Thursday, 3 March 2011


Another fashion week and another deadline, another load of stress and another intern, working late and starting early, overdosing on coffee and Haribo, washing every other day and wearing the same jumper and leggings for three days in a row.

This is the true fashion world. Ever in a nicotine fog and on the brink of an expletive the run up to fashion week is far from glamourous; no Wintour perfection, no Roitfeld (though she is no longer at Vogue) glamour and the colour of Piaggi is relegated to the garments being made rather than on the person. This is the reality magazines don’t show, the smell of stress, stale sweat, anxiety and relief is one I delight in. It's the stress and the lack of hygiene that holds all the romance and glamour of fashion; the dark circles are the best mascara, coffee-stained lips have a beauty that lipgloss won’t beat. Schlepping around in fleece slippers and moth-eaten sweater is the haute couture I once craved.

However I'm getting old now, soon to be pensioned off at 28; the fashion world is tough, it wears one out, burnout at 26. The chain smoking and the caffeine reliance play havoc with the system and digestion, the adrenaline-dependent existence turns one into a junky, addicted to that high of finishing a garment and then the slump off handing it over, oh the cravings!
But as I prepare to bow out I have to wonder if the intern who sits at the knitting machine, with his energy and youth, will be prepared to carry the weight of new fashion weeks, the garments needed to be made and the stress of hitting that deadline early because, as we know, stylists need garments made yesterday and have no idea as to the time needed to be made. "Can you make a jumper for look 6? Can it be done for tomorrow?" My head screams "NO!" but the mouth says "erm... should be ok, perhaps tomorrow evening.”

A ridiculous time scale but the adrenaline kicks in and an all nighter is pulled, the garment is made, the legs shaking with exhaustion, the fingers numbed with sewing and the arm limp from frantic back and forth on the knitting machine. Lets not even go into the mashed potato brain, the calculations and estimations needed to make the components have made it work harder than Vorderman à la Countdown.

The intern, as lovely as he is, has limited abilities. He can draw brilliantly and has design vision but the actual ability to put the vision into reality is barely visible. I have to question, what are they being taught at college? The exorbitant fees soon to be raised further are surely set to teach the aspiring students how to create their vision.

However, he is relying on the internship to teach him the skills. It's two weeks, now one week, nay three days before fashion week, there simply isn't the time to be giving tutorials. What is needed is an intern who can do what I ask, "cast on 90 stitches with the hook, every other needle working, two stitch selvedge, tension 1, tuck after 20 rows, then work all stitches and knit trunk for 90 rows, tension 6..."

The look of bewilderment on his face is almost comical but he timidly says, "can you explain?" basically translated as, 'I haven’t got the foggiest what you just said and don’t have a clue what to do."

There's no point getting annoyed, it is simpler and quicker to sit at the machine, and start him off allowing him to watch and learn. But why isn’t the college teaching him all the technical and practical methods required to be a success in the studio and to be part of a team? Why are they relying on his internship when they are receiving the fees?

It's after a long day, frazzled and frizzled beyond comprehension, packing away and preparing to head home for needed sleep, that he says, "I've learnt more here in one day and than what I have in a year at college."

This is something I'm used to hearing, their amazement at the little things that make a huge difference to the whole, understanding the amounts and time for construction, the common sense that often evades many designers as to the blue print and scaffolding of garments. Of course I reply with positives, assuring him that he has done well and has certainly improved since the morning – and he has, they always do – but things would have been so much easier if they had had the skill in the beginning and all that was needed to develop was the speed rather than the digging of raw materials and the preparing of abilities.

When they find out I never went to college, my skills were learned from home, tutored by elderly ladies whose fingers were so adept with the knit that they could create an Aran jumper with bombs falling and children around feet as they simultaneously made the pie for dinner out of ration, they fall silent. I like to think I had a proper apprenticeship with the true artisans of knitwear. They taught me the little skills that make a garment resplendent, the holding of needles, the sewing, the finishing, the tension that have allowed me to be able to create to a high standard. As I progressed to machine knitting, again learning from the skilled ladies in suburban homes I picked up the techniques that are not taught in the expensive, highly regarded colleges. My fee to those ladies was a big hug and constant conversation. They imbued me with the romance of making, of craft, of completing and even now, when I sit with a set of needles and a bag of yarn, the romance overwhelms me and I'm transported to that Axminster-carpeted living room, the gas fire on, the memories of conversation filling my mind and the techniques and skills they taught me flooding back with a smile and a warmth that no gas fire could ever beat.

