“Another One Bites the Dust”
You know the days where everything goes wrong and it seems as though the whole world starts to crumble in, and it can be for an array of different reasons:
You have a bad day at work; get told off by the boss, then you go home to find a picture of you car with a speeding ticket attached to it.
Or you have a row with a parent and exchange words that you don’t really mean; go for a walk to calm down and get splashed by a lorry driving through a puddle, then a bird shits on you.
Or as what’s happened to me today, you find out that the girl you have just split up with has found a new boyfriend.
Now, I’ve been roaming the earth for the last 20 odd years, and for the last 5, I have been dating. I couldn’t really get a girlfriend at school as I wasn’t in the, “in” crowd and none of the girls really looked at me, although I wouldn’t go as far to say I was a geek either as I wasn’t, I just didn’t fit in. At the age of 16 I got me first real girlfriend, who I can honestly say I loved dearly.
We met in the strangest of situations; it was at a go-kart track. Which isn’t together all that strange. Infact let me give you a bit of background there or it doesn’t quite make sense.
When I was much younger, I used to do a bit of karting and used to race in the British Championships, infact against a boy you alI know quite well now called, “Lewis Hamilton”, although he was much much better, I was alright; not the best but did have a real flare at starting at the back of the grid and going through the field like a hot knife through butter, like Sterling Moss on speed, but just a younger fatter version; although once I got to the front and was leading and everything was going to plan, I just could never keep my head and would always end up head first into a tyre barrier, until one day, I ended up trying to go around a corner, actually on my head, carrying the kart on my back,
“Anything to get a faster line me”. Needles to say my Dad wasn’t too impressed and I didn’t race again professionally again after that.
Anyway, a few years later, in the school holidays to keep me out of mischief, I would compete in the junior championships at my local indoor circuit. Now, here, I was in my element, and not to brag, but I did pretty much win every race. After all I was by now close to 17 and I was racing 12 year olds!! So I did have a pretty unfair advantage, but winnings winning in my book.
Anyway, one week I made friends with this family and they were asking me if I would give their son some pointers, which I gladly did, and sure enough the results started to show.
The following week the family again were there, but this time they had brought the daughter along too. She was gorgeous; blonde hair, blue eyes, she really was beautiful.
Anyway as I had made friends with the family: I sat with them and spent the whole day talking to her and we got on really well.
It was the last race of the day, I was leading and her brother was in second and on the last corner before the straight: (where she was watching) I pulled over to let him win his first ever race.
That night she came round to my house, and before long; we were boyfriend and girlfriend.
We stayed together for about 9 months, and we had some really good times together, although towards the end we just drifted apart. We didn’t speak for about a year after, as she did break my heart, (she dumped me), although later we patched things up and too this day, we are still really good friends and she often calls me up and asks me what she should do with her love life, as she has met someone new, etc, although I’m the one that really needs help with that.
Since then I have not really had a girlfriend, I mean I have seen lots of girls, for all different lengths of time; ranging from 1 night to a few months but never pushed the boat out and actually committed.
Some I quite liked but I would always find something wrong with them, something that I wouldn’t entirely like, although maybe my bar was up to high or maybe I was just scared to open up after already having my heart broken or maybe I just liked playing the field although; I would always get caught out when I did this as I would always pick the wrong girl, that new someone; who new someone; that new someone else you were seeing. Not that I made a habit of this but you know what its like when your young.
Which brings me back to today, all that aside, a few months back I actually did meet a girl who I really did quite like and it got to that point again after a period of time where it’s sort of into that zone; you know the one where you are together but not if you know what I mean; not that I really know what I mean.
Anyway she was edging me to commit and I would always resist until recently she got fed up with this yoyo situation and finished with me. Obviously now as I couldn’t have her anymore I really wanted her and was happy to re-think about the whole being an item thing; but by this time; a few weeks on, it was too late; she now had a new boyfriend.
I went for a drink with her tonight, on the proviso that we are just friends nothing more. (Her terms; not mine) although it ripped my heart out, not being able to cuddle or kiss her and even her attitude towards me had changed.
