Note: I wrote this story a good few years ago and haven't read it recently. I remember it being good, but uneven.


The evening is an orange smudge of fog and sunsets. My eyelids can’t stay open. Man, I’m tired. I have been walking around in circles all day, scared of bumping into myself. I keep on opening beers and then leaving them undrunk on the kitchen table. It’s a crying shame. It’s very easy to sneer at self-help books and therapy or counsellors. So I’ve decide to carry on doing just that. It certainly beats changing my life.

I can’t sleep so I lie in bed and read the TV guide - mainly films on satellite that I won’t get to see. Satellite television makes me unduly sad, I don’t know why. You can't get cable in my flat. No unsightly satellite dishes allowed. I hate not having it - and it’s getting worse now, what with cable and digital TV, there is so much top-quality programming just passing me by. Live sports, premier league football. I dream of the stuff. And the channels are multiplying, they’re breeding in the night. I wake up and there’s ten more channels to choose from: cartoons, twenty four hour news, MTV, MTV2, MTV Bass, MTV ME, the whole shebang. And I’m missing it all, stuck here on planet earth with five channels and the remote control. Even the Italian fucking football has disappeared. It's just me and indoor bowls in the afternoon. It’s not fair.

My head is full of popping and fizzing, like a soft drink advert. It feels as though my existence is entirely sponsored by Coca-Cola, such is the effervescing in my head. I can’t sleep - you try sleeping when all you can hear is the distant rattling of paper-clips and tube trains. I’m 29-years-old. I can retire in 35 years and buy a nest in the country and take pot-shots at passing tourists. I already feel like an old man. I’m sick of wanking and sex seems out of the question at the moment. No, sex is not a friend of mine. Indeed, sex will not even look me straight in the eye anymore. It is all just rumour and office gossip: sex is something that happens to other people, like car-crashes or winning the lottery.

I pop a sleeping pill, one of the cheap, over-the-counter, non prescription types that has the advantage of not upsetting my stomach or my ulcer or my dear sensitive head. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t send me to sleep. No, the sleeping pill does work, it doesn’t help at all, except for giving me some moral high ground from which I can sneer at the pharmaceutical industry. One day I shall compose a list of all the global industries that have betrayed me throughout my life and believe me: the pharmaceutical industry will be top. Potions, lotions, creams, pills, injections, tonics, enemas, suppositories... I’ve taken the lot and none of them have helped: I’m still me. Even worse, a night like tonight you can really notice that my hair is growing thin. I don’t look good...I mean I always expected to look like my father, but I seem to have skipped a generation and gone straight for my granddad. At the moment, lying in bed, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between me and my grandfather, and he’s dead, so I’ve got to be doing something wrong.

Six months ago I gave up smoking and I’ve felt terrible ever since. I tell you, never give up smoking. Your body won’t forgive you. Sure, at first your chest might feel looser and your bowels will no longer clog up. You might get rid of that ten-year lingering cough and that tired hang-dog expression, but don’t let that fool you: your body wants smoke. And so, pretty soon your knees will go and you’ll trap your fingers in the door of a taxi. You’ll shit yourself in the street. You’ll cum too soon in bed or not come at all. You’ll get nosebleeds when you speak in public. All these symptoms can be indirectly attributed to abandoning tobacco. Your body will get revenge. It always does.

Anyway, I gave up smoking for the same reason I started smoking, to annoy the people around me. Fifteen years ago when the mid Eighties health fad kicked in (and everyone was smearing yoghurt on their arse, knitting their own Ryvita and jogging to work with their new-born kids) I decided to start smoking out of pettiness or hatred or whatever. You have to understand that I was never a social smoker. I was always very much an anti-social smoker, and so now that all my contemporaries have become dizzy London media whore with a fag in one hand, a cocktail in the other and a kilo of gak holding their nostrils apart, I have decided to jack it in and start breathing pure air again. It doesn’t feel good to give up it, it is very much a sacrifice. Don’t let anyone tell you that there is no longer such a thing as human sacrifice. Sheer nonsense: I’m human and I make a sacrifice every time I get out of bed. I sacrifice my sleep, my sobriety, my sex-life, my money. I am a walking paragon of resentful virtue. Or I would be if I did any walking. I don’t seem to be getting anywhere at the moment.