Perhaps that’s what’s needed in colleges, a cheap council-installed gas fire and a pot of tea, some sofas and a group of elderly ladies with a catalogue of stories and then the proper learning can occur.

Friday, 12 November 2010

One's Association

Simian Mobile Disco tell us to forget our about the scene – it’s the beat that counts. And I have to agree. To dance to one’s own drum is a beautiful thing. At a time when conformity has overpowered the individual, the rare moments of a unique aesthetic, personality or conversation are a moment treasured.
After a rather lacklustre fireworks display courtesy of Tower Hamlets Council a friend and I were heading for some deep fried complex carbohydrates, the cold having exhausted the meagre nutritional value of the maize snacks we navigated the crowds on. Like ourselves, much of the throng were layered up, hats, scarves and gloves, mismatched or of a theme; the general consensus had decided to forget style in favour of warmth, most apt seeing as the winds were comparable to those of the Siberian tundra. There were some who had decided to play Russian Roulette with hypothermia in dogtooth jackets and fine knit jumpers, khaki trousers rolled to the ankle so the contrasting socks could be seen with their of-the-minute brogues or ridiculously lame canvas boots. Obviously frozen like an Iceland profiterole, they tensed their body and walked in the manner of Herman Munster. Forget about your scene style and focus on the accelerated beats of your over worked heart as it keeps your body warm.

Attired in my trusted blue duffel, anaconda-length scarf and aran cardigan I was comfortable, I didn't care if rather jumbled together my main concern was steering clear of the icy winds. My friend was in layers of block colours; snap him in half and he would be a Technicolor tree stump. He too was warm enough and so we were a pair of warm disappointed residents.

Ghetto maybe annoying and visually repellent – although in hoodies, puffa jackets and heavy denim they definitely looked warm – but their presence was unwanted. We steered clear when we could but at times it was unavoidable; holding tighter to possessions we stood straight and gave the air of being unafraid. It was as we munched on the chips and mayonnaise that an adolescent girl, her overly relaxed hair shining like a nylon lining in a high street suit, knit cardigan open to reveal a heaving bosom and Argos jewellery straining her lobes an instant collection of vignettes rushed through the head, bodies lying splattered and lacerated on the floor in a gangland random attack being the theme.

"You guys look well good, really like what you’re wearing. And you look, like well warm too."

I wasn't choking on the blood spurting out of a shot neck, it was the chip lodged in the throat. I was ashamed to have considered this girl a soon-to-be criminal if not already. However her association could only lead to such a judgement. But I should know better, however such actions are a safeguard; many a time has such a judgement kept me safe when a resident of Acton (aka crackton) and now Bethnal Green.
One cannot help wondering, if this girl was with another group of youths, non-ghetto, an unthreatening ensemble of darkly hooded faces in black jersey could she be the embodiment of a free creative who focuses on the beat of individuality rather than the scene of acceptability. Gangs of the ghetto, much like the plaid army of Shoreditch exists to congregate with conformity. It fools you into thinking that one will be accepted and cared for as long as in a similar aesthetic with a similar mindset.

Lies, it's all lies. A beastly uniformity that will hold you down and ruin any personality you have as it squashes it with ridicule. Scenesters, be it Shoreditch, Dalston, Soho or the ghetto are nothing more than a bully. Everyone wants to be accepted and liked but one has to be liked and accepted for who one is. It’s not easy and will not happen quickly, but when a meeting of individuals occurs, a respect for each other’s creativity is the most wondrous thing. It will console when struggling, feed when hungry and warm when cold. Just like my trusted blue duffel.

Friday, 15 October 2010


When playing hide and seek as a child I used to always head for the bottom of my mother’s wardrobe. Bed linen at the bottom, skirts and trousers descending, it was dark and secure yet easy to escape. If the seeker was to open the doors with an "aha!" I would not be seen deeply buried underneath the newly laundered linen, the excited pile cleverly concealed by the long skirts hanging, brushing the top of my head. Shadows and fabric playing smoke and mirrors.
Becoming a teenager was awful, I was the sad teen, eating the sadness away. And golly can I eat! My wardrobe became a magician’s suitcase, its contents of colourful fabric, various weights and dimensions were relied on to conjure a presentable person.
 How to use my box of tricks required learning and practice, a deft hand with a silk scarf, fine manipulation with the tie (half-Windsor knots are preferred) and a clever eye for fabrics took time and energy. I studied hard, eyes becoming blurry with images from past, and then, present. The history of items, their politics, society and invention were read and understood. The only thing one can't learn is style, this comes with time, growth and liberation.

