Total Eclipse of The Guts

Day 20: 2 tangerines, blueberries, 1 apple; 2 lamb samosa, 2 veg samosa, rice noodles with prawns, carrots, sugar snaps; red wine; 2 gluten-free biscuits; yogurt with half banana and honey.

I put the alarm at 4:40am to watch the super-blood-wolf-moon eclipse. But of course it was cloudy and I couldn’t see anything. I walked all around the boat just in case it was hiding behind there somewhere, but it was all to no avail. So I went back to bed and stared at the ceiling until 6:30 when the alarm went off. I hope that now that the moon has finally reached its peak and eclipsed, I will have better sleep – no more anxious searching in empty rooms nor unknown women with fringes rolling their eyes at the end of my bed. Anyway, while I couldn’t sleep I thought about that song, Total Eclipse of The Heart, a classic song loved by heartbroken people. So I decided to make my own version to celebrate the moon eclipse. Here it is. I dedicate it to you… I hope you like it. (All rights reserved. I suggest you listen to the original on YouTube and sing over it).

Total Eclipse of The Guts

Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit bloated
But I keep eating sprouts
Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit tired
Of listening to the sound of my farts
Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit nervous
That I’ve eaten too much and run out of plastic bags
Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit constipated
And then I see the look in your eyes
Turnaround bright eyes, every now and then I shit in bags
Turnaround bright eyes, every now and then I shit in bags

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you hold the bag quite tight
I’ll make you hold it on forever
But we’ll only be holding it high
‘Cause we’ll never get IBS together
We can take it to the end of the line
Your bowels are like a cabbage on me all of the time (all of the time)
I don’t know what to do and I’m always on the cup
I’m living on a boat and always shitting in bags
I really need you tonight
Diarrhea is gonna start tonight
Diarrhea is gonna start tonight

Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I’m only shitting in bags
There’s nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the guts
Once upon a time there was light in my eyes
But now there’s only farts in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the guts.

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Small is beautiful

Day 19: 2 tangerines, bread with avocado and ham; Colin-flower, potato, egg and tuna salad; linguine with tomato, leeks, capers and parsley; bread with ham; red wine.

This morning’s offering was very small. I don’t know why, I just wasn’t inspired. It was very very cold, which doesn’t help. Or maybe I’ve been eating too much pasta and bread. As you can see from this natura morta photo, it was smaller than a big French garlic and a medium size British onion. So small. So cute. Almost felt like cuddling it there and then. (But no, I didn’t, I quickly threw it in the bin.) Small things and creatures can trigger some sort of protection instinct in fellow creatures. But actually I think the smaller, the feistier. Think of small dogs: they’re often really aggressive. Or small penises: those who have it very often really make an effort, they, like, really go for it, much more than those who have bigger things. I know people have divergent opinions on this. We can discuss further if you want.

I’m writing this post from my phone because my laptop has run out of battery and the boat’s batteries are also running low. So I’m looking at the small screen, typing with just one finger, and just one candle on to lit the room. And I’ll just keep this post short and sweet.

Little Venice. Silly, Little Men

Day 18: 2 tangerines, 1 apple, bread with ham; (free) Shawarma chicken roll, bread with avocado; avocado, fennel and puntarelle salad, 4 grilled sardines; red wine.

I am now a temporary resident of Little Venice, which I don’t understand why it’s called like this because it looks nothing like Venice.

