So I went to this dodgy pub and at the bar this fella gives me grief. But I chat to him then we’re having a laugh and he buys me a pint. Later I’m with my mates and he keeps looking over. At closing time he starts chatting again, pissed. I don’t want any aggro so I go along with what he’s saying. We get the same bus, but when we get off things turn nasty and he knocks me over and starts kicking my head and won’t stop. But it’s not a ‘serious’ kicking: I was asking for it.
I’m not sure if I can remember the exact amount. Bear with me. Was it 997, or 979, or 977, or 799, or 797, or 779, or maybe even 759? This number. It was hundreds. There were sevens and nines in it, definitely. Hundreds. Sevens of hundreds, I think, if I remember. Did you not see? It was in the news. How quick these things pass us by. Numbers. Released while we were hoisting the flags and choosing our party frocks. Numbers of people, schoolchildren and pensioners, the mentally ill, illegally imprisoned, dressed in orange. Does the exact number matter?
The sun is out and a flurry of cars pass the end of the road, windows open. Mr and Mrs Bluebird are hopping through the velvet branches of the staghorn tree and there is laughter in the little park. At the corner, a man with his shirt sleeves rolled up arranges a drink with a colleague, speaking into his mobile phone with a voice that is bright and certain. I hear the clip clop of high heel shoes and the sound of a hosepipe from next door’s patio. There is not a solitary cloud in the sky.
The Prime Minister…
In a bedroom with a notebook and biro. Turning words into lyrics. The radio on. Up-and-coming stars. Thoughts of playing gigs and getting on telly. The songs to be sung and the power to change the world. All those guitars. Rips in jeans and hair falling over eyes. A plaid shirt. Some jotted down chords. Browsing in record shops and nights in the pub. Dreams of success and band rehearsals made up of gaffer tape, howling feedback and arguments. Lying on a bed with the window open in spring. Listening to the news. Stomach cramps. Depression. Drugs. A shotgun. Over.