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nineteen later four

by rocklobster 

Posted: 30 September 2003
Word Count: 2325
Summary: The diary of a rock and roll band, travelling Europe, steeped in shame and guilt

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Chapter 6

Nocturnal Emmissions

Back on the road to London again. I really didn’t feel up to this one. Yesterday I’d sat off and got rotten with Zone in the Liver bar, drinking cheap piss and preying on the young. It was enrolment day and we thought we might get some skirt. Dream on dreamer. That evening we continued on into stellazine land with Metcalf. By five am, I was starting to vomit after being woken by rising bile and the remains of the only food I’d eaten for nearly a day, a rancid soggy pakora.
By six I was passing blood every five minutes or so. It got so frequent that the placky bag came out in lieu of struggling to the toilet. I vomited like a consumptive in to that, straight from my bed. Sounds awful and indeed it was. But nothing new I’m sorry to say. My bloodletting career had begun years earlier as a result of some well dodgy chicken and chips I’d bought from Leung’s in Chain Lane. I’d known John Leung for ages. He kept nunchucks in the fridge behind the counter and would answer every drunken gutter sweller with the same meaningless platitude as they swayed in front of him, complaining about their life, trying to focus on the menu. “Ah, bava, inni?”
I’d had horrible dreams that night of demons in my eyes and huge grey insects pustulating out of my skin all over my body. When I awoke it was to a toilet bowl full of gooey dark brown congealed blood. For a second I thought it was chocolate instant whip. Gotta make way for the homospewperior.

In Whiston Hospital I was held on a trolley on my side by big hands as a cold thick black sausage of an endoscope was forced into my mouth through a fat Bakelite plug.
“We’re just going to have look to see what the problem is, okay? Just relax and breathe gently. That’s right. Everything’s fine.”
The nurse’s banal reassurance was as welcome as a jabbering ape as I struggled to overcome the body’s choke mechanism. Big hands pushed me down harder. The whole business was some obscene parody of fellatio. As the medico-phallus snaked through my gut freezing my insides and filling them with dead weight, I thought of all the times I’d muttered “Body of Christ” as I administered the Blessed Sacrament into the mouths of my women. It was like vomiting in reverse.
“You can open your eyes now and watch the surgeon cauterise the tear with a laser on this little screen if you like.” Said the nurse, as though we were playing with dolls in the Wendy house. I hope your children fry.
After the operation I lay there in the corridor staring at the ceiling. Utterly spent. My mouth, throat and insides were raw, almost flayed and I felt as though I’d been raped by Vlad the Impaler. A hairy young doctor approached my trolley with the air of a prophet of doom. He looked at me from the corners of his eyes and shuffled nervously as though pondering some eternal absolute.
“Are you an alcoholic Sir?”
Blank stares.
“Because the injury you suffered, a Mallory-Weiss tear, is almost exclusive to alcoholics, the homeless and the religiously insane.”
I nodded silently. Baby Jesus had made sure that I paid full interest on any enjoyment I had. Now whenever I lose control with the booze I run the risk of opening up my internal gash and spending the night spitting out huge globules of rich red blood, like Keats during his last days next to the Spanish Steps, praying for sleep to give my body the chance to heal itself. Vis medicatrix naturae.

A few pipes of universal panacea later and I was capable of conscious thought. By the time the van arrived I could almost speak. I looked around the bestial faces. Slack Alice had had a haircut that made him look like Jilly Goolden, Gorp was Belisha Beacon orange from too much sun shower and Spock was now a father. His first action had been to buy little Tuvok an Everton away kit. I crawled in and sank into oblivion. I dreamt of big craggy rocks I had to negotiate and lots of dark, thundering water below waiting to swallow me should I slip...
The gig, at W14 in Earl’s Court, had no dressing room so to smoke we retired back to the van and crouched into no space under Marshall, Fender and Paiste. Dickie told us about the rejection letter he’d received from Creation Records. He tried to remain optimistic, “It shows promise though lads. Usually bands hear notn.” It was the tone in the voice more than the ridiculous statement that betrayed his disappointment. Ellis confided that he’d been offered six months roadying work in the US with the Pete Best band. He knew their guitarist. He leant back, took a huge draw and took great delight in describing how a fat Gazza in an England shirt scratched and sniffed all the way down the road. I still felt like scrub though and all this information only made me feel worse. Luckily Stanislav was in the house so I didn’t have to endure another six-hour return journey into despair. Stanislav’s girls thought that Everard had the biggest Adam’s apple they’d ever seen, holding his head back so far on stage they feared he’d broken his neck.

