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to an unknown



The worst thing about it - the very worst - is that I can’t
even remember her name...


It was 1986. There I was, trying to run an independent record store - open seven days a week, what’s more - and only just paying the rent... So, no help - even part time - and, on top of that, I had glandular fever, which made me feel like shit...


And, then...she walked in. The lady had grace - and, unassumed grace, what’s more - she walked like she knew herself, but wasn’t going to be in the vulgar business of advertising it. She browsed - at length - and, then...came up to the counter w/a Hasil Adkins record.


Well, I was in love. For those of you who don’t know the man, he’s a complete whacko...who (also) happens to be 1950’s rock’n’roll’s greatest one-man-band. Out of tune - and definitely out of time - he’s a complete one-off...and, an acid test for all pseuds, beyond compare... I’d had the record in stock for well over a year - having nary a sniff of interest - and then this goddess walks in &  wants to buy the thing...

Of course I was in love...

Problem is, by this stage, I myself was running off the rails. We were together about two months - according to my admittedly fractured memory...as my financial woes piled up, and a con-man moved in w/promises of a partnership & fresh funding. I signed the contract - he changed the locks - and I fell apart/was beaten up...and ended up in psychiatric care.


And I don’t even remember her name...


Of course, she’s undoubtedly happily married by now...but - as one of the great loves of my life - I just wish that I had more of her to remember... Because, memory in extremis plays bizarre games with you. But, I (do) remember her...the way she walked, the way she talked, the way she was so - amazingly - comfortable w/herself...

And, I remember that she’d lived in King’s Cross - for several years - and, that she’d trained as a ballet dancer...but had dipped-out due to height...and that she never seemed to hold stupid ideas about anything.

But,  I still don’t remember her name.

Or the specifics of anything she said. My time with her is like a frustrating dream to me...as soon as I attempt to recall details, they dissolve into generalities...


And, her name is just one symbol of this...


What those who’ve yet to experience a genuine psychiatric disorder least fail to grasp are the deepest ways in which it impoverishes you... I, myself, am mostly prone to depression - but...this was one of my only two-ever episodes of mania. In both cases, I look back, and all I can recover are fragments - and generalities...


There is, simply, no continuity there. Try as I may, they stubbornly remain isolate/abstract....and I just - can’t - put my life back together properly.


It’s very difficult to explain to anyone that hasn’t experienced such a disconnect... I’m not talking about our usual blank spots...those failures of memory that we’re all comfortable with. This is a failure - and fragmentation - of self, a wound that refuses to heal, and one that radically undermines whatever self we have in its aftermath...


The lady was lovely...and deeply loveable, and I’m still saddened that I lost her to to the vagaries of time and chance. Because...we would’ve made a great team - and I would have loved her as she so richly deserved to be loved...


But I’m alone...and I (still) can’t remember her name.



John Henry Calvinist