Great individual style can only be achieved when letting go of society’s constraints and the mind, now emancipated, can think with the colour and texture it innately has. We all have preferences, naturally, but the emancipated mind sees everything and tries everything at least once; it may not be enjoyed but how was one to know? And never is it a wasted opportunity for we get ideas all the time; inspiration doesn't always have to come from the good.

And so with my liberated mind I decided to see if I could retain style whilst disrobed of my clothes of illusion, though losing the adolescent weight and discomfort with my physique has rendered me dependant on the magicians compendium.

Being far from an acceptable nudist beach (well are there any?), I resorted to a day spa, polite, refined and therapeutic. Recommended by a regular, I booked and attended.
Those first minutes of being in a locker room had me returning to school. Undressing whilst never being undressed, I can get changed into a nylon P.E. kit whilst wearing a polyester blazer, acrylic sweater and polyblend shirt in no time, it's all in the flick of the wrist. Oh and as a byway, all that polyester on teens is not good, the sweats, the grime, the hormones! Its not acne, its an allergic reaction.

However, once I saw the middle aged spread around me disrobing, though not a bad thing, I started to feel comfortable. I may not be the waist 26 of the Dior Homme model I always wanted to be but I'm a 30-28 and that's not to be scoffed at; no one was scoffing at all. No sneering or jeering, maybe because I was out of the east, away from aesthetes who consider anyone either not like them or of their circle worthy of instant derision, I felt a sense of belonging. Men together, nothing but our masculinity and that's style in itself.

Walking through the spa with only a towel, the least amount of fabric worn away from my bathroom I began to straighten my posture; no longer reliant on my wardrobe to give illusions of a flat stomach and a moob-less chest I attempted to retain the style known for with a excellent posture and a nonchalant gait. Well it is rather difficult to strut on a wet, tiled floor; one slip and the shame would certainly kill.

This being a place of notable repute, the clientele was polite and well mannered, no leering, no ogling, no errant hands in the sauna's gloom. However as I took some respite in the sitting area outside, the sweat freezing in icicles from my nose and elbows, a mature gentleman engaged me in conversation, discussing the many benefits of the sauna and how one can't beat a good Turkish bath. He asked what I did for a job. "Yes that makes sense, you do have a presence."

Was having a presence a good thing? Something advantageous? On many occasions I have been told I have a presence, which has always been a polite alternative to "you look like no one else in you zebra stripe leggings and crocheted jumper". It’s never a positive; people don't like people who don't assimilate to a genre. It appears I don't assimilate, there happens to be no genre for my general aesthetic, though I refute this vehemently – I promise you I don't dress that left field.

Asking for an explanation, "you make yourself known when you enter a room, you have a style to your person" – his words not mine.

"My mother was strict with posture, I could never slouch or lollop."

"Yes, posture is important but it’s more than that; either you have it or you don't. Something within, the French have it, Italians have it."
I think I was in love; being compared to the French has been my dream since 15. It is undeniable the French have style, Parisians certainly monopolise the term. I was undecided about Italians but each to their own.

Donning clothes I returned to comfort; concealed in fabric I am able to play tricks and conjure the person I want to be, but when I was shed of them I tried to understand the concept of style from being myself, only myself, warts and all. I remember reading an article about tailoring that said when seeing the slight imperfect puckering along the edge of a collar, one knows it has been hand sewn and is therefore a bespoke suit, of superior quality and individual.
I too have come to that conclusion, it is the imperfections of one and how carried that give one style. Think of great individuals who have the tag of style swinging from their neck – Leigh Bowery with his size, Klaus Nomi with his receding hairline, Twiggy with her waif-like physique, Bette Davis and her beaky nose and thin lips. All had presence but they had style too because they knew their flaws and worked with them. Davis smoking and blowing smoke through her nose is still devastating as are the Freud portraits of Bowery in all his glory.
I, we, create a presence with clothes, but one must never forget the person wearing them because that's where the style originates. And whether concealing or playing with our flaws with a persona or couture, one should not, cannot hide that particular style innate within each person.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


I can tolerate many things – acrid cologne applied with a pressure washer is painful yet tolerable; overcooked fish may erode my molars to a blunt Uluru but is tolerable; over-sung R&B ruins what can be a beautiful voice and song but Aguilera is tolerated. However, some things are plain, downright, out and out intolerable.

