The Beach Diaries #20
* A drunk man sings. “Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo, what we gonna do?”
“That’s not how the Scooby Doo theme goes,” I think. Except I don’t think it, instead, I accidentally laugh disparagingly and say it out loud. The drunk stops in his tracks and eyeballs me for a few moments, before continuing on his journey, no longer singing. Part of me wonders if there’s an unconscious desire on my part to create material for the Beach Diaries with such outbursts, my brain knowing that the end’s in sight. Thankfully, Hot Lifeguard is not on duty today, so even my evil-brain can’t fuck me by doing something there.
* In medieval times, they’d have equated these pieces with being a wandering minstrel. Maybe next summer some company can sponsor me to tramp along the length of the coast with a tent and a notepad and go full minstrel on the Beach Diaries. (Actually, that would be pretty sweet. Anyone? Throw in a phone and an iPad to upload them to WordPress, and we can talk.)
* Two dogs run in circles. A woman calls after them.
“Kat! Alfie!” Christ.
* It happened. The moment regular readers may have been waiting for. At approximately 1:30pm, for the third time this summer, I got shat on by a seagull. I didn’t even see the culprit – although we all know it’s the same one – merely the passing overhead of a swift, barely perceptible shadow, and the now familiar ‘plop’ of poo descending from sky to body. It was the back, this time; a messy, green evacuation that requires me to strap on my rucksack when in polite company. I suspect, like all good movies and TV shows, my nemesis is the bitter bastard son of the seagull who shat on my head in the playground when I was eight, causing @drewvis_uk to sprint around like a carny freakshow barker, drawing huge crowds to view my plight (and rightly so – I’d have done the exact same thing). The poo was enormous that day, my friends, covering the entire top of my head like a vast yarmulke, and I paid a boy in my class two M.U.S.C.L.E. toys to help me pick it out of my hair in the toilets. What my current nemesis lacks in sheer volume, he makes up for with bullying persistence. There may be less than three weeks before Summer wheezes her final death rattle beneath Autumn’s heavy hobnail boots, but I will have you yet, Evil Seagull Jnr, between two slices of bread. And then, I shall poo you out onto your own children.
* A hot girl passes in a shirt that’s all ripped in the back like one of Hulk Hogan’s. Something something, my 24 inch python, something something. Of course, the raised red and yellow flag, like those at Buckingham Palace, signifies that the man himself is in residence today.
* My hair looked impeccable when I left the house. Thanks to a brisk southwesterly, I now resemble an old dead tree in Tim Burton’s personal cemetery.
* A small boy digs with a little blue plastic spade. Next to him, his dad aggressively hacks away at the sand with a full-sized metal garden shovel, specially lugged down to the seafront from the shed. His t-shirt reads ‘Let’s get physical!’ and as a friend passes, they do a stop-and-chat.
“We’re just down ‘ere,” says the dad, “digging some big ‘oles.”
* An elderly man sits on the edge of the prom, his feet on the sand below. Smoke billows in wafty grey clouds from between his legs. It’s just a portable BBQ that he’s self-consciously trying to hide, but until you get up close, it looks like his balls are burning down.
* It’s decided; families are the worst people. Loud, obnoxious, miserable. They all look beaten by the world, throats raw from hacking on the noxious clouds from the dust of their crushed dreams, and wondering how the fuck they got here. We’re going to rule the world. We’re going to be rockstars. We’re going to be happy. But as they grew up, they became none of those things. They’re just a family, like all the other families, like everyone else; like their parents. Family after family stand on the prom, parents not speaking and standing two feet and a thousand miles apart all at the same time, while a grizzling child squeals and bucks inside a pushchair laden down with bags containing all of the many things required to keep them satisfied during a two hour jaunt to the outside world. Now that the parents have accepted the world will never be theirs, they’ve vowed to fill it with shrieks and the cries of their children’s names as they stand, amid the chaos, broken, exhausted, and in St. George baseball caps; or leather Jesus-sandals that say “Ten years ago I was at Glastonbury in a trendy hat. I liked bands. I had friends. Now I never sleep and I wish I was dead.” At this point, Children of Men seems like a utopian paradise.
* Sixteen-year-old girls in bright red lipstick and draped in long strings of pearls – you don’t look like the 1920’s starlet you picture in your head as you half-stagger in what you presume is an elegantly showy affectation, wondering where one might purchase one of those long cigarette holders. Rather, the world sees a bag lady who went a bit funny when her husband left thirty years ago, and sleeps in an old wedding dress beneath a kiss-marked poster of Rudolph Valentino.
* Two small boys sit in a dinghy while their parents watch from a blanket. I sense a compromise, where the boys wanted a boat, but the parents, with visions of them drifting to France, laid down the law with how far they could venture. So, the dinghy sits on the sand, with the front end lapped by two full inches of sea, like the cadet afforded an hour in the canoe in Brasseye. Later, the father, holding firmly to the back end, pushes the dinghy fully onto the waves. Land is all but six inches behind, but the boys scream with joy at this high seas adventure.
* Sitting in a certain place on the beach reminds me of something that happened there last summer, where a guy* sat reading, and absent-mindedly fiddling with a black pebble he found on the grass, rattling and rolling it in his palm and between his fingers, and batting it back and forth in his hands as he read. Only when it crumbled into pieces did he realise he’d spent the last 90 minutes idly playing with a hardened old dog dirt that had dried in the summer sun.
*me, it was me. I unintentionally played with shit as if t’were a toy. Sup ladies?
* A man with his legs in callipers stubs out a fag on the arm of his wheelchair.
* A father passes me, accompanied by two small children, and wearing a t-shirt that reads “TWO’S COMPANY, THREE’S A FANTASY!” in large block lettering. I don’t loudly ask whether his personal preference swings towards MMF or FFM, but maybe I should have.
* There’s maybe two more of these on the horizon, if that, so make the most of it. You’ll miss then when they’re gone.