Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sinful Sunday: Keratin

I need to shave...


I have been off work for a week and, as a result, I've let myself go a bit. Not that I've been entirely decadent. I haven't gorged on ice cream or eaten chips while in the bath. My room is relatively clean. I've had sex a couple of times. A few orgasms. I've done a bit of work.

But I'm covered in hair. So much hair. Some think it's sexy. But, to me, it itches. It looks like I've been lazy... which, of course, I have been. Nevertheless... so much hair. Too much for an ILB.

I need to shave. And I will.

I will.

Sinful Sunday

Friday, 27 September 2013

Sunflower

I went to Hobbycraft today. That is to say, Jilly went to Hobbycraft. I went along for the journey, to get some air, navigate the treacherous web of London Buses and, of course, hold the bags. In fact, it turned out there were more shops around that area too, so we also looked at some fish in Pets at Home for a bit and I blasted by way through Level 1 of Super Mario 3D Land on a display 3DS. (In PC World. Not Pets at Home. Or Hobbycraft.)

I'm not as into craft as I could/should be (or, indeed, used to be). I tried out some of the pens and walked around looking for oddities while Jilly had a more concrete idea of what to do with all the stuff they had on offer. And then I walked straight into an aisle of fake flowers and was momentarily stunned.

I've never understood the idea of fake flowers. I mean, they're very pretty, but then so are real flowers. And yet I used to carry one around with me in my late teenage years (I found it on the floor and kept it in my coat pocket for luck. Whipping it out and doing an impression of James from Pokémon got old after a while, I came to realise)... and I also have an earlier story about artificial flowers fron the dim and distant past. A whole seventeen years ago.

I was 11. I'd just started secondary school and, for the first time, I was noticing girls - not to say that they were invisible beforehand; most of my friends are girls. But I didn't have any friends at this new school, and the only time I really talked to anyone was due to my being sat next to them during class. Only a few of these tenuous relationships worked, although some people ended up being friendly with me. Some less so.

One person who was in the middle of all this was the girl who sat next to me in Maths, due to the fact that our surnames were alphabetically similar. She was pretty, friendly and clever in the intellectual sense (insofar as she was quite good at Maths, etc.), but not very bright in other ways. There wasn't anything we really had in common, but nevertheless, we exchanged pleasantries and did our work. We sat together in Geography, as well - a better situation, actually, as we had a great teacher and I loved the subject.

As I've said, I didn't have much to talk to her about. I liked her, but didn't have a crush, per se. I did, however, once overhear her talking to one of her friends.

"...and he bought me a lovely silk flower!"
"Oh, that's lovely. I wish a boy would buy me something..."

So I did.

It took me a while. I didn't even know why I suddenly wanted to buy her something. I guess I just wanted to do good deeds for people, other than sharpening pencils and giving them the answers to questions. This would make her feel loved. It seemed, at the time, like a good idea.

I guessed that her favourite colour was yellow (from the fact that she learned the word "jaune" in French once), and walked to the local silk flower shop (yes, there actually was one) in order to buy a yellow flower... after checking that it wasn't actually made out of silk, let's be ethical here. I took it home, put it inside a cardboard tube, packed it into a Jiffy bag, and then realised that I had no idea what her address was. I couldn't go up to her at school and give it, because that would have given her the wrong idea. And I'd have been teased... well, more than I was already.

So I had the smart idea of looking in the 'phone book. I found her surname and whittled it down to a couple inside the school's catchment area. Choosing the most likely one (with good faith that it would reach her anyway, in case it wasn't her house and that of a relative), I posted it.

And that was that. Of course it was the wrong address. As I found out later in the year, it was the wrong house number. And wrong road. Wrong postcode. Wrong bit of London, in fact. I'd sent a synthetic flower to someone I didn't know at all. With no return address or, indeed, explanation.

But I do hope that whoever received the package opened it. I hope they were confused but delighted with the fact that somebody had bought them a flower. It would be a shame to let it go to waste...

...even if, as a fake, it doesn't really do anything.

Unlike that one that 47 had which sang Build Me Up Buttercup.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Won't somebody please think of the children?

Along with a few other bloggers, yesterday evening I (briefly) attended the Sex & Censorship speakers' panel event (part of the XBIZ EU conference). There's plenty to chew over and certainly a lot to take in and let marinate. I thought the stuff being touched on was fascinating, but that's the problem: it was touched on. @HarperEliot tweeted that she felt it "skimmed the surface", which I suppose is fair, considering how short it was (one hour for four speakers, plus two via videos, plus plenary) and the amount of information that may have had to be left out due to that very short time.