In between the buzzing of my faulty conscience, the crackling of my headache and the insidious whisperings of my self-esteem you would think there was no space for external noise. But you would be wrong.

For I am blessed not only with a sleepless body but also sleepless neighbours. They moved in four years ago and set about on publicly constructing the perfect model family. This involves loud sex and loud hammering. The sex I can forgive, but the DIY really gets me down. For a year now, every moment of silence has been punctuated by the rat-at-at of a nail-gun, the sub-sonic buzzing of a chainsaw, the clanging clatter of hammer against nail. It only ever starts when I stop. If I should pause for a moment when I emerge from the shower, they are waiting with pliers and a monkey-wrench. When I switch off the radio, I am assaulted by the wailing of their dogs pining for supper or the hapless mother barking at the ungodly brats. And now I cannot park my car outside the house because there is another builder's van and two hatchbacks - with matching roof-racks and “Give My Child A Chance” stickers. I can't sit in the garden and now I cannot lie on the roof because their delightful mock-Tudor extension overlooks my terrace and houses the dregs of the family not allowed to roam freely on the lower floors. Not content with breeding at a rate which embarrasses passing Catholics, they seem to have imported elderly grandparents and long-lost uncles to fill out the house and save on the cost of babysitters. I feel like I am living in a waking nightmare in which the volume control of my existence has gone haywire and every act occurs as loudly as possible.

In the heatwave of summer I would leave my bedroom window open. That was a mistake. Every morning I would be awoken at sunrise not by the gentle chirrup of birdsong but by the screaming of sugar-crazed toddlers, shooed outside to cause chaos on the terrace which now faces my window. The noise haunts me. On bad nights it reduces me to tears and muffled, whining screams. It feels like sonic rape, the screech of tricycle and scateboard follows me around even at work.

It's affecting my head. Silence sounds oddly unnatural to me, as though it is only the nasty prelude to a crying child or a barking dog; When I'm alone I find myself making my own special noise, an awkward clunking and squawking, just to fill in the blanks. The neighbours feel like a constant battering ram against my skull: the noise a reminder of their ever-spreading territory. They may as well just come over and piss on my carpets and get it over and done with. They want to hurt me, I know it. I can feel it in my gut. They must be trying to get to me - at night they leave their dogs chained in the front room - they bark incessantly and drive me underneath my covers. (Underneath the pillows, underneath the sheets, underneath the bed). I tell you... the neighbours, they’re affecting me badly. I bite my hands and I can’t focus on the garden without feeling sick. The husband - I still don’t know his name, it seems to change whenever I ask - has built a shed in the bottom of the garden and commutes to and from the house every 10 minutes to check in case the children have collapsed under the weight of their own vocal chords. I hate them. At night I listen very intently and I can hear them walking round the kitchen. The husband is the worst. I think I can hear his beard growing, an ultrasonic scratching like nails on a blackboard. I can’t move away from the bedroom for fear that they are watching and waiting, ready to bang pots and pans and scare me off. When I walk out in the street the kids point and jeer. I feel ill. My head is a football. Go on, kick it.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that here I am, all on my own, lonely and sliding towards premature middle-age. And of course I'm just jealous of this happy little clan with their friends and their dinner-parties and their daily adventures. Well, close... but you’re still full of shit. I am not like that. I am not like that at all. I am not jealous; I am quite content to fall apart in my own squalid boredom, because I do it quietly. I do everything quietly - it's my new commandment. I’m going to sneak into hotels and scrawl it into the bibles: Whatever you do in life, thou shalt do it quietly. Too fucking right.