Duke arrived breathless and late to the Motor Museum. It was a pink brick recording studio, owned by Andy McCluskey of OMD fame, which lay in the bohemian quarter of Lark Lane, just off the sprawling green expanse of Sefton Park. It was approaching dusk, that hour before sundown that is so beloved of the filmmakers. The light slanted down lazily from the horizon and flooded in through the skylights. It was as diffused and mysterious as The Fighting Temeraire. Duke stood looking at us. He’d been in a punchup. Both of his eyes were swollen and bruised. His manner was fey and strange though, adrenalin making him skittish, like a hyperactive child, a smile playing round his lips. He beckoned in a conspiratorial way and looked around to check that no one was listening. Everyone crowded round him with bright eyes, sensing his mood, eager for tales of bravery and violence. Testosterone crackled the air. It was like Ahab on the Pequod, St Elmo’s fire blazing above Duke’s head, a strange and pagan lust in the listener’s gaze.
He claimed to have inadvertently become involved in a feud between two gangs in Toxteth, one black, and one white. Whilst walking to the Motor Museum he’d been chased by the black gang and surrounded. The black champion had ran up to Duke and thrown a punch. Duke, who, you’ll remember was a boxing coach, had dodged and landed a counter. In respect, a number of the gang had exclaimed “Kidder!” before one of them hit him over the head with a large bottle of San Miguel. They’re made of strong stuff though in Edge Hill and the bottle just made a low hollow comedy ‘dink’ as it made contact with Duke’s solid bull terrier skull. This is what had given him the black eyes. A partly congealed scab on the bridge of his nose showed where the bottle had made contact. In the pause that followed Duke had managed to make a strategic withdrawal. The champion shouted down the road, “We’ll have a straightener next time.” “Yeah, if yer on yer own, yer shitouse!” responded a running Duke.
He’d returned home to clean himself up but found the gang waiting outside his house. They chased him again, this time with real hatred in their souls. “Thee had more than bottles this time.” “What did thee av? What are thee gonna do? Whara you gonna do? Howyer gonna gerrome? After you on tha’ lad.”
Duke looked around again and eased out the pause for dramatic effect. His feigned nonchalance was breathtaking, “Dohnwurry, I’ll ge’ Docker to av a werd wivvm. They’re shit scared ovm.” Docker was thought to be part of a crew that had contacts with the notorious Purple Aki. The legend of this massive African, “so black, he’s purple” haunted the psyches of young men in the northwest of England like a rabid candomble ghost. It was said that he was a violent homosexual rapist who preyed on muscular youths everywhere from Widnes to Blackpool. He would approach them and chat about weights and training before offering to feel their muscular arms and legs. The legend told of how one boy had been killed crossing a railway line when trying to escape his clutches. He’d done time as a result but was again at liberty stalking through the landscape. For years tales of near violation and close escapes were whispered in a thousand settlements across Liverpool bay. Body builders wandered around in packs for protection and gym membership hit rock bottom. Skinnies thought it was great. At last they had an advantage over the well built. To some people, he was a twilight figure, like Keyser Soze, a demon from another dimension to frighten children. Literally a legend. Murph had said one time, “You mean he’s real? He actually exists?” Sat in a bar with a friendly previous employer on a leaving do I’d told him about the legend of Purple Aki. His face grew pale and he changed the subject so abruptly I nearly choked.