This Little Venice which doesn’t look at all like Venice is nevertheless a pretty neighbourhood of which I know nothing, except that not far from here there’s that famous zebra crossing where the Beatles were photographed for one of their album covers. I was thinking it would be great to redux that with me carrying a bag of shit… But anyway, since I’m now living here, I thought it would be nice to get to know the area and hang out with some new local people. And so the day I arrived I went to the pub with the two friends who helped me move the boat, and there we met a fellow boater. The man, a bit older than me, was very friendly and very keen to tell me how things are done on boats. He tried to convince me that I should buy a lot of coal because the snow is coming, even though since I’ve been here I’ve barely used a bag. He did a bit of mansplaining but I had drunk some beer and he was OK enough to overlook that. And maybe I was being too judgemental and he was just trying to be helpful. The man was accompanied by a woman who claimed to have been his lover at some point but was no more. There was an unclear dynamic between them, but I didn’t really care. I just was very happy to be in a warm place and to be drinking beer. After telling me again that I should buy more coal, he said I should visit him for coffee on his boat, which, it turns out, was just a few boats away from mine. He said he works from the boat and that I should pass by anytime the following day to drink coffee. In between recommendations and advice, he reiterated his invitation to have coffee at least another couple of times before I left, and so I finally promised I would go. Disclaimer: I did not find the man attractive, nor particularly interesting, but he insisted so much and I don’t have a coffee machine yet. So anyway the following day, after having done a bit of work, I decided to go for a walk around this Little Venice which looks nothing like the real Venice and, since it was on the way, I stopped at my coal-connoisseur friend. I knocked on the window and shortly after he emerged, smiling. I said I’m here for the bloody coffee (I didn’t say bloody), and asked if it was a good time for it. And he said NO. He had A LOT of work on. NOT a good time. He didn’t want to work at weekend. A lot of work. A lot of work. Yeah sorry, a lot of work. He did not suggest we drink coffee another time, he seemed to have lost all the enthusiasm he had the previous evening. And so I said OK bye then, and left.

Then tonight, Saturday night, imbued with the same spirit of wanting to hang out in the area with people from the area, I had sort of arranged to see someone else who lives around here. Without going into much of a detail, I can tell you with certainty that he behaved like a childish twat.

The moral of the story is that Little Venice is apparently a breeding ground for Silly, Little Men who think too highly of themselves and are a bit disrespectful. I never asked for the bloody coffee. And it wasn’t me who said let’s go out on Saturday. Although of course I was happy to do both these things, otherwise I would not have agreed to them in first place. Shit can happen, or we just change our minds, but these are all things which can be communicated without taking the piss.

Silly, Little Men of Little Venice which looks nothing like the real Venice: grow up.

10 year challenge

Day 17: 2 tangerines, bread with jam; pasta with mushrooms, cream, parsley; pimientos de padron, fried camembert, half asparagus; egg, ham, half a fennel, 1 slice of bread; Czech lager.

If someone was to look, as I presume you are doing, at these two pictures of me, you’d be allowed to think that my life has been a waste of time. No children, no car, no fancy holidays, no pets, no wedding ring. Instead, I’ve gone from having someone unapologetically farting on my shoulder to holding a bag full of my own poo while sitting alone on my toilet box in 5 degrees celsius. I really didn’t want to take part in this social media frenzy, but you’ve busted the balls I don’t have to such an extent with your life achievement pictures, that I had to step in and reclaim the right to have a shit life.

In fact, though, my life has not been shit at all. Or at least not all the time. The pictures tell the truth. Some ten years ago, I’ve let many people fart on my shoulder. And on my face, hands, elbows, belly button and everywhere else. I would go like: ‘Sure, go ahead.. wait, you’re not just done yet, fart a little bit here, and a little bit more here too. Oh thank you so much, you’re so kind.’ Then I would go home smelling like a fart and feeling like shit without really understanding why. It has taken me years to understand that it’s not a nice thing to be farted on, and that those who do it to you are not nice people – even though they claim to be so – and you should just walk away (while happily farting in their faces). I can’t say that I am now immune to flatulists, but I can fight back (that’s why sometimes I don’t throw the poo bags in the bin and store them on board. You’ve got to be always prepared!) And so fast forward ten years, that’s where I am today: proudly sitting on my toilet, unafraid of showing you my shit, even if I know some of you think I’m a bit disgusting. I don’t care. Or better, I do a little, but I know I can’t be appreciated by everyone. And that’s OK.

PS: Epic picture by Cristina. Thank you.

