Electrics, busts and Wendy James

I’ve been looking over last year’s blogs written at this time. It was just after I’d brought in all the boxes full of smokey weird things that I’m still making sense of. I had been trying to work out how to clean the busts that I’ve only just worked out how to (kind of) clean.

“It’s local elections!” We said back then at 7.40pm “Shit I haven’t voted!”

Brian and I went out to vote. “Have you voted already?” we asked someone who was home with us. “Yeah I did it in the morning before I left.”

Brian and I wandered around confused, going from one potential polling station to the next, all dark, before the internet told us there was no election in our constituency – (or the constituency of the person who had voted that morning.)

We came back and we laughed at ourselves. We laughed at the one who pretended they’d voted. We didn’t know how lucky we were just to be casually moving around laughing at one another.

I miss that ease, when the flat had a saloon door, and people came and went so fluidly and constantly. The variance of the personalities. The different things they brought.

I would have been so thrilled and warmed over the weekend had I had someone to bounce thoughts off. Someone who I could listen to and respond to live. Someone who could hold the thing I’d otherwise hold in my mouth while I was trying to do stuff with both hands (THAT’S YOUR MIND NOT MY WRITING). Someone to wind down with and wind up with and bounce ideas off.

The grass is always greener.

Those of you locked in with lovers, great but we all need our space from time to time as well I know. After this long I’d be hankering to just explode myself and my stuff somewhere for a few days.

Those of you with kids – that’s got to be tough. Not that many distractions for the wee ones but the distractions you can provide. You’re likely on duty all the waking day. Maybe I’m lucky I’ve so far missed out on that.

Those of you alone like me, poking at the edges of the self-explosion – hi.

I’m keeping busy enough and there’s enough to do that I’m not stir crazy.

I took down the other chandelier today to clean. Likelihood is it’ll end up hanging in the living room until I get the other two down from the attic but I know how the things fit together now. I reckon it’s one more day on electrics, with what I bought so far. I’ll be buying more sockets now the proof of concept has worked. Whoever fitted the originals didn’t earth them fully, and even put some of them in upside down. One of the plugs that I changed today came out with two bits of broken metal jammed into the current. There was a junction upstairs that had been taped up with LX tape by a sparky friend one night. He got it working but didn’t have a nice junction box to put the wires into. Now, thanks to WhatsAppTristan, panic, and guesswork, after two attempts where switching the breakers on immediately tripped the local fuse, WhatsAppTristan and I tried a third time and the light went on constantly, no matter what the plug did. Eventually we worked out what Phil had done and rigged wires marked with positive to wires marked with neutral, after some baffled googling that taught about switches and how their wiring works. Scary but solid. It’s been like that for over a year and actually it makes sense if you know which is the switch and which is the power. Now it’s housed in a junction box and not in LX tape. Nothing has caught fire and nobody is dead yet. Stop worrying.


Here’s Havelock and some friends. They are mostly fucked. But they’re impressive. These were the equivalent of celebrities and football players in their day. They were the people who came into your living room, via Punch or the papers.

When people come round and sniff at the pomposity of these busts “Why are these people celebrated,” I’ll tell them I had friends with posters of Chesney Hawkes in their bedroom. Wendy James. Morton Harket. Amanda deCadenet. Matt and Luke Goss.

I’d sooner have a fire damaged scowling bust of Havelock to most of the people on that list, although Wendy James would be welcome to come help with the DIY because I put HER up on my wall in her denim after Transvision Vamp released Velveteen and I decided she was cool as fuck. I bet she still is now. But you never lose your teenage crush.

These busts are all of people with skills outside of being cool. Wonderful composers, philosophers, artists, writers. And many many statesmen and generals in an idiom that would make NO SENSE to anyone these days as the world has moved on. But nonetheless they were great in their day. Although I know little to nothing about Havelock other than that I assume he was part of Terry Pratchett’s inspiration for Lord Vetinari.

Nowadays horrorclownshow humans like the Hopkins and the Donald and the Kardashians – because they’ve been in our living rooms – they are the ones who would be made into busts with the new material if we were Victorians. 150 years from now people would be googling footballers and pop stars and, God help us, actors. We need to be mindful of who we decide are our heroes. People are people.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

One thought on “Electrics, busts and Wendy James”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: