Thursday 4 July 2024

Sheethanger Lane (Good vs Evil) (draft)



I think it was the late 90's early 00's ( those halcyon days) my mother would clean for 'the large houses' of Greater North London & the surrounding villages around the Hertfordshire boarder. We happened to live, in a totally maladjusted way, in Radlett. Just off Watford Road, my house faced what was an unnamed stretch of land with pylons splayed throughout. Housing Association flat with 2 beds for 5 children, a Staffordshire bull-terrier & my parents. Bricket Wood, Bernards Heath, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead & so on. The houses seemed to get bigger and bigger, 1930s Arts and Crafts detached house Four reception rooms and a home office Kitchen, breakfast room and snug Triple garage and gated driveway parking high ceilings with ceiling roses, tiled and wooden floors, built-in storage, the original staircase and the original servants’ bells. I was the helping hand but on this occasion instructed to play with the youngest son in the garden. I walked out past the detached triple garage, past the  central turning circle with a feature Magnolia tree, mature trees interspersed and a mature hedge screening the house from the road. Landscaped with several paved terraces for outdoor entertaining & there waited from what my memory recalls, 'Jacob'. He held a Blue lightsaber & thus unfolded a concept of Evil & Good that in some senses has migrated into my present sensibility. The double-sided red lightsaber was on the floor, near the elaborate flower boarders of the garden. All I can recall is the marked sense of my position. 

I was 6/7 years old. A potential friend? No. Enemy, maybe?  

I remember feeling a sudden sense of the house. The elaborate navigation of its quarters, his distant waiting for me as if this whole process had been established prior to my knowing. The pile of other dead, decapitated working class children in the mid-distance did not unnerve me. The blood that had pooled had turned crimson, fly bodies had dotted it all throughout the paved area. Maybe they all would sit in the evening light, looking at the pile of bodies growing by the fire-pit. Pergola with climbing plants & roses, the rest of the garden is laid to lawn with established shrubs. Blue Jedi. I remember hardly a word was uttered. Nothing, just the total acceptable sense of pre-laden social cues merging with a version or histrionics of antagonism. I was in little boy Jacob's house, somehow my unpardonable impertinence must be brushed to one side. Remember, I am in his garden. 

Did I not realise. A privileged background is usually an existential malediction, a psychic blight - expectations are raised so high that even becoming Master of the Universe would seem a failure. Hence the stockpile of bodies in the mid-distance, did I simply not understand this. Hence the reason a doubled-ended Darth Maul lightsaber sat before me, on finely cut grass for my imminent collection and ultimate submission. Little did Jacob know, but months before I had been using my father razor blade to cut my face open, causing enough a stir that we had to fabricate that my street footballing had come at the cost of a face full of gravel. That I had in Our Lady & St Vincent in Potters Bar, I asked my own granny if I could be crucified in front of her. These strange acts, were merely treated as just a peculiarity not worth minding much for. Of course a 6 year old boy would want to be crucified in front of his granny, he loves her and has failed to perceive all the details around which his Irish Catholic heritage & her devotion could collapse into an image of enduring love. Of course he wants to be reborn again & have his grandmother as his biological mother. Of course, of course. 

Underneath the crucified body of the Lord is a pot with a rooster standing over it, announcing the resurrection & so I picked up the red lightsaber. Little did I know of him at that moment, that Jacob was in fact a Lockers Park boy, a preparatory school for 4-14 year old's. I had not seen his tie adorning the staircase.

Sir Keith Joseph went there. 

Sir Keith. To quote myself:
a strike for your life! imp-
lore us; spectral Keith Josephs
failing radiant social pathologies
banded for waving
& smiling & moving to fade
& calling all hearts to emulate 
on the misery of ambiguity 
on the misery of  32 New “Mail Room” jobs in South London   
on the misery of not being a cause  
on the misery of misery   
on the misery of not feeling entitled to one's misery  
on the misery of knowing that one is doing harm  
under a table in the morning,   
I abolish pain below the hedonic zero   
treadmill all hearts.

Sir Keith. Jacob. 

