shop and opened Pandora's Polystyrene Box my eyes were punched in the face by the smell. I was already a bit drunk plus it was raining. I really didn't need to be blind just now. That's when I heard a gentleman from the other side of the road shout "Wanker" just before throwing a bottle at me. He missed spectacularly but it smashed on the pavement and came with a general air of menace that I didn't want to deal with. And that was when it hit me (not another bottle): I'm wet, drunk, blind, eating chips and melted plastic and getting bottled. Beyonce and I have very different lives.

Now, I'm not saying that it's easy doing all that choreography rehearsing she must do. And all that constant support she gives to not some but ALL the single ladies must occasionally take it's toll. And she has to deal with Jay-Z. But it's not depressing, is it? When I was wiping vinegar out of my eye and drunkenly stumbling over broken glass I couldn't help but think that being Beyonce is probably great.

Two nights previous to this revelation I was given another clue that there was a good reason why I was never allowed in Destiny's Child. Again, it's chip shop based. I don't want you to think that I'm chip obsessed. I don't eat chips every day. I mean, I don't want arse the size of... well, it doesn't matter who has a big arse and who doesn't. I'm just saying that I don't eat chips every day. This was a rare week were there were two chip shop visits, that's all. I went into my local chippy and asked for chips. I should have been in and out of there in seconds but there was a gentlemen being served before me. He was buying everything that he would need to eat for the rest of his life. He was very drunk and was waving in the wind. I could tell he was looking at me so I avoided eye contact. It's incredibly difficult to avoid eye contact while being stared at. But I tried. I tried and I failed. That was all the reason he needed to be aggressive. "Do I look gay?", he said.

To be fair, he didn't look "traditionally" gay. He wasn't wearing all pink with a handbag that matched his boa. But you know, gays have moved on and maybe his point was clearly "don't be so prejudiced". He's right. A lot of gay men wear normal men's clothes these days and with that in mind I nervously said "No".

"Well, why are you fucking looking at me, then?"

I see. He's an idiot. Fair enough.

Not only did he just want to start a fight but he didn't understand the very basics of homosexuality. That I found more depressing than the aggression. "You stupid fucking cunt! YOU don't need to be gay for ME to find YOU sexually attractive. You fucking cretin. Surely if anyone is looking gay in this scenario it's ME because I was the one looking at you. Mind you, balls-face, even that doesn't work because YOU were the one looking at me in the first place. You stared at me for ages. You totally checked me out. You were undressing me with your one good eye. You really are the stupidest fucking, neanderthal, knuckle dragging brainless moron that ever walked this Earth. KILL YOURSELF", I thought quietly to myself as I took my chips and quickly left.

Beyonce never has this. Ever. She'll have someone who goes to the chip shop for her.

Last night was the last straw. At about 1am I tried to get a cab from Angel to Lewisham. There were plenty of cabs but none of them were stopping. It was cold, damp and boring. I was competing against horrible, horrible drunks for cab driver's attention and they were winning. What a boost for the ego it is to see a man successfully flag a cab while pissing in a bin at the same time. Eventually a cab stopped and when I said "Lewisham, please" he said "No fucking way" and drove off.


It was a while before I finally found a cab that pitied my existence enough to actually agree to go to Lewisham for money. Oh, Beyonce. We are the same. THE SAME. But the world seems to treat me so differently to you. We both strut, we both have soul and a great pop-sensibility and we both be gettin' all the shit from our mens. But where she glows, I get abused. Where she sings, I get silenced. Where she shows her true beautiful colours, I get blinded by vinegar.

I overheard a conversation today in the park. It's rude to eavesdrop but I couldn't help it. It just seemed like they were having the same conversation with each other that I've been having with myself. I can't be completely sure, word-for-word what it was they were talking about because they were quite far away and they were both parakeets but I have a feeling they were as confused as me. Some idiot let his parakeets go free in South London in the early 70's and, despite everything, these brightly coloured tropical beauties survived. There are parakeets all over South London now and Lewisham has plenty of them. If there is a reason to live here, it's them. I saw one in a tree talking to another one in a tree about 50 feet away. "What the fuck are we doing in this grey, dull shithole? We're tropical birds, for fucks sake!", sang one. "I know! This arse of a place doesn't even have sky. Just a cracked, damp ceiling. We're too beautiful for here. Where did we go wrong?", chirped the other.

Yes. That's right. I'm just like Beyonce and some tropical birds. Deal with it.

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