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Four Against the World (Part One)

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‘Darling, you’ve got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?’

- ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’, The Clash (duh :P)

17 June 2005

12.10 pm
Bright sunny London afternoon! (Well. Cloud with occasional patches of sun . . .) Hello Waterloo! Hello studio! Hello musical joys that lie in wait when Carl shows up!

1.23 pm
A bit late. He’s usually never late. There isn’t a rude bone in his body.

Yay! Gloria Smith on the radio makes us happy. Will fiddle with chord progressions. Carl’ll be here soon enough.

2.45 pm
Did he fall down a pothole somewhere in Lambeth? Get run over by a mad taxi driver?

2.52 pm
Called Carl. No answer. Called Anna. Hasn’t seen him all afternoon. Curious this.

3.01 pm
He’s here! Just as I had given up and run out of yarn to knit.

3.03 pm
Disheveled and flushed looking, those tremendous blue eyes darting about.

‘Carl! You’re late! Where’ve you been? I was a bit worried.’

‘Uhm,’ he says and bites his lip, which is looking a bit swollen. I frown at him.

He thinks I’m about as bright as a brick is sharp, but I smell something . . .

Maybe it’s just the carpet cleaner or something in here though. Carl’s not the shifty type. If he’s late, I trust he has a reasonable explanation.

3.07 pm
‘Well, you see there was, uhm this uhm uhm, car wreck and uhm, ‘round Picadilly, and uhm, well, uhm uhm, I had to find another route, so I went south a bit and there was a circus thing of – monkeys – that juggle – got loose and were causing havoc and uhm in the East and then there was, you know. A crowd of fangirls that mauled me. Throwing panties and things. And. Tourists. Uhm. Sorry?’

Carl is a horrible liar.

I mean, tourists? Who’s that bothered by them? If Carl drove, he’d run them over, unfortunately (he’d say fortunately, but he’d only be joking, really). Maybe that’s something we’ll have to mend.

But the monkey business might be on the BBC news tonight, which will certainly do for a laugh!

3.11 pm
‘So how’d they maul you Carl?’

‘Beg pardon?’

‘The fangirls.’

‘Oh,’ he blushes. This probably explains the disheveled thing he has going lately. He’s been a bit off keel like that a lot lately . . .

Distracted with all this songwriting business and the upcoming club night with Anna at Koko’s. Good times.

3.52 pm
Swing in for a kiss at least, a little nibble of the Carlos.

He’s a tasty bastard, all whisky and tobacco, silk eyelashes and those lovely lips.

3.56 pm
‘Didz, come off it, I’m –‘ he sort of pushes me off. ‘I’m a bit . . .’ he absently circles his fingers in the air, dark hair falling in his eyes, which I must tuck behind his ear.

He smells funny too. Sweaty. Puffing around in London and all.

Must’ve taken a bad turn somewhere, because he smells like crack too.

He is a very perplexing creature sometimes. It’s a wonder Annalisa has him so well sussed out, but that’s Anna. Good head and education and all. She’s been reading A Hundred Years of Solitude and keeps talking at me or Carl about it. Carl keeps pretending to fall asleep, but I think it’s quite fascinating, and I tell her some of it seems to remind me of some Buddhist scriptures or sommat, you know? Peace and humanity and decency. He’s a deep bloke, this Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

‘Oh, he’s mates with Fidel Castro,’ Anna said.

4.23 pm
Fidel isn’t that bad, was he? I mean, outside of all that disenfranchising of the economic and natural resources from the lower and working classes of Cuba and forking over the land to his buddies and closing public beaches and banning loads of books and artists and persecuting people who didn’t like him and all that?

19 June 2005

10.34 pm
I am going to get so drunk! Huzzah.

Koko’s is a nice crush of people and blur of lights already. Carl prowling around behind the turntables with a flashlight and pointing at things for Anna to play.

11.01 pm
Anna very fetching this evening, in a little grey vest and white hippy blouse. Carl in leather jacket. Oh yes, oh yes. The pair of them so gorgeous.

