Damnatio Memoriae Or, Naked Distraction


Estranged Reflections II

At first we shared those damned memories of Ron. I could feel them being drawn off, but it wasn’t painful. Square, circle, round blob. Off-again-on-again, caw blimey, know what I mean?

One-way ticket.

But out of the window I noticed another flashing blue light; another naked distraction.

Befuddled minds. Evidence of drift. Liberties already lost. Expect emotions at fever-pitch.

They were afraid. We liked the same music and films. I saw rows of stationary cars. It was a rare conjunction, no doubt about it!

“All this, just for you,” I teased. She was all bubble and squeak, a screwball classic. An absolute blast!

You live in Kings Cross? Doors get kicked in. You don’t have to look far. We try to help people to move on, but… and I mean, look: these were happier days: here’s Brad with his first wife Beryl, and their sons Dean, Toby and Fabian. It’s a grainy, high-contrast photo, crumpled round the edges.

Estranged reflections.

Trying to break free can lead to angry confrontations with even the most perfect friends. Carl showed Lorna his animal instincts.

This is the situation on the ground:

The recluse was ordered into hospital. Moved from under a mound of filthy blankets, she does not leave the room to go to the toilet, instead she uses a saucepan. Dr. Walsh believes she has not washed for about four years. He tells us she has lead a shiftless, unfulfilled life, ‘cared for’ by a tyrannical French lawyer with a litigious passion for weird relationships. She adores weepy films that make her cry. Fully alert mentally one paparazzo managed to get a snap, a notorious ‘trick’ learned in a Chinese brothel.

Dr. Ward slumped behind his desk littered with files, case histories and bags of rubbish. “Fancy a cuppa?” he asked, blithe, urbane and quite the ladies’ man.

Attention to duty breaks down. The two sisters, played with great panache by Nancy Bosch (who looks like a cut-price Louise Germaine) fuse into a smoky intensity and hang like pall over Paris or like a dust storm on Mars.

“I bought this film for you,” she lied and kissed him. He slipped it on.

“Karen,” he said in his delicious accent, “you are soooo kind.”

“Is that because you’re a plonker, or what?” she sniggered.

This was, of course, the particular nuance of meaning she had intended even though I had my own trajectories and associations and memories of the old Hitchy-Koo revue Transit of Venus back in her heyday.

Cut in two by the window, quartered by the leading players, the recluse reminded her of the case of Anneliese Michel who died of acute emaciation in July 1976.

According to the charge sheet Father Alt was trying to exorcise demons. He claimed that The Devil had spoken to him from Fraulein Michel. Sometimes these exchanges had been “quite entertaining” he said. She had deliberately served penance for such present-day wrongs as abortion, the errors of politicians, the defection of priests from the Catholic Church and the unrecognised agonies of baby-snatchers.

Beryl went white. “Was my bum job just a rip off?” she asked distraught and dissociated by the splendour of 18 carat gold, the timeless appeal of diamonds and the elegance and originality of Dr Ward’s technique.

Mr. Justice Thesiger, just back from a holiday in China, explained that Karen claimed she was a witch and a thousand years old. Her mother is No 1 suspect, having spent two periods in a mental hospital and then discharged herself. The door banged shut behind me, drowning out his words. He was the sort of bloke who would order a pint of Boddingtons rather than a glass of Bordeaux.

“I’m sorry your honor,” the prisoner replies, “I didn’t know she was dead – I thought she was English.”

“This,” I said to myself, “will have to be a report of the everyday.”

It must move against, or at least interrogate, ambient and clairvoyant aspects of ‘the everyday’

A report of the everyday: who puts the Bucks Fizz into bedtime, who rings the doorbell, who kicks in the gramophone.

Yesterday, on a train, I picked up a newspaper and saw the headline:


Dog-Boy Tragedy. A boy of four, abandoned by his unwed mum, growls and licks his food off the floor after he was brought up by two dogs in Hungary.


On another page Polish Astronomer Sofia (Sister Marie) printed a cosmic forecast. John Thomas haunts her loo, scaring the willies out of the family, swinging from the light bulbs, fusing three TVs and turning on cooker hot-plates. You don’t have to look far. Is beauty only as deep as your make-up? Unfortunately heavy rain meant the parcel (and my make-up) had disintegrated.

“So do you,” she breathed.

His lips were on hers. The cue dropped to the baize, forgotten.

In such matters we may all have to be subjective and try to help people move on, just as the Fascine can drop a vast bundle of rods into ditches and craters.

I put a small radio in with her and tuned it to a classical station – soothing, nonstop music, evidence of drift, high-rise shoes, red latex and whiplash kohl marking the beginning of the end.

Weird, huh?

Bye for now.




AC Evans





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