* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Memoirs of a Gaysian: A Preface

11 November 2002
Meet Jamie's new best friend

It was a balmy summer evening when I was first lucky enough to make the acquaintance of A-. I was seated by the pool tables in one of London's many beer houses, when an exotic-looking creature entered the room. I could discern by his immaculate attire and close-fitting chemise that he was not one of the typical patrons of this establishment: too well-preened, his confidence in himself almost lent him an air of unease in his surroundings. Intrigued, I struck up a conversation, desiring to know what would drive such a character to frequent our establishment.

From that night on, our lives became intertwined: we would pass days in conversation, talking about his upbringing, his thwarted desires, his varied victories and defeats. He confided in me his deepest secrets and regrets, swearing me to utmost secrecy lest the reputations he had sought to protect be damaged by scurrilous rumour and hearsay; but as he grew older and weaker, and even the memories of those he was shielding faded from existence, he loosened his grip and consented to my disclosing some of his tales after his passing.

I can still see his old room now: the rows of carefully-pressed shirts, the numerous suit jackets and trousers, all on wooden hangers and arranged in order of shade; the shelf of beauty products above a mirror, each one's label facing perfectly forward to form a cosmetic guard of honour; the rack of CDs in alphabetic order of artist, individually dusted (and, for the more inquisitive inspector, each disc rotated to optimum position). In the corner of his room there stands an ageing weights bench, bought with the best of intentions but ultimately defeated by the allure of less energetic activities, save for the occasions when frustration would lead to a fit of exercise over a three-week period. And always seated at his desk, the distinctively full head of hair three different shades of silver, would be my friend.

I would repeatedly ask him what lay at that bureau, as the drawers were invariably slammed shut upon my entrance into the room; a flippant remark was my only reward, and one of the stipulations of his last testament was that the desk be burnt entire, contents unexamined and intact, within an hour of his passing. The same happened with a small box to one side, the only clue to its contents a reported smell of burnt plastic and the occasional unexplained explosive burst. These were, however, the only mysteries that ever laid unanswered to me: all else was divulged with an air of amused reluctance.

'My dear Jamie-san,' he would whisper, 'how do you succeed in extracting from me the things I have kept hidden for so long? Confidences which could forever ruin the reputations of some of the country's leading figures (mine, sadly, is beyond redemption!) emerge from my lips as easily as the cherry blossom falls from the trees; scurrilous details that it pains me to disclose, and that bring a blush to my cheeks to hear emerge from my throat, you unlock with a flourish of your tongue! What sort of creature are you, that you cast your spell on me with so little care!'

At this, we would both laugh: his chuckles would fill the room, his chest shaking heavily with the effort, and he would start to wheeze his appreciation. Occasionally, concerned at his difficulties, I would rush over to him, prepared to revive him should the worst occur; this seemed to amuse him further, his breath shortening and his face reddening more still as I readied myself to administer to him.

We always agreed that I would tell his story once he and those it concerned had moved on to the better life. I was never sure what motivation he had for revealing his secrets: whether it was to amuse, to expose, or even solely for my benefit (though I never deluded myself with the latter theory for long). All I know is that our conversations developed into interviews; my nods and giggles became jottings, shorthand notes, pages of details, then yards of dictaphone tapes on my wall, distinct only by a date on the label. Sometimes, in a nostalgic mood, I will still take down a cassette at random, and play back our conversations while sitting at home, reading a book or going about my toilet, and be taken back in an instant to his drawing room as his voice fills my flat; on such occasions, I am filled with an inexplicable feeling of loss and completion.

So, he is gone, and it is time to tell his story. Some details are outlandish, some beyond conventional decency; but all go to forming a picture of a friend, an historical figure, an unforgettable man.

New York, December 1999


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
13 October 2003. Jamie writes: The Persistence of Memory
22 September 2003. Jamie writes: The Email Eunuch
1 September 2003. Jamie writes: Credo
11 August 2003. Jamie writes: Brad and Jennifer and Me
21 July 2003. Jamie writes: Interruption
30 June 2003. Jamie writes: Do you remember the first time?
12 June 2003. Jamie writes: Forthcoming Attractions
19 May 2003. Jamie writes: Stupid Mistake
28 April 2003. Jamie writes: Hoping and Praying
7 April 2003. Jamie writes: Strangers on a Plane
17 March 2003. Jamie writes: Q&A
24 February 2003. Jamie writes: Altered States
3 February 2003. Jamie writes: How to say goodbye
13 January 2003. Jamie writes: In A League Of Their Own
23 December 2002. Jamie writes: What's in a name?
2 December 2002. Jamie writes: Lies, Damned Lies and Spastics
11 November 2002. Jamie writes: Memoirs of a Gaysian: A Preface
21 October 2002. Jamie writes: Love is blindness
30 September 2002. Jamie writes: Time for bed
9 September 2002. Jamie writes: Angry Exchanges Can Be Puzzling [10]
19 August 2002. Jamie writes: High Speed
29 July 2002. Jamie writes: Firkin Hell
8 July 2002. Jamie writes: Do you, er... haiku?
13 June 2002. Jamie writes: Unnatural Porn Thrillers
20 May 2002. Jamie writes: The Triumphant Return of the Septic Fiveskins
25 April 2002. Jamie writes: Meeting People is Easy
4 April 2002. Jamie writes: I Want I Want I Want
7 March 2002. Jamie writes: The Player of Games
11 February 2002. Jamie writes: Fat Man Walking
17 January 2002. Jamie writes: Passive/Aggressive
3 January 2002. Jamie writes: Love (classified)
29 November 2001. Jamie writes: A Lil' Nite Muzak
5 November 2001. Jamie writes: Natural born liar
11 October 2001. Jamie writes: All I need
17 September 2001. Jamie writes: Postcards From The Edge (of the pool)
23 August 2001. Jamie writes: Class act
30 July 2001. Jamie writes: Ritchie Neville is dead
5 July 2001. Jamie writes: A Letter from God
11 June 2001. Jamie writes: "If it's in French, it must be deep"
17 May 2001. Jamie writes: Reportage
23 April 2001. Jamie writes: Show me the Logos
29 March 2001. Jamie writes: Sobering Thoughts
8 March 2001. Jamie writes: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid
8 February 2001. Jamie writes: Spent
15 January 2001. Jamie writes: Full to the brim
21 December 2000. Jamie writes: fuck xmas
27 November 2000. Jamie writes: Eye Candy
2 November 2000. Jamie writes: World-wide-web?
9 October 2000. Jamie writes: Kids' stuff
14 September 2000. Jamie writes: Scatological Warfare
21 August 2000. Jamie writes: I can't stand up (for falling clowns)
10 July 2000. Jamie writes: The Etymology of Greatness

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