(Don’t listen to me. I don’t make any sense to myself, so I don’t know why you have invited yourself in here to eavesdrop. If you’re snooping around looking for some wisdom then look elsewhere. There’s no room in the inn, you’ll have to sleep in the barn. My head hurts, it feels like a watermelon. Like I said, I’m full of shit, but you’re the one listening. Let me make one thing clear, these words, these spaces, this incessant jabbering of nouns and verbs - it isn’t art, it’s attrition. The second I shut up I start thinking and when I start thinking the serious problems start to set in.)

It is 3am and time has started going backwards. The pillows, these damp sheets, the old wallpaper. They all seem like little reminders of the my debt to the twentieth century. My little pact with progress that keeps me alive and keeps me awake. I have spent enough money in my time... you would imagine that I would have invested a little in the security of my future. But no, everything I own is a short-term investment, a shot at getting through the day. Sometimes I see CDs in shops reduced to half-price, and even though I already own them, I feel compelled to buy them again, just so that I can feel like a man who bought a bargain.

I inspect the bric-a-brac of my existence: compact discs I never play, food that I never eat, clothes I never wear, all bought to soothe my consumer conscience and to burn a hole in my ever-shrinking pocket. I am pissing it all away on little one-night-stands at Ikea and HMV. What would my wife (my ex-wife) say about me? She would say that I was an overweight sack of excuses and one-liners that in a certain light might look like a bit like a man. And I wouldn’t disagree, except to piss her off.

I should have a drink, a small glass of Scotch or something, but I don’t like to mix it with the sleeping pills. What a coward, eh?

I always dreamt of a television in my bedroom. It seemed like a good ambition as a child. Never aim too high. A bedroom telly will do - no squabbles about the remote control, no need to worry whether the family might not want to watch the golf, no need to be discreet with the soft-core French films that passed for pornography in my early teens. A TV in my bedroom seemed like a very great thing indeed. When I stayed over with friends - Larry or Harry or Gary or whatever else they weren’t called - they always had TVs in their bedroom. I would be awed into silence by the little box in the corner that beamed out happiness 24 hours a day. The littlest miracle.

Now, here I am 20 years later and I have got myself my own TV with remote control, teletext and DVD player. But I can’t watch it in bed, it doesn’t feel right. At 5am I often crawl out of bed and make a pot of tea, sit in my dressing gown in the kitchen and watch the TV that sits on top of the fridge; that feels more natural than lying in bed and watching the telly. Either I can’t sleep in the same room as a television, or I can’t watch television in the same room as a bed, I can’t work out which. Either way, my childhood dreams have been thwarted. I listen to the radio at night, and am happy to doze off with it playing in the background, but there seems to be something criminal about going to sleep with the telly on, as though the newsreaders and talk-show hosts and American cops will be watching me as I sleep. I get paranoid about that, that they’ll steal things from the bedroom when I’m sleeping. Or that they’ll kill me whilst I’m dreaming, I would if I had the chance. And this is coming from me, who works in TV, the mystery should have washed away by now. My television dream has boiled down to a single, simple practicality. If I want to watch TV, I have to wear my glasses. If I want to go to sleep, I have to take them off. I get angry when I think about that too much.

The sniffle of an invisible cat, the rumble of distant trains, the shouts and whispers of the high-street. All the noises of the night, the soundtrack to my sleeplessness. You ever think about the patterns that appear before your eyes before you go to sleep? I do. They’re not just random blobs and flashes, they must mean something. I don’t know what they signify yet, I haven’t so far cracked the code - the intermittent visions of a thousand tiny pin-pricks on the wrong sides of my eyes, or the cascading set of multicoloured ball-bearings which sometimes roll at me as I think of sleep. I guess they must be there for a reason, other than a brain tumour or dandruff on the eyes. They must have some cosmic significance; they remind me of those ink-blot tests you get in Hollywood psycho-dramas: Those Rorschach tests which the bespectacled police shrink will show to the serial killer in order to defrost his brain. As the patterns flash before my eyelids like so many errant blood-vessels , I think I can figure out all the shapes and formats, the strings and squares which make up my little existence. Sometimes they appear as animals, sometimes as friendly faces, often if I concentrate they seem to absorb the shape of vintage cars, all polished headlights and gleaming running boards. I don’t know why. All too often it works the wrong way for me: I see the real things in life as shapeless blobs, ink blots on my spectacles. Everything blurs into a painful mess. That’s the curse of a short-sighted childhood.

