The Beach Diaries 2012 – #7

Previous: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6

* The flood waters subsided, and the beach still stands, but the material for these diaries seems to have washed away all the same. The sky hangs dark and heavy overhead, with naught but a light blue strip off in the far horizon to remind us that it’s supposed to be the summer.

* In lieu of material, I walk. I walk for miles. Better this than a day rotting at the desk, staring at the files for a novel which devoured the last three years of my life, and head-space, but which I can no longer afford to keep sending out to potential publishers. Postage and ink adds up really quickly when you’re doing the starving artist thing, which is a label that stops being romantic the second it’s no longer an ironic term. (Handy tip: drink a shitload of water. It fills you up.) All of this weighs on me as I walk, like someone’s at my heels, dropping a brick into my rucksack with each lead-footed step; with every mental flash to bank statements and larders and stomachs that are each as empty and aching as each other, or the mammoth credit card bill that’s fatter than all three are ever likely to be. Although my bag is already pretty heavy, as I keep a printed-out third of said novel in there at all times, just to remind myself it exists – a homeless, unknown epic – lugging it around everywhere I go, like an old west necklace with a tiny picture of a lost wife within the clasp.

Once the list of agents who take email submissions runs out, there won’t be enough Earth for me to walk away my worries; cursed to pace these lands for eternity like the Wandering Jew, because I have this sick compulsion to make my art my life, even if it puts me on the streets.

* I hate these bad weather Beach Diaries. As with life, or going to bed, when there’s nothing besides you, no distractions, everything turns inward. The piss-poor summer is not only hobbling these pieces, but turning them into something that would be more fitting posted up on Livejournal or inside a Hello Kitty notepad.

“Dear (Beach) Diary…”

* A stretch of South Terrace remains locked behind yellow tape. The pavements are cluttered with flood-damaged furniture and belongings; boxes of memories destroyed when a three-foot tide of sewage water came gushing through the French windows.

* Sat by myself on an empty common, a dog bounds towards me, squats down, and does a shit, barely a full yard away. It’s a strange moment for the both of us, me and the owner, as he walks some distance, fist wrapped in a plastic bag, to pick up the turd. It’s an eye contact that defies social comparison. Once at the poo, he turns his back to me, silently bending down to palm the handful of warm plops. “How did it come to this?” we both think, with images of neolithic men from the first communities dancing in our heads, and this strange unspoken moment unlike anything we’ll ever share again.

* In the toilets by the East Beach Café, some graffiti reads “TO SUCK OFF A BOY COCK,” and ends there, as though caught mid-scribble by bangs on the door, or a stranger’s william poking through the glory hole. Some of the toilet seats have been stolen, and a sign pinned to the outside of the ladies reads “These toilets will be cleaned by a male attendant.” I guess that’s to give fair warning, so they can touch up their hair and make-up and pretty themselves as best they can in case a real life man should enter. In austerity times like these, toilet cleaners are the doctors and lawyers of the dating world. “Here come the girls…”

Although thinking on it, maybe it’s the work of a pervert with access to a sheet of A4 paper and a set of janitorial overalls. “Don’t mind me, love, you just keep urinating out of that lovely muff. Cor, the amount of dust on the top of these cubicals is shocking!”

* Shards of sunlight break through the clouds, illuminating the sea in glimmering streaks. Horizontal diamond paths cut a swathe across the black rolling waves, like a road leading off to some far-off fantasy land, with a kingdom that needs saving, and an unclaimed crown. Staring out, I wonder if the sparkly roads could take my weight.

* Eventually, the clouds clear, leaving open blue in every direction you care to crane your head. A couple of hours ago, everything was cloaked under a shroud of gloom, but now, you can see forever. Off into the distance, the white spires of Butlins pierce the sky, while further still, the silhouette of a grey slab hugs the line of the water like a Fata Morgana. These things are a barometer, as it’s only on the clearest of days that you can see Bognor, or the Isle of Wight. Usually the weather dictates my mood, but I can’t pretend, even on a subconscious level, that the sudden appearance of sunshine has changed my situation, so my mental state stays black as the noon’s angry sky. My Isle of Wight is lost behind the murk, and if I listen closely enough, I can hear the screams of its tourists and residents as it sinks to the depths.

* After a day of hard trudging, with the wind battering me about the kidneys, I take a second pitstop in the toilets before going home. From the far cubicle, a sound comes drifting over. Unmistakeably, it’s a man masturbating his nob.

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.

The Beach Diaries 2011 on

The Beach Diaries 2011 on

~ by Stuart on June 18, 2012.

2 Responses to “The Beach Diaries 2012 – #7”

  1. If there’s ever been a greater sentence written than, “you just keep urinating out of that lovely muff” then I don;’t ever want to read it.

    I like the bad weather diaries almost as much as the good weather ones. They’re all the same, anyway, since BSR flounced out of your movie… 😦

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