Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Badface Investigates – The Royal Wedding (Writing request)

To me Kate’s dress makes her look like a ghost. Not because she is essentially wearing a big white sheet, but because we are one of the last households in England who don’t have digital TV or a decent Internet connection.

Typically, today of all days, the reception is especially awful. As a consequence I can see two Kate Middletons. Both of them are very fuzzy and almost completely see-through, like projection of a ghost on Scooby-doo.

In my terrible television’s defence the double-vision could be caused by the obscene amount of gin I’ve drunk since waking up this morning.

I’m prone to drinking silly amounts when left alone in the house on an unexpected day off, especially when there is something to celebrate. Because today is a special day for Great Britain I’m searching for oblivion at the bottom of a bottle of supermarket gin. I was going to opt for the more patriotic Pimms with a flag on it, but it seemed too contrived.

Also it cost a lot more.

Kate is walking up the isle now. While off falling off the sofa earlier I discovered that I can almost get her to resolve into a single image if I put one leg in the air to help boost the signal.

To be completely honest I don’t care at all what she looks like, I just want to hear her voice when she says her vows. That’s why I’m struggling to watch this on possibly the world’s worst TV instead of lining the streets waving a tiny plastic flag.

I’ve seen her face loads of times but I’ve never heard her voice. I’m secretly hoping it’s something totally unexpected and she has a really pronounced Russian accent or talks like a Yorkshire miner from the 1930s.

Irritatingly there is a delay between the image and the sound so when they start singing hymns everyone looks like they’ve forgotten the words. I mute the TV and see if I can get the Queen to sync up with some Death Metal.

I’m probably a bit drunk now.

When it finally comes to the vows I quickly turn down ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ and crank up the volume on the tele. The Vicar person is doing his long boring bit building up the anticipation before I can finally hear Kate speak. He seems to be unnecessarily peppering it with strained references to the Church and God to string it out a bit. Poor bloke, this is the most people who will ever listen to him.

During the ‘richer and for poorer,’ line I amuse myself by imagining everyone in the church trying to stifle a laugh through their silk embroidered handkerchiefs and perfect teeth.

Kate finally speaks. She sounds educated but not condescending, upper-class but not unapproachable. Her voice sounds much lovelier than I could have imagined, almost deliberately understated - a theme that they’ve clearly carried through into her dress.

I lose interest after the vows when they all start singing again and stumble off to the pub to discuss Pippa Middleton’s arse over a couple of pints.


As requested by

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Badface Investigates - Scarification

Using a scalpel she cuts the first cut across my stomach. Without looking up she says;
“You don't drink a lot do you?”
“I did last night.” I reply.
“You must have a good diet then.”
“Not really, I ate a burger on the way here because I was so hungover.”
“You're actually the worse candidate for scarification ever.” She replies while cutting me with the scalpel.

This is probably a conversation we should have had before we started.

“ Yet, you're hardly bleeding at all.”
I sit up to look at the first cuts and in doing so blood starts to seep out of the bright red wounds.
“There it is.”

For those of you who don't know scarification is like a tattoo. But it's done with a scalpel. And instead of ink you get scars.

That's what I'm having done right now.

I'm being cut with a scalpel to create scars on my stomach.

It's taken me months to build up the courage to do this for your amusement. My head is forced back against the leather chair with fear. I'm staring at the light and trying to hold a conversation.

I can barely feel the blade as it first goes in. I'm pleasantly surprised. But as she drags the knife across my skin the pain increases becoming more and more painful rising to a point of unbearable agony the further she cuts.

It gets worse when she has to cut curved lines because that literally involves twisting the blade.

After I've been cut each line has to be opened up so it won't heal properly creating a better scar. This is done by retracing each line with a series of small jagged cuts, like sketching a line with a pencil — but in my skin, with a scalpel.

I can feel each tiny tug.

Somehow, we're still holding together a conversation throughout the whole thing. Although it's a little bit stop start as I'm in too much pain to form words while she's cutting. Sometimes I manage half a swearword. I'm almost getting used to it when the blade feels like it scratches across my hip bone.

