When I was twelve, Faust moved in next door. I was worried about my mental capacity to cope with life in the form of the eleven plus and girls and stinking socks. I’d spend all the holidays heading a ball against the back yard wall – the rhythmic brain damage and directional pulse seemed to help. My daily run round the block had a shamanic feel, looking back, the four directions hanging out at the corners adjacent to, respectively, the betting shop, the chip shop, the news agent, the funeral directors. The evening traffic fired up early, twisting round the block’s neck like a too-tight footie scarf. Even then, choking as I ran, puffing, I knew the body was doomed. This is where Faust came in. At this stage, he was waiting for… you know what, and, I suppose, he was packing his bags, writing his will, trying to stop thinking about it all, but failing. We all sensed Faust was getting there, you know. When he walked his black dog in the park, those late summer moon-faced nights, the filthy stars showing everything up there, he’d weep and moan, then laugh, a sharp, ill-lit sound. I’d track him, taking it all in. Out of this, I contrived a kind of philosophy; ‘let it out, even if it’s only you and the dog, even if it’s only a moon, a devil.’

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