Friday 8 February

Biff avoids telling Buster that my female, rather than male-impersonating friends are off to enjoy the newly re-opened Heavenly Grocers nightclub next weekend and that it is Swarthy Erick who is penciled in for speed tap and industrial ballroom tonight. A music venue on my own street is both a luxury and temptation and I must make the most of it while funds allow. DH tells me in Beech Bar that he has a feeling I will meet a young someone tonight so to give myself a chance I choose to wash. There is a dribble of hot water but I am drawn towards the public conveniences (and not for the usual reason) so I give the boiler a good thwack with my second best hammer and it soon gives up the ghost again. Having had four pints, and a Heavenly briefing, from beaming blonde Tam and recently-blonde Cam in the pub, I take the steps below Crinkle Street with just a half-hour to search for dirty linen and wash and iron my chest hairs. The baths are deserted, the dripping taps refusing to transmit so much as a hint of Morse code. An abandoned bottle of Starjuice is within reach once I’ve finished buffing my elbows. Grimps! It normally tastes like whale urine but this is something else. I spittle my mouth contents across the yellowing tiles, cursing my antisocial alcoholism. Soon after, once I’ve wire-brushed my eyeballs, noticing that the resulting liquid is purple, viscous and steaming like the molten pools of Pompeii. This vision witnessed before the clubbing, I hasten to add - before the madness that sees me checking up on Erick, as he grooves away in the attic area, before returning to check on Biff and Buster downstairs, and then retracing my footsteps to check once again on Erick, and so on; all the while squeezing through tightly-packed dance-floors, interrupting first kisses and life-affirming hugs (they’ll have other chances). Yet the mysterious substance stays with me, despite all the others - I have surely not imagined it. Or have I? At dawn, the lads having gone, I decide to sleep on it (alone, DH, alone).

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