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Thursday, May 13, 2004




for reasons that are too complex, yet at the same time too mundane to go into, about half my life ago i lived in Italy. Think as far south as you can go - Napoli maybe - then think further south still. Into darkest Calabria. That's where i fetched up.. 6 or 8 months (it's symptomatic of the state I was in that i can't be any more precise)....

anyway. i'm in this village, and i might as well be a million miles from home. i'd been expelled. literally and from everything - from my family home, from my school, from polite society. i recall sleeping in some public toilets - i assume I did this as a minty-stale stick to beat my parents with rather than out of dire necessity, but like with most of this i'm not ENTIRELY sure..


so anyway..... i spend six months or more in this alien, Catholic land where you realise the guys in the dark suits showing up for chapel really ARE what you daren't fantasise they were. and your world goes mad.

if i read some of the stories of that period, not only do they feel like they happened to somebody else, they seem barely credible.. chased out of the village by the local priest - you on a moped, him crammed into some comedy fucking Fiat bubble car... having to meet for romantic midnight trysts on beaches that now you couldn't find with a map... the meeting where the village voted one way or another if they should drive you away (for defiling their virgins, something that hadn't even occured to me until they suggested it)..

anyway, six months of that and you fucking GROW... some people's journey into adulthood is like a slow gentle coastal shelf, as you paddle out slowly and get to acclimatise yourself as the water creeps slowly up your shelf.. whereas i felt like some kid in a backwoods pioneer Western, Kris Kristofferson dropping me in the deep end and laughing in a hoarse, bearded way as i struggled for air....

so i move back to England, broken. really really fucking broken. like something out of some Quatermass, pod related nonsense. where i've transformed overnight and everybody else has stayed the same...


and i'm in a car, with my mother.... it's hot for Dorset, a clammy sort of mid-summer day. i go into a local, little sub post office. queue up, mail some postcards and parcels back to Italy, back to this place that by now i've turned into all my Christmases and birthdays at once... and then i leave the Post Office. and something - the layout of the store, the position of the door, i really couldn't say.. i walk out into the blazing sunshine of Palizzi Marina... into the square that i'd spent months promenading round. dogs at my feet, the intense heat and dust, a sense of being back where i belonged. i can taste the citrus on the air ('the fruit tree gallowing above my path' as some dreadful sixth form poem had it) and the dust and the dry close rush of it. and then a kind of shit-brown Morris Marina ruins the scene, intrudes into the idyll.. my mother, hurrying along. and i'm back.. back in a shitty little part of shitty little Dorset, a sad sack leaving a Post Office which i've just burdened with some desperately gauche, desperately embarassing letters full of poetry and lies..

that's what happened. i'm about the least mystical, least 'other' person you could hope to meet.. but i fucking TRAVELLED.. i was there.. i know where my edges are and i know where the drugs kick in but that was real and hard and the wrench of returning made me curl up like a little baby and weep for all the me's that i'd happened upon in some one-dog village on the edge of the world...



posted by dubversion at 11:49 pm

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