Carl goggling at the turntables. Anna rolling her eyes at him again, slapping hands away.

She keeps saying, ‘No, it’s that one darling. No, don’t touch that. Stop that. No!’

Technology is not Carl’s forte. He once thought ‘googling’ was a lewd act.

11.23 pm
Have decided after 3 or 4 pints (???) that I have an inner swinging dancing laughing girl who is like Annalisa. She likes heels and shiny sparkly earrings. Or something. It made more sense a second ago.

11.31 pm
Carl brandishing flashlight at Anna, she’s scowling.

11.43 pm
It’s hot in here. Loads of pretty, pretty people.

Hello. Tits. M’name’s Didz. Not Ditz. No. Didz.

Bum. Yes. ‘MDidz. Didz.

11.56 pm
Carl being chased by Anna. If being chased is - pushing and sliding against people - packed crowd. She’s waving the flashlight at him.

‘Don’t shine that in my bloody eyes again! Let me work you hooligan! I know what I’m bloody doing! Shove off and bother Didz!’

20 June 2005

12.01 am
Why Carlo sulky? Long faced boy.

‘Don’t pull at my face like that Didz, you’ll make my jowls wobbly or sommat.’

Make him feel better. Hand arm around shoulder and nipping at his neck just like he likes while try to get in trousers.

12.03 am
‘Didz, why is your hand in my pocket?’

‘Trowsers! Inna yer trowzzersssss!’

‘Mmm, being molested by a drunk turns me on.’

He. Love loves it.

10.03 am

Carl’s arm. And back! And face! And feet!

And bites! On me! Tangled crusty sheets!

There was drunk sex that I cannot remember!


10.21 am
Chasing soap bubbles down Carl’s back in the shower and I’m faintly certain, yes, I’m in love, as I leave kisses in his wet spine.

10.24 am
‘So tell me about the drunk sex I can’t remember,’ I say, as I rub my erection against the back of his thigh.

‘Oh,’ Carl mumbles something.

10.36 am
Why is Carl acting like he’ll jump out of his own skin when I touch him?

Most people would find shower frottage with some fingering would be exciting, stimulating.

Carl’s stiff as a popsicle (I mean Carl, not Wellington, who is stiff in a whole other way in spite of Carl . . .)

‘Carl, relax.’

‘I am relaxed! OW SHIT.’

‘I’m sorry. You’re kinda . . . tense.’

Carl gives me an owlish, wet look of disagreement.

‘Who wants some oral?’ I say by way of smoothing things over.

10.57 am
Carl + oral (namely my tongue and lips and mouth wrapped around his cock and doing wonderful things, including but not limited to, humming ‘Elenor Rigby’ into his balls) = beautiful sultry Carlos putty. Carlos whimpering putty.

My god, that sound goes right to my cock . . .

12.24 pm
Anna hath returned from exploits with some other bird as she will. Conferring with her over some tea and lunch (late served English breakfast, as prepared by moi) while Carl mumbles off to do Carl things.

I am so dumbly in love with him it makes my teeth ache. The other day he was sitting on the floor in his jeans, no shirt, scowling at an empty beer bottle and his guitar, picking lint out of his bellybutton and I thought I might burst into tears because he was so - Carl . . . .

‘He has been quiet odd the last weeks,’ she says. ‘Jumpy. I don’t know what it is,’ she shrugs. ‘Maybe he’s just going through a paranoid phase.’


‘Yes well.’

12.17 pm
Told her about Inner Dancing Girl. (How come I can remember her and not the drunk sex?)

‘Oh, fancy that! You should give her name.’


Could have a fun ring to it. Didzaaaaaah . . .

12.21 pm
‘You know, I’ve always rather fancied that I have an inner rude boy . . .’

Willy? Thomas maybe?

12.23 pm

‘That’s so. I don’t know. Stodgy?’

‘Well, maybe you think so, but Davidaaaaah could have a nice zip to it. A swinger zip. Flapper zip.’

