I’m about to scoot off to St Ives for three days. Some catching up is rather in order. First, a commercial break.
My small yet surprisingly powerful Session guitar amp is now up on Ebay, as sold by my brother. Used throughout my time in Orlando & Fosca. It’s just been fully serviced, ready for a new owner:
Weds 4th Aug:
Against Nature: August Edition, at Proud Camden.
I have to run the night by remote control: setting everything up, the sweets, the soundcheck, the silent movie, Â then I dash off home by 9pm because of my curfew. Kevin Reinhardt does the stand-in promoter duties. Kind door volunteers: Sam C, Farzana F, Sarah H, Alex P, Kitty F. Del Des Anges (sound engineer) and Sophia Wyeth (DJ) also work their socks off for hours on end. I’m utterly grateful to them all.
It ends up being the best attended night of Against Nature to date (including the September one). And I’m not there to attend it myself.
Joe Atari sends me some photos he took.
Thurs 5th August:
Paid work! I do a one-off talk at the National Portrait Gallery on the subject of Queer Perspectives. I’m the guest speaker for Sadie Lee, who puts on the event regularly. Am wearing the tag, and wonder if this is some kind of first for the NPG. Or for wearers of curfew tags. The talk lasts 7pm-8pm, and I easily make it home in time for my curfew. The Northern Line is so much better than it used to be. Still need to write up the notes as an article.
Fri 6th August
To Wynd’s Shop Of Horrors on Mare Street. He’s asked me to DJ at a few of his events, in return for some framed original drawings by Stephen Tennant. I get to pick out the ones I want, settling on an illustrated poem written on Wilsford Manor headed notepaper, a Cocteau-esque portrait of a sailor, and one of Alexander the Great.
A few weeks later (Sept 21st), I hang two of them, using the picture rail in my room. Hanging framed art at home is the closest I feel to being properly grown up.
Back at the shop, I’m interviewed about dandyism by a Polish journalist, Kamilla Staszak. She takes a photo of me wearing the tag:
Fri 20th Aug:
I spend an hour or so collecting for DEC’s Pakistan appeal at Holborn tube, holding a bucket near the foot of the main escalator. It’s an official collection by TFL staff. Although I’m not a TFL employee, they’ve asked friends of friends to boost the numbers. Farzana F is a friend of the organiser, and she’s a friend of mine, so here I am.Â Quite touching when an old lady stuffs a £20 note into my bucket, while a 6-year-old girl runs over and puts in a penny, encouraged by her parents.
One very weird moment. A well-dressed man stands next to me and asks quietly, ‘Would you be prepared to sacrifice yourself for Pakistan?’
I say, pardon? And he repeats it. What on earth can I say back? Does he want a debate on the subject, right now? Or am I actually being….? No, surely not. And yet, I do have this history of strangers coming up and saying very unexpected things to me. Whatever it is, I want him to go away. I blurt out some words.
‘Um. I’m just collecting coins and notes… That’s as far as I go, I’m afraid.’
And he walks off.
Later, in the laundrette on Archway Road. Â As I traipse out the door with my pressed shirts, a woman stops me.
I turn around. ‘Yes?’
‘You look like Superman.’
‘Right. Thank you.’
She doesn’t seem particularly insane, either.
SomewhereÂ in all this is what, I suppose, my friend Shanthi calls my Unique Selling Point.
Tags: against nature, catching up, things strangers say to me