I dropped her off after back at her flat and said goodnight, probably for the last time as I now realised it was over, “I hope it all works out for you both”; I said through gritted teeth, knowing that I had just lost something, very special and deep down knowing that if I had of tried at bit harder and been a bit more considerate, or just realised what I had; when I had it, it wouldn’t have of come down to this; well at least not until the divorce anyway.
(Out in front again, locked up the brakes and off into the tyres )
Oh well, One day I’ll get it right,
Written – finely matured until the time was right!
With July nearly Upon us once more, normally I would be counting down the seconds until I’m once again packed off and chained to my decks in the south of France for another summer. But as Luck would have it though, this year I don’t, I’m having a year off. HOOORAY!!!
But I’ve just come across a chapter, I wrote; wow 2 years ago now, about settling into the life of an international DJ on a summer season.
what’s so good about hopscotch anyway??
I just cannot decide what to do with myself tonight as I finally have another night off due to some firework display going on outside. Do I “A”, sit in my room alone, eat take out sushi and maybe a spot of room service and try and write a new chapter? “B”, Go and watch the fireworks and sit at another table for 1 and have another steak and hope I get accosted by some cute French girl? Or “C”, use the entirety of my daily food allowance on stella and some ice cream, play on facebook and watch porn?
Anyway it turns out that the James Taylor disco road show has been gathering pace of late and after someone told someone, who told someone else, I’ve only been invited out to be resident dj for the whole summer, at one of “The Leading Hotels of the World” and no! I don’t mean the Campanile Inn at Basildon off the A127.
So about a month ago now, I packed up my baby wipes, my toothbrush and my favourite, “Orlebar Brown” Swim shorts; in red, white, blue, yellow and black and hopefully, after that plug, maybe the gold, pink and the orange as well. J “ just kidding, well kinda” and made my way down by aeroplane to the French Rivera.
The hotel itself is beautiful, right on the seafront on some funny French road that sounds like a vegetable and all the staff are lovely too and I’m not just saying that because I have to as they might read this but they really are and I guess I’ve settled in rather well thinking about it, I’m actually the youngest person here who’s not accompanied by an adult which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I’m a little bit odd myself and think I’m really 45 in my head and love Abba, and so do they, so everybody’s happy, although if I’m honest I’ve never had to work so hard in my life.
Tonight is only my second day off since I’ve been here and I work every night from 6pm till about 1am everyday, 2am on weekends. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s not like digging a whole or putting the ship inside those small little bottles, I mean how do they do that? But it is tough never the less. It’s baking hot till about 9pm, and unlike usual I can’t just play the same old party gold dust every night like you can with one off parties, as it’s the same audience for days at a time, so now I’m having to play obscure tracks like, “Does your mother know” and even last night, “Happy New Year”, although that didn’t go down to well, so maybe won’t play that again.
I have to say I do have a bit of a phobia of playing modern music. I don’t know why, it just scares me. I’m fine up till a bit of, “Pump up the Jam” or even “Show me love” but after that it’s all a little out of my comfort zone for me.
So anyway as I said I’m settling in rather well, I have steak for lunch and steak for dinner and I’m allowed to have as much sparking water as I can handle and to be honest if I was actually paying for it myself that’s about I could afford.
But you see I can actually be a bit shy at times, and maybe even a little lazy, in the sense that I finish work, then play on my laptop for a few hours, sleep, get up late, play on my laptop a bit more go down to the restaurant have my steak and my water maybe sit on the beach for an hour and then I’m back in to my Abba mega mix again, and so on and so on rather than pushing myself and going out to do things and meet new people.
I mean I have met some lovely people out here but it’s a bit like being friends with the year above at school, they are there for a while and they leave and your all alone again and as I said there aren’t all that many girls here my age to look at either at least not without some hairy fat Russian in tow.
Anyway I heard that apparently all the young cool hip trendy people go to St Tropez. So with that the other day, on my first day off after two weeks straight work, I decided to shake myself up push myself out of my comfort zone and drag myself out of bed without checking who had poked me overnight or how many times Jim Jam Elder had posted on my wall and hired myself a little convertible smart car and with that was off to St Tropez.
