Out of the Blue

There are those for whom moving house is all so many pennies in a jar. It’ll all amount to something. I am more the alchemist; slowly, but not surely, making the mundane something precious.

Just as it is several floors above the street, my new flat is in nearly every way better than my old ground-floor one, all except for the cheap plastic toilet seat that wasn’t even bolted to the bowl. I took a dislike to it even before I’d started sliding left, right, and front and back every time I eased myself; sat there a-flipping and a-flopping in some kinda kooky Pan’s People routine.

No big deal; I now live amidst a jangle of pound shops and determined to purchase and attach a brand new model. I spotted a real bobby dazzler; clear resin filled with silver glitter. I liked it, it had a certain 1974 “gay bloke in a glam rock band” quality but, on reflection, did it give the message that I wanted to send, to ladies especially so?

So I got plain wood. No mistaking that. However, this soon broke; too much cheesecake too soon?

Of course there’d been second thoughts, and my framed portraits of Ingrid Pitt and the sheer amount of reggae singles would surely choke any doubts about my dance moves raised by this, admittedly, exuberant toilet seat.

I returned and purchased the glitter that could, perhaps, handle the weight of my pretensions.

The bathroom is the one place where we truly relax, it hangs out, baby. We are confronted with the true selves we love, loathe, or try to avoid. Both seat and lid molded stardust! My life has plopped into the plush.

I’ve taken to hot, foamy baths with Roxy Music’s Greatest Hits pumping on the stereo. Lathered with scented foam, I wonder about Bryan Ferry looking through an old picture frame. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, Thane of Bathwater.

Us skinhead types aren’t known for our decadence, Desmond excluded that is. Even now I’m more coal tar than Imperial Leather. Citrus mouthwash has appeared on my bathroom cabinet. I’ve even started using it twice daily, according to directions.

Outside, Ermine Street walks backwards to the gilt and butchery of Londinium, then as now, my manor blinged up vermin. My street is a busy one, a dirty one, a loud one. Police cars freeequently scream past, sirens forcing themselves in. It’s not the noise I object to. It’s the urgency. I’m all for the fight against crime but surely it can be done in a more Sherlock Holmes and gentlemanly languid manner?

Iniquity is a mire, into which we are sinking, or a briar catching at us with thorns. I forget which, although I note that these encompass both descent and ascension. The road to hell may be paved with good intentions but the road to Whitechapel, is laid far less savory.

The Commercial Tavern, once a trysting place for East End homosexualists, is now frequented by “artists” and the like. I work around the corner and am there for the lock in.

For all its bustling traffic, Commercial Street crawls slower than most of London. Painters whine, beer flows, brasses ply their trade; much the same as in the Ripper’s heyday.

I am introduced to and shake hands with the new landlord; tall, louche, pastel open-necked yet masculine shirt, sovereigns all heads, blond flipped hair    ...    no less than Bryan Ferry in negative!

The police speed past, the prostitutes splash.

More Poems by Tim Wells