I'm writhing in a silent agony, borne more out of the unnatural sensation than the acute pain. I try to tell her that I think she just touched a bone. But before I can form the sentence the knife goes back in and all that comes out my mouth is a small whimper.

Not for the first time today I consider the possibility that I've gone totally insane.

So much blood has built up now that she asks an assistant to pass her some water. Before spraying the water directly onto the fresh cuts on my stomach she smells the nozzle and passes it back to her assistant. “That's alcohol, I said water.”

We both look at each other and laugh at the near miss.

Once the wound has been cleaned, with water, she points out a fat deposit that she needs to cut out to ensure even scarring. It looks like a fleshy white knot within one of the bright red cuts. She tells to brace myself because it's going to hurt, which, within the context of what has gone before, worries me slightly.

She cuts the fat deposit out of me like you'd remove the bad bit from an apple, twisting and digging the blade underneath it to remove it.

I'm in my happy place, I'm in my happy place.

Except a grenade has just gone off and everything in my happy place is screaming.

Now that is done it's almost time to finish. Just the most intricate cuts left to do, which means a smaller blade. No problems, smaller blade, less pain, I mistakenly think. This blade is worse than anything that has gone before.

Because it's so small it feels like it's vibrating through my skin like wasp stings, on the end of a dentist's drill, being put inside my skin. The whole of the last bit takes everything I have not to scream or beg her to stop. I force myself to focus on my breathing and just take it. All the while thinking, it'll be over soon, it'll be over soon.

Then it is over.

I stand up wearily and look at the leather seat where I've spent half an hour being cut with a scalpel. It's covered in blood and sweat.

Now I just have to clean the wound with lemon juice three times a day for two weeks and it'll be finished.


Badface Investigates – Being Kissed:

I’m in a club with a couple of friends, quite drunk. That’s a lie. I’m biblically drunk. The happy drunk where everything is hilarious and you keep shouting cheers and smashing your pint glasses together.

Did I mention that I’ve pulled?

I don’t really ever pull in clubs, it’s a bit tacky. Besides it gets in the way of all the drinking. Also it could potentially lead to drunken sex with a stranger, which for me is a lot like the azetc zone on the crystal maze. When you’re actually there it’s much more confusing than it looks on the tele, there’s loads of pressure to perform, and a bald man with a jazzy waistcoat keeps looking in through the window.

I should probably consider drinking less when I got out. Or watch less crystal maze when I’m hungover.

The other slight problem with this whole kissing situation is that it’s a bloke.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite a liberal guy, but this bloke is fat and ugly. Also this is totally against my will. He’s literally grabbing me by the head and forcing his tongue into my mouth. This, my internet savvy friends, is actual facerape.

I probably shouldn’t have told him I was gay - all those times.

I was having a jolly old time in the club finding everything hilarious and testing the stress limits of pint glasses with excessive ‘chinging’. When from over my shoulder I hear someone say; “he looks like a right girl.”

I get this a lot so I spin around and say, “pardon mate?”

A short fat chav leans into me and says, ”I said I think you look like a gay.”

Confused by his change of attempted insult and encouraged by my blood alcohol level I decide to deconstruct his attack by launching into a barely comprehensible tirade. I start by complimenting his gaydar and telling him that I am in fact gay, detailing at length my fondness for cock. If you’ll pardon the pun. For flavor I describe in minute detail a fictional homosexual liaison that I claimed to have just had in the toilets.

I can’t remember what I said exactly, but doubtless it was an excellently worded, eloquent display of powerful rhetoric. At the very least I know that I didn’t throw up at any point. I performed with a borderline offensive theatrical campiness that would have put all those gameshow hosts from the 90s to shame.

At this point I recognize a familiar look in his eye and brace myself to be punched.

You may find this hard to believe but I get punched in the face quite a lot. As such I’m pretty good at spotting the signs of an impending punch. People’s faces change when they are thinking about hitting mine.

Instead of punching me he grabs me and forces his tongue into my face.