“I was wiv Docker’s cousin in India when we saw this dead body.” Said Spock. “It had been pulled up out the sea by the bizzies on to the beach…all its gasses had bloated irrup an it was putrefyn and everton…loads people stood raand, gawpn. I asked some fellah worrad happened to ‘im. ‘Notn’ he said, ‘he’s dead.’”
“Yerrai remember in Goa,” said Dickie, “seein’ all these Tantric Sex centres where the rich’d all go…Didyer go to one, Dickie?..Nar...my version was jostln in the sea as I was swimmn along, talkn to people…I ‘ad to do a little paddle backwards soze I wouldn’t clog me pubes.”
“Tha’ Stings into Tantric Sex, isn’t he. Says he can do i’ fer ten hours.”
“Nar, ‘is watches just stopped, tha’s all.”

Poor Duke. Not only were his neighbours giving him grief but the band was getting to him also. Whenever the music started to break down at rehearsals, for whatever reason, everyone would turn and look at him. Slack Alice, inevitably, was the worst offender. His impatience knew no bounds, nor his spiteful tantrums. “If you can’t get the song right then yer not tryin!” This would be the first time we’d attempted the song. “It’s a waste of flamn’ time...I’m off...I’ll go shall I?..It’s useless me being here.” All aimed at Duke. When Slack went to the toilet Spock leaned over. “Just ignore him. Don’t argue with ‘im an’ we might get a peaceful praccy with no ultimatums.” The inclusive Later bubble had all but burst. All that remained was a faded photocopy carried around by Slack. Daubed on the back, in excrement, barely legible were the words “without me you are nothing.”

A two minute silence was held all around the country at eleven to mark Armistice Day. TV showed school, railway station and city street full of bowed heads. Flanders, Ypres, Somme. Words that should chill the soul and invoke images of Hell. Even now after a century of nuclear blast and napalm, the century that will go down as the bloodiest in human history, the thought of what happened in those freezing, stinking trenches makes me shudder. Bits of bodies of close friends left to rot in no-man’s-land, blackened eyeless heads, human pulp falling from the sky with every bomb blast. Fear, shit, blood, mud and despair. Tony Blair, acting on American orders and in our name, planted a wreath at the Cenotaph with one hand while releasing his Tornadoes over Iraq with the other. Tam Dalyell called it ‘calculated murder’.
I was reminded of the words of Harold Pinter’s American Football written during the last Gulf conflict.

My mother told me about my grandfather’s role in the Great War. Sam Pilling been part of a small unit that would infiltrate enemy trenches and fight hand to hand with Smith and Wesson pistols and small, deadly knives. I heard one story about how the troops had come across a huge bomb crater one frosty morning. The sun was bright and glistened off the icy dew. Spilling out of the crater was an enormous cascade of blood. It was frozen solid and iridescent, like a peacock’s feathers, in the morning light.
He’d been a sergeant on the front line and had gone ‘over the top’ three times. The troops were issued with a tot of rum before the whistle blew to give them a little Dutch courage before they went off with lies and propaganda ringing in their ears, louder and more deadly than any Hun artillery barrage.
A young lad in his charge had been terrified, understandably, I’m sure you’ll agree. Sam had given him his tot to try and calm him a little. A little tipsy the lad had shown too much of himself above the parapet and was shot were he stood. Sam never touched alcohol for the rest of his life. I saw photos of him when I was younger in which he looked like the Pope. He’d returned to Liverpool and ran a printer’s in Mercer Street in Garston that produced some of the posters and stuff for the early Beatles. I wanted to look into his eyes and ask him how it had affected him. Just why had his brave generation willingly gone to suffer in the freezing mud? He died when I was two so I never knew him. This is one of the biggest regrets of my life.

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Comments by other Members

old friend at 07:09 on 01 October 2003  Report this post
Hello Peter,

Very strong writing with a lot packed in. I did not find it easy to 'keep in touch'with the story, but the real clue, for me, that you can write extremely well came in the last two paragraphs.

Let's see more of your writing, please.


Prospero at 08:37 on 30 November 2005  Report this post
Very impressive. You have talent, my friend, and Write Words is a good place to hone it. Leastways it worked for me.

I hope you will join so we can read more of your excellent writing.



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