‘Ankles in the air and knickers off zip,’ Carl says smugly. Leaning into the doorway, in his favorite, worn out jeans and an untucked white shirt, hair falling down over his shoulders, fag dangling off his lip. Does he know how ungodly – well – pretty - he looks? How his even his sulky looks make me want to bounce around and squeal like I’m a 14 year old girl who wants to throw her panties at him?

My mother always said I was strange. And that was why the other children at school liked to tie me upside down to trees and steal my trousers and leave me dangling with my legs flapping.

Maybe Davida can invest in these sorts of panty flinging fantasies.

12.30 pm
‘I’ll tell you two a secret,’ Carl settles into Anna’s lap, planting lazy kisses in her hair, along her shoulder, neck. Oh, I’m not jealous, I just had him to myself for a whole night even if I don’t remember a bit of it, but I wish he’d could do that to me too at the same time, or something.

Two Carls . . .

‘What darling?’ Anna says.

‘I have an evil alter ego with the voice of James Mason,’ he says, and laughs, nervously. Anna looks briefly worried.

He’s really a nutter sometimes.

12.34 pm
‘I’ve got a better idea yet,’ Anna says.

‘Wot,’ Carl says, flicking his eyes at me, a slow, predatory smile creeping into his lips.

‘You should get done up as Carla again and Didz can be Davida and then we can have a wild girly 3 some.’

Carl furrows his face at her and blanches.

‘Isn’t that a good idea Didz?’ Anna says around Carl, who is mouthing, No, while she puts her hand over his mouth and he bats it away, bites at her fingers.

But oh, Anna’s arm his around his waist and pulling up his shirt so that I can see the wasteband of his pants, the little dimples in his lower back . . . and suddenly I’m in a mindzone where Carl never wears a shirt and always has his back turned to me, or mirrors, loads of mirrors so I can always have that view . . .

‘Wha -?’

1.22 pm
But he’s not just good looking, as I scramble onto the Underground and get a spitball in the hair (again) from the neighborhood rude boys.

He’s. Gracious. Or something. He has manners. And is kind, even it absolute pricks (excepting those brats on the Underground not so long ago, but he was having a rough day or two I think). And he plays guitar beautifully. It embarrassingly makes me weak in the knees (there goes those panty-flinging emotions again . . . and the wanting to throw him over a shoulder and dump him in the bed and have my way with him . . . my inner caveman mayhaps). He was always so kind with Peter and that whole business.

I remember meeting him a few years ago in Ireland. He was doing a gig with the Libs, and I was with the Cooper Temple Clause (memo to self: do give the lads in Reading a ring and assure them you are alive and that you can fold your own shirts, and are possibly looking into other projects, namely with a certain Carl; I am mostly a grown-up now, aside from the occasional surreptitious plucking and blowing of dandelions). We started talking and got on. And I think I fancied him a little even then, but he was all ‘Peter this, Peter that’ and trying to fix all that that couldn’t be fixed.

Rather sad, really. Maybe more for Peter, who doesn’t seem to notice what (and who, and who) he’s lost. I don’t think Carl will ever have another love like that. I think he thinks that too. Some nights when it’s just me and him I wake up and catch him pacing, muttering, looking out the window as if Pete’s going to come scaling up the pipes, come back, so they can gather each other in their arms and their poetry again.

I just hope he knows there’s still plenty of love out there, namely with the name of Didz Hammond, who is a cheese. Stupidly in love.

I feel compelled to run up to the top of Saint Paul’s or Big Ben or the London Eye and shout it.

Ho dear. Be still you mutt, as Carl would say. Be still.

But I don’t want to be still. I want to prance around like a Go-Go Dancer and make love until the morning dawns and sing and drink wine make more love.

Va va voom.

24 June 2005
Bothering Carl again, as I do (he likes it, he does), watching Doctor Who when I tell him if he’d mind me teaching him how to drive.

He’s in the middle of eating popcorn and nearly chokes.

