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It was that summer, too, that I began the cutting, and was almost as devoted to it as my newfound loveliness. I adored tending to myself, wiping a shallow red pool of my blood away with a damp washcloth to magically reveal, just above my naval: queasy. Applying alcohol with dabs of a cottonball, wispy shreds sticking to the bloody lines of: perky. I had a dirty streak my senior year, which I later rectified.
The summer gig turned into my day job. I was an arts administrator who helped make indie flicks. At the filmmakers’ encouragement, I tried shooting a couple of shorts of my own. Directing was stressful, it was not my strength. But writing the scripts and helping others with their scripts – that was a gas. Making stuff up the way I wanted to see it was the biggest kick I ever experienced.
It was 2002, we all got guitars for Christmas and started playing in my garage that summer, rehearsed there and in a warehouse for a bit for about a year. We did our first gig in June 2003 and we played a few gigs in and around Sheffield for a bit then started doing gigs outside of Sheffield about this time last year, recording demos while all this was going on.
Scott and I had just worked with Jimmy Pardo doing a live show over the summer. And it was a lot of fun and we wanted to keep doing a live show. And as Scott said, we knew a lot of funny young people who needed a place to do stand-up. And we were in a place, where we were writing so much that we weren’t around live comedy so much, so we kind of missed it.
Well, I spent six or seven years after high school trying to work myself up. Shipping clerk, salesman, business of one kind or another. And it’s a measly manner of existence. To get on that subway on the hot mornings in summer. To devote your whole life to keeping stock, or making phone calls, or selling or buying. To suffer fifty weeks of the year for the sake of a two-week vacation, when all you really desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off. And always to have to get ahead of the next fella. And still — that’s how you build a future.
I’ve lived to bury my desires and see my dreams corrode with rust now all that’s left are fruitless fires that burn my empty heart to dust. Struck by the clouds of cruel fate My crown of Summer bloom is sere Alone and sad, I watch and wait And wonder if the end is near. As conquered by the last cold air When Winter whistles in the wind Alone upon a branch that’s bare A trembling leaf is left behind.
Last summer I was staying at a house in Hampshire which was famous for the brilliance and the originality of its gardens. There were many of them, but the most beautiful of all was a walled garden in which every flower was blue. There were all the obvious things like delphiniums and acronitums and larkspurs, but the most beautiful blue of all came from the groups of cabbages – the ordinary blue pickling cabbage. Set against the blazing blue of the other flowers, it had a bloom and elegance which made it a thing of the greatest delight.