Shit faced

Day 16: 2 clementines; green beans, radishes, 3 chipolatas sausages; bread with nutella; nachos with cheese and chillies; beer.

I’ve been thinking about getting shit faced, but then haven’t quite gone for it. It may be that the full moon is only three days away, it may be a particular planetary alignment, pmt, or just capitalism, but I’ve been quite restless these days, dreaming of empty rooms where I was anxiously searching for people who were not there. So I’ve been craving some form of escape. Yesterday I drank a beer very quickly and I started to feel a bit tipsy. I began to undulate – although since I’ve moved on water I’ve noticed that motion in my legs quite often when on land. After that first beer, I could have drank more, but I didn’t.

I think I’m a bit scared of waking up with a hangover, because when I gather up the courage to get out of bed and face the cold, I have to do all the chores – light the fire, wash my face with freezing water, shit in the plastic bag, think of an interesting new background for it, check that I’m not running out of electricity and if I am, start the engine. I’m worried I may not have the strength to carry out all these tasks, most of which are not really optional.

And I like that. I like that I have to do all these things. As a friend who also lives on a boat told me yesterday, having to deal with these small but essential jobs is grounding. It keeps your mind busy, you don’t have time to be sad as you may allow yourself to be if you woke up in your warm flat and sat in the kitchen chewing on a week-old cucumber. (Although of course you can be as miserable as you like once you’ve attended all your duties.) Also, you end up thinking of the effort that goes into what surrounds you. How things are made, how they work. And then you can just say fuck it and go to the pub to warm up your cold ass and get pissed.

Hot stuff

Day 15: 2 clementines, 1 banana, 2 hash browns, 1 slice of bread, 1 slice of bacon; spanish tortilla; small pack of Oreo biscuits; some lentil chips, some cornichons; pasta with broccoli; red wine.

Some people get turned on by shit, apparently. This thing has a name, it’s called Coprophilia, or, as Wikipedia says ‘the paraphilia involving sexual arousal and pleasure from feces.’ I wonder if anyone who is reading this blog is a coprophiliac. I must say I have been getting late night messages from friends who live in London and outside the UK to say they read my blog everyday and really enjoy it. I wonder if they have coprophilia but feel ashamed to tell me. It’s OK if you do. I’m not judgemental. And everyone likes a bit of attention. I like it if you like my shit. Really. I generally throw it in the bin everyday after taking a picture, but sometimes I happen to store it in an external bin at the front of the boat… just saying.

Coprophilia aside – it’s truly nice to know that your friends and some strangers too in far away parts of the world (who are you person in Colombia and you person in Lithuania?? And you person of Sri Lanka? Get in touch!) watch pictures of your shit while having breakfast or dinner. If that’s not a sign of friendship, I’m not sure what else is.

Friends’ love is a very beautiful thing ***cheese alert*** and it does warm my heart. And I want to reassure those of you who have been worrying about my whisky consumption: it’s only a small glass. I’m not an alcoholic. Although I guess that’s exactly what an alcoholic would say. No but really, I’m fine. And to those who were worrying about the drunk people outside the boat: they are long gone. And I now store a special weapon near the bed. To those who were worrying I’m not going out enough – tonight I am. It’s been ages. And I’m a bit nervous about interacting with people actually. So not me. Anyway, bye bye because I’m late.

Breath

Day 14: 2 tangerines, 1 banana, 2 hash browns, 1 slice of bread, 1 slice of bacon; leftover dhal; chocolate brownie; Dr. Oetker Ristorante pizza funghi.

This morning was very cold, I could see my breath. I tried to breathe onto the bag while holding it in one hand and with the other taking a picture, in the hope to capture the cloud of vapour coming out of my mouth on camera. But it didn’t work out. Then I tried near the kettle. It also didn’t work out. I was running out of time, so I decided to use an Instagram filter which most closely resembles vapour.

It was a long day of headlines like ‘Britons hold their breath ahead of Brexit vote’. And then nothing happened, again. Or maybe, a lot happened, but none of what I wanted to happen. I shall hold my breath until we get to vote on something.

