* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Private Schooling

8 November 2001
Neil's been checking his diary.

Having any kind of record makes it worse, three foot of exercise books filled with inanity; the daily litanies of empty facts (TV programmes watched, the cycle of lessons) the tantalising shell of a life whose meat I've lost. No deeper insight into the ossified recollection of emotional immediacy and raging passions than a peppering of embarrassingly impulsive comments, no account of the dazzling surrection of intellectual inquiry beyond had a cool chat to Pete today.

The naivety comes as no surprise, the priggish parroting of indoctrinated adult attitudes is a shame that scorches even deeper when given an existence outside the human memory in my own imploded scrawl, but hurts to be reminded of as the goalposts are dragged just a few yards down the same pitch even as the prose style sharpens: piercing through the veil of innocence without noticing the six more draped in front of its nose.

The awkward mix of developmental impulse and emotional immaturity had started long before I put pen to paper, furtive nights in single figures jacking off with my security blanket, thinking of Luke and Leia. But even later it never occurred that these sordid urges and infatuations could ever be given expression by people my age (or what the kind of expression biology lessons didn't teach might be) and the thirteen year old dreaming of being taken to bed by the adult French waiter had no idea what he could be taken to bed for, other than to be fostered and be held.

And when school went co-ed and my scruffy friends started wearing pendants and trimming their hair, I was too busy acting with increasingly desperate instability (trying to gain the attention of the tolerant but embarrassed straight boy who'd made the mistake of hugging me once) to notice that their bitter attacks on one another for being on the pull masked jealousies of individuals who'd entered into deeper intimacies than we'd ever shared with one another.

I even lacked the wit to foresee that the progression of my attitudes to cannabis (frightened by the authoritarian propaganda, shocked to discover people I knew used it, acceptance that it didn't seem to be ruining lives, eagerness to try it for myself) could come to just as easily apply to cocaine.

The brevity of the entries tells a story in itself: the constant churning out of schoolwork (its purpose to fill idle hands) and evenings in in the village where nobody else lived (little wonder that travel gets the most column inches of a life snatched on train journeys.) I have to imagine for myself the holidays whiled away on the window sill, ploughing my way through trashy fantasy novels by the dozen (I read) or scribbling countless unfinished magna opera, barely concealed fictionalisations of my own internalised experiences moulded into a coherency that gave them meaning. (I wrote)

And when I see the London kids on the demos, quoting Marx and Klein, with their nonchalant air of already knowing more about life than I ever will, I try not to think of the hours spent traipsing the empty house in a world inside my head, too isolated from the noisy lads in the streets below for them to be given a fighting chance at being a bad influence.

So what became of the spotty, red-headed boy, he asks as we fuck on a mutual friend's sofa, then go to separate beds, but I'm too busy wondering what became of the emotionally charged avatar I'd always imagined myself the husk of, and where I used to regret not having committed that period's storm and stress to paper in a more articulate form, now I think I'm perhaps better off saved the disappointment. And should I regret penning this sleeper agent, myth-debunking before the fact, or perhaps be glad it can cast me off in the company of the useless salvage from a battle I lost: my clumsy ineloquence, two hugs, some good friends, six As and three A stars, two As and a C.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

17 June 2002. Neil writes: Cockfosters
23 May 2002. Neil writes: Siege Mentality
29 April 2002. Neil writes: Oh So Pretty
1 April 2002. Neil writes: Lost
11 March 2002. Neil writes: These Are The Days
14 February 2002. Neil writes: Bedtime Story
21 January 2002. Neil writes: Said She Was An Artist
24 December 2001. Neil writes: Here's All the People
3 December 2001. Neil writes: On Antibiotics
8 November 2001. Neil writes: Private Schooling
15 October 2001. Neil writes: Morning After
20 September 2001. Neil writes: Flightpath
27 August 2001. Neil writes: Tsarina
2 August 2001. Neil writes: Family and Friends
9 July 2001. Neil writes: My Fabulous Weekend
14 June 2001. Neil writes: The Sound of Music
21 May 2001. Neil writes: Lethal Injection
26 April 2001. Neil writes: Voter Apathy
2 April 2001. Neil writes: ET
5 March 2001. Neil writes: The Shadow Over Brunswych
12 February 2001. Neil writes: Bibliofile
18 January 2001. Neil writes: Suburban Gothic
25 December 2000. Neil writes: Many in Body, One in Mind
30 November 2000. Neil writes: Urban Regeneration
6 November 2000. Neil writes: In Extremis
12 October 2000. Neil writes: Obituary
18 September 2000. Neil writes: Your Mother Sucks Cocks In Hell!
24 August 2000. Neil writes: Parent Power
7 August 2000. Neil writes: Love Letter

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