Archive for May, 2013

I walked to the restaurant on the corner. I couldn’t be sat in my flat staring at the dried up flower dangling down the sideboard.

I had come to some realisation and no amount of YouTube and Facebook was going to change it. It wasn’t working. I wasn’t going to own my own flat soon. I wasn’t going to rent my own flat soon. I wasn’t going to be in the position not to be watched over by a bunch of miscellaneous oddballs as I screw up my life in that way I know, the lot of them coming and going, making you feel like some kind of reject by their perfunctory salutations or their small talk you can’t quite ever muster the energy to respond to.

I was never going to be a part of this place. Maybe I was never going to be a part of any place. It would never be my language, however often I forgot words in my mother tongue, dreamt in this one.

I counted my money onto the table as I went, keeping count as I ordering one wine after another, and moving onto vodka. I had the book I had picked up from the hostel on my first night. I had read it for a few days until I had bought a book of my own and then left it on a shelf in the corner for months.

I intended to get drunk and not think about anything until morning. I intended to spend all the money I had. There wasn’t much of it.

I had booked a flight before leaving the house; for the morning. I would go back, turn up unnannounced, knock on doors. Perhaps I could crash on somebody’s floor for a while.

I can honestly say I’ve never been happier than when I shook the change out of my wallet, slid a couple of coins to the side for the bus fare, scooped up the remainder with the notes I had crumpled under the desk lamp, and handed it to the sulky waitress with that slutty mouth piercing I’ve never been able to get a smile out of.

The still tepid air hit me as I stepped outside and I looked up and arranged my legs beside each other for a moment as two clusters of stars came together, my eyes focusing, as they had for the last hour or so, like an old television set drifting in and out of tune with a ghost of a picture shifting in and out of phase. I won’t say it was spectacular. It wasn’t. Not since I was five or six and looking up at the stars in the sky, millions of them back then, have I ever looked up to see anything approaching mindblowing. It was a handful of stars. I won’t say it was a powerful moment. I was drunk. But what there was, I was content with. I walked on and saw a man on his knees on the pavement, his back to a police car a policeman beside him, another a few metres down the road, looking through what must have been the man’s car. The guy with the bomber jacket was irritably calling his dog, kicking up grass from the swatch of greenery out the front of the flats. A bus went by and I heard it pulling in to run over the rumble strip of sunken cobble stones by the bus stop, water splashing over the pavement.

I had been nodding asleep in the restaurant. People had been looking over. They had stopped that when I had done the rounds staggering back from the toilet to buy a couple of cigarettes off somebody. I knew I would get back home, take a piss, fall forward onto my mattress on the floor and be out like a light. I had set my alarm, and would wake in time to eat a couple of things, throw some stuff in a bag and be gone.

On that walk home, I had decided something. I didn’t know things were going to turn out ok. But I didn’t know they were going to turn out bad. Most of all, I had decided, there was no point trying, day after day, trying to make it turn out the way I wanted.

I opened the door, greeted one of my housemates with a slap on his bare shoulder as he walked out of the bathroom with his toothbrush in hand, took a piss, and collapsed ceremonially onto my bed.


I begin this piece in the cafe of the Theatre Divadlo bez zábradlí waiting for the beginning of a production of Hrdý Budžes, a novel and play the author, Irena Dousková, would, according to her website, have translated into English as B. Proudew. This, like many a translation between languages as divergent as are Czech and English, is both ingenious and flawed. My own solution, Proud Beethachoo, is at first sight at least, clumsy. Not perhaps so ingenious, it nonetheless makes the hero of the piece sound less like an accountant, less like an English name (Budžes itself does not sound like a Czech name), and more like the mangling of a phrase heard on the school radio by a clever, worrisome little girl with a surplus of imagination, which is what we discover him to be. (more…)

I had had a long day. I had gone straight from school to meet a woman I’ve been trying to make contact with for some time. I first wrote to her back in the middle of February. I first met her a month or so later, and then, things having gone cool and then warm again, texts and e-mails going back and forth as she changed jobs and took weekends at her parents’ place in the South and the like, finally met up with her again this afternoon.

That ought not to take too much in the way of planning, but, things being as they are, it’s an organisational nightmare.Image (more…)

Every few months it gets to the point with me that the work I’m doing, the life I’m leading is crushing me. I feel claustrophobic, certainly depressed, find it near impossible to shake for the briefest moments an abstract crushing anxiety that dogs my days. I run when I can, make jokes when it’s possible, listen to music, watch films and box sets, but nothing rids this weight whatever I do. It sits atop my head when I lay it down at the end of the day, and I wake with it, sometimes gathered up from the mess that surrounds me in whatever living space I have been temporarily calling my own, a mess that itself reflects the chaos and entropy that has always been the calling card of my life. (more…)