I'm fat. I'm a new kind of fat. In my twenties if I got fat (it was some sort of 24-hour viral fatness), I would stop eating and drinking for a couple of days and would become nice and smooth and flat again, like ironed linen. I barely ate in those days anyway and my own life-saving vanity took care of the booze. People call vanity a failing but if it wasn't for my vanity you would not want to sit next to me on an international flight. As it is I'm so small and grey and inoffensive you wouldn't know I was there. Indeed I have been plumped as a pillow before now; not the only time I've been neaded in the middle of the night. But perhaps slightly less than flattering.
These days when I find that I'm fat the fat stays put. I'm swaddled in the stuff now; I can feel it slapping me as I walk down stairs: I can feel it biting hungrily into my trousers. So I've taken steps. I've given up the booze, I'm watching what I eat (last night I watched myself eating almost an entire haggis) and I have taken to walking home from work.
I work in Swiss Cottage and I live in Finsbury Park and my chosen route home is of the "scenic" variety via Hampstead and Highgate, so it's a fair distance; about five miles by my reckoning (It may be less but in my mind it is definitely five miles).
To this end, and to keep me happy and motivated as I sweat uphill in an overcoat, I have procured stout and durable walking shoes (ox-blood Doc Martens) and an i-pod.
Here are the things I listen to:
1) The Visitors by Abba - This is Abba at their most miserable, and being Swedes Abba excel at misery, but here they are paranoid and rambling too. I once played this in a shared flat and was advised to turn "that techno shite" down.
2)Spacewalk by Momus - Am I really the only person happily bouncing around London while listening to a fey misogynist singing about taking e to squelchy retro-futurist acid? Yes I am. Obviously. A fox ran out in front of me while I was walking past Hampstead Heath and listening to this and in a freaky "Antichrist" moment seemed to join in with the "we're in the basement, we're watching baseball" line. Then suddenly it was gone. I don't know what this means.
3)Manu Chao's Clandestino album - Anything off this record is fine, even the one with the cackling old woman and the Space Invaders noises. Which is all of them.
4)White Belts by The Make-up - Probably the newest song on my i-pod. I've just checked and it came out in 1999. Ah well, I dont suppose I've missed much. This is brilliant, snake-hipped, cack-handed funkiness.Great for vaulting country stiles, which I never do.
5)Blood Embrace by Superwolf - This makes me want to kill everybody in my path.Features a clip from the film "Rolling Thunder".
6)Buckingham Green by Ween - Hilarious and anthemic. This is the story of "the child of eye" and his various encounters with royalty. The part where Dean (or Gene) Ween intones "Summon the Queen!" and the martial drums start is equalled only by the wind-machine epicness of the multiple consecutive guitar solos.
7)Differences by unknown - A curio in my collection (but then aren't they all): a hard rockin' number with psych keyboard interludes, it details the differences between homo and heterosexual culture in easily digestible vignettes. Straight men, it would appear, are interested in tinted windows and V8 engines and "Having" "It"; whereas gay men would like to know where you got that top from. That's when they're not introducing themselves to naval officers. As true today as it never was.
8) Les Petits Boudins by Dominique Walter - Rocking bit of hand-me-down Serge misogyny disguised as a scuffley skiffle. The lyrics tell the plaintive story of how it is easy to fuck plain girls as they are grateful for it. Mercifully we've moved on as a society since the sixties (except Danny Dyer). Nowadays even plain girls aren't grateful.