I was about to jump on the Chunnel to Calais when I heard the news about Thatcher. Still depressed I’m too old to watch Spring Breakers at the cinema without fear of being pointed at and called a pervert by strangers, there was little room left in my soul to mourn the passing of a frail octogenarian with Alzheimer’s. I was also quietly relieved to be leaving before all the arselicking and shitchucking commenced. Celebrations were certainly muted in Dover early afternoon, although my brother emerged from the services area where the news was showing with a Mona Lisa-like smile fixed around his laughing gear. He quietly started up the van with a twinkle in his eye.
It was timely and ironic that the next day Claire – whilst rummaging – chanced upon a photo of Matt and I dressed head to toe in blue, like little Nazi smurfs. Taken during the 1980s, we’re sporting enormous rosettes that my insane mother took it upon herself to make us wear one Election Day. She turned us into little cheerleaders for Maggie before we’d even hit double figures, and as horrifying as this is to admit to, I was a bit of a Toryboy during my teens. I don’t recall the moment the breakthrough came about – where I renounced my past and apologised for my transgressions – or whether it was gradual, but my allegiance to the dark side came to an end later than I’d care to admit (well, I’m admitting it now I suppose). I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for being a cunt.
The barrage of criticism from friends concerned I would allow this foible to become character-forming in adult life must have broken through in the end.
“Why would you vote Conservative?” they’d say. “It’s not like you’ve got any money.”
“Your lovey-huggy carrot-not-the stick approach to most things in life seems incongruous measured against your ostensible political views…” (I’m not sure if anyone actually said those exact words now I think about it).
So in hindsight I would suggest I didn’t have any political views to speak of; perhaps it was a deep affinity with the colour blue like Yves Klein? Perhaps I was a weak minded individual obsequiously obeying my mother’s idiocy? It was maybe a number of factors, though that Yves Klein one is looking a bit wobbly as stout defences go already isn’t it? I wouldn’t suggest trying this at home kids, but in all honesty I didn’t really start thinking about anything too deeply until my first bad trip in 1993.
I still can’t for the life of me think why my mother was in thrall to Thatcher other than some misguided solidarity loosely connected to emancipation. My mum was working to support three of us on her own, and the fact Thatcher had broken through the glass ceiling must have made her a powerful symbol (or chimera) of womanhood and strength. We certainly weren’t any better off, but me ol’ ma was blind to this. I do often wonder if Thatcher is the subject of such intense hatred because she’s a woman though, in the same way people despise Myra Hindley, and Ian Brady not so much. At least with Thatcher what you saw was what you got: Blair turning into a grinning genocidal maniac while lying through his gritted teeth is almost less forgiveable and I doubt very much there’ll be the same kind of glee when Tony wriggles off his mortal coil and takes up his special place in hell.
The fact I’d voted for John Major in 1992 was my dirty little secret for years, right up until a few weeks after I voted Lib Dem in 2010 in fact. I’m staying out of party politics from now on; although I’d consider myself a socialist, my litany of past misdemeanours is as good an indicator as any that I can’t be trusted with a vote.
I’ve been back in Paris for four days now and three of those have been holed up in bed with a delightful bout of gastroenteritis. The man from Orange has finally fixed up our Internet and he’s smoking a right smelly Gitanes in the front room as we speak. I usually get ill after I’ve moved, but it seems my body collapsed this time before everything was done and dusted. The flat looks magnificent now, though that’s no thanks to me. Last night I managed to wash, which was a result. As I lay in the bath I wondered if Jim Morrison’s tub was as small as mine. Because if so he probably died with his naked legs sticking in the air and they would have had to have lubed up his bloaty corpse and scooped him out with a giant’s shoehorn such would be the suction.