Still feeling ill. General dizziness, headaches, nausea, dryness and tightness in the throat as if I'm gulping for oxygen, blurred vision, disorientation, unable to concentrate, fatigue. If this is still that "carsickness virus", it's hanging around too long. This is on top of the usual depression.
So, off to the doctor's again on Tuesday. I won't leave this time until I've been tested for everything. Or I'll change doctors yet again. Last time, while in the waiting room, I leafed through a copy of Diabetes Today. So naturally I insisted on a test for that. They took a urine sample. Results – negative. But in the magazine John Peel talks about how he too was fobbed off with urine tests, and that blood tests are far more efficient, though the results take longer. He is, of course, now a diabetic. The fact he's twice my age and there's diabetics in his family (unlike mine) doesn't of course bother me. I now won't sleep till I get the absolute, blood test all clear. And while they're at it, I'll insist they test my blood for everything else I might possibly have. They shouldn't leave those magazines out for people like me. It's like those government announcements that there may be a terrorist attack. Exactly what are we expected to do? Just go about our lives as normal, just riddled with more anxiety than ever.
Still, I maintain I'm not ENTIRELY a hypochondriac, as there clearly IS something wrong with me. I DO feel ill and I don't want to be ill. It's stopping me from doing things, and I want to get better. So I prefer the term 'gossamer valetudinarian'.
Of course, my Lifestyle and general attitude are probably not helping. I have just realised that from December 23rd to January 2nd, a day did not pass without me not only drinking, but mixing my drinks. I never exercise, sleep at irregular hours from day to day, hide from the sunlight and eat very badly. If this is the sole cause of my ailments, fine. I just want to make sure it is.
Health consists of having the same diseases as one's neighbour. Drink is the poison that kills slowly, and life is a terminal squeak of experience bookended by vast eternities of nothingness. The spot on my lip has faded, so that's all that matters. I can go out. Best be ill in public rather than be ill alone. Cafes, bars and clubs beckon me away. Vast quantities of coffee or alcohol do make me feel better, after all.
I've been directly invited to a number of things and it'd be wrong not to go. It's always important to go where you're invited. That way, it's someone else's fault. "What are YOU doing here?" "I got an invite". Can you blame me? Don't answer that. I have limited finances, so I have to be selective with what I do of an evening, and with how many times I go out in a week. Direct invites therefore tend to swing it. I am the recluse who goes to parties.
So, tomorrow: birthday drinks for Lucy Madison in Islington, then onto the Buffalo Bar yet again for the Crimes Against Pop club. I never mind going to the Buffalo Bar. It's not too much of a dark hole, has nice sofas, and is a quick bus ride or affordable cab ride home.
On Saturday, birthday drinks for Darren Beach at the Boogaloo here in Highgate. Then on Sunday, off to the Great Eastern Hotel for "Modern Times", a 1920s / 30s/ 40s themed club that people have raved about to me for some time. Maybe for once that will be a club free from Nike-d up Default Men with trainers and bad beards.
Even <a href="http://www.kashpoint.com/">Kash Point</a> on New Year's Eve had an alarmingly high representation of them, along with the usual fantastically dressed. At one point, the DJs play the Divine Comedy's Europop, and it fits in perfectly with all the recent electroclash records. Not least the songs by Baxendale and Simon Bookish from the Kash Point album, both of which find eager appreciation on the packed dancefloor.
I enjoy performances by the likes of the excellent Gene Serene, who boldy carries on dispite there being a truly drunken woman also onstage, making whooping noises on the other microphone. No one removes her. Mr Glamorre is torn between keeping the dressed-down bores out of his club, and having a friendly, open-house, Utopian policy akin to Warhol's Factory, where self-expression is encouraged, not quashed, and Do What Thou Wilt shall be the whole of the law.
Thing is, how do you tell people off?
I feel in a similar dilemma a few nights before Christmas. At a pub in Tooting, a drunken woman starts dancing on the seat next to our table, and to no one's surprise FALLS directly upon me and Mr Rhodri Marsden. I feel the need to say something to the young lady, but, as I'm rather intoxicated myself, and we're in a pub, and it's nearly Christmas, I have no grounds to tell her off. Also, I have never told anyone off in my life, and wouldn't know where to start.
Thankfully our party includes Ms Jenny, who speaks fluent Drunk Woman, and gently but firmly convinces her to continue to "express herself", but quietly and away from others. And not on top of Dickon. That's all that's really required.