I drove and I drove and I drove and eventually I arrived, I actually had a lot of fun, they are great little cars and mine made this really good noise so I just left it in third pretty much the whole way there.
I pulled up at some place called “Stacy Beach”. So there I am, and there are these two big burley French guys on the door to the gated compound and here’s me, in my bright yellow OB shorts hanging out of the roof of my little smart and they didn’t really want to let me in, but eventually after I gave them some of my hard earned euros they did.
So in I drive and everyone in there has gold plated rollers and lambo’s and Ferrari’s. So I park up and walk up to the girl on the reception and sheepishly was like, “Bonjour”, “excuse me, I’d like to come in please” and with that she looked me up and down and with that noise that all French people make, that kinda; “heeey”, sound, she clicked her fingers and this man then whisked me away with through the pool area past all the gaggle of pretty topless girls to a sun bed right the way at the back on it’s own by the fence, you could see how important I was.
I have to say I’ve never felt more intimidated in my life; everyone was brown and good-looking in big groups and jumping up and down on the tables, spraying champagne over each other. “I hate that”. More money than sense and there is nothing worse than when your walking past in your Sunday best and some little flash shit sprays you and your standing there soaked and stinking of the stuff.
Anyway, I was starting to wish maybe I would of stayed at the hotel and now that I was here, that I had not of had that cornetto on the way down and maybe had of gone to the gym first but decided it was time to stop being like a complete billy no mates party pooper and to try to get myself involved but it is kind of hard being the only person there who is by themselves.
I mean how do you just go up to a big group of people and be like, hey, I’m James can I play. I mean it’s not as if I could even go in goal to tempt them.
So I order my €20 bottle of sparkling and off I head back up the long path to the pool back past the gaggle of topless girls (who were all French by the way and didn’t speak a word of English) and to where the main action was at.
There I am in my yellow shorts and holding (treasuring) my bottle of sparkling, you know making it last, and I dangle my legs in the pool and sit on the edge trying to look cool swaying to the music; you know as you do. (No Abba though, sadly)
Now I guess I’m pretty used to doing things on my own, I can even just about stomach eating at a restaurant at a table for one, with everyone looking on like, where are all his friends? Weirdo! However I can proudly say still never to the cinema on my own, that’s just too weird even for me. I mean who would you cuddle up to when the scary bit came on or more relevant to me, who would I ask what the hell was going on in the film??
Although in this place, I just felt sooo out of place and by this point even the topless frenchies were nowhere to be seen. So I didn’t even have anything to look at. I felt abit like being back at school at lunchtime eating my ham sandwiches and jaffa cakes, in the corner of the playground, all alone by myself, looking on at everybody else playing hopscotch.
Eventually I didn’t managed to get talking to this group of guys by the pool, I think they were Swedish or something and they invited me over to their table. So we are all there and I’m trying my hardest to get involved although it’s pretty hard when everyone’s off their faces and I’m still on the fizzy; all be it by this time warm water.
But I really was trying extra hard to muck in and be one of the boys and to make myself have a good time, although still no girls or ABBA and then they too decided to start spraying champagne and that’s when I decided to call it a day, slipping off out the side gate, hopped in the smart, back past those grizzly bouncers and returning to the safe confines of my hotel.
In fact my favourite thing about the whole day was driving that smart car. Is that bad?
You see maybe I’m not as hip and trendy and cool as I make out, I mean yes everyone here may be 20 years older than me and I may moan about being on my own and not knowing very many people, but I feel safe here; I can eat my steak, wear my bright colours shorts and play my ABBA to who ever will listen and do you know what, I quite like being inside my little bubble.
I mean what’s so good about hopscotch anyway? And at least I get to eat my Jaffa cakes all to myself!
“ oh bonjour love”, “if you could just put the stellas and the ice cream on the table, ill be right there”
Written – mes noms est James, je vis en île de canvey dans le sud-est de l’Angleterre
Like most models; if I’m ever out, trotting down Carnarby street, and someone comes up to me, and ever asks what I do for a living, I nearly never say I’m a model. All of a sudden I become an Actor, or a Dancer or a Helicopter pilot or of course now; a Writer. All be it unless you’re a big casting director or Brucey Webber in which case, Hi I’m James, I’m at select.