Well this is new.

I’m not really sure what to do. I want to ask him to stop but he’s sort of got a monopoly on my mouth right now. I decide that the polite thing to do is to let him get on with it and hope that he’ll come up for air eventually.

While he’s kissing me I’m sort of stand there awkwardly trying to work out what has prompted this unusual reaction. I’ve got two potential theories. The first, rather vain, theory is that he believed my drunken faux campness and it awoke his deep-seated repressed homosexual desires that he was hiding behind his blunt butchness.

My second, more realistic, theory is that he knew all along that I was a drunk tosser and decided to call my bluff with a perfectly constructed comeback to shut me up completely.

I secretly hope it’s the first reason because it appeals to my ego – but if it’s the second, his plan has worked perfectly. I’m standing frozen, bolt upright, while he forces his tongue around in my mouth.

Finally he lets go of my face and takes a step back. He’s staring at me blankly.

I decide now might be a good time to head to the bar.

I turn to leave and bump straight into my open-mouthed friend who apparently has been standing there holding two pints the whole time. Great.


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Badface Investigates - Fighting

I’m lying on the floor curled up in the foetal position and about six people are stamping on me. I’m too pumped up on a beautiful cocktail of adrenaline and concussion to really register any pain so my mind starts to wander. It’s really confusing down here, what with all the kicking.

I hope they get bored soon.

I should be seriously injured by now. Really, five or six people kicking me in the head and torso for a couple of minutes, I should definitely be in loads of pain.

I decide they are either crap at this or just not trying very hard.
That’s about when I feel one of my ribs crack.

I’m sure you’re dying to know what I did to deserve such uncouth treatment. Basically, I’m just skateboarding along surprisingly sober, when suddenly I feel two hands shoving me from behind and I slam into the floor.
(I realise three hours later that the fall actually broke my elbow).

I jump to my feet and turn to confront whoever pushed me. This little kid, no older than about 15 is standing there and before I can catch myself I’m raging at him and storming towards him. He’s all scared and seems to be actually shrinking the closer I get to him. I demand to know what the fuck he was thinking pushing me off my skateboard.

Anyway, just as I’m feeling all powerful scaring the shit out of this child, four of his mates step forward alongside him. Now it’s my turn to shrink. I manage to keep up the anger for all of about six words before I hear myself pitifully mutter, look guys I don’t want a fight.

I might as well have just asked them all to repeatedly punch me in the face, because that is exactly what they all do.

I’m trying to fight back by punching and kicking but it’s not long before I end up in that well known defensive posture - lying on the floor being repeatedly stamped on.

I could write a whole book on what it felt like for someone to break my rib by stamping on me but you don’t want to read that and I’m not keen on re-living it. Regardless, I howl in agony and driven by the pain I am somehow able to clumsily stagger to my feet. I have no idea how I’m upright but I grab my skateboard off the floor and blindly swing it around in a big arc hoping to make everyone stay back.

There is a loud crack followed by a scream that is too high pitched to belong to my prepubescent assailants. I nervously sweep my hair out my eyes and sure enough a girl is staggering around holding her head.


I start to try to apologise to the girl when one of the youths shouts something about me hitting his girlfriend and punches me in the face.

I’m really annoyed now.

I can’t believe they’ve made me hit a girl by accident. I grab her boyfriend by the skull and start punching him in the head as hard as I can. All while still trying to apologise to the poor girl - it’s harder than you think to apologise sincerely when you’re punching their boyfriend.

The boyfriend is fighting back of course, we’ve both got hold of each other and we’re sort of stumbling around continually punching each other in the head, all while craning our necks to try to keep our own faces as far away from each others fists as possible.

This is nothing like fights in the movies.

Inevitably I trip over my own feet and fall over, except I’m still holding his head as I do, and there is a very loud bang,

Straight away I’m back on my feet ready for him or one of his friends to attack me again. I‘m almost pulsating with adrenaline, my chest is heaving up and down for breath but I don’t feel tired at all, I feel like I could do this all day. Like this is the only thing ever worth doing. Fuck me, if you ignore all the bad bits, fighting’s fun. It’s cliché but I’ve actually never felt so alive. I’m staring at all these little bastards around me, challenging them, I’m ready to go again. I see the fear in their eyes.

