Categories
pictures words

On The Bench

I found this bench in Rubislaw Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen and a couple of things about it got me thinking.

Kamila I will always love you, always, landslide.
I like this a lot.  It starts as a proud, unambiguous statement and ends with a cryptic, seemingly random word.  But surely it’s more than just random?  Perhaps ‘landslide’ is a nickname, or maybe a reference to the Oasis classic ‘Champagne Supernova’ – some kind of bizarre sexual metaphor about getting ‘caught beneath the landslide’.  Hmm.  If it was an Oasis reference then you’d expect to see a bit more lyric or maybe even ‘-Gallagher’ written underneath, and there isn’t really anything written underneath ‘landslide’, apart from:

Happy Birthday
This is my favourite part of the bench.  As I’m sure you’ve noticed, this is scratched in the same handwriting (handscratching?) as the above line.  The bench is in a park just to the west of Aberdeen’s city centre and is surrounded by offices, shops and schools.  I like to picture Kamila taking her lunch break at her usual bench and finding this lovely message for her.  A slightly illegal birthday treat.

If you look closely at the bench you can see the name Lewis has been scratched (faintly and in a different handscratching) on the left of the bench.  My name is Lewis.  Coincidence I’m sure, but I can’t help but feel that I was meant to walk past this bench; that I was meant to take a photo of it; that I was meant to write about it; that I was meant to search Facebook for every ‘Kamila’ living in Aberdeen; that I was meant to send all seven of them the photo along with the following message:

“Hi there, I found a piece of graffiti that I really like scratched into a bench in Rubislaw Gardens and I wondered if you knew anything about it?  Is it about you? I’d really love to know.

Yes, that’s definitely what I was meant to do.

Edit: On the 5th May 2011, over a year after writing this, the bench was been re-painted by the council, covering up the graffiti.  I never did find the right Kamila, but I hope she found her bench.

Categories
words

The Shirt Off My Back

Today I went clothes shopping for the first time since June last year.
(I actually bought a cardigan in December for a fiver but it doesn’t really count because it was an impulse decision.)

I hate clothes shopping, so I avoid it. I tell you about today’s trip not because I want to list my purchases or post photos and get opinions but because something happened to me during my trip.

When I was at the till paying… the cashier started talking to me. I wasn’t expecting this.

I go to shops – nearly every day of the week I buy some food or a paper, but these transactions just lead to cursory chats about weather or volume of customers (if anything). This was completely different. The girl behind the counter really talked to me. Was there something about what I was buying that made her break social convention and start telling me her plans for the night? Maybe. I don’t think it was flirting – I looked terrible today.

I might go clothes shopping tomorrow, if only to make some more friends.

(I bought a work shirt if you were wondering. It cost me £12)

Categories
words

Handbags and Gladrags

This is a story about my first love: the first joke I ever told.

Q: “Where do ladies keep their pork?”
A: “In their ham-bags!”

I first told this joke to my grandmother when I was about six years old and all things considered it’s pretty good (it was 1994 so standards were low.)  In fact, it’s really good isn’t it?  Really really really good.  It was the first joke I ever wrote and I truly fell in love with it.  “Ahh, lovely story” I can imagine you thinking, and you would be right… sort of.  I could finish this right here and leave you to imagine just how cute I was, asking my granny an innocuous question about meat storage before hitting her with a punch-line that no pensioner could expect.  But I can’t.  This love story has a deep dark secret – a proverbial mad wife in the attic.

Like most children I was stupid. But I was an expert when it came to classic childhood misunderstandings: I used words such as vigenar (vinegar) and ambleance (ambulance) and for a short time I even believed that my nipples were made from the tips of carrots (I had at the time, and still have, unusually small nipples so you might not be able to empathise with this one.)  It was this atmosphere of ignorance which led to the creation of my magnum opus.  You see, at the time, I thought a woman’s travel pouch was both pronounced and spelled ‘hambag’ NOT ‘handbag’.  I was wrong. A joke borne from my own misinformed invention.

There you go, my deep dark secret – that joke is genuinely one of the best things I have ever done and I didn’t even mean to do it.  Or at least, do it so well.  Can you believe that?  What a coincidence of obtuseness.  I slipped.  I tripped.  I took an inch and was given a mile, and that’s the most beautiful thing about all of this.

So here I am fifteen years later, thinking about something brilliant that I once did – like an arthritic painter recalling the greatest portraits of his career or Einstein on his deathbed spluttering nonsense as his life’s work lay strewn around him (he was spluttering German actually but close enough).  I’m realising just how different everything is for me and my joke.

I recently thought it might be a good idea to check I hadn’t plagiarised as a toddler so I did a quick google search. The search yielded not only a reassuring “Did you mean handbag?” but also links to various meat storage devices and one link which casually explained that ‘hambag’ has now come to mean ‘ballsack’.  I’m surprised.  I know that I invented the joke but I’d always felt that my affections lay with the word ‘hambag’ itself, which I naively assumed was also my creation.  And, if anything, surely “hambag” should refer to a vagina?  My childhood innocence destroyed in one paragraph – my joke, my pun, my word – dirty and scrotal.

But it’s okay.  I realise that hambag and I have both moved on and I think that I can deal with that.  It’s actually quite reassuring to see how symmetrical our separate lives seem to be.  Hambag has found its niche and vocation as the pork-holder I once predicted whilst I am coming to terms with the fact that very soon I’m going to have to get a proper job too.  Not to mention that recently I’ve grown a beard and, for me at least, hambag has grown some pretty serious pubic hair.

Here’s to you, first ever pun.  I’m moving on.

Categories
pictures

Lego Suicide