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Soho One Two Three
Friday, November 24, 2000

this month has been about bikes, socks, and soho.

1) black shiny german bike

'i LIKE german things' said grandma, enthusiastically, poaching the eggs with split-second precision, buttering the toast. the sound of knife on hard wholemeal fills the small, hot kitchen.

grandma's got taste.

the black shiny german bike is made by a cooperative in berlin. it's beautiful. i've only had it two days, though, so we're new around each other, my fingers trembling as i attempt to unclasp the d-lock, it wobbling over the cobblestones of cheshire street, a pain not felt for a while in my sitting-bones. i think they call it saddlesore.


2) over the knee

socks, woollen, black, from 'pink soda'. a pound a pair from the woman with big brown bubble perm and round, green-rimmed glasses. i placed an order for ten pairs. now my sock drawer is a jumble of twisted tubes of wool. i'll never wear tights again.

i wear them inside out to hide a pattern of footballs. they slide down, stopping on the knee, when i ride my new bike. lorry-drivers on the whitechapel road toot their horns at the one tiny inch of thigh they sometimes catch a gimpse of. sometimes i try to hoist the socks back up.



3) soho
part i: my life in my mouth

in soho i take my life in my hands. in my mouth. i eat liver and onions and mash in the stockpot. it's perfect. i drink red wine in the coach and horses at three in the afternoon, and everyone else has got notebooks on the tables, too, so the boy writer and i don't feel too ostentatious. in the evenings it changes. i drop my earmuffs on brewer street and a taxi runs over them. i'm getting more shortsighted and it makes the neon refract till it fills up my vision. it hurts.

part ii: non-stop erotic cabaret

sometimes after soho i listen to soft cell's
'non-stop erotic cabaret'. the tinny drums, keyboard loops, and the thin high voice of an eyelinered, curly-haired effeminate perfectly encapsulate soho's sticky, vicious little heart, like a half-chewed lozenge in a tin box.

part iii: 'say hello wave goodbye'

in band rehearsal i slip into the keyboard part from 'say hello wave goodbye' and jason and i sing along. we ignore the others, who tut and roll their eyes. terry fiddles with the feathery tips of his unsnipped guitar strings and lights a cigarette; andrea stares at the blue light of the e-bow.
i hunch over the keyboards, frowning with concentration. jason pulls the microphone from its stand and shuffles from foot to foot next to me. our voices slither around the notes in pale imitation of a falsetto, and the sound of soho fills the room, only slightly off-key.

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