oh fuck it's friday

Monday, October 02, 2006

1.) Friday 1st September. I was very scared. I was at the UK Air Guitar Championships, held at the Carling Academy in Islington. I wasn't really dressed for the occasion. My fellow competitors were bedecked in streaming makeup, pink tights, leather trousers and what looked like lots of bottle. All I could find to wear was a waistcoat, so I looked very homosexual. Because my friend (and thisisaknife Producer) Tim was going to film me, we had to choose a piece of music that didn't have any copyright issues. This piece of music was by some friends of ours called 'The Mules'. They're good, but the music, I was certain, would not be recognised by anybody in the audience. A shame. For me. It was also a massive problem for me because the first time I had ever heard the music was about an hour before the event kicked off. The masters of air guitar know every little riff of their music, and strum their fingers accordingly. I wasn't even able to work out which parts of the music were 'guitared'. A pint of lager was delivered to me prior to my performance, which went some way to soothing my rising sense of unease, but I was still very nervous. When my number was called (19), and my name (for some reason, 'coo-coo cock'), I jiggled on to the stage and awaited my random music to play. It did. And far from a controlled, considered, artful performance, adrenalin squirted from my glands and my actions responded accordingly. I just went crazy. It was more tsunami tambourine than air guitar, and very soon I noticed the crowd were booing. Or they were silent, or throwing empty plastic cups at me. After about 15 seconds I felt sick and tired.

I got through to the second round though, because one of the judges thought I looked like Pete Doherty on drugs he had never tried before.

But the second round was awful. More fully drunk than before, I completely lost my relation not only to my environment, but also to my music. Lots more plastic cups came my way. My score was meant to be any number between 0 and 5. Instead, the judges drew a penis on a piece of card and pointed it in my direction. I was out.

2.) Friday 8th September. I'm actually not going to say a lot about this one. Suffice it to say I met a woman somehow on the internet, who had written some things that I thought were very sexy and funny. So I emailed her and two weeks later, she drove over to my house. I cooked some food, and we drank lots of wine, she got scared of the spiders in my shed, so we sat outside, which was cold for her, so she put her jacket on. I complained about a graze on my hand, which she touched. We both then got quite hot, so I took off her jacket, and went to bed. I mean, we both went to my bed. It was fun, and very nice of her to sleep with me.

3.) Friday 29th September. I'd promised to do this one. And it was a big one for me. There's a 'unisex naturist spa' down Kentish Town Road called 'Rio's', where naked men and women walk around and sexual acts are initiated in saunas and jacuzzis and continue in private rooms upstairs. Before this one, I needed to get a bit pissed, so I joined my friend Dave at a party in Pimlico where I was inspired by a chap who told me Alan Bennett lived on his road so he invited himself over for tea that night. The story fuelled my conscience to live up to the OFIF proposal. So, after nicking a couple of cans of Carslberg, I hopped on the last tube back up to North London, and arrived in Kentish Town at about 1:30am. I knew from various experiences that in situations like this, you cannot allow yourself time to think about what you are going to do. I went to the cash point and took out £20. Straight over to Rio's I went , as if I had been there numerous times before, and paid my money. This being a Friday night, it was £18 for a single man. I was given a towel and made my way to the changing rooms, where I changed. Into my nakedness, save for the towel, which now felt like a life vest.

I had seen pictures of naked barwomen on their website, so I made my way to the bar where a lot of black men were sitting around. There was one bar lady but she was far from naked. I asked for 'a glass of wine please', but she said they don't serve wine, so I pointed over to the whirring plastic tank of blackcurrant squash and asked 'for some blackcurrant squash' and then remembered that you can get free cordial, tea, coffee and biscuits all night. Wahey! I then saw the tin of biscuits and ate seven rich tea ones and read the Times, again pretending that this was something I did every Saturday night.

Folding up and placing back the paper, I jaunted past the jacuzzi and towards one of the steam rooms. Opening the door, I entered a world of steam, which came as a bit of a surprise, but strictly speaking shouldn't have been. There wasn't a lot of space in there, so I just sat down by a woman's head. It was immediately very hot on my bottom, and it was only when a jamaican voice called out in the hot foggy distance that 'you're sitting on the steam mechanism man!' that I realised he was correct, so I moved away and sat next to a man's leg.

This steam room became my sort of 'safe haven'. Whenever I felt like I was looking like a prowling homosexual, or my penis was shrinking from too much nervous tension, I made my way to this hot den of potential iniquity. A problem occurred on my return to the room, as I couldn't seem to open the door. I carried on pushing very hard, and reminded myself that the door to the first class carriage on the Thameslink train is EXACTLY like this, and after a while, that budges. But this didn't. But still trying to keep up the pretence that this place was just as much my place as any others, I continued to push. The steamy voices within were beginning to murmur and curse. A hand pressed itself against the glass and before my seventh push, pushed the door towards me. I entered, sheepishly, and sat down in the corner, and listened to a conversation about meningitis. A man was telling us that his daughter had died of it. Instead of sympathy, one of the woman lying down just said that she knew SO MANY people who had suffered from meningitis. With that, he and two others left. Then she fell asleep and started snoring, leaving just me and a jamaican man. I waited a bit, before leaving myself.

I tested the swimming pool, the jacuzzi and showered naked with a woman next to me. But I didn't see anything implying sex was on the cards. It's couples night on Saturday, and I've been reliably informed that that is when it all kicks off. There was certainly an air of sexual tension about the place on a Friday, and to that extent, perhaps this OFIF assignment was 'disappointing'. I wanted to be scared, to see things that would have shocked me. But this is OFIF, not OFIS. As if.


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