Wednesday, February 02, 2011

In the Golden Fleece

There's Otto, a 25-year-old stockbroker from South Africa with his fiancé. And Ash, the Asian actor with his glass of red wine. Pedro, from Majorca, Spain, lived in Germany for four years, KL in Malaysia for a year, then his sister died and he came back to London. Very well-read and very handsome. He gets me to read The Lotus Eater by W Somerset Maugham (from Collected Short Stories volume three).

Wayne was born in Paris, grew up on the Ivory Coast and South America, spent a lot of time in New York, his parents live there and run a coffee import business, now here in London studying economics and accountancy but looking more like a beatnik than an accountant. He went to Ethiopia and said it was ‘aggressive’. He asked me about ‘playing the field’ (assuming for some reason I knew all about it) and I replied the field is a vast wasteland with skimpy vegetation, and Wayne liked that. He should have been the most interesting person I’d ever met, considering his upbringing and travels, but he was in fact extremely dull.

And finally, Francesca, from Barking; half-Maltese, pale and passive. She walks and talks like silence. In her white coat she moves like a ghost. To others she was Fran, to me she was always Francesca. She confides in me, 'I have no friends and never go out.'
'I don't know. People think I'm no fun.'
She says she needs three kinds of men: a heart man, a mind man and a body man. I say I need three kinds of women: black, white and Asian.

I wouldn’t have had half of my friends or girlfriends if I didn't smoke. Whether at work or on a course, outside a pub or restaurant, cigarette smokers are always the coolest, most interesting people to meet. They’ll all be huddled outside, come rain or shine, sitting on the steps, or sheltering under the arches, smoking and talking to whoever else is smoking. That doesn't mean I'm advocating it though. Cigarettes'll kill ya in the end.

– London, 1999


Mel said...

Yes, they will. 'Cigarette smoking is the greatest single cause of illness and premature death in the UK. About half of all smokers die from smoking-related diseases' says Patient UK. And, as your longest relationship to date, and a non-smoker too, let me tell you that it was not your smoking that attracted me to you. At all.

Anonymous said...

Smoking is NOT cool.

And your filthy habit funds nasty corporations that exploit young uneducated youth both here and in the developing world.
Can you live with that....or maybe you won't have to in a few years!
Know what I mean?

Barnaby said...

I do know what you mean.

Unfortunately everything we do, eat or buy funds nasty corporations that exploit someone, somewhere.