ITV costume dramas and their incessant adverts for shampoo ruin the mood of the Regency; dandruff on the collar obliterates the beauty of a Savile Row suit and Abercrombie and Fitch sends me into convulsions of dégoût. But poorly fitted clothes on the catwalk are a surefire ire maker.

The hours of researching and design, the expense of sampling, the blood, sweat and tears over the months spilled is wasted all because of poor fitting.

Now don't get me wrong, I love Kokon To Zai (KTZ). Their oversized tees are a dream and the vision of its owners is always a revelation but to see zips buckling, an inch gap at waists, and wrinkling leather had me prostrate in tears. The collection was fine (if a little too much of a Givenchy pastiche); black leather and gold foil is nothing new. When Tisci paraded it seasons ago my heart skipped a pleasant beat but here I simply raised my glasses in disbelief.

Was it disbelief or sadness? The sheer comprehension of a stylist allowing a model to strut the runway with an inch gap at waist is beyond me. Seeing zips buckle had me wanting to cry at what was a relatively nice black leather embossed dress. Both had me wanting to leap forward and yank the dress down or exchange the ridiculously thin model for one who eats meals.

Perhaps here is the problem. A squeamishly thin 18 year old has no shape, she can wear skinny jeans and Converse to death but she can't wear a dress that desperately needs curves. Dresses are always best on a woman. But this is fashion, youth obsessed, so all I ask, quite simply, is to fit to your models. Select models with a little more on them, not a size 14 but one who is more than hip bones and a gaunt face.

Or if all else fails, make the damn dress smaller!

The East

What has happened to the east? I won't regale you with the annoyance of the posers, the disgust at the proliferation of drugs or sadness at the deluge of big name brands with big name price tags.
  This is anger. Ire at the violent hatred permeating its streets. The east has become swamped with hating youths who are guilty of causing a carnage where those who fall victim are sad, depressed and afraid. I speak for myself amongst this wronged group.

But it’s for my nearest and dearest whom I have been sent to the pen. I hope the pen is truly mightier than the sword.

Occurrences on the streets of the east are not random, solitary events that cannot be helped. They are regular and known. The culprits are known. To be honest they are not hard to find; in their nondescript hoodies and tracks they penguin walk with their rear on full view spitting bile at those who dare to clothe themselves in cloth and natural fibres. They are kids who are acting the big man when there is nothing big nor manly about them. Brandishing a poor vocabulary comprising of racist, homophobic and sexist terminology, they roam. Congregating in parks and on street corners they consider themselves the arbiter of acceptability: "you need to sort dem jeans out." Why should I? Since when did I take a fashion critique from someone wholly ignorant of the Paris catwalks?
  Mentioning fashion has me sounding trivial but let me inform you, it is by ones raiment they will begin their tirade of hate; violence will ensue. Physical violence to me and my friends, our person and property is simply unacceptable. When someone attacks my dog I will consider them lower than scum. They are the dregs of society and like all vermin, intense extermination must be carried out.

Here I sound like a supporter of eugenics and may I enlighten you as to my own lower middle-class, mixed ethnicity. This is not racial or class prejudice, this is the candid reporting of events and opinions held by my circle. A circle comprising of various ethnicities, class and creed, we are united with creativity, allied with freedom, a cohesive group accepting and respecting. We are being singled out for being such, subjected to the vileness of grotesque nobodies who will not amount to anything more than a drain on the government and a burden to the justice system.

I cannot tell you what is to be done with them; national service, education, financial support, social work – why give them more attention and money? Surely this could be used to fertilise new talent, young people who want to achieve something with their lives. Young people who don't go wielding vicious tongues and weapons cocked ready to harm.

I cannot either hypothesise as to the origins of their animalistic hating. Some may say it is a result of ingrained cultural prejudice, religious bigotry or an ignorance fuelled by poverty and lack of hopeful aspiration. And to that I say boo! Utter rot – we all have the ability to think, comprehend, take stock of our lives and yearn for better. For fear of sounding the ideal American, we all have dreams and we can all try to attain them. I know I did as have my friends and acquaintances and not one of us exited the womb with a silver spoon in our mouth, no cutlery in fact was to be found on our newborn person. We grew up with a handkerchief in tight grasp mopping a sweaty brow. Working and finally attaining what we longed for. To be a somebody.

Yet we are now being degraded to somethings, objects to be ridiculed and assaulted, by those unknowing of the toil we have made, the studying and expense committed so we could elevate our person, our minds.

Let these beasts be relegated to what they are, nobodies, nobodies of the east and as they try to degrade us let us stand together and with our success, degrade them. For that is what they deserve. Their just desserts of nothing as we gorge on the Eton mess, we the successful.

