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


6 June 2002
Victor's life has never been blockage-free

Until the age of five I lived with my mother, father, two dogs and a goat on the Lancashire moors, not too far from the spot where Myra Hindley and Ian Brady had interred most of their victims. Our road was spooky to say the least: in the foreground of the vista from both the lounge and my bedroom was a smoke-blackened church and adjacent graveyard, a scene of forbidding Pennine austerity with which the Brontés would gladly have identified.

The house, one of a row of railway workers' cottages, was dark and cold, even in summer. Despite attempts to brighten up the rooms with Dulux Apple, Barley and Rose Whites, the king of early Eighties aspirational emulsions, it remained a fairly uninviting place. I used to have trouble getting to sleep at nights. Lying awake in the twilight I would hear the banging of the nineteenth-century water pipes and conclude that there was a monster under the stairs. Years later my mother has admitted that there quite probably had been a monster under the stairs, and that I had been allocated a bedroom in which a girl had hanged herself some seventy years previously.

To make things worse, my Dad's favourite LP at the time was Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds. He played it right through - the powerful cuts of the opening violins, Richard Burton's narration, Justin Hayward from The Moody Blues doing Autumn Leaves ('But you're not here...', etc.). On a typical weekend I could be found looking out through the bulls-eye glass of the front window, indulging my overactive imagination with the approach up the drive of a host of tripod Martians, perhaps with one in the background putting his leg through the steeple of the church, just like he did to the warship in the artwork. It never occurred to me that they probably wouldn't be that bothered about hotfooting it to Rochdale.

Little wonder, then, that I developed constipation. Along with the excruciatingly tight pain of immersing newly-scabbed knees in the bath, the most striking physical memory of that time is of straining at stool in the top bathroom. I would sit on the toilet for what seemed like hours, unable to evacuate. After some time, certainly, Mum would come up to see if I was OK, doubtless to make sure that I hadn't fallen in the bowl and drowned. She would then advise me to 'squeeze my knees', an instruction which itself became so regular that in time she gave up the visits and used instead to shout it from the kitchen.

I don't think there is any sound physiological basis for this suggestion: rather, I suspect that it had worked for her. I was a most obedient child, so I sat on the seat and squeezed my knees. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn't. I suppose at a very general level that through the act of squeezing my arms tensed, making my upper body taut, in turn working my stomach muscles, colon, anus.

Whilst I hung on to my mortal fear of the War of the Worlds soundtrack, to the extent that that disembodied whistle still sets me running quicker than a rat up a drainpipe, the constipation passed, to be replaced by Irritable Bowel Syndrome - daily life still (to coin a North-Western phrase) plays merry hell with me nerves, but I can now shit five times in as many hours.

If there is a hangover from my childhood encumbrance it is a mental one, a block of which I have become acutely aware in recent weeks. Having written for a living, I can no longer write: faeces are backed up along the colon of my creative process, and I fear that they will eventually be sicked up through my stomach. So I sit at (swivel computer) stool - flexing and tensing; flexing and tensing; one more time - in the hope that alternation of pressure and release will facilitate the easy flow of shit.

High and ---? I'm squeezing, but nothing's coming out.


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:

8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
27 October 2003. Victor writes: Our Tune
6 October 2003. Victor writes: Sucking face (in a public place)
15 September 2003. Victor writes: You got any ID?
25 August 2003. Victor writes: Blood on the Boulevard
4 August 2003. Victor writes: In (paren)theses
10 July 2003. Victor writes: Island Fling
19 June 2003. Victor writes: Back (back) and forth (and forth)
2 June 2003. Victor writes: 300 clowns, 13 eight-year olds
12 May 2003. Victor writes: The swings and roundabouts of outrageous fortune
21 April 2003. Victor writes: ...just sitting there quietly contemplating suicide
31 March 2003. Victor writes: Victoria
6 March 2003. Victor writes: Relevant experience
17 February 2003. Victor writes: You will eat chips and go nowhere
27 January 2003. Victor writes: A bushy fish for fishy Mr Bush (after Juvenal)
6 January 2003. Victor writes: The Accidental Voyeur
16 December 2002. Victor writes: Gripper goes bang
25 November 2002. Victor writes: Bediquette
4 November 2002. Victor writes: Where have all the spastics gone?
14 October 2002. Victor writes: An Immodest Proposal
23 September 2002. Victor writes: Fastscan masterplan
2 September 2002. Victor writes: Dry Humping Social Club
12 August 2002. Victor writes: Beat the Mongol
22 July 2002. Victor writes: What life is not
1 July 2002. Victor writes: Stupor heroes
6 June 2002. Victor writes: Dry
13 May 2002. Victor writes: Muppet Suite
18 April 2002. Victor writes: gingermingeninja
25 March 2002. Victor writes: Sodomize with Pukka Pies
28 February 2002. Victor writes: Dave's problem
4 February 2002. Victor writes: King of the Aisles
10 January 2002. Victor writes: Here come the decorator gimps.
17 December 2001. Victor writes: Make war, not supper.
22 November 2001. Victor writes: Cough
29 October 2001. Victor writes:
4 October 2001. Victor writes: Green Gauges
10 September 2001. Victor writes: Blind weed
16 August 2001. Victor writes: Snout!
23 July 2001. Victor writes: You're not going to put this in a clown are you?
28 June 2001. Victor writes: What is a droll?
4 June 2001. Victor writes: Burt Pakamak
10 May 2001. Victor writes: Board to Death
12 April 2001. Victor writes: Tricolon with anaphora?
22 March 2001. Victor writes: Point of View
26 February 2001. Victor writes: Goth's Dinner
1 Feburary 2001. Victor writes: Les Miserables
4 January 2001. Victor writes: Flat-packed furniture
14 December 2000. Victor writes: Deliverance
20 November 2000. Victor writes: Bottomry: Exorcising Ghosts
26 October 2000. Victor writes: Body Art
2 October 2000. Victor writes: Disney must die
7 September 2000. Victor writes: Ice-cream in Offworld
14 August 2000. Victor writes: I like sweets that taste of medicine
26 June 2000. Victor writes: I've seen the future, and it's feathered

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