It made me sad to leave her, so beautiful she is, smiling, sleeping - but I didn't want to wake her up with my noisy typing.
I type with the forefinger of each hand, in a very fast stabbing motion - clackaclackaclacka! I do a lot of things the wrong way, because I was never taught, or at least, I would never be taught, and insisted on finding my own way.
When I was 17, I was living above chip shop in Smethwick in a single room with no hot water or heating, and working in a record shop and a pub. It was a dream come true. I used to snog a sweet, beamish girl called Katie sometimes, when our gang went back to her house after a hard night dancing to indie records in Snobs (50p a shot and mixer). We cuddled on the sofa and smoked spliffs and watched Rumblefish. We were like children. One day she gave me a thin yellow paperback called Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. The following afternoon, after I'd finished flogging marked-up radio-promos to 911 fans, I took myself up to the top if New Street, and sat on a statue of a lion, and read the whole thing.
Never before had I identified so thoroughly with another human.
I never took all those drugs I took between 1997 and 2003 because of Hunter S Thompson, but I did want to be just like him. I wrote a horrid little column for Playlouder for a few years, all about my adventures in london, with the booze and the acid and the cocaine and the vomiting on strangers. I behaved unconscionably, and tormented my friends for the sake of the "story." I used words like "swine", "pigfucker", and "rotten", because they were the sort of mean, ugly little words Hunter liked to "lash together", to get his point across. I must admit, it took me quite a while to realise that I wasn't actually all that much like Hunter Thompson at all.
I am a peculiarly cheery, optimistic person, if I am to be honest with myself. Where Hunter saw doom and despair, I see beauty, and potential. Sometime over Christmas, after I'd left Wales to visit My Mother's Side, in the Midlands, my beautiful girlfriend's similarly lovely sister observed that I seem to "love everybody", and I think that I must, for good or ill (another of Hunter's favourites, that last one). Even that zit-pocked wretch of a busdriver that told me to get off his "fucking bus" last night when I took too long to find my Oystercard. Even Carl Rove. Even Lonely Blair. Even John Power from Cast.
When I was 17 I made up a bunch of T-Shirts that had "John Power Is A Cunt" scrawled across the breast. I wandered around Selly Oak at 4 in the morning, kicking peoples walls down. I started fights I knew I couldn't win with mods and rockers, because I considered them to be culturally backwards, and against progress. I raged for a future I felt owed to me, and caused more harm than good.
All my hate is gone now. I have not one drop left. I have outrage, I have sadness, I have frustration, even a little regret. But no hate is left. One day, sometime after 2004, it rose up from deep within my ass, drifted away, and evaporated. Like a fart.
I love everyone that I meet, and I especially love the people who made it possible for me to breath this foul London air, whether they meant to or otherwise. I love my mother and my father, unconditionally. Two children who raised four incredible children, with very little money, and no formal training. What awesome magic is that?
I love my blood brothers - Zef, who made my website, Alex, who made smile, Marek, who made me check my fool self. I love my friends, and I love my girl. I love the pyjama bottoms she bought me for Christmas. They have "Crack!" and "Kazam!" printed all over them.
These days I see magic in raindrops, sometimes when I try hard, and sometimes by accident. I smile at old ladies on buses, and mean-faced children on trains. Yesterday I burst into tears 30 seconds into the first song on Andrew WK's new album, a boisterous and joyful collection of of Japanese pop songs. I didn't mean to, nor expect to, but I did, and I am glad. Soon I will be old, and then I will be dead, and even though there is still so much I long to accomplish, to see, to feel... even if every day from now until then is an orgy of horror and misfortune, even if I am battered to death tomorrow morning with a tire iron on my way to buy gas, I will feel like the luckiest boy that ever drew breath. All my boyhood dreams came true. I made music that was worth a damn to someone, I travelled to distant lands, I met amazing people, I fell in love, and was loved in return.
I was blessed.