Saturday, 8 October 2011

A letter to Spencer in North-West France (you told them you'd be back)

Dear Spencer,

You know how pineapple is the king of all fruit? Well I mentioned that last night, in a conversation about artificial fruit scents whilst smelling a scratch'n'sniff sticker. Nobody understood what I meant. The sticker-giving woman thought I meant pineapple was my favourite fruit, Mr X was just puzzled but he leant over a little and said "I like pineapple, it's a good fruit." but quietly, like you might say to a child who got something wrong by mistake. He only said anything at all because he is a kind interlocutor. He is kind in a lot of ways. Today he came to The Peach and drove me and some boxes of magazines to a shop so I wouldn't have to carry them, but then he said he had to do laundry and went home. So you can see it was one of those real kindnesses and not the fake kind, which is actually a little disappointing.

The Inner West has not stopped its constant evolution. Manoosh have new outside tables with red chairs, The Red Cat cafe shut down all of a sudden and a new cafe opened straight away. The tables there are new and look expensive so I haven't sat down and tried the coffee. I haven't seen those goths that used to sit where we wanted to sit, not since the new cafe opened. We'll have to find somewhere else with cheap coffee.

I've been thinking so many things that I want to tell you about so that you can scoff at me and zoom things back into perspective the way you always do. Like the mental list of romantic gestures I would make if I was pursuing myself, if I was someone else, that I have been writing in my head. Like leaving a pineapple on my front steps, or writing a letter to my goldfish, or buying me an outdoor broom. You would either tell me to shut up, scoff mightily or point out just exactly how I am being an idiot and then the list would stop and I could get on with things.

I'm having trouble writing, I keep thinking good sentences then staying still as they buoy me up then roll off into the distance without writing them down, like a surfer anchored to the ocean floor.

I wonder sometimes how you are, what you are doing and then stop because I want you tell me about it when you get home. You were a little worried about the whole European tour thing but I'm quite sure you'll be mostly fine. There are some things you won't need to tell me, like how some nights after a show, when your face was widened by drink, you were deliberately rude to strangers and friends, or you made that expression with your eyebrows that means you are about to give in to a little-boy impulse to be impatient and simply walk away. Or that some nights you were magnetic and stood in a circle of people who hung on every long sweep of your arm and were charmed by your wit that is simultaneously grandiose, narcissistic and genuinely humble. I don't how you manage that. Must be a frontman thing.

My brother asked his girlfriend to marry him, gave her a two carat rock and sent ripples of joy through my entire family. I wish you were here that night, to drink whiskey with, to talk with. I know you would have let me go right through the full range of emotions and thoughts that I needed to process. You would have laughed off the worst ones and I want to hear what you would have said. I would have listened because you know us, all of us, like just about nobody else does.

I was thinking about that night when we said goodbye on the corner of London St. It was so fast, one quick hug, farewelling words, I turned the corner for home and you crossed the road. The night slipped between us and I was hoping you would have a good time. Halfway down the hill I remembered you said something the week before about borrowing a bag but figured you would have asked for it if you needed it. Then I thought that if you died, if the plane crashed, if Europe blew up and sent you and your guitar straight to hell that I was satisfied it was probably the perfect goodbye. The short elegance of parting friends on a street corner like a pirouette centre-stage. But I don't really think you're going to die. I know there were the strange omens in the week-of-many-mothers and everybody telling you not to starve to death but I still don't think you are actually going to die.

If you were here I would tell you my worst fears about accidentally falling in love might be coming true. You'd tell me to shut up and stop thinking about him because he likes them short, pretty and notionally creative but without any visible eccentricities or the need to withdraw for hours at at time to think about sentences they may or may not write down. You said you like this man but I don't think either of us know him well enough to make a proper judgement and I do think there is something off-putting about his ankles and the way he laces his shoes. His feet and ankles seem too slender, like the way some people think about the lower limbs on horses. I don't. I think horses are just fine they way they are.

Gemma has been in town for nearly a week but I haven't seen her. She is staying with her mother and hasn't come in to the city to see me yet, but she will soon. Grizelda has made a new recipe for breakfast muffins, muffins baked with cheese, bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomato. They are very good. Mr X ate quite a few of them this morning when he came by. I'm sure she will make them again, I think you will like them. I've thought of a new invention for outdoor coffee-brewing on The Peach Deck which I will try out when I can borrow an electric drill from someone.

Dad said he really like your article about politeness fucking off. He said he could almost hear you saying the words. Seven shops are now stocking PAN and I'm getting positive feedback but that's a bit boring to write about now.

I miss you more than I thought I would. Grizelda has banned me from saying I miss you and told me to stop being co-dependent and stupid. I told her I'm not co-dependent it's called having a good friend that has gone away for ages. I seem to have quite a few friends really but not one of them has the right blend of rudeness and understanding, or the right vibe really, the kind of vibe that lets me say precisely what I am thinking without first checking to see if I will offend accidentally offend them. But don't go getting a big head or anything. I'm only not annoyed with you because you are not here to annoy me.

I hope you are safe. I hope you are well. I hope your shows are brilliant. But more than anything I hope you are having a fucking great time, standing on the stages of the world, singing your good songs like it's the first time you sang them, getting drunk, getting sore, getting tired but wanting to do it all over again, falling in love with someone, breaking your heart then doing it all over again, thinking thoughts that will turn into songs and remembering to wash your clothes and eat cheese. Don't forget to eat cheese.


For people who are not Spencer here is a song he wrote about going back to North-West France, for the honey, and her.

I'll Be Back For The Honey

I actually like this song better but Spencer never plays it. He says people think it is boring but I am a person and I don't think it is boring, people who think it is boring and not just not listening right.

Working On My Soul

And here is a slightly odd video the otherwise excellent Oliver Heath made of Spencer and The Holy Soul (shut up Spencer I'm putting the videos and the songs on here and you can't stop me).

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