Only they aren’t scared of me, they are looking down at their friend who is totally motionless on the floor. He looks exactly like a dead bodies do on TV.

All the adrenaline and misplaced feelings of invincibility flood out of me as it dawns on me that I might have actually killed someone. I stare at his lifeless body for what seems like eternity. I’m wishing really hard that I could trade places with him.

Be killed instead of a killer.

Two of his mates rush to him and start shaking him and calling his name. His eyes open and he looks around like someone whose just been woken up from a heavy drunken sleep. It’s clear that he has no idea what happened or where he is. I am so relieved that he is alive I can’t describe.

Everyone starts to back away from me and I start to cautiously do the same. One of them calls me a fucking dick and all I can think to feebly say back is, I told you I didn’t want a fight.


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Badface Investigates - Play Piercing

I look down at my forearm and there’s bright red blood running everywhere. Grinning uncontrollably I take a swig of vodka and pose for a bleary eyed photo. The girl taking photo puts the camera down and reaches for the vodka, which is running pretty low now, she looks at my arm and says, “I think I definitely put the needles in too deep, I‘m pretty hammered sorry.” This is my unorthodox introduction into the strange world of play piercing.

Basically how this happened is I got super drunk with this girl who randomly told me all about play piercing. As far as I could understand through the thick vodka haze you basically buy hypodermic needles off eBay then pinch a bit of skin and force them through. Sounded harmless enough, so I told her I wanted to try it.

With the benefit of hindsight I now realise I should have maybe asked some questions first. Simple things like, how long do you leave the needles in? Is it a good idea to do this why I’m so drunk? Also, and probably most importantly… why?

Still, aside from the mega bleeding from the combination of my boozed up blood being super thin and my boozed up play piercer shoving the needles in far too deep, my first experience of play piercing had been relatively painless, if you pardon the pun. Although, of course, alcohol is an aesthetic.

Partly due to being really drunk and also only having a pitiful four needles I figured that I should try play piercing again, but sober this time.

So now I am lying face down while this strange girl prepares to force the first needle into my back. She tells me to relax because it’ll only hurt more if I’m tense. On being reminded that it is going to hurt this time without vodka I tense even more.

The needle goes into my skin and literally pops out the other side, there is a slight tugging sensation in the middle. If you want to know how much it hurt, pinch yourself as hard as you can on the arm with your fingers nails, believe me you’ll stop before you get to play piercing pain.

I’m glad may head is buried in a pillow because I’m pretty sure I’m going through some of my more demented sex faces dealing with the intense pain, why the hell did I agree to do this? This is completely insane. Only one needle in and already I want to stop the whole thing, or drink some vodka, but I remind myself that would be cheating and brace myself for the next needle.

Of course just because I decided to be sober this time doesn’t mean my peircer is, after the second needle she casually mentions she may have had a bottle of wine before I turned up earlier. I look at my watch and it’s midday. Now I’m worrying not just about the sanity of play peircing itself but also of the person I’m allowing to repeatedly stab me in the back, so to speak.

More and more needles go in, I quickly lose count because I’m focusing on each individual painful little moment. I’m trying to relax but the second she pinches the skin I’m instantly consumed by anticipation and fear. It’s totally against everything normal to be allowing this amount of pain to be inflicted on me.

There are definitely over ten needles in my back now and we‘re getting into a rhythm, between breaks for her to drink wine from the bottle. Each needle is getting progressively more painful. Another one goes in, but this time instead of pain it’s just a feeling of euphoria, I feel like I’ve literally floated out my body - I probably made some pretty weird sex faces here.

My best guess is that needle was so painful that my brain just flooded me with endorphins as a knee jerk reaction, either way, I really liked it.

The girl lets out a little giggle. I nervously ask her what is wrong?