Most nights when I can’t sleep I rehearse magazine interviews and prepare mental quotes that I can imagine on the dustjackets of hardback books. Black and white photos to appear in Sunday supplements and film magazines. Telephone interviewers asking for my opinion on today’s events in the Gulf, or my weekly column in which I muse upon my top-ten films. The media spotlight shines upon my toothy grin. If I still haven’t dropped off I rewind the events of the day and replay them in the third person, framing them with the appropriate comments and dialogue, writing my own happy endings. All the fat and fact that clogs up my head gets the fictional treatment, played widescreen and Technicolor for my imagination and my flagging self-esteem. Everyone does it, dreaming of stardom and success and an escape from the dreary responsibility of waking and cooking and breathing. Tonight I skip the theatricals and take another pill. Like I said, they’re pretty weak.

I regret everything. I regret getting up in morning and going to sleep at night. I regret marrying my wife and I regret divorcing her. I regret coffee, tea and daytime TV. I regret smiling when I should have frowned. I regret the London Underground. If I could go back and change it all I would do it in an instant. Sometimes I even regret things I haven’t done yet, in anticipation of my future failures. People tell me - often pub-philosophers or football pundits on the telly - that you only regret things you didn’t do rather than things you did do. Well I regret both. I regret things that I know I couldn’t have avoided, and that aren’t even my fault. I regret the fact that I was a gutless child, clinging to my mother and the safety of home. I should have been out in adventure playgrounds, grazing my knees and wrestling with the older boys. But that was never my style. All those idiots in the papers, giving their interviews and their smiling photos, they always roll out the same lines: Regrets? No. Without my mistakes, I wouldn’t be the man I am now. Well, I don’t want to be the man I am now, so you can take my mistakes and you can stick them. I would happily swap my life for a fresh one, all unblemished potential and free from the constant weight of becoming a middle-aged nobody. There is definitely something to be said for self-pity. It isn’t self-respect, but it’s cheaper and from a distance you can’t tell the difference.

It is quarter past four in the morning and I am still not asleep. To be more accurate, I am awake. So I am thinking about myself, like there was ever anything else to think about. And don’t tell me to grow up, I have been growing up all my life and look where it has gotten me. I’ll tell you something, you are never to old to be totally wrong about everything. You want to win something in life, you put your money on the young guy. The older I get the more opinions I hear in my head and the less I recognise the one that’s telling me the truth. So, yeah, in with all the noise and verbal diarrhoea and the broken half-arsed soundbites you may suspect I’m still living the life of some spoiled teenager with too much time on my hands and too many hormones. Well, that’s a cheap shot. I got the same life as you, the same responsibilities, the same loves, the same mortgages and anxieties. I’m just a little less enthusiastic about the whole maturing business. Be honest, who are you doing it for? Your friends? Your family? The little invisible camera that follows you around at night? You’re doing it for someone, but it isn’t yourself. When you’re alone and you’ve stripped away the kids and the pine furnishing and the art-prints on the wall and the practical car, you tell me that you believe in all that shit any more than me. You tell me that you don’t think life is an empty lie full of empty people, empty thoughts and ugly endings. You tell me that if you could get away with the rape and the murder and the money that you wouldn’t go for it. Well you can tell me but I don’t believe it.. No, I don’t think so. You want maturity and a beautiful wife and the fulfilling job and a healthy dose of red wine and pasta then you’ve got to buy into all that whole society-media supplement shit, that we’re all moving in the right direction, that everything is going to be alright. Well, forgive me for my immaturity, but I don’t think so. Everything is not going to be alright. Everything is going to be wrong. Everything is going to gnaw away at my ankles like an angry little beaver. Life is going to catch up with me and life is going to kill me and I have to confess that I’m not at all happy with the deal. My life is empty. Jesus, I keep buying furniture but this room still doesn’t look lived in. Where is my chariot of fucking fire? It’s so hot in here. Some nights when I can’t sleep I switch ends of the bed, just to get a different perspective on life, but tonight I’ve crawled around the bed so much I’ve exhausted the novelty. I can’t tell one end from the other.