A sort of battalion of yesteryears Conservatives, major-generals, commandos & of course cricketers.  Provosts of Eton College. I took the red lightsaber & I saw before me something like a premonition, something hyper-real passing my interpassive proleface. From recollection, or what is recalled to me it was something like affair of honour, breaking the tradition of fencing in the playhouse. I had attacked Jordan's hands so 'viciously' to make them both bleed. The fact that both bled was something of a profound act of violence, that is to say it was within the concept of intentional violence. I recall him on the floor, covering his face maybe little tares of blood running from his cuticles. He was crying, screaking even. I can remember how his sounds made me feel. Like an ice shock, a sense of countermanding. All the blood had gone back, rescinded into vanishing pile. Behind which was some mature hedge screening the house from the road. The rear garden is a particular feature of the property. It faces almost due south and is not overlooked. His screaking carried on, got louder even. He had dropped the Good sabre, rolled over on it slightly so it appeared I had attacked him out of malice. I was now the scum who had initiated it all. His mother had run out, I was pushed to one side. Her boy. Jordan. Supposedly, I had hit him 10 times, 15 times, 1001 times. So many times. Unremitting, leaking bloodlust foam from the corners of my small boy mouth. The horror. 

My mother was fired on the spot & we were all ushered out through the annex hallway, it overlooks the rear courtyard & has a built-in storage cupboard, a three piece shower room, and double doors to the annexe sitting room which has a window overlooking the front drive and garden, and a range of built-in cupboards and display shelving. Stairs lead to a dual aspect bedroom on the first floor which is currently being used as a cinema room. It has a Dolby Atmos sound system and a pull down screen which is available subject to separate negotiation if desired. On the other side of the landing there is a door to an over 23 ft. loft for storage. 

A door from the hall leads to a lobby area with access to the boiler room, which houses the two Vaillant boilers, and the office. The laundry room off the office was formerly used as a kitchen for the annexe and could be easily converted back to this purpose if required. The annexe could also have its own private entrance via the side hall and would work well for staff, guests or extended family.

Jordan & his screaking discontinued. Plot thickens, did the blood return to surround the firepit. Was it simply another termini, was I just a tool in the shed. Here to somehow get my mother fired from her cleaning job, likely have her name slandered amongst the suburban necrotic landlines & of course this did happen. Death to M. Denyer & her insolent, violent, viscous little scrotal son. Another act added. It was boring simply to kill all other working class boys with impish finishers to the stomach. Booring, mummy.


& Another. and. 

So. The teeming regret, the shame & the fall out of which is bitterly twisted like a Longford carved spoon used to break lamb from the base of a pan, was used & again the reappearance of a voice that had been silenced. Tybalt. My flesh trembles, I will withdraw but this 'intrusion' now seeming sweet converts to bitter gall. I remember the munching gravel under foot, the look of pure evil on my mothers face. What I had done, or rather what I felt I had done was merely take the concept of class war and apply it proper. Initiated with a blithe spitefulness in which I, resigned 6 year old Cole would show my nape to Jacob & enjoy thereafter the joys of ascension. Class ascension, just for 45 minutes or so. I could run around on a beige carpeted foyer. I did not even know what a foyer was. Who cares. Round the conservatory to another terrace outside the dining room. What is in this room? What is in that room? I could finally touch the Dolby Atmos sound system and a pull down screen which is available subject to separate negotiation if desired. A butler sink. The kind of shopping of experience that I had been mended to previously, entering homes of grandeur & returning to my own. The bifurcation of class here, one of fantasy purely exploded to levels of strangeness to which supposedly I would ask to return there to see this person or that person. I did not realise that the only reason I was in those houses in the first instance was that my mother cleans them, then leaves them and returns when they need cleaning again. If i was ill on those days, to which I was mostly a sickly child. Those days for me were escape routes out of living reality. They were portals into which, the constricted life of causal violence, alcoholism, poverty could partially be abnegated for a period. A looking glass of sorts. The crunching gravel, like I mentioned was the sharpener or the fading of that possible escape. It had ended.

 Somehow in my victory, I had lost. I could not understand. How. Fucking how am I being bundled into the back of a car, whilst the mother of Jacob is extolling me shouting/screaming the fuck has this happened. What fairness in battle. This highly ritualised concept of judicial combat. I remember turning & watching the house fade (it was, as i've mentioned a big house) a stentorian voice came over me. Open the door. Finish the job. This museum of ghosts. 

In many ways, I shan't worry. Son of Blairism ("The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" ) all this Shareholder Society will be meted out, right?  He (Blair) will somehow finally declare working class dandyism & we can merrily inviscerate the “ nagging siren of disaffection, malaise and cynicism” inside of us. Hmm.

More on Blair soon.