Monday, April 17, 2006

Intimidation in One's Own Back Yard

A reasonably quiet Easter weekend. We're normally away (last year was a riot of Catholicism and Vino Tinto in Madrid) but this year having just been in New York we decided to stay at home. We wanted to go to Kew Gardens on Good Friday but we had to abandon the idea due to dismal rain and Crazy G feeling a tad 'under the weather' and went to Borough Market instead.

I spent most of Saturday on new work including a montage of large blow-ups of the inside covers of my old Doctor Who books with inscriptions I made when I was about 8 years old, they will form the backdrop to a portrait. I'm also working on a huge montage of a repeated image of the Boscastle flood damage, the basis for a work about childhood holidays (the destruction of magical memories by natural forces). Another piece I'm working on is called 'Kev's world', a collage-based work of young boxer Kevin Mitchell who for me is like a summing up of teenage power and ambition.

I enjoyed watching Doctor Who in the Retro on Saturday, this Doctor has the otherworldliness that Christopher Thingybob lacked. Duckie was excellent on Saturday nite at the new look smarty tarted-up Vauxhall, and Dawn Right Nasty's 'New Look' incorporating heavily beaded drag queen eyelashes set a glamorous tone (although I'm convinced she couldn't see a thing poor love... but as Quentin Crisp once said 'there are others to look where I'm going..." ).

Last nite I repaired to the bar du Retro but sadly no games of Uno were in the offing. G was in merry mood as were many having sat through Twin Peaks all afternoon.

On the way back we popped into Budgens for late snacks and I foolishly remarked (sarcastically) to a woman who had pushed in front of me in the queue 'thank you for being polite' as we moved our stuff over to the other checkout to be served. I didn't of course see her big burley cockney husband who was standing ten feet away minding their tatty luggage. They were probably just back from some holiday. She of course went straight up to him and duly complained. ''Ere Terry you'll never guess wot e just said" I then had a punch-drunk 6.5 foot tall maniac in my face (or near to my face him being a foot taller than me and a good deal broader). I was so shocked I couldn't say a word but my face clearly riled him and he decided there and then that he was going to smash me to pieces. I know i've sometimes got a pouting self-satisfied snottiness about me (as Crazy G has remarked many times during rows and bust-ups) especially if I'm feeling under attack. My accent doesn't do me any favours either (good job I was too stunned to speak) but I've never been called 'Cunty' before (or at least only affectionately by Joan Dairy Queen) and asked whether I'd like 'to be fucking killed' by someone who, in that moment, meant it.

Luckily, and thankfully, Crazy G stood between me and Chalky the Punch Drunk (or should it be 'Battling Burrows' out of Broken Blossoms with Lillian Gish? I'll be Lillian) and calmed him down. The staff did their best but they probably get that once a night being on the Whitechapel Road.

I've been beaten up a couple of times, largely due to unwise East End wonderings. The worst was on Burdett Road, and I'm still a bit deaf in one side from being kicked in the head outside Lidl supermarket by a drunken man shouting homophobic abuse. I've also been mugged by several teenagers at once (those kids are impossible to fight off en masse) in an estate off Brick Lane, but again my own fault for taking shortcuts in a pin stripe suit twirling an umbrella like Burlington Fucking Bertie. I was pleased they didn't have a blade as the mugging was in such a remote side turning that I may not now be alive.

Other than that I'm pleased to say I've only had a few bits of money stolen by no-good rough trade boyfriends (an important lesson in fantasy versus reality!) which I suppose is a sort of domesic mugging minus the high drama of being slammed against a wall (although not always). I've been roughed up in Aldgate for my mobile (happily surrendered and with relief) and I've also had money nicked as a result of drug taking, being too strung out to neither know nor care. But this is all my fault, for looking for adventure when I should have been looking over my shoulder.

So having been in London for around 15 years it's not often that I've encountered violence or come face to face with potential violence, and this guy scared the shit out of me or, more correctly, us.

We naturally gave them a few moments to leave, and leaving that shop was terrifying, being at the mercy of quiet Whitechapel back-streets. But he'd disappeared thank God.

I'm left feeling that I should do something about it, but i don't think there's anything I can do nor would it merit it. It felt like an assault of sorts but I was in the wrong in the first place and shouldn't have made the sarcastic comment I did. God knows what would have happened if G hadn't have been with me.

There are worse horror stories of course, and perhaps I'm feeling sorry for myself, but the overriding feeling I have today is why didn't I keep my fucking gob shut. Lesson learnt.