Thursday, 30 September 2010


Ooh, those young kids and their crazy fashion. Or actually, is it quite so crazy?

Think Fifties and images of Natalie Wood and James Dean will crop up. The white tee with leather jacket is a look much respected today but think back and it was shocking, revolutionary. The tremors running through Peyton Place were measured via the ripples on the blancmange.

The James Dean look moved onto a certain Mr Presley, and daughters were locked away from the aggressive lothario whose songs referenced the tough nuts of the jailhouse and how the kids rocked. Mr Presley evolved, rock'n'roll became the youth culture and the many artists cemented the new generation of society. And let's not forget our own Cliff Richard; he may be the butt of many jokes but he was very cool to kids left of the pond. And the next time you watch Summer Holiday check the wardrobe, its damn good!

Newsflash, The Beatles arrived. Sharp suits and polished shoes brought the kids back to Savile Row – well, the Burton suit – and suddenly, if not emulating one of the Fab Four, it was being cocky to Miss Moneypenny. This was of course if you were clean cut and wanting to be respected by the parents – go on and be the bad kid, the black sheep, and gyrate the hips and unhinge the jaws like Mick Jagger. Rock'n'roll was growing, the cutesy cute of Californian surfers was far too twee and alien to the grey shores of the English Riviera. The Who and The Kinks, The Small Faces and Procol Harum sounded of the streets, of the Kings Rd. Granny went on a trip and she was joined on the ride. Chelsea girls and Chelsea boots strutted down Carnaby.

Hold on – a certain festival was soon to occur with a soundtrack of Hendrix and Joplin, and love was to be felt. Placating the parents was now no longer a concern; being the black sheep was too square, let's just be in love! Daisy chains, in all varieties, even the once respectable Beatles were in love; weed saturated afghan coats and beads, shaggy hair and experimental guitar riffs abounded. It laid the path for Ziggy and Bolan, creatives that were challenging then and still are now. Roxy Music took us to Virginia Plain and we flew to Rio, discovered life on mars and rode the white swan with glittered eyes and an androgynous wardrobe.

We shall here try to forget the tartan army of the Bay City Rollers, or the beaming smiles of the Osmonds (however, what a tune was ‘Crazy Horses’). Teenagers were experimental like never before, beautiful and glamorous, prepping themselves for the truest onslaught of shock and disturbance.

Malcolm McLaren came back from New York, enlisted the raw talents of angry musicians and punk broke forth. Inspired by The Ramones and the New York origins of punk, London beat the drum loudest and angriest. The Sex Pistols had the kids swapping the glitter for safety pins, makeup for hair gel and colour for black. It was a scene to change youth culture like nothing before. Punk to post punk, the new wave was just as loud and its creativity was in abundance. The aesthetic may have calmed, well in England anyway but the music maintained a strong, youthful voice.

New York saw the rise of Talking Heads, B-52s and Klaus Nomi to mention a few, whose music matched their amazing aesthetic to an extent of otherworldly dimensions. None more so than dearest Nomi, whose talent is much missed since his all too young death from that dreadful disease which saw the loss of too many creatives who gave so much in their shortened years.

The eighties saw various styles and scenes amongst the kids. John Hughes' view was polite but fun and in its own way subversive. Two Tone was sending people in droves to the mirror in the bathroom as they sent a message to their dearest Rudy. Bowery was kicking up a storm in Soho, him with his fellow gender benders blitzing through the capital and making everything all Kinky and Gerlinky. No one was fading to grey as the chameleons found their karma. Bowery too followed McLaren across the ocean and joined the equally outrageous Alig.

The club kids of Club 2000 partied in the limelight of lorries driving through the streets of the city, never losing a piece of their costume, though I'm sure many brain cells were lost from the excessive amount of drugs coursing through their painted and corseted bodies.

The more accessible scene of the Haçienda had kids all over the country flocking to Manchester to party happily, ecstasy aided, till the wee hours, acid smiles to match the ones on their faces. Manchester became the music powerhouse under the wing of Factory Records. Youth had never been so financially viable.

The 90s saw the loss of colour and glamour to youth culture. The lad and ladette scene turned a scornful eye on the flamboyant and wielded a nasty tongue which flicked acid, such a shame as it drew heavily on the early sound of the 60's. Soon came the Noughties and a re-emergence of the beautiful happened. New Rave hosted by Boombox, the Studio 54 of the Noughties and golly, the characters returned. The streets of London were awash with the bizarre and beautiful; it became alive because freedom returned. London Fashion Week hadn't been so popular since the debut of Westwood and Bodymap on its catwalks.