So I never did get to mature. Mature. What a word. Like a fine wine, like good cheese, like fruit falling off the trees in autumn. No, I skipped all that and just started rotting. I have mildew and dry-rot and the house is only ten years old. What hope is there for the future if your house won’t stand up straight and look you in the face. It sees me and starts crying.

I reluctantly get up and pace around the bedroom, like a paunchy boxer looking for a shadow to hit. All the porn is well-read by now and stored away in a box beneath the bed for posterity and my children. My heirloom. I hit the bathroom. Inside the cabinet are the bottles and boxes that make up my proudest collection. The tablets are lined up in pairs by the mirror, like they’re waiting for Moses to come down and read them: tablets for migraines, for stress, for stomach complaints, for constipation, for diarrhoea, for depression, for anxiety, for happiness, for richer, for poorer, for better or for worse in sickness and in health. I am married to medicine. My happiest moments are at the doctors, when my throat is being probed or my temperature is being taken or when I am being asked to slowly exhale. When I am asked to remove my shirt or slowly bend over, its all so very sensual. I love it, I really do. All they ask of me is that I be ill, and I so rarely disappoint. I feel quite proud of my contribution to the upkeep of the health service.

I splash my face with cold water and wash behind my ears. I can hear a slow regular tapping coming from the water boiler in the airing-cupboard. I guess that I am still awake. I talk about myself a lot, don’t I? You find me a woman and maybe I’ll shut up.

Women, where do I begin? At the beginning? Is that too easy for you?

Women. You try to grow up for them. Try to prove that you’re not just some kid trying to talk your way into their pants. You care. You think about important issues. You’re on the side of the angels. You have hidden depths. You have the ability to relate to a fellow human being on an emotional level without flinching. You can cook. You can change your underwear without parental prompting. You can smile at adversity. Touching, no? I’m painting a beautiful picture of the guy I tried to be. It didn’t work out. I always thought there would be a moment when women ceased to be pornography and became human, when statistics and possessions and power gave way to love and tenderness and compassion. Well, needless to say, the statistics won. There was never a day of revelation, never a magic moment when love wove its spell upon my loins and they stirred to the melody of contentment and mutual appreciation. No, maybe my heart wanted love, and maybe my mind wanted approval, but my cock still wanted the amphetamine buzz of pornography: the slags and whores and prick-teases of my under-fed imagination were still running the show. No matter how I rearranged my early girlfriends, how I posed them and framed them with my pornographic eye, something was missing, something cheap and nasty and compelling. The vulgar glossiness of the intrusive photograph, the silent hatred that dripped from the hard-core flick, that was what I wanted. The sad truth of the matter was that love did not turn me on. It soothed me and touched me, but it left me soft as butter. Only hate ever made me hard. The brutal truth. I suppose that is the real beauty of porn; it leaves you hard and it leaves you alone.