Now I think this is, not because we think, that you think, that models have no brain and get everywhere just because of their looks; as clearly this in not always the case. I can even say a few things in German and remember without prompting every single stop on the c2c line between Shoeburyness and London Fenchurch street.
Instead I think it because, everytime you say you’re a model, everyone then automatically assumes, you get lots of free stuff and are a reckless playboy, who gallivants all round the world and who should never be let anywhere near anyone’s daughter.
And it’s just simply not true. I’ve been modelling now since I was 15 and in all that time, all I’ve ever got is a few dirty old pairs of socks that I’ve managed to sneak off a job when nobody was looking.
Or it could be because, as soon as you say you’re a model, its just like saying I’m a big wimp and please don’t hurt me, don’t touch my face.
It’s ok, I admit it, I’m not a fighter. After all how do you think I got into marathon running?
But saying that, I guess I’d like to think for a very small period of time; could pull a scary, “I’m going to eat your head off” face, making them think twice for a split second and then whilst they’re mulling it over, legging it off up the road to find refuge.
Anyway, the other day I was on this job in Hackney in East London. For those of you not familiar with the area, lets just say erm, well I guess. “Up and coming”.
So I turn up for work bright and early shooting some little French catalogue you know, smiling away all day, wearing nasty knitted jumpers, the sort of which, your Great Great Auntie would buy you for Christmas, that would go straight in a draw under your bed never to be seen again, that your Mum would make you phone and say thank you for, along with your lotto scratch card and the £10 hmv voucher. (Granted I have a very generous Great Great Auntie)
So I arrive and go round shaking everyone’s hand; as you do, going though the motions finally meeting the photographer who sort of looks you up and down, putting you all on edge, so your then thinking, “fuck! They’ve booked the wrong model here by mistake” they hate me! They wanted James Crabtree, not James Taylor”, before after what felt like an eternity them giving you a kind half nod of approval before grasping your hand with a firm hand shake and swiftly turning there back to you to go and shout and one there assistances to move a light, “1mm to the left.”
Before I know it, I’m lured away upstairs to the hair and make up area and sat down at this little stall in this dimly lit room and then out of the darkness, the little short French man with big thick rimmed glasses and a tash, who id not seen before comes over to me (minces) and without even saying hello starts pulling my hair and then manoeuvres round in front of me and then starts touching my face. “Oh I forgot to mention during this time, I’m already enduring; which I can only assume, is this little French mans Ipod, player these really weird French songs.” (Loved that )
Anyway, enough was enough, so I thought before this little man messes about with me anymore, I should let him know who’s boss and in my best French accent calling on all my years of learning French at school, I said, “Hello, my names is James and I’m from the Canvey Island in the south east of England.” I thought I’d go all out so chucked that in there as well, you know just for affect.
But it had no response and he carried on playing with my hair and making French sounds at me like nommm, and ehhh.
At this I was a little bemused, but what was to follow, was far worse. You see, I don’t like make up to much and I really don’t like people playing with my hair, that goes for even being in bed; when you know after and the girl reaches across and starts stroking you, I mean maybe if it’s your girlfriend but I’m not a fan. But I especially can’t stand it if I didn’t even get to have the pleasure first.
Now from my past experiences, normally, if your on a job, you have a designated person for make up and a designated person for hair, and what normally happiness is they both look at you and go, he’s a man, lets put minimal amount of make up on him and keep him looking like a man, we don’t need to curl his eye lashes or straighten his hair, or even hint at getting that blow dryer out of the suitcase, “In fact James, here’s some gel, you could probably do your hair better yourself mate, here you go, go for your life.”
But no, not this guy, he was an all in one, all singing, not much saying, French; hair and make up artist and even after my best attempts to try and escape, with all the crazy eyebrows I could throw at him, he was like a man possessed, showering me with foundation, blow drying my hair into an afro before straightening it back, before realising that doesn’t work and gelling it all down slick to my forehead, before it all bouncing back up again.
