The Beach Diaries 2012 – #5
* The pom poms and scarves have been removed from the trees in the town centre. Art in Littlehampton is a lone, healthy red blood cell, dropped screaming into a body ravaged by aggressive, terminal decay.
* A boy of about thirteen stands with a piece of chalk inside one of the long bench’s shelters. On the inner wall, he’s daubed a three-foot-high penis and balls, with arrowed anatomical labels pointing to BALLS (the balls), and CHOAD (the shaft). I’m absolutely appalled. What are they teaching the young people of today that our youth sees no shame in scrawling such things onto public property? I feel like striding over, taking him by the collar, and berating him — “A choad is a penis that’s wider than it is long! What were you thinking?!” This thing on the wall, this poorly educated piece of nob graffiti, is your classic sausage phallus. A disgrace.
Next to the genitals are a pair of nipple-less boobs, like a sexy lower case w, and to the side of those, in huge letters, the word CUNT. Predictable expectation-twist gags about incorrect willy ratios aside, it really makes you wonder about the terrible 21st century role models providing such a horrendous influence to our future leaders.
“Oi,” yells the kid, at me, “Beach man!” A young reader perhaps? Oh.
* That’s yet another use of the C word in these pages, as if people in general, and more specifically, women, didn’t have enough reason to be appalled by my writings. We Brits throw that word around like it’s nothing, and most of us could use it in a friendly greeting to our own mums with nobody batting an eyelid, but more and more, in each casual use, I can’t help but sheepishly visualise disappointed tuts and sharp intakes of breath all round. I’m just reporting what I see, but if one takes too much of a smug, puffy-chested, “This is the real world, toots. Does life offend you?” stance, then you’re essentially Jeremy Clarkson. And he’s a cunt.
* There’s some chalk graffiti on the other shelter too. On the inside, “brad swif, we all no what you last night” (sic), while in different handwriting, the outside proclaims, “Cerys was raised by beavers”.
* “I gave up sex, drugs and rock and roll… and it was the worst hour of my life!” So declares the t-shirt of a deflated looking man on a beach, with that classic rock ‘n’ roll look we know from all the swaggering, iconic superstars of stage and screen; thin, wispy hairline, and the appearance of one of those men who lives with their mum until she dies of old age, at which point he only leaves the flat to stock up on microwave meals and get shouted at by packs of schoolkids yelling words like ‘child molester’ and ‘virgin’, and when he eventually departs from the world to which he never belonged, surrounded by old newspapers in a living room where the curtains never open, it’s a month before anyone discovers the body. Rock on.
* Overheard conversation snippets. A dad to his five-year-old son.
“Has it got a sign on it that says ‘Please keep touching your willy?’ Well, stop touching it, then!”
Thankfully, he doesn’t impose the same sanctions on the rest of us, so we’re free to keep on interfering with ourselves, because that’s really all there is between us and suicide, right?
* The ever-shifting fads of tattoos are the human tree-rings. You could put a bag over somebody’s head and pinpoint what year they first strutted into a tattoo parlour, as a late-teens/early twenties soul, confident that what they liked now was what they’d like forever. As anchors and daggers with girls names on reek of the 1970s, 90’s teens are identified by their barbed wire circlets, or a shoulder full of spiky tribal curves, like something doodled onto the margins of a Kerrang that gives five stars to the new Spineshank CD. Chinese lettering denoting ‘pride‘ or ‘warrior‘ or ‘this obnoxious prick got this done on his mate’s stag weekend, and he thinks it says ‘noble martyr’, but actually, it says this, and that he is a nob‘ marks a tat out as early twenty-first century. But what of the tattooed kids of today? In twenty years, the beach will be full of 40-something parents inked with koi-and-stars sleeves and ironic internet memes that stopped being funny before the needle dried.
“Daddy, what does FFFFFFUUUUUUUU mean?”
* A shrill, desperate cry.
“Oh God, no… the other bin!” yells a middle-class mother to her small children, forcing their chip wrappers deep into the red dogshit receptacle.
“Good God, get your hands out of there!”
* “Ar-art, mate?” — the greeting call of the Common Shirtless Male.
* A picture postcard family – mum, dad, three young children – picnic in the shelter, taking cover from the drizzle. Their crust-cut triangular sandwiches are eaten with polite closed mouths, beneath the swollen three-foot donger, tits, and enormous C word. You’d be hard pushed to find a more fitting image of Britishness for this Diamond Jubilee weekend.
The complete collection (plus appendices) of 2011’s Beach Diaries are available to buy for the Amazon Kindle for £1.99/$2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon have a free Kindle app for PC/Mac/phones/tablets, available right here.