Nevertheless, as I said, a lot of information, and worth attending, specifically since this part of the conference was free and incredibly important!

One thing I do take issue with, and that I'm going to mention here, is a comment made at the end of the event by an audience member (I can't remember his name, so I won't make an attempt to guess here, as I don't want to misquote); he mentioned the idea of fearmongering, but also added that "the real issue is child protection", and that "what we want is to stop children looking at pornography" (maybe those weren't the exact words, but something very similar).

I don't think that is the issue. There's a lot more to be said about the government's proposed filter on pornographic content online. Certainly the government is using the idea of child protection to propose such a thing (even if it is a ridiculous idea in practice, someone somewhere once thought the theory was sound), and a lot of it is about children - one point that was raised again and again was that responsibility for what children see should lie with their parents (and, to some small extent, I would add teachers there, such as during IT lessons, but I doubt porn is a big problem there). Fair enough.

But there's a lot to be said for other implications of the "porn panic". Adults can be anti-porn too (and there was a small anti-porn picket, so I hear, although it wasn't there when I turned up). How much is nature and how much is nurture, I can't be sure, but some have their own reasons, due to morality, religion, beliefs or upbringing to be against porn. Some mention rape, "extreme" fetishes or "over the line" sexual acts which could be harmful. And they are anti-porn because of it.

That's fine by me - the way I see it, I have my own views. I'm a white male socialist environmentalist vegetarian Christian from a middle-class atheist background and I'm very sex-positive and pro-porn. If you're OK with that, I'm OK with you: I just don't agree with you. Just don't try to filter out something because you think it's harmful, especially without proof that it is.

Whether the issue here is about children or adults, morals or ethics or just taste, I don't particularly agree with the comment that we want to stop children looking at pornography. I mean, really?

Okay, so I wouldn't give porn to a two-year-old. But I think there's a lot to be said for sexual expression, especially education, at a younger age - something, again, touched upon by the panel. It's widely said that sex-ed in British schools isn't particularly good. And, fair enough, it isn't. We need better sex-ed, and from a younger age (and not just one video in year 5, either). A lot of material isn't accessible until you're 18, but you can be legally married with children and having any amount of sex at age 16 and still not able to watch porn because it's rated 18 or R18. This is confusing.

Something else: children who want to watch porn will find it. Whether they should or not isn't particularly relevant here... they will! My first sexual feelings (after I knew they were sexual; I'd had these feelings before but I didn't know they were sexual) came from watching soft porn when I was 12. Soft porn isn't as easy to access as it used to be, even on Sky TV (which used to be where you'd find it; my gran had cable, hence my fill); it is, however, easy to find free porn online. Here's some. And here's some more. And here's some softcore. Some people find magazines. Some people have DVDs. Porn is there, you can find it if you look in the right places, and that is why we need education, knowledge and better understanding rather than a universal block!

And better porn, actually.

Personally, I don't want to "stop" children looking at porn. It's not something I want to crusade against... but I'm just not going to go around handing porn out to children. That's not what sex-positive people do, believe it or not.

Undeniably, there is an issue here, and an important one. A very important one. But it can't be simplified down. Children, adults, pro-, anti-, religious, feminist, misogynist, in the industry... whoever, whatever, wherever. This is an issue that has the potential to affect us all. It's not simple so far, and it's not going to get any simpler. And specifically not to a couple of sentences that I'm not sure I agree with!

Here's a first step, though: try signing the petition, if you haven't already. One more voice and it's making a difference.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Down the Tube!

Interesting use of the space usually reserved for advertising on the Victoria Line:

Shame they can't spell "jungle" though.

Have any of you seen anything like this in a place where you wouldn't expect?

Friday, 20 September 2013

Chunnel Vision

The Channel Tunnel came up at work today. That is to say, the topic of the Channel Tunnel. Not the actual tunnel. That'd be weird.

In any case, we discussed the Channel Tunnel at some length. Not the length of the actual t... you get the gist. It was a while, anyway.