Pornography has never abandoned me and I have never had the hard to abandon it. Even when - in a fit of teenage conscience - I burnt the magazines, the pornography was still there: in my mind, in my bed, in my drunken leer, in the parts of my mind I didn’t let show at dinner-parties, in the lists and the money and the dirt beneath my nails. No, love had offered itself to me and I had turned around and walked nervously away. No love. No woman, no beautiful wife. No children playing in the beautiful garden. I know I made the wrong decision, but it was the only thing I could do. I had no choice. You hear these new fathers being interviewed about their babies and they give you all that shit about childbirth putting their life into perspective and their spiritual awakening and how they really didn’t know the meaning of love before it, and everything crumbles into this easy soft -focus portrait of conjugal thirtysomething bliss, a million miles away from the static and the mobile phones and the incessant bleating of the neighbours and the panic-attacks on the tube. I don’t buy it, they’re still looking after number one. Don’t get me wrong, I try my best to fake the lifestyle, the easy tan and the linen suits, the Tuscan holidays and the air of benevolent success. The good grace to forgive my enemies, the tear in my eyes as I watch the foreign famines and the landmines. The Motown, the Beatles, the Gershwin, the soundtrack to the advert for a better life. The designer shirts, the sensible haircut. The look of a man who has the measure of life. But I always end up with the junk food and the bottle of generic cola, the pizza crusts and the tracksuit trousers. The second cheapest wine on the menu. The suspect smells of desperation and porn. I can’t fake the smell of success. So don’t call me immature, I’ve just not got the appetite to swallow the whole lie at once. Well, that’s life - as they say on TV. I don’t blame life. I blame myself. Oh, don’t quote me on any of this, I may well change my mind in the morning. It’s back to bed for me, I’ve had my time off for good-behaviour.

The curtains are dead in the air. There is no breeze tonight, just the hot dust of the early hours and the insects on the window-sill. London is gnawing it’s teeth in it’s sleep. My head is in my hands, my knees are up against my chin. The sweat is slick against the sheets like I’ve pissed myself. I can’t have children. Yes, you heard me. I’m not saying it again. No, I’m not asking you to cry for me or consider me in a warmer, more sympathetic light. Low-sperm count. I am firing blanks. You’ve seen it all before on the daytime-soaps and the afternoon talk-shows. In all honesty, it was at least a partial relief, I have never wanted kids. My sex-life was always ruined by the fear that I’d knock my girlfriends up. It killed off my marriage, but that was already on the cards before we found out. So please don’t get your hankies out, this is a comedy, not a tragedy. I am very definitely playing this role for laughs, hamming it up for the audience. I can hear the constant clapping, it sounds like hammers in my head.

I am not even a very good misogynist. I quite like women deep down. Oh, don’t worry, as a gender I hate them, but as individuals they tend too be rather nice. At least as clever as men, and better manners, which is a big deal in my book. I am a better misanthropist than I am a misogynist. I hate them all. Well, not always. Underneath my mattress there is a photo of my ex-wife. Stupid dumb bitch. I keep it there because I am sentimental. There are photos of her naked too, hidden behind the closet, but that’s another matter. No, this is just a little portrait of her smiling, my favourite. I think maybe that’s why I can’t sleep. You know the story of the princess and the pea, how she can sense the pea is there, fucking her up. Well, maybe that’s the deal with the photo. Only I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of it. It’s not like I dig it out every evening and shake my fist at God or anything. I have my dignity.

I kill another sleeping pill. I am drying up, my throat is full of phlegm and dried up tears. All the words I have eaten are sticking in my gullet and choking me up. Damn you. Oprah Winfrey and Ricki Lake, where are you now? I should be crying on your shoulders like a sick little puppy. Oprah and Ricki and me in bed with the remote control and a bucket of chicken wings and fries. That’s therapy. That’s it ladies, take your clothes off, don’t be scared. You shouldn’t hate each other, there’s only me to be scared of. That’s it, snuggle up close. Tell me about your problems, let me inside your heads. It’s alright baby. No, it’s not alright. Nothing will ever be alright again. My head is ringing like it’s New Years Day.