I wasn’t a pretty sight, but sadly, I didn’t have much say and before I could say, “Garlic”, I was whisked away back downstairs again and straight into action, I looked like a white, “Don King” in a granny sweater, my hair was huge and I had more slap on that a girl on a Blackpool night out
The shoot was going, alright, we had some pie for lunch and I tried to keep my spirits up. So I decided to nip outside down the road to get a bottle of Lucazade. So I trotted off down the street. And down to this little cornershop about a five minute walk away, so I’m walking down the street, and everyone and I mean everyone is giving me funny looks.
So I finally made it to the shop and I thought I would be nice and buy the crew some jelly babies and such like, by now I’ve had a few items, and I’m standing inline waiting to get severed and the little man behind the counter looks up at me as if he’s ready to serve me so I give him a smile and edge forward and go to start putting my items into the basket, when all of a sudden, the big aggressive burley man barges me out the way in his shell suit and asks for a packet of Mayfair menthols.
I didn’t really know what to make of it all really I was a bit taken aback and then the next thing I know, I’ve got this big man in about his fifties in a thick Scottish accent squaring up in my face, spit flying; asking me, “If I have a problem pal??”
“No, No problem here, please carry on” I couldn’t even muster up a second of scary face. As I watched him leave the shop turning round snarling at me. I hurriedly made it back to the shoot. And that’s where I stayed until 5pm when my cab turned up to rescue me.
And this is my problem with the, “All in one hair and make up artists”, you see, he nearly got me killed today as I had stupid hair and was covered I too much makeup and this is solely where I lay the blame for the reasoning of male models keeping it hushed up about what they really do.
You see they all want to get all creative rather than just doing what needs to be down, unlike normal hair people and make up people do, this new bread, of all in ones; feel like they have something to prove, fair enough, if I’ve eaten to much Kentucky that week and have a spot on my nose, by all means please cover it up and if my sideburns need a quick trim that’s all good too, but other than that please, on behalf of every male model out there. Don’t make us look like big girls otherwise, one day we might all turn into one.
Written - was it cos I lied when I was just a teen.
No sooner had I got off the plane from my last trip, given my mum her cigarettes, had a KFC and watched some decent porn, Works got the old whip out again and got me driving around the place in search of gold. Well, in fact, to see some clients who could pay quite well at least.
They have got me going to a place called Bradford, which I’ll have you know used to be the fashion capital of the world, the past tense being very important there. For those of you not too hot on your English geography, it’s about 140 miles north (so about an hour depending on what kinda car you’re in) up the M1 from the Watford Gap services which in itself is nowhere near Watford although I personally think it should be.
Now there are a lot of nasty things said about Bradford which I think are a little unfair but I wasn’t taking any chances. Hence the reason why I decided not to stay there.
So I decided, with some persuasion from my mate Miles, that staying in York was the way to go. That was another 50 miles further up the motorway, which also just so happened to be where his girlfriend lived and, after a few hours of him grinding me down, I caved in and decided to spend the night in York and give Miles a lift up to see his girlfriend adding another100 miles to my journey
I mean maybe I could have stayed a little closer to Bradford. Leeds is right next door; actually No! there was nowhere else!
Miles and I go way back. He lived next door to me for years and we have grown up together all our lives. We have done everything together and everywhere I went he would come too. (The little bastard followed me everywhere; I could never shake him off. Just kidding)
It’s been a love hate relationship with each of us doing our fair share of both; we do fight like cat and dog which when we were younger was ok but now it’s not so good, the reason being I always used to be bigger than him and would almost certainly win a fight but now the little bastard is bigger than me and is in the army.
So now I only see him every few months but we’re still as close as ever.
I have a lot of fond memories of times with Miles but there is one in particular that sticks in my head.
Now I’m the slightly older more sensible one, while he is the bullish one who does things, then thinks about the consequences afterwards. I remember being on holiday with him at Centre Parks one year. I think we were about 13 at the time. Now, I love Centre Parks. There are so many things to do there. You can get into fights, steal each others bikes, duck each other in the pool until the loser begs for mercy, but best of all - when you’re running around at 13 - was trying to sneak into the disco and get served and of course all the girls. (Nothings changed there then!)