Back at Kash Point NYE, and when the group No Bra perform, singer Fanny (male, bearded) deals with a similar sozzled barfly heckler by rushing over and snogging him so violently that they both tumble over the edge of the bar. That's the way to do it. Discipline in character.
The beautiful Mr Patrick Wolf says hello to me. His bleached hair is now shorn off, leaving a natural, dark crop. I also meet the glamourous likes of Ms Chiara, Ms Misty, Mr James Ward, and Ms Alexa from Riviera F. And I stay till the very, very, end.
Thankfully, it transpires that Matthew Glamorre doesn't shrink from ejecting badly-dressed bores after all. Some hours into New Year's Day, after he's performed a solo medley of Minty songs (Plastic Bag, That's Nice, and Useless Man), he tells me, "I have thrown a lot of idiots out tonight. I ask them, "Did you pay to get in? Yes? Good, because you're leaving now." "
Ah, Default Men. They plague my every step, and kill my kind for our soft pelts. On the tube, recently. I am walking down a long station corridor, with a barrier separating the tunnel into two lanes of pedestrians. A man passes me on the other side, then on seeing me STARTS WALKING BACKWARDS along with me, trying to get eye contact. It won't work. Without my glasses, I'm short sighted. And I am near-blind with heavy mascara and eyeliner. And I never look unless invited to look. He doesn't call out. Later, I am sitting on the train while it's at a station. Another Default Man bangs on the tube window nearest me. I don't look. He walks off, the train moves on.
Back at Kash Point on New Year's Eve. I am pursued and cornered in the toilets by a gang of Nearly Default Men Trying To Be Funny, as they mean well and are just drunk and confused. One of them starts talking to me as if I'm David Sylvian. That's the joke. "Didn't you make Tin Drum?" "Didn't you and Mick Karn chase the same bird?". "Didn't you collaborate with… what's his name?"
"Ryuichi Sakamoto?" I helpfully supply.
This is a new one: I am actually AIDING a detractor in making fun of me in front of his mates, in the gents toilet.
I don't mind. I find it faintly amusing, and it makes a good diary entry. Plus it's New Year's Eve, and I feel Kash Point is more My Place, safer ground than a tube station.
In the aisles of Muswell Hill Sainsburys, a few days into 2004, another Default Man with his Default Girlfriend chuckles and points at me. "Andy Warhol!". He says this <i>triumphantly</i>, as if I'm a walking "Guess Who I Look Like" contest.
This time, for the first time ever, I snap.
"Oh THANK you. No one's EVER said that to me before."
I feel instantly angry with myself for reacting that way.
"But you love it really, don't you?" says Laurence.
"I do want to be recognised", I whine. "But as myself."
"Perhaps you should put up posters of your face all over London. 'THIS IS DICKON EDWARDS'. With the web address of your diary."
We are at Waterlow Park Duck Pond, Highgate, London N6. It is 2.30pm on December 25th 2003. Like me, Laurence is spending Christmas alone. Feeding these ducks is my Christmas Day ritual. Like some English villages have their strange Wicker Man-like folk dances on certain days, I can't remember how I started doing this, or why I do it. But this year I am accompanied. Last year, Laurence had Roast Duck for Christmas, so his presence is poetically appropriate. We learn a way of seeing off any Default Gulls who muscle in on the meek mallards in make-up. You just clap your hands once, and the idiot gulls will fly away, while the ducks remain. Try it next time you're at a duck pond. After seeing "Finding Nemo", it's hard not to imagine the gulls' noisy cawing as "Mine!" "Mine!"
Laurence and I pull a cracker by the side of the pond. We both regret not bringing cameras to immortalise the occasion. It must have been a sight for the few others in the park on their post-Christmas dinner walks. Two grown men, by themselves, one of whom looks the way I do, the other is <a href="http://www.lah.freeuk.com/laurence.htm">a classical composer in his fifties</a>, pulling crackers on Christmas Day by a duck pond. It had to be done.
An email the other day from Kate P in Australia, who I always think of when seeing pictures of Sophie Ellis-Bextor. The same striking, angular beauty. Kate used to be a boy. She tells me how a club in a Sydney transsexual bar played Fosca, and she danced. I am delighted.
Shamefully, I am smoking on New Year's Eve. Tim C suggests, "Every time you want to take out a cigarette, take out a pen instead."
He is absolutely right. I haven't smoked since. I wanted to today, and instead wrote this entry.