She says that I’m bleeding… and that she enjoys watching the blood run across my back. I’m not sure what part of what she said to be most alarmed at so I try to pretend she didn’t say anything at all and ask how close we are to being done. Sensing my trepidation she asks if I want her to stop. Despite my brain screaming yes, I hear my mouth saying that’s it’s fine to carry on.
I guess I’m trying to impress this slightly masochistic alcoholic now. Stupid pride.

After about an hour of wincing, cringing and flinching through the pain she announces that it’s finished. I want to see what it looks like but I’m pinned to the bed with pain, so she takes a picture and shows it to me. I count the needles… 38.

Then she tell me to brace myself because they hurt more coming out than they do going in.

Badface Investigates - Insanity

I’m sat bolt upright in bed. I have no idea what time it is but it’s very dark in here. Voices are circling my head whispering things that I can’t fully understand, I’m trying to listen to them for some clues as to how to make them go away but they all keep talking at once so I can’t make out a single thing.

Like I said, it’s pretty dark in here.

There are definitely several distinct different voices, none of which I recognise, except maybe occasionally my mum is in there. She always was a bit over protective.

Because they are all talking at once I can’t focus on them. They also seem to change the subject as I try to concentrate on them, which isn‘t very helpful. The closest thing I can liken it to is when you’re on a mobile phone with bad reception and a broken speaker bit, except I’m on six or seven, and mine are imaginary.

I become aware that I have something between my teeth right at the back of my mouth. It’s small and hard. It’s spherical, I figure it must be a ball bearing. I’m just wondering, how did that get in there? Then it starts to grow, really slowly. It’s pushing my jaw open from the inside. I’m really panicking now…

My thoughts are swirling uncontrollably and incomprehensibly, I want to scream but unhelpfully I’m paralysed by fear. Besides, what would I tell anyone who came to my rescue?

It gets to the size of one of those big marbles and it suddenly dawns on me that this is a hallucination, it can’t possibly be real. I just need to prove it’s not real to my brain and it’ll go away. I bite down as hard as I can, in the mistaken belief that my teeth will pass through the non-existent magical growing ball bearing.

Now I scream.

It feels exactly like I’ve bitten down on a solid metal object, and my teeth never touched each other. The unexpected pain is like my teeth exploding. All I can think is, that was nothing like the hallucinations people have in films, in films you can‘t feel hallucinations. Fortunately for some reason the imaginary ball bearing has disappeared.

I suppose I better explain how I got here. Alcohol. Except while all this is happening I’m stone cold sober. The problem is that it’s the first night of sobriety in about a year and apparently my brain isn’t very happy about it. According to the doctor I’m currently experiencing hallucinations caused by classic alcohol withdrawal.

As weird as it sounds, this is exactly how my evening played out.

I’m still reeling from the pain in my mouth, writhing about on the bed like someone whose been kicked in the unmentionables, when the bedroom door opens and my ex-girlfriend walks in all drunk.

As you can imagine this really isn’t a good time, I’m not exactly equipped to deal with her right now.

She stumbles awkwardly across the room towards me slurring some story about being at a BBQ nearby and popping over on the way home, although I can’t be sure because it‘s hard to understand her between all the other voices I‘m hearing.

I try to pull myself together long enough to kick her out the room and give my housemates a lecture about letting her in - it’s a long story. But she sits astride me and starts to flirtatiously stroke my chest. Her touch intensifies the voices in my head and their circling becomes dizzyingly fast. I feel drunk with sensory overload. But I’m sober.

She starts to unbutton my trousers, apparently undeterred by the panic and confusion that must be written all over my face. This is too much, I’m not having regrettable sex with the ex, especially in the middle of a psychotic episode. I freak out and try to push her onto the floor. Except my hand flies right through her and she disappears.

Before I’ve had time to fully digest what just happened a man leans through the window, which is closed, and puts a selection of ginormous carrots on the bed. An impressively large one about the size of a television catches my eye and I start to barter with him, before suddenly realising that I just hallucinated my ex-girlfriend so perhaps this night-time mutant carrot seller is also a figment of my apparently insane imagination.