A few things leap to my mind when considering the curious beast that is the "Chunnel". I remember discussing the Woolfire festival and whatever the hell woggle-swaps were while on a Eurostar train with Woodcraft people. I remember being disappointed at being under the sea without any calypso-singing crabs to verify this fact. I can even remember being 16 and coming across a coachload of French people on a Le Shuttle train, all drinking a glass of champagne "just for fun". But the biggest and dirtiest memory I have is of being on Le Shuttle when I was 14 and making my way to the toilet.

This was in my more Innocent days. I was a 14-year-old fresh out of year 9; I had a diary with increasing levels of teen angst, adequate SATs (6, 7, 8) with which I was not pleased, pleasant but mixed memories of a Woodcraft camp in the recent past, and a crush on a beautiful redheaded vegetarian pacifist. I also had more sexual desires than I would have liked to admit (read: didn't admit), but less experience than other boys my age. Long story short, I didn't masturbate.

I did all but. I enjoyed watching soft porn in order to get an erection and enjoy the feeling. I'd never had an orgasm, so didn't know what that was like (and didn't have the desire to; all the boys who had in my year made it sound absolutely horrendous), but I knew how to get hard. I did so for a cheeky moment of bliss almost every time I went to the toilet (after actually using the toilet, of course), as well as in the corner of my room. Why should being on the Chunnel, I reasoned, make any difference?

On my way back to the car, I was still aroused. I'd constructed a whole situation in my head; it involved a Chinese girl and sex up against a wall in one of those vestibules that connect train carriages. Possibly with me... even though, y'know, I was 14. In my mind, I was ready for sex at that age. I probably wasn't. But, throughout the rest of the journey (and even the entirely of the subsequent holiday, during which I didn't have any fun), that picture was pervasive. The image I constructed in my head - the girl and the motion of the train, the lights past the windows and unknowing chatter of the passengers in the other cars. It was like a drug. The best kind, even.

So, whenever somebody mentions the Chunnel, my mind shuffles through the deck of images until it finds my 14-year-old self dreaming of a situation that wouldn't happen, in a place that couldn't happen, at a time when it shouldn't happen, with a girl who didn't exist.

And so it is.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Sexual Pirate Health Rehousing Week

Yarr, avast, walk the plank, captain's log, jolly roger and all that. Okay, that's that over with.

Over the past few weeks, where I'm staying has been somewhat transient. As of a few days ago, I'm back in the little room I share with my girlfriend in the house of mystery somewhere in North London. Having being house-sitting (and having sex) in two family homes for upwards of five weeks recently, coming back to a place that's actually set up for us is a remarkably strange experience, made even stranger by the fact that we haven't had sex here yet and it's been four days now.

Anyway, it's Sexual Health Week this week, and I'm determined to do my bit in a more practical way than linking to the XES campaign (although I can do that too!). I'm just not sure what to say. Over the past few weeks, poor Jilly has been off her pill, so although we've been having sex (and we have a lot of this), we've been using condoms. Which, of course, I don't mind. I just don't like condoms too much.

I was advised to try Skyn condoms by Ruffled Sheets and about 420538752837 others, and (with the exception of one ribbed Durex condom and, erm, this one), that's what I've been unrolling over my erect penis for the past month or so. I wasn't going to review these, so I won't, because my reviews of condoms are pretty dull anyway, and I don't have much more to say about them, no matter how thin they are. My penis isn't very sensitive, especially with a condom on. I don't feel as much as I do without one on and I'm very aware that I'm wearing one. As such, I genuinely didn't notice any difference with a Skyn.

Seriously. No difference. It was slightly easier to put on my massive throbbing penis. That's about the only difference I noticed.

Having said that, though, I am very grateful for the existence of condoms (and the fact that I keep getting the things for free). Without them, we wouldn't have been able to have sex at all, and in these recent stressed times, sex is a calming, grounding and settling thing. Something we can share and enjoy together. Only less like chocolate in front of an episode of Knightmare and more like making each other writhe and squirm in ecstatic joy (Knightmare comes afterwards). Jilly is back on oral contraception now, for which I think we are both grateful, and when I've worked my magic on her, I'm sure we'll be back to the full-on sexy sexy sex thing in our own bed, like, very quite really soon.

Tonight I plan to show her Pirates. We'll see how that one turns out.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Blow Up

"What's 'blow'?"
"Excuse me?"
"What does 'blow' mean?"
"Well, it means a few things..." I mimed holding a balloon in front of my face and inflating it, doing what I think was a passable impression of the sound a balloon makes when you blow it up. "Blowing up a balloon. Or..." I mimed holding a whistle in my hand and whistled. "...blowing a whistle."
"What's a whistle?"
"Never mind. Or maybe..." I made a tumbleweed noise. "...the wind blows."
"Right. Thanks."

