Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Forbidden delights

I promised some time ago to share a little more Ivor Cutler with you one day (I posted another piece of his here a couple of months back). This is from the same source, this time Episode Nineteen of his marvellous faux autobiography 'Life in a Scotch Sitting Room, Vol. 2'.

"And don't go near the chimneys!" Mother shouted when we ran out to play at the chimneys, mouths bulging with a lump of gristle; or vein, if it had been liver - chewing-gum of character.

You could put it in your pocket and come back to it later, if you needed your mouth for something else. Sinew was another favourite - you could rub out with it.

Three chimneys, dark red, nearly black, stood across the field. Eighty-feet high, side by side. I sat with my back to the brick, sniffing in the sweet smell of soot, watching a cloud approach the top of a stack. For something to do, I started up the irong rungs of the decaying ladder.

"I'll tell Mammy!" cried my sister, never at a loss, busily rubbing two bits of brick against one another to make rouge.

"I can see up your trousers!" called my big brother, who was going to be a minister. I climbed a few rungs just to defy them, and absent-mindedly went to the top.

"Come down!" they all shouted, very excited. I held on tight and looked about, shaking with fear. A white flower blew across a brick, delicate and soft. It was small, like me, and courageous.

I leaned, and scraped off a handful of black velvet delight with which I made marks on my flesh.

Then I descended carefully and followed the others home for a thrashing.

1 comment:

boolardy said...

i saw IC read this passage at the Edinburgh festival in (1981?) still dip into the book occasionally - great stuff