Pugh, Schwab, Kane, Tough, Goldin and Giles paraded designs as renegade as their predecessors, Galliano, Westwood, McQueen and Howell. But then the box stopped booming.

And it has not boomed since. A short moment of ponies stepping to a canter beat was enjoyed but it wasn't maintained. The catwalks lost their splendour, the streets held no sashaying aesthetes and M.I.A. joined forces with Timbaland. Youth ingenuity has slowed to a deathly plod, It’s the few now who remain and maintain the powder and patches of the 20th/21st century.

It had been diminishing over the years but has now been relegated to a novelty rather than a wonderment to behold and experience. It’s a fruit pastille when it was the gateaux.  The return of conformity has rung the death peel of the once amazing kid.

Walk the streets of the east and see a bevvy of the acne monsters spouting vile words at the few who choose to embrace the glitter of Bowie. Hear them scoff at the ones whose adoration of the new romantics borders on imitation and watch their fingers point like weapons at those who will never forget the genius of dear Leigh.

The kids are no longer crazy, in their mad clothing and listening to alternative beats. With desperate hoping I shall wait to see if it will awaken and we shall be treated to a sight of the bizarre beauties that only the young can concoct.

Monday, 13 September 2010


I shan't lie to you; I'm a single male, with a dog and a stack of books. I wish bad upon couples, I spit at them, cut an eye at them, snort my derision at them, hate myself a little when around them.

They are the Mozart to my Salieri.

With dreams of being the wanted ideal I spent adolescence praying to gods of couture and when the blessed day of financial independence came, days were spent in attendance at the houses of worship on Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets. The blunt knowing that I was no Adonis had me desperate to become beautiful; the instruments of clothes were at my disposal. 

I studied fashion literature with such veracity that the ensuing melody came in experimental forms, new genres, new beats, new orchestrations, but again, these left me out in the cold. So to the mind I went, from couture to literature. 

Books had been ever a constant. A childhood was spent with words, suckled and weaned with newspapers, toddling with tales, scribbling at puzzles and babbling over dictionaries. Books had lined my walls and carpeted the floor where I trod and because of such, it had been taken with total ignorance as to their importance. 

So when realising my strongest asset was the mind – for my aesthetic was failure – books in every form became what I idolised. Never forgetting my original devotion to gods of couture, I became polytheistic with my prayers. It was all desperation, to be sought after, to be found attractive. Rather than creating music I read it and wrote it and imagined it. Heard the strings, the brass, the percussion, knowing how to utilise them instead of the actual performing.

Little did I know that being a blue stocking was also to lead one on a path to deeper isolation. Seeing around me people partnering, falling and being hopelessly in love rendered me hopeless. I, the one with the closet of clothes and the library of books, a mind saturated with knowledge and information, was sitting alone amongst a throng of the unread and unknowing.  So I plotted and schemed ways to show my hatred of them all. Perfecting the evil eye, summoning curses so they too would become as dreadfully alone as me.

My aesthetic orchestration was no longer seen, creating raised eyebrows and curled lips; it was simply overlooked by sexual beings.  Here was my lacking, a serious lacking of person. I simply am not a sexualised being. Whatever sex I had experienced had been one of convenience, a convenience to the other person. When no one was around, then I could be seen.

No longer wanting to be seen by any kind, I hid away amongst the books and clothes. No more music was to be made – a life of silence and isolation was to be mine. With evil in my heart I ventured out to work and executed daily chores, trying desperately to ignore those around me sporting a loved one on their arm, hands holding another hand made my heart burn with vicious fire. 

However, what the heart wants, the heart tries to attain. I could not maintain this anger; it was ruining the mind of wondrous knowledge I had gained. No more pleasure at the music I heard, only the war drums of loathing. And I wanted to hear the concertos, the operas and minuets so beautiful in sound and aesthetic.

I try now to be content with my solitary existence, praising those who find love, living my own love through theirs. The pain it creates is brutal and scarring; it jars the mind upon every occurrence but I bear it with the greatest equanimity one can muster and dab the iodine over the lacerations, repeating the arias in my head to soothe the ache being felt as I see lips meet and hands grasp each other.

To return home to the books and the clothes, my unsexual body is swathed in cottons, cashmeres and silks, no longer having to see its deformity. Building the mind with new information, theories, settings and vocabulary, I find love using the instruments only known and ever trusted.