Five minutes later the same girl returned to where I was sitting.

"Can you blow someone?"
"...what?"
"Can you blow someone? Is 'blow me' a thing?"

There was a very pregnant pause.

"Yes, it's a thing."
"Can you blow me?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Can you blow me? So I can see what it is?"
"...no?"
"Why not?"
"Because..."

Another pause while I wrestled with my brain in order to extract a way to explain what "blow me" means without starting to explain the concept of fellatio.

"...it's rude, okay? It's a very rude phrase."
"What does it mean?"
"It's rude! I don't think I should tell you!"
"Oh..."

She scuttled away.

"Blew that one off," I said to myself softly.

At which point she re-appeared.

"What's a blow-off?"

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Microsexuality

"Arse!"

Mane's little brother, satisfied with the rude word he'd just said, handed the microphone over to my friend-who-is-a-teacher. Under the rules of the game that we'd just made up, you had to say a rude word beginning with the letter assigned according to the order in which we sat. The more obscure the better. (I wanted to go for "Quetzalcoatlus". I know it's not a rude word, but I know how to spell it. And I'd been previously going for archaic ones, like "Zounds!", so I wanted to be impressive.)


My friend-who-is-a-teacher raised the microphone to her mouth, about to utter her obscenity ("Bollocks!"), when Mane's brother suddenly realised he had something else to say, and lunged for the microphone.

Crack. Everyone in the room winced as the microphone audibly hit my friend-who-is-a-teacher directly in the face. "Ow," was her slightly muted response.

There was a pause lasting a few seconds before the young raver pitched in. "What's that, some kind of sexual thing?" he suggested.

Laughter broke the silence. "It's hardly that impressive a donkey punch," I pointed out. And so the game continued on, with Mane's girlfriend taking the mike and suggesting "clunch". At which point people started looking through dictionaries.

*

Mane was playing bagatelle (a game similar to pinball, only much more rustic) by the time our game reached him at letter Y, and he was doing rather well. Although it's very difficult to aim in bagatelle (as we all found out), he was rather hoping to hit the target which allows reclamation of all your lost balls. It was his final ball, and he vowed to fire it at the same time as he thought of his rude word.

It was a masterpiece. Just as his ball arced gracefully into the correct target, Mane thought of the perfect word.

"Yoghurt! It's a rude word, because you can put it all over... oh, my balls!"

This time the stunned silence didn't come before the laughter. All that was left afterwards, perhaps, was the response.

"Clunch?" someone said.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Lollipop

We were taking a stroll down the street and everyone was rather giggly. Robinson had won a whole 50p. My friend-who-is-a-teacher had had moderate success with her cakes, and my friend-who-is-a-midwife had won a prize too. In the same category I'd entered. She had a whole pound to her name. Truly, I was envious of her success.

At some point the idea of flavoured condoms came up. I'm not sure exactly how. We are like that, my friends and I, what with picking random topics out of the air according to what seems most appropriate at the time. This time, it was the flavoured condom approach.

"I've only ever used a flavoured condom once," I admitted truthfully, "and I used it for sex, not oral." I didn't mention the 'if you want to suck cock, then you might enjoy the taste as well' approach, as that's a sore point with everyone except everyone I've talked to about it. Nevertheless, I thought I ought to elaborate. "Strawberry," I explained without having been asked.

At this point the idea was mooted of there being a sugar condom. Not just tasting of sugar, but actually being a construct made of pure sugar. A vague recollection of a used packet of "candy condoms" lying on a street in Exeter floated through my head, but I let it pass. Bringing myself back to reality, I heard everyone's favourite young raver discussing at length the things you could do with a condom made of sugar.

The list consisted of this sort of stuff:
  • Having a blowjob while wearing the condom, so your partner has a pleasant taste of sugar in their mouth
  • Having a blowjob after having worn the condom, so your penis tastes of sugar and your partner has a pleasant taste of sugar in their mouth
  • Having sex while wearing the condom, so your partner has a pleasant taste of sugar in their vagina
  • Having sex after having worn the condom, so your penis tastes of sugar and your partner has a pleasant taste of sugar in their vagina
  • Exactly how the fuck would you make a condom out of sugar anyway?

