Category Archives: The Fountain

Up at 5am

Awake at 5am (4:58 to be precise), breakfast at 6am after lying in bed wondering if I am really awake, then examining myself for physical tiredness and realising my brain was doing its normal hello-day-chat. This internal monologue (which used to be a dialogue, but I’m lonelier now) alerts me to the fact of my being alert. You might say it’s a solipsistic reassurance, except that with my history of wavering sleep patterns it feels more like the enemy I know than a close friend.

I used to rise early through choice, and savour the times when I could remain in bed until the day was well advanced, but now it seems as if there can never be adequate reasons to remain horizontal. The luxuries of lying in, reading in bed, breakfast in bed, long mornings of chat and sensuality and sex are gone. The comfort of the day’s fatigue resting with the warmth of another close body is gone. Gone and not forgotten, though I force myself not to dwell upon the fact.

street heart

Recently I slept with a friend, and it was just that, sleep. My friend kindly accepted me to share her space and there was no question in my mind of its chaste nature. In a flat so small I had to leap a bicycle to get out of bed, we were a good boy and girl and there was no confusion. Both of us old friends single, both rather low, both lonely. How very British it was that we didn’t even offer one another the crumb of a hug, but instead, like repelling magnets, both kept securely to our side of the bed. It wasn’t that we found each other repulsive, but I sensed there was a tacit acknowledgement that a perfectly good friendship could so easily be ruined by intimate contact.

Later, I couldn’t help thinking that if we were from another, gentler, more generous culture, we’d have comforted and accomodated one another more confidently and with no confusion, without the fearscare of S E X (which wasn’t going to happen) stopping us even touching.

Cut to: one of the happiest times of my life. I was in a long-term relationship which was physically very satisfying, though it suffered from a certain lack of emotional compatibility that would eventually break us up. I was working abroad, and one of the team members, a sassy, confident girl, had the hots for me. I wasn’t looking for anything else, and was thus relaxed and friendly with everyone.

Oblivious to the elixir of hot sun and late nights, we grew close and within two weeks had relaxed enough with each other to fall asleep in the back of a car, hand in hand, head resting on sleep-deprived head, the scent of pine and suntan lotion and hormones drifting in and out of our dreams. It was so romantic. When I got home, I was full of love, of the perfect, unrequited kind. Within 48 hours, my girlfriend was distraught with the agony of jealousy, and demanded to know who it was.

I hadn’t even noticed that I was glowing like warm night coals with the appreciation of being appreciated, and in my naivety, couldn’t believe she had noticed the change in me, but there was no point in denying it. She on the other hand couldn’t believe we had not fucked each other senseless, as that’s what she would have done in my position. Her parents were not born in Britain, they originated in far sultrier climes, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and she had not the Methodist-Baptist mix which ran through the veins of my family, of repressed lust, delayed gratification and the sensible use of prophylactics. I always found this earthy acceptance of her desire deeply attractive, being so much the polar opposite of my own set up.

I did regret not acting, later, in cold London, and somewhat embarassed myself – but that’s another story. And yet, I did the right thing by not responding animally to her almost nude, cold, wet body as it landed upon my back, shocking me out of sunbathe slumber. Being in a better place enabled finer feelings to emerge and I was glad of it, because that was the catalyst, the key which fused sleeping chemicals and created the potential for much deeper experiences a few years later. It wasn’t sex I needed, it was this effortless connection to another soul. I had to go through loneliness to find it.

This is once again where I find myself, and why my sleep is erratic. It’s not the lack of sex, though that would help. When I share my bed, I share my life, and I find it difficult though not impossible to do otherwise. Years ago, I remember coming across some graffiti in a grotty pub bog which read, “Sex is easy to get – stand up comedy you have to work for” and thinking, God help me if that’s true. At least I can make people laugh.

First published here


That’s Not Love

It’s been many months since I applied myself to the task of channeling experience into melody and words, and I’m happy to announce on this full moon that I have completed a new song, That’s Not Love.

I never know quite where I am going with music until I start, even when (as in this case) I do know what I want to write about and the manner of it. If you can spit blood with a mouthful of candy floss, that’s what I was attempting; but don’t think it’s a punk performance piece on consumerism and diabetes, it’s just a song about love gone wrong, like many of my songs, and all of my love affairs.

I say that with confidence because otherwise I would be married – or perhaps having found the the love of my life, widowed, heaven forfend – which I am neither.

So, lyrics.

As opportunities go, it was a good one
And we may never see it again
In the dark of the night windows are mirrors
And there’s nowhere to hide from the rain

You can’t do what you want, it can’t hurt me
Cuts and bruises will heal over time
But the lies that you tell are a tale of personal hell
“As long as it hurting, he’s mine…”

And you can’t tell the saints from the sinners
Gonna feed you or have you for dinner
In her mind she’s a bitch, she’s a grass, she’s a snitch
And the ice that she’s on’s getting thinner

Ooh, that’s not love, no that’s not love
That isn’t love

You shine like a light in the darkness
Grown cold and burnt out by the brightness of day
You pay for the rides on your big rollercoaster
But you secretly wish you could just walk away

There’s a place in your heart for the madness
Which you couldn’t leave if you tried
You know very well it feels safe in your personal hell
“Won’t you please join me inside?”

And just like mummy and daddy
You can’t tell the good from the baddies
Moon and stars are aligned, so she tries to be kind
But she can’t understand why she feels so sad

Ooh, that’s not love, no that’s not love
That isn’t love

© Dean Whitbread 2013 All Rights Reserved


La vie continue..

I start to write and find tidy formulations. I skip the hard stuff to be entertaining even before I have noticed. I sit down with thoughts in mind but once the words are there, the meaning is slipping away. Better not to write, than write like that.

So, I trust my nonsense, the mimbling burblage which emerges from the half-conscious, the semi-sleep state. There is uncensored truth. I am not scared of deranged and alarming words. People, yes, words, why? They are only words. We pretend we control them but of course the opposite is possibly true. Taboos are not only rendered powerless, they are usurped, made into playthings. Style is meaningless. Structure finds itself.