I have now stopped counting up from midnight, and started counting down towards seven, when the alarm will go off. I want it to be summer again, so the nights are shorter. I don’t like getting up. Every morning when I look in the mirror it feels like a fresh insult: God has not improved me in the night. I could stop complaining, but where there hell would that get me? I’ve run out of jokes. I’ve got a million punchlines and a glass jaw. There is something warm and sickly trying to get out of my stomach. My ex-wife is called Sarah, you don’t want to know how much I pay her each month. Love never comes cheap. Sometimes it doesn’t come at all.

Morning is breaking and so am I. The sky is pale and streaked with grey clouds and fading streetlights. I can hear the world yawning. Things aren’t really so bad. Nice house, nice job, nice car, nice nails bitten down to the bone. I have a nice life, I just fill it with bad things. I have a really expensive Anglepoise lamp that makes me happy. Things ain’t all bad. Just me. I could tell you a few stories that would make you like me. They wouldn’t have to be true, but they’d make you smile. Who the hell are you anyway? Get the fuck out off my head, I’m trying to sleep. Money is so lovely, but I know I’m losing it.

Do you ever wonder why life is like this? Why it is all so unhappy? We have so many answers to so many questions and yet when I wake up in the morning I can hardly remember my name. And the worst is yet to come. However bad I feel now, it is cushioned by money and youth and health and all those other great things, so it can only go downhill from now.

Don’t you ever get lonely for the human race? We are so alone out here on planet earth, leaving the lights, the TV and the radio on, in case someone blows up our home in the night. These are all stupid thoughts for my teenage years, they have no place in my new adult life. Everything is under control. I’ve got the brand-new stereo, I’ve got a library full of unread books. I’ve bought myself a little bit of history, a little pile of irreplaceable junk. This is the here and now. This is my life.

I wipe the sleep out of my eyes and trudge downstairs in my underwear. The new day is here, a little light that shines on my pillow. I put the kettle on and fill my mug with coffee. I fish through the laundry-bin for some socks and go upstairs to find my glasses. There is a loose bolt in my stomach, a scraping noise in my ears. I can feel the blood in my face, uneven and sweaty. Little things remind me of her, not some sentimental catalogue of kisses, just the fact that she is still alive somewhere. It doesn’t make me happy, it doesn’t even make me that sad. It just makes me wonder. There’s only me to please and even that seems a little ambitious at the moment.

In theory, you’re supposed to live inside your head. Supposed to stay there and play out all of life’s little roles from behind those flickering eyes. But I live outside my head, I float four or five feet above my head and observe and take notes. I am a one-man spectator sport, waiting for the cue cards and the enthusiastic applause. I am so far away from everything, in constant orbit of my life; I spin above myself, never quite able to get my feet on the ground. I am the first man on the moon and it’s pretty damn lonely up here with no-one for company but Neil and Buzz. Where does all the noise come from? From my head? From my arse? I switch on the stereo and those chords come out slow like honey, swelling as the strings build and those sad notes hit my neck, hit my stomach, hit my lonely little eyes. Nothing feels good anymore, I have sold it all so cheap. Don’t give me any self-help crap about redemption or hope, I am far too clever for that. It’s too late in the day for that: it’s morning.

Things aren’t ever so bad, most people cope.

The table in the lounge is wooden and one leg swings an inch above the carpet. I stuck some card underneath to balance it, but that now seems to have disappeared. I drink my coffee, some expensive new brand that tastes like the cheap stuff, only dearer. What’s a guy to do? All that money, all those years, I thought I could buy my way out of jail.
A walk in the park, the rain against my face. A day spent in the the sunshine, lazing with the insects and the buttercups. A day to smile at the simple pleasure of everyday existence. A day spent indoors waiting for my head to boil over, waiting for the chance to shoot myself down. It makes no difference to me. I expect you’re bored of middle-class angst. I certainly am. I’d start crying, only I wouldn’t know what to do with the moment once it’s ended. That’s the story of my life; a series of disjointed paragraphs that don’t lead me anywhere except the end. I can hear a buzzing in my brain, like the low hum of electricity. Goodbye. Good fucking riddance. Goodbye. Good morning.