Chapter Four: New Surroundings

Well here I am in my new bedroom, in the new flat that Fliss and I moved into just yesterday, well, I say new, but it isn’t really; nineteen sixties at least I should think.  A lot of our stuff is still in boxes at the moment, so the place has an unfinished air to it, but my bedroom is nice.  My desk, at which I am writing this, is in the corner by the window, out of which there is a rather uninspiring view of dustbins and bits of cars etc, but I have a decent bed, and a nice pine bookcase.  The bedroom walls are painted white, giving the room a nice, light, spacious feel, and the paintwork is painted pale green; I’ll probably leave it like that. 

  Fliss is loving our new, chaotic surroundings at the moment, and has spent most of yesterday and today running around the half empty, echoing rooms, shouting out suggestions as to what we should put where.  Her most recent suggestion is that we need a computer and a cat.  I replied that I didn’t think our combined finances could stretch to a computer, but that we might be able to afford a cat.

  She was arranging her bedroom when I left her in order to write this.  When I left, every available piece of wall had been covered by posters, mainly of Lucy Lawless, Alyson Hannigan, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and her bed had been covered by a multi coloured patchwork quilt.  The floor was littered with brightly coloured clothes, in fake fur, satin, lurex, and P.V.C, and amidst the clothes were shoes, fluffy hair scrunchies and dainty hairslides, plus ribbons, sixties girl group 7”’s and compilations, mix tapes, punk CD’s, ‘Angel Food’ and ‘Electra’ fanzine, and, I was amused to notice, ‘Brides’ magazine.

  She had helped me to unpack my own things before we had tackled her room, and it had taken an age, partly because she had grown increasingly curious about the large number of books I own.  It wasn’t enough for her to simply stack them against the wall; she had to know what they all were first.  The biographies and music books were of most interest, but some of the novels caught her attention too, so that when she left to make tea for us both, it was under the considerable weight of Jon Savage’s ‘England’s Dreaming’, Vladimir Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’, Truman Capote’s ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’, and Dodie Smith’s ‘I Capture The Castle’, all of which should keep her busy for a bit.  In return, she has promised to lend me Daniel Clowes ‘Ghost World’, all her ‘Xena…’ and ‘Buffy…’ novels, and all the ‘Princess Diaries’ books.  When she has unearthed them all that is.

  We went to see The Girls From Mars play at The Gates last night, along with Flora and Katy.  They pulled in quite a crowd, and it wasn’t long before the place had been transferred from the usual dark, slightly dingy cellar, into a heaving sweat pit.

  Their singer is called Moyra, and she’s a bit intimidating, but she can sing really well.  Violet played slide guitar with a bottle of Guinness, which was very cool.  She plays guitar effortlessly, and simply, without an FX pedal, and with her long, straight black hair hanging across her face.  The bassist seemed anxious tonight, but their drummer was great, as usual.  She has an ease that compliments Violet’s guitar work very well.  Musically, they are ‘harder’ sounding than our band, very angry, and quite bleak sounding.  Titanium Rose aren’t a pop band, but we do seem ragged and skittery in comparison to the shiny, dark, power pop of The Girls From Mars.

  After the gig, I talked to Violet for a while.  I have to admit that I find her a little intimidating, despite her friendliness.  She seems very self-sufficient and determined, and just a little bit stubborn.  Like Nat she is tall and curvy, and they share a similarly hard-edged kind of glamour. Last night she was wearing black knee high suede boots with fishnet tights, an a-line khaki mini skirt, and a Supervixon t-shirt, and as we stood chatting by the side of the small stage, I could feel the eyes on her, watching her from across the dark, steamy, crowded room.

  “I’ve got one of those,” said Nat, prodding the Supervixon logo, which was stretched across Violet’s chest.

  “That was my nipple you just stabbed,” said Violet, mildly, “be more careful next time.”

  “Oh I wasn’t groping you,” replied Nat, airily, “I’m just a very physical kind of girl.”

  “So I’ve heard,” said Violet, her eyebrows raised, “you keep your hands where I can see them, you floozy.”

  I felt embarrassed, but Nat just laughed.  It was quite a loud crowd last night, the DJ played old Madonna records after the bands had played, and people danced to them in a drunken, ironic kind of way.  Nat was in a particularly good mood because she’s in love, or so she said.  “It’s a secret though,” she confessed, with unusual coyness, and despite Violet’s teasing, she remained cryptic all night.  “I don’t want to jinx things.”

  After we arrived back at the flat, Fliss and I fixed ourselves a couple of drinks, and settled down in the living room with our record collections.  It was a cold night last night, colder in the flat because of our lack of carpets, and in order to compensate for this we removed the cushions from the sofa before sitting down on the living room floor.  The light from the table lamp bathed the room in a soft, bluish light as we took it in turns to pick songs and talk.

  As the sun rose, she told me about visiting Canada and Holland with her parents and brother and sister when they were all small, “We don’t go very often now,” she said, a little pensively.

  “Do you miss your family?” I asked her, kindly.

  “A little,” she admitted.

  I felt a huge surge of affection for her at that point.  I am an only child after all, and it has occurred to me that living with Fliss will be a bit like acquiring a younger sister.

  She fell asleep on the floor of the living room whilst we were listening to Dionne Warwick, (one of her choices) and, rather than wake her, I tiptoed back to her bedroom and removed her patchwork quilt from the bed, and covered her up.  Her fair hair was trailing across the bare floorboards, Rapunzel like, and she was sleeping soundly.  As I tiptoed from the room I heard her sigh, and turn over, but she didn’t wake up.


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