And then we have this:
  • Being able to eat the condom after sex for a good-tasting snack, with a hint of salt to satiate the palate

OK, hang on a second.

I knew he was dirty, but I didn't realise that eating a sugar condom filled with his own cum was such a turn-on for people like him... or maybe just actually him. Mind you, he's probably the first person to ever think of that fetish... so score yet another piece of genius wrongness from our young raver.

Rule 34 in action, people. With sugar involved. And if The Great British Bake Off doesn't jump on this idea, well, I shall  be thoroughly dissatisfied.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

And don't call me Shirley

A lot of people misconstrue some amount of what I say. Much of what I say is intended to be humorous, but because of my deadpan nature and presumed intellect, sometimes the way I say things seems serious, and if I'm going to avoid putting a tongue smiley after every post, then it's best to assume I'm not being deadly serious unless the tone suggests so.

The above paragraph is serious, by the way.

My sister put it nicely when she got a LiveJournal and wrote something along the lines of, "he sometimes say things he dont meen" (she was very young at this point!), to which I responded with, "the word you're looking for is 'sarcasm'." My grandmother, in whose house I'm sitting right now, often tells me not to be sarcastic. I usually thank her enthusiastically for this incredibly valuable piece of life-saving advice which I'm sure is going to be the solution to all my troubles.

In any case, sometimes when I'm serious, I say it as if I'm being humorous. You know, just to keep the conversation interesting.

Like yesterday afternoon. I was bored... and horny. I had come back from a local horticultural exhibition (yes, I am that cool) in which I had entered a Victoria sponge cake (yes, I am that cool) in order to win a prize of £1.50 (yes, I am that cool) with the unexpected addition of two types of chocolate chip, thus invalidating my entry but in turn gaining free access to the show (yes, I am that cool!) My girlfriend, to her credit, had spent her time tidying up the front room due to the fact we had my friends coming over later on (in fact, if my friend-who-is-a-midwife hadn't mentioned it earlier on, I may have forgotten about it!). But we had a few hours to kill.

"Do you want to have sex?" I said. She turned to look at me, quizzically.
"Why, do you want to?"
"Yes... do you want to?"
"..."
"..."
"...yes?"

An hour and a half later and I felt my hard penis pulsate frantically, letting out an almost bestial moan as I came inside her. A few more thrusts for the hell of it, a pause to savour the feeling, and I pulled myself out of her, experiencing for the last time the sensation of her inner walls clinging to the shape of my cock, dulled slightly by the condom (which I then removed, tied in a knot and discarded). I lay down next to her and held her while she had more orgasms in my arms. And then I grinned at her.

You see, I did want to have sex. I was being serious at that point. But I'm definitely allowed to grin...

...because, when it comes down to it, you can't take sex that seriously. Sex is fun!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Second Gear

There's a definite rumble of traffic outside my window right now. I find this unusual, but I'm coping with it. Stoically. Or I have no choice. Either one.

I'm not used to the noise of traffic outside a house because the house I grew up in was an end-of-terrace in a very quiet side street nestled in a leafy residential area. And it was a cul-de-sac... in any given fifteen minutes, you would be lucky to have one car moving on either side of the road. Except when the local school let the children out, in which case our road suddenly became a car park for competitive mums and really annoying childminders.

None of the other roads I'm familiar with have been particularly noisy either. The house in which I rent a room now is also a quiet cul-de-sac opposite a school; my parents' new(ish) house, called SH, is a few streets away from where we used to live but markedly quieter (nearly silent, were it not for the cat); even when I went to university, living in hall was louder than the street on which my eventual digs were situated.

We are house-sitting for my grandparents. This time last week, we were still house-sitting for my auntie, uncle, and two cousins (the preppy teen girl and the Lego fanatic who attends Hogwarts; just as we were about to leave, my grandparents asked if we would sit here for another two weeks. Of course we would. I can't afford rent.

It's a nice house - nice and big. I'd have you all over for a party. The noticeable difference, however, is that it's on a main road. Traffic uses it 24 hours a day, and living here comes with the occupational hazard of being kept awake by a particularly loud car every few minutes. Memories of staying here in my childhood - in exactly the same room I sit here typing this post: a spare room with the same bed I slept in, the same wardrobe that's always been here and wallpaper that hasn't been changed since about 1495 - come back to me when I think about it. The rumble of traffic was as strange then as it is now.