‘You’re not serious.’

‘Uhm, actually I am Carl. Come on. Could be good fun.’

‘Yeah, if you like broken bones and airbag burns,’ he says, munching popcorn.

‘Carl, you mustn’t be so morose. You can’t that bad.’

‘I kind of think that I’m banned from driving in my native Basingstoke for a reason, dear Didz.’


Munching, munching.

‘As I told my dad at the time, I did get the car clean,’ he says at length. ‘Nevermind it was in the bloody pond . . .’

27 June 2005

1.06 pm
‘I want to buy Anna a gift,’ he announces, with a bit of an eyedart, while we’re wandering around London for no other purpose than to meander.

‘You never buy Anna gifts, Carl. She’s said so to me.’

‘I buy her gifts,’ he bristles. ‘Like last week.’

‘Carl, I hardly think cheese from Tesco’s is going to make a fair maiden’s heart flutter.’

‘It was some Frenchish goat cheese! She likes goat cheese. And she’s hardly a maiden,’ he huffs, tossing his head, and I want to pin him to the wall and snog him indecently in public which he would hate, mostly because of the fact people would take pictures and ask stupid questions.

‘It’s like this, Didz,’ he once said darkly over a cup of coffee one morning while we were grimacing into sunlight and our hangovers. ‘People get all wrapped up in these sorts of things and it’s just. They’d start asking stupid questions about gay sex –‘

‘They don’t already?’

‘They tiptoe around it, yeah, but if it all gets out in the open, completely, well, then, I’m a fucking gay musician, or a fucking queer musician what the fuck ever people call it – nevermind the bit about Anna and other girls either - and then all the gay and queer and whathaveyou magazines start calling and all the gay programs on TV and then it’s this whole circus, and it’s not about you or the music, but it’s about this circus.’

‘Being gay is like wearing red noses and juggling then?’ I said.

‘No. I’m not saying sexuality is a circus. I’m saying people make it a circus. Rather than, oh, he sleeps with blokes and just going on their way. It’s ridiculous.’

And, still being a bit drunk, he’d growled loudly at the small café crowd around us: ‘Yeah, it’s the fucking 21st century!’

And me, still being a bit drunk, chorused: ‘Yeah, and it’s not over until the guy in the pink thong runs by!’ (Ah, memories of being dragged to London Pride by mates some years gone . . .) And hiccoughed while Carl looked at me oddly.

So it probably wasn’t his most charismatic moment, but I, swooning in my chair with my coffee, found it charming nonetheless.

Then he went on how, for instance, Pete makes everything a circus and it’s no longer about the music, by gum, the music, that holy grail we all look for – the right chords, the lilting chorus, the one song that will shoot through radio waves like a bullet – no longer about the music . . . striking his fist on the table.

I frankly stopped paying attention because someone walked in with their kid. Cute little bugger growled at Carl and then tried to bite me, but you know, that’s what kids do sometimes.

2.00 pm
‘Didz, are you paying attention here? Hello?’

‘Sorry Carl, mind wandered off.’

He sighs and thrusts a pair of garters at me.


Somehow we are standing in Harrod’s looking at panties and my inner Davida is piqued.


‘For Anna you dolt.’

‘Oh yeah. We’re still doing that?’

Yes. How about these?’

‘Erm, they’re really pink Carl,’ I squint.

‘So, she likes pink!’

‘Really pink.’

He huffs at me and goes about shuffling through the panties and grumbling.

‘Uhm Carl?’

‘Wot?’ he says, half buried in panties and suchlike.

‘Are you sure this is the kind of gift you want to give Anna? I mean, chocolate, you can never go wrong . . .’

‘What’s wrong with nice knickers!?’ he reappears with a large bra sticking to his hair, which is wavy and disheveled and not unattractive. I pick the bra out for him.

‘Well, are you sure it’s a gift for her and not uhm, not for – you?’


‘Your funeral. She would find the whole Harrod’s label laughable, too, you know. Too posh.’

‘Shut up.’

