i stupidly left the Hat of Happiness in my flat, thinking the snow was quite light and jolly and enjoyably Christmassy. Mistake. A blizzard picked up after five minutes and i had to shield my eyes from the suddenly not at all light or jolly or enjoyable snow. i was greatly afeared to be left dead by the side of the road, half-eaten by wolves, sodomized by Russians, dismembered and ground into mince and given to beautiful MILF in the form of Elberry sausages as a Christmas treat – not a bad fate, by any means.

Email from Bonehead:

Snowing in blighty. Wish it would snow forever and the winter war would begin. Allied with the Finnish we could conquer Europe.

i met Bonehead at my violent private school – i was the shy stammering boy in the corner, he was the fascist ruffian from some stinking ghetto, a brawler and scoundrel and potential sex murderer. We shared two classes (Biology and Maths) when we were 15 and 16, though we had nothing in common (i was terrified of our dominatrix Maths teacher, but he thought she was great).

We met twice by chance at Leeds University, where he went to study Philosophy, and i Psychology. We both made bad choices – he doesn´t think in straight lines and has a commendable lack of interest in academic philosophy & pedantry. His thesis was on Wittgenstein and boxing; by then he was doing professional Thai Boxing matches and would turn up at lectures & tutorials covered in bruises and cuts, spitting bloody teeth out when queried on Hegel. i likewise had little interest in Psychology as a science – the science part seems spurious to me, and prolonged immersion in theoretic statistics left me traumatised and profoundly suspicious of phrases like “scientists have discovered that” or “experiments have shown that”, and also subtly suspicious of Statistics and mathematics as a means of understanding reality.

i dropped (messily) out and went to Durham to study English Lit when i was 21. A better choice though not for getting a job, it seems. i was at least able to half-forget about the modern world in Durham, which along with Oxford & Cambridge seems to resist modernity in its very bones, in the old stone and density of historical matter.

i met Bonehead again in 2002, when i was 26 – to my surprise, we had both become aspiring and oft-rejected writers and MILF-pursuers. He introduced me to the cinema of Michael Mann and made fun of what he called my “Einstein wardrobe” – half a dozen identical white shirts and two pairs of identical trousers. i accused him of being a retarded caveman savage from Bradford, and thus was our great friendship born.

i sometimes wonder what other lives Bonehead has had – violent, i imagine, though i´ve seen nothing. i feel that his black sense of humour, and his writing, is a way of transforming and mastering that violence. Creative gifts are often a means of comprehending and transforming a difficult past. Nice as it would be to simply change one´s mind and become a new person, even with the forgetting of death we are heavily influenced by what we have been – one way of shrugging off that influence is not so much to deny it, as to transform it – with, for example, humour or art. In my last life i was, i think, a bad man trying to be good – with great passion but little idea of how. A complicated and peculiar man. i am still complicated but i have a very simple grip on my complexity – and some faith that even profound complexities may be resolved, finally.

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