Leaving aside the obvious environmental concern for the moment, though, I do quite like the sound. We're opposite a pub, too, which could really be annoying with the lairy drunken gits (I almost got run over outside there once, ironically by the one girl who everyone in the sixth form wanted to do - she either didn't notice me or didn't care; probably both), but it really isn't. The machinations of the general public show obvious signs of human habitation - which I like. In my auntie's house, the tiniest clunk put me on red alert, fearing burglars or worse: I'm told that it doesn't reflect well on you if you let people come in and steal your relatives' stuff, and even worse if you get yourself murdered as well (blood's hell to get out of a carpet). Here, the sounds are always that of people outside, and any sticky situations that one could get oneself in are those that one could potentially get oneself out of again, through the simple expedient of walking through the door.

I'm not saying where we are is perfect - far from it; it's big and loud and I've no idea where the iron is - but I reckon I could get to like it here.

And I can't wait to have sex here, opposite the pub, with the main road outside and quiet neighbours. It will be awesome.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Fiction: 8:17pm

It's been a long time since I posted fiction on this blog. And for good reason. It's not a fiction blog. I'm not really an erotica writer. But I do write, and I love to spin fiction; I just don't publish it. Why not? I've no idea. I rarely ever get anything finished.

Anyway, I went to a reading at Sh! last night, along with Jilly, Emma and various other reprobates (KD Grace has an excellent write-up of said event), and on the way back I mooted the idea of sharing more of my erotic writing. At which point I realised that I could do so on my blog... and then realised that a lot of it hasn't even been finalised and there's not much of it in prose form.

I'm so cool.

So here's something from a while ago. It's from the novel I'm not writing, tentatively titled Louise, from the point of view of the eponymous heroine. The last scene ended with her meeting a boy, leading to this...

*

That was three hours ago. It’s now 8:17pm. Michael (for that is his name) is asleep. Or maybe he’s unconscious. It’s very difficult to tell sometimes. Every now and again he breathes, so at least I haven’t killed him – which is a good thing, as I’d hate to be found in his flat by a concerned neighbour who has no idea who I am. I wouldn’t have much of an alibi. Then again, most murderers kill family members, or at least people they know. I barely know Michael. I didn’t even know he had a flat until about an hour and a half ago. He didn’t seem like the type.

I need to find a bathroom. This is a small flat – it’s not particularly tidy, either, but it’s unlikely that a whole room has slipped down the back of the sofa. It shouldn’t be difficult. I slip out of the bed, pad across the carpeted floor, exiting into a bizarre kitchen/living area combination. There’s a door leading to the way out – I know that much. There must be another one somewhere. It takes me a while to work out that what I previously assumed to be a dark patch on the wall is, in fact, another door. I walk across and push it, and it swings open with a small click. Yes, it’s a bathroom. Nice find, Louise.

My reflection glares at me like I’ve done something wrong. I watch her comb her hair – the dull glow of the yellow light doesn’t really accentuate the red colour as much as daylight does, but I can’t afford to be picky. My reflection washes her hands, dabs herself down with a wet flannel, and for good measure, splashes water on her face. She looks just like how I feel – better. Flashing her a brave attempt at a smile – which she returns – I turn and swan out of the bathroom, making my way back across to Michael’s bedroom. He’s still sleeping when I open the door. I pick up my clothes, dress, and then consider waking him up to tell him that I’m leaving. Considering the fact that he spent a large amount of time following me around at work today, it would be the polite thing to do, putting in a bit of effort... but then I remind myself that I’ve already exerted a lot of effort on him. I put on my shoes, fasten them with the Velcro, and silently slip out. I check that I’ve got my iPod, ’phone, keys and wallet, and then leave his flat.

Down a few flights of some stone grey steps and then out into a car park. I’ve no idea where I am, but that’s never bothered me before. I know we walked here from the library. We went via a café, so logically the right thing to do is to find the café, then go from there to the library, and from there I can get home. By the time I’ve gotten to the first main road, I’m bored. I hail a taxi instead. It’s 9:30 when I get back to my flat. It’s smaller than Michael’s, but a lot cleaner and tidier... and brighter – something I have come to appreciate a lot more in the last few minutes, considering how navigating Michael’s flat was similar to orienteering during a night hike. Weighing up my options, I decide upon lemonade and a lie-down. This eventually turns into sleep – ‘eventually’, that is, meaning ‘almost suddenly’. I barely make it to my own bed, and sleep where I fall. I don’t even get under the covers.