2.35 pm
‘If I bought you silk boxers,’ he purrs into my ears.

‘It’s different for girls, Carl. Blokes always want to buy them fancy knickers.’


2.40 pm
‘If you were a real trooper you’d buy knickers for yourself and make a second appearance as Carla,’ I say while he cocks his head at a pair of yellow contraptions as if he’s trying to figure out of Houdini had anything to do with their design somehow.

Present him with a very sleek black bra.

‘Like this.’

‘Fuck off.’

‘Carl, I’m only teasing. Calm down.’

So prickly. I think all this lace and complicated clasps is starting to overwhelm him.

3.02 pm
Wander off and filch a long purple boa and find Carl peering into a bin and scratching his head.

Wave boa at him and whistle and cock my hips.

‘Yew-hoooo, lover boy . . .’

‘Didz – you – maniac –‘ as I crowd his personal space and laugh into his ear.

‘You know you love it, let’s sneak into the loo and bump uglies. Say hello to each other’s one eyed monsters. Make the beast with two backs, have a grand ol’ time, scare the other customers, fuck like rabbits . . .’

‘Didz, shut up!’ as I coil my arms around him and he’s actually grinding his teeth and balling his fists, oooh, angry sex then maybe . . .

3.05 pm

A flurry of panties as he tosses them up and leaves me and the boa to our own devices.

Did he say what I think he just said?

3.10 pm
‘Carl! Carl!’ on his heels as he glowers at me over his shoulder and rushes out of the store.

He just said he was mucking Pierre or something, right?

It couldn’t be fucking Peter.

Not without telling Anna or I.

He’d never do that.

Would he?

5.20 pm
I’m trying to reconcile the fact Carl did lie with his and Anna’s kitchen table while they shout in the living room.

‘You idiot!’ Anna’s hoarse. ‘You bloody fucking idiot! How could you? How could you Carl! I’ve always trusted you! This isn’t the way this deal works! You can’t lie, you just can’t lie and keep these things from me, from Didz. That’s not fair. You put us all at risk, you bloody moron. Who knows who Peter’s slept with – have of bloody London and then some -’

‘You don’t know how it is with Peter –‘

‘I know perfectly fucking well,’ she snarls. ‘I put up with it for 4 years. 4 years of this Peter rubbish and I won’t have this anymore, not when you’ve said you’ve done with him and then are going around my back about it Carl, lying Carl-‘

‘I’ve never ever lied to you before, and it’s not like, gee, I’ll not telling Anna and Didz about this today, I was going to –‘


‘Anna –‘

‘Don’t Anna me. Get out.’

‘You don’t mean that.’

‘Oh hell I do. Get out.


Heavy sighs and ‘Fine.’

Can hear him packing and the door close.

5.47 pm
Anna stomps into the kitchen and slumps in a chair, holding her temples and shaking.

‘Anna?’ I say, cheek against the tabletop.

She looks like she might burst into tears for a minute before she charges up and fetches a bottle of Jameson and starts downing it with a determined look.

6.23 pm
Lying on the kitchen floor, two shipwrecked lovers, Anna drunk, dismal because I’ve never seen her drunk.

‘Didz, let’s have sex.’

‘I don’t know Anna, I don’t really want to have sex with you right now.’

‘I don’t want to have sex with you either Didz, really, but it’s something to – to –‘ she starts crying, silently, which is worse than if she burst into loud wailing sorts of tears somehow.

Take the bottle from her and tuck her in bed is what I’ll do.

6.50 pm
Anna sleeping.

Smoking in their kitchen and I still can’t believe that Carl did that.

It’s just. Not like him. Really. He mumbles all the time and stuff, but - lying? He never lies or keeps secrets like that from Anna at least. At least that’s what I thought.

And I thought he thought of me – more. Thought of me better than. I was closer to him than. That.

I feel sick. I’d have a drink except it won’t make a wit of difference right now.

And I keep thinking, I’ve never been in love before either, which is sort of stupid.