Pooping at the Daily Mail

Day 13: 2 clementines, 1 blueberry 0% fat yogurt, bread with strawberry jam; lentil dhal with colin-flower, spinach, potato; chipolatas sausages + roast potatoes; red wine.

This morning I woke up very late. The wind and a drunk man were knocking on the boat last night and it took me a long time to fall asleep. So I had to rush to get to work in the morning, and I couldn’t go through my holy routine of fruit and green tea that leads to the toilet. So that’s a picture of a Daily Mail toilet instead, where my poo was flushed down along with the poos of many other (shitty and non) journalists like me. And here I could start and never stop, isn’t it. The parallels between the brown matter and the aforementioned paper are endless. But l can already hear my mother reproaching me: don’t spit in the plate where you eat from. Mother, be reassured: I didn’t. I barely get food from them, let alone plates. Mother: I only shitted in their bathroom. Which is always a pleasure. 

On another note – it was almost strange not having to poop in a plastic bag. Toilets are a great magical thing: they accept your thing, in silence, and quickly make it disappear. No trace, except a certain degree of smell, depending on what you ate and drunk. Unless of course you spray-shit all around you or you purposely leave it there to piss someone off. But otherwise, it vanishes and you don’t really have to deal with it. Which is the whole point of having a proper toilette.  

Speaking with a friend about this shit project of mine, he did not seem to be impressed. He said he takes shits but doesn’t want to talk about them. And I’m sure many people share his view. Which is a totally acceptable view. But I wonder what’s behind this shame we have for our poo. Perhaps the History of Shit will provide some of the answers. Sent to me by yet another friend, this book written in 1968 ‘suggests that the management of human waste is crucial to our identities as modern individuals’ and also: ‘far from rising above the muck, we are thoroughly mired in it, particularly when we appear our most clean and hygienic.’


Liquid love

Day 12: 2 tangerines, 1 blueberry 0% fat yogurt, bread with nutella; half a slice of banana vegan cake; vegan tofu katsu carry; whisky.

The friend who sent me the heartbreak TED talk also sent me an Italian translation of Liquid Love by Zygmunt Bauman. I thought today would be a good time to talk about that because this morning’s offering was, well, a bit liquid. The thing is, I have not yet read the whole thing. But I have read through some parts of it and a few reviews (how liquid of me!).

The book seems to be a series of fragments of thoughts, not always clearly linked to each other, about how we seek relationships that have to be both loose and secure. Connections, but without commitment. Anxious and lost, we need people to fill in that unbearable silence, but we don’t want to give them our full attention and care.

How close to home that is. And yet how dangerous it can be to intellectualise my loss. Because while the society we live in conditions how we do things, including the act of love, each and every relationship most of the time ends for just one reason: the other person is just not that into you. Full stop. Such a simple answer, so difficult to stomach.

I hate Sundays. I always have and always will.

Show ’em

Day 11: 2 tangerines, bread with nutella; pasta with mushrooms, sausage, cream and parmigiano; 0% fat blueberry yogurt, 1 tangerine, 1 banana; whisky.

My rich neighbours in Camden must have seen many things over the years they’ve had the luck to live here, but I bet no one has ever intentionally showed them a plastic bag with some human excrement in it. So this morning I did. And I’ve made the artistic choice of leaving the picture as it is, no filter, which is perhaps a bit disgusting – and I apologise if I’m upsetting your breakfast – but I think this is the right thing to do.

I don’t hate my rich neighbours – they may have bought this house when it was really cheap, when you could still buy a house, they may be nice people, they may have bad breath. Who knows. I have noticed that they keep all the lights on until late at night but no one ever seems to be in the house. Strange people, these rich people. They have more, yet studies have showed they are known to give less than those who have less.

The canal divides us, and maybe some other things too. And I think of love and class divide. How still to this day, we are very much likely to couple with people in our own class. And I now wonder if that was ever a problem.