A stroll about Camden Town of a winter’s night is erotic in much the same way as certain chards of film have proven erotic for the most Blessed and Holy Laura Marks - it is a wrassle twixt domination and submission, twixt tension and ease.
Wandering those pitch-black thoroughfares, a fella is both fucker and fucked.
The senses oscillate erratically, bounding from fear to calm, from recognition to confusion. A fella has his vision and sense of symmetry torn from him one minute and brought blasting about the skull anew the next.
His name slinks away from him, scuttling for the shadows, captured then and returned by way of a man in a parka selling the sniff n’ jig by the tube station. ‘Oi ginger!’ says he, and there it is, my identity - wrenched back out the clutches of the concrete with teeth bared and eyes tingling.
Dominated and dominating. Fucking and being fucked.
(Say the words of a song swelling somewhere back my eyes - “I was rid but once in London / By the cock of Camden Town…”)
Wandering towards the Hawley Arms with Sir Fleming, and a burst of laughter. “Ginger! Did you hear? Fuckin’ Ginger, no less.”
I run a hand about the shapeless, toneless plume atop my head. Bleached white here and there with belches of orange and brown flit’rin about. “If ever again I get the notion to mess with the mop” says I, “Be sure and force me to sleep for at least 9 hours afore proceeding.”
Awake for two days and with a bastard of a flu rampaging about the head-holes, even the most obviously absurd notions seem all the reasonable in the world.
Considering this still whilst stood awaiting service at the bar in question, one arm thrust across the counter, scrabbling for the barmaid’s attention, the other flailing in the air, grasping at the melodies that self-same barmaid is spitting left and right with every flick of the hair off her shoulder.
The spoors of a Jenny Lewis dream haunting the eyes of a waking Kate Nash - such is the measure of the barmaid’s appearance.
Thinking - fuck me, of all the nights to encounter such a wonder… Of all the heads with which to greet her… Oh for a Wurzel Gummidge-esque collection of spares that I might rummage through afore leaving the flat. Two dozen potential fizzogs arranged according to plumposity of jowls or texture of eyelids. For the barmaid in the Hawley Arms… None but this cheeky bugger here, with the Nick Cave handlebar and the Christopher Lee widow’s peak will suffice.
Round about me - mocking and taunting - a carousel of grotesquely beautiful faces trundling incessantly. Statuesque jaws, impeccably disheveled fringes, eyes blue as the balls o’ St Francis and smiles so perfect and yet so cold a fella’s pupils stick to them in passing. On the wall, a sprawl of Polaroid photos stretching from floor to ceiling details a thousand more yaps - sometimes forlorn, sometimes cheering, sometimes with eyebrows arched halfways across the scalp, sometimes pretending not to see the camera, always stunning - the yaps of various revelers and scenesters and celebrities who’ve been sat at these tables at some point afore now.
To the image of Richard Hawley - for whom the bar wasn’t named, but should’ve been - I give a nod and say all about I fucking loved Lady’s Bridge and also, if it’s at all possible, maybe I could borrow your quiff for ten minutes, for I’m very much considering telling this barmaid that I’m in love with her and I don’t think she’ll be all that receptive, to be honest. But if I reminded her of the fella sings Love Of My Life… I dare say I’d be walkin’ with the assistance of fourteen strong men and women for the next month, so ferociously would her lust lay waste my limbs.
In the end, another lad serves me, and it’s only later, when I’m shudderin’ through kip owin’ to the amount of caffeine in the gut that I get to say to her “I very much adore you, barmaid woman who looks a bit like Kate Nash with a (fake) rabbit-fur coat draped about her.”
She smiles, shrugs one shoulder. “Sorry” she says. “I’m seein’ the fella out the Longpigs.”
“Oh” says I, stifling a wince. “Fair enough, so.”
“I do like your quiff, mind.”
“Cheers” says I.
I woke up to the sound a fence collapsing in the garden next door.