One night we did actually make it into the disco. It was for over 16’s after all, so it was quite a big achievement and what made it even more important on this particular night was that earlier that day I had got talking to this girl in the pool and she asked me to meet her later and gave me a little wink. We had to go now; it was imperative we got in.
We even worked out what our date of birth would havebeen so we could blag it. Hours of planning went in to it; I would have killed him if he had messed it up for me.
The girl was a little older than me at 17. Now at that age, that’s a huge gap in age, worlds apart, and I longed to be 17. So I told her I was 17 and it worked. So after a few dances and a few lemonades we decided to leave Miles in the disco and go for a little walk.
Now there are a lot places you could wander off to at Centre Parks, after all most of it is a forest, but for some reason we ended up settling on a croquet pitch.
One thing lead to another until we were both naked on this patch of grass. Now I may have been able to look 17 but I didn’t really manage to keep up my end of the bargain. Well a workman always blames his tools. I just put that one down to stage fright. I also learned that sometimes you should keep some things to yourself as I never heard the end of it for years afterwards when back at school.
So there we are in the field and by this point she’s getting quite frustrated that I wasn’t quite up to scratch when all of a sudden it was chucking out time and everyone started streaming past us, leaving us running naked through the woods for dear life. (Oh yes, those were the days.)
Now Miles, bless him, got a bit funny about me leaving him alone in the disco to go off with this girl and me bragging to him about losing my L-plates didn’t help the situation either, so he thought he would get his own back on me
The following morning Miles, still bitter from the night before, found it within himself to tell the older brothers of the girl, who I had just been with, my true age and that I had sex (well sort of) with their little sister.
Anyway it got very messy and subsequently our holiday finished rather sharpish, with us running for our lives. But it was a valuable lesson. Don’t trust the little shit. No, that’s not it, err? It was also fun trying to explain to my dad why me and Miles wanted to go home early all of a sudden.
You see, the thing is that through having these experience and making mistakes that’s how you learn -which is what I’m putting today down as. The journey north to York with Miles was torture. How did I ever get talked into it? The traffic was a nightmare and he drove me insane making me stop for KFC at every other service station, munching on my buttons and my fruit pastels, then teasing me by eating all the red and black ones before I got a look in.
Then he started playing with my radio and no matter how many times I would re-adjust it back, he would still bloody try it again.
The final straw was him trying to steal a piece of my chicken. At which point I had to put my foot down and stamp out his rebel behaviour.
To be honest, I didn’t see much of York. We didn’t leave London till 4pm and it took 7 hours to get up here and it rained the whole way and still is now. I do love the British summer!
Anyway I dropped him off at his girlfriends and enjoyed a nice peaceful drive back to my hotel as I now sit all alone getting readyfor my big day tomorrow, learning my lines - “ Hi, I’m James. This is my Book.” - sitting with my left-over chicken, reminiscing about my childhood, occasionally delving in to the hotel porn which doesn’t really cut it.
You never know though, it could be worse; at least we got here in one piece and it was good to hear Gladys’s voice again and although Miles drives me absolutely insane at times and we struggle to sit in a car for a few hours together, when he’s not about I do miss his qwerky little habits and I know at times I must drive him mad too. I guess we’re just two peas in a pod and I know if I ever needed him he’d be there and vice versa.
So maybe today was not so bad after all; atleast we didn’t get beaten up and maybe he did me a favour eating all my favourite sweets.
But I can’t help thinking maybe I put a curse on myself back on that day at Centre Parks. No really, I’m not joking. Every time I go away, it rains. Every time I stay home, it rains. I just can’t escape it. It’s as if a cloud permanently follows me around even when I go to places where it shouldn’t be raining. Places that are normally red hot, with money back guaranteed sunshine!
So I think now it’s time to put things right. To the girl all those years ago, I’m sorry I lied about my age; I was just worried that if you knew my real age I wouldn’t have got a look in and Miles may have beaten me to the most important race of our lives so far (which I did win).
Ok that’s it. Now please just stop the rain.