Instant panic. I throw my head into my duvet and scream as loud as I can to block out all the voices. I scream and scream until it seems too ridiculous to continue.

I slowly emerged from my duvet cocoon nervously surveying my room. Everything was normal. The voices and hallucinations were gone. Also thankfully none of my housemates have heard me, they already think I’m a bit of a freak what with all the drugs I‘ve taken in the last year.

Relieved that my brief brush with insanity was only temporary I lay back and try to sleep. Then I notice that my mouth feels a bit weird, almost like there is something between my back teeth… oh fuck.

Badface Investigates - Shoplifting

Everyone knows that crime doesn’t pay, but I heard shoplifting is a great way to get things for free. This sounds quite appealing as I work really hard but somehow I’m still poor. Adverts have told me how to want things but not how to get them, it’s a tricky situation.

I remember the first time someone told me that they shoplift things. It was someone that I quite respected so I didn’t know how to react; disgusted or impressed? I was mainly jealous. It was something I knew I could never do, far too risky. All I could think was ways to get caught.

It quickly slipped from my mind, forced out by reason and fear.

Clearly it never left me completely because years later, in the present day, I find myself penniless and bored. So yet again shoplifting troubles my mind.

I decided to try a bit of shoplifting.

I set myself some simple rules to minimise my chances of getting caught; things like, never steal anything you cannot afford - this way if someone catches you there is an outside chance that you can convince them it was an accident and that you intended to pay all along.

The problem with setting yourself rules about shoplifting is that if you’re considering shoplifting then the chances are that you are probably not adverse to breaking a few rules.

So I decided sod the rules lets just do it.

So now I’m standing in a CD shop with three CDs in my hand. One slight problem is that they all have those, do-not-pass-go-advance-straight-to-jail tags on. This would never do. I browse the DVDs as a cover to carefully unpick the tags.

I’m trying hard not to look suspicious and to pick the tags off quietly. The illegality of my actions is starting to play heavily on my mind.

I’m becoming hyper sensitive to my surroundings, which is the exact opposite of shopping normally for me. It feels like I can hear the cameras straining to film my every move, I’m now certain that security guards are moving into strategic positions around me.

In a desperate attempt to stave off a panic attack I discard the removed tags into a bucket of poster. The inside of my head is approaching uninhabitable so I ditch the de-tagged CDs and swiftly exit the store.

Outside and out of sight relief washes over me, followed closely but disappointment. I’d just endured a spiralling crescendo of paranoia for nothing. I’d chickened out at the last hurdle.

Half an hour later and I’m striding back into the shop directly to the ‘prepared’ CDs, I picked them up and walked into the into the busy queue for a till. Bending down and pretending to retie one of my shoes I stuff all three CDs into my bag. I stood back up.

Nothing happened. No one mentioned anything, no security guards tackled me to the floor, no one was going to stop me. Now I’m waiting for what seems like forever just in case someone in the queue was going to say something under their breath.

They didn’t. I feign looking at my watch like I have to be somewhere then hurry towards the exit as if I’m late for something. Approaching the sensors every muscle I have tenses, I feel about a foot shorter than normal.

It suddenly hits me that I haven’t thought through what I’ll do if the alarms do go off.

I’m running through my options as the sensor approaches, then before I’ve had time to decide between fight or flight, I’m suddenly walking between them.

I’m still tense as hell six shops down the road, sweat is pouring off me, and then it hits me that I’ve actually gotten away with it. The relief and buzz is like a drug running all through my body. Except it’s way better than drugs because instead of killing me like drugs do, shoplifting has given me something. Not just some new CDs but a small two fingers to my crappy job, my ridiculous overdraft, and all that expensive CCTV they’ve put all over the high street.

My fears of getting caught almost stopped my altogether, but wrongly or rightly I powered through and just did it. In doing so I realised that all those security devices; cameras, tags, and guards, aren’t there to stop you breaking the rules - they are there to make you stop yourself from breaking the rules.