Bus stories: She’s got Corey Haim hair

I got off first.

There’s a woman with Corey Haim hair on the 68.
Lost Boys hair.
Hair that’s brushed up to the sun.
Listening to headphones covered in foam. I look for signs of a Walkman. (This is London.)

Leather jacket.
I imagine a wacky shirt and garlic necklace underneath.
A burst of back and forth head nodding, then a left to right ‘nuh-uh muthafucka’ shake.
She’s sat at the front, looking out the window, owning the world.

I wonder if she likes comics.


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“I am much better at saying how I feel when I no longer feel it.” ― Jeanette Winterson, Gut Symmetries

When I was 17 I used to write down words I loved. I wrote them in books. On scraps of paper held together with an elastic hair band. On the back of school textbooks. On cassette inserts and CD inlays. I wrote words I found inside unfeasibly tiny postcards and sent them to my boyfriend. The stamp was almost as big as the card.

I used these quotes, other people’s words, because I couldn’t say my own. Pushing them out took an effort that I just couldn’t muster. I couldn’t do it. They sat in me. Growing. Degrading. Dying. I could never say what I felt. Maybe because I’ve always found it hard to know what I’m feeling.

The weight of words. Anchored by them. Determined by them. Hanging on to them. Never forgetting them. The cruel words that nestled in between my collarbones. The praise that slid off my shoulder and sank into the campsite grass. The words that clunked around in glasses full of whiskey, melting like ice cubes. The glibness of words said and the breaths in between. Made up of them. Joined like dots. Hung from them like pictures on wire. Words have owned me. Broken me. Defined me. Held me. Armed me. Hidden me. Saved me. Made me me.

I’m thinking about all of this because of James Jones‘ designs for Jeanette Winterson’s new Vintage covers. Jeanette Winterson gives good quote and I wrote down a lot of her words when I was young.

“I began playing around with the illustrations as vectors – as I wanted that really digital look to set them apart – and it was at this point that they resembled Jeanette’s writing the most,” says Jones.

“Her writing is like no one else’s: passionate, punchy, lucid and lyrical, and each cover aims to represent a tiny bit of this to the reader. The clash between organic materials/objects and something a bit sleeker helps portray the sexual nature of some of the subject matter and its surreal tones.”


JW_James Jones

JW_James Jones

JW_James Jones

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Putting this here so I never forget:

‘Playfulness is what makes us human. Doing pointless, purposeless things, just for fun. Doing things for the sheer devilment of it. Being silly for the sake of being silly. Larking around. Taking pleasure in activities that do not advantage us and have nothing to do with our survival. These are the highest signs of intelligence. It is when a creature, having met and surmounted all the practical needs that face him, decides to dance that we know we are in the presence of a human. It is when a creature, having successfully performed all necessary functions, starts to play the fool, just for the hell of it, that we know he is not a robot.’ Matthew Parris article in New Statesman

Also reminds me of Kathleen Hanna in Frankie magazine – do more weird shit. (The bit about toxic people is also spot on. SPOT FUCKING ON.)

Kathleen Hanna

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The way that I am

While I was busy pretending my cat could talk and answer the phone, and running from the Hulk, who lived in our hot press, I was losing control of a small, and once well-defined world to forces beyond my control.

I was making up stories and creating imaginary worlds and friends that I could hide inside. I would make myself remember moments because I thought they could steady my course. I thought I could cling to them, string them together and be held up by them. Standing in the kitchen chewing Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum, ‘I will remember this moment.’ And I did. I remembered all the moments: pretending to be a witch in the rain, my knee-high socks pulled down by the weight of water; burying the dead bird I found on the walk back from the swimming pool; sitting under a slide near a field that shouldn’t be crossed, picking flecks of scented orange polish from my fingernails. I remembered for a while. My eyes snapped shut, and I mouthed the words, ‘Remember this moment. Remember.’ Now, I can barely remember anything. Memories became too heavy to hold.

While I hid under the bed, eating Jammy Dodgers and rubbing the green stained patch of skin left by a beloved cheap pink flower-shaped ring I bought from the ice-cream man, everything was shifting and turning away and I would spend the rest of my life trying to catch up. The world was being pulled apart, stretching and expanding, pushing me further away from me, until now.

Now I sit in a well-worn chair in a room with half-full boxes of tissues, talking to a woman who looks like she likes pashminas about the way that I am. Or the way I think I am.

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