The Mongrel

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    I hate you

    She sits at the window seat surveying the world in front of her, as though she were a Queen bee watching the mere mortals buzzing about their daily work.

    Never sitting in her seat properly, always finding some ‘creative’ way to position her ‘derrière’ on the stool, that usually entails unveiling some part of either her under wear, legs or bottom to the rest of the café.

    Poor thing is having a bad day today, or be specific, her actual greeting upon entering our establishment, late on this Tuesday afternoon was:

    'I am having a shit day and for absolutely no reason!'

    The first time I met her, she said ‘You’re Irish.’

    Must have one of those degrees in ‘Stating the obvious’.

    She told me that she lived in Ireland ten years ago and that she went to a certain school and she was bullied and bullied so much that she went to a barber shop and shaved her head.

    I knew by the first couple of seconds of conversation, or more precisely, her talking at me, that the smart decision here, would be not to ask why she would shave off her hair to amend such a situation.

    I had also figured out in those first few seconds that the condescending, upper class English whines that spewed from her gob as she moaned, probably were not received with hugs and kisses in Dublin.

    This rant I had thrown at me when I first asked her if she was having her flat white for ‘here or takeaway’, as she continued to blather at me expecting to apologise on behalf of the peoples of Éire. Maybe I should have asked the President if he could write a letter of apology to her, as I am sure he would have done that quicker, than she would have decided where she is consuming her beverage.

    Poor petal, today she was having a bad day for absolutely no reason and no amount of me saying anything or not saying anything was going to make anything any better, this afternoon is a one way ticket to Infuriation-vile, via Exasperation-town and Vexation city.

    At least today I had established that she would be a having a mint tea to sit in, that’s some consolation. Perched on her throne she had began to flick threw her touch screen phone, choosing the next victim in her phone book. Some poor soul is probably enjoying a lovely afternoon in a park, maybe having a picnic in the sun, ‘Pimms’ on the green, and unbeknownst to them, the wicked witch of the East is about to gather dark clouds over their day.

    'Hiiiiiii'

    Such a whine! Why do they answer the phone to her? Does she block her number so they don’t know it’s her, or does she have some spell that can make her number come up as someone else’s number on their phone, so they think they are answering a phone call from their Mother, then, tragedy.

    'I am having the WORST day ever and I don't know why!'

    No ‘Hello how are you?’ no?’ Just straight in with your counselling session?

    I did suggest to her one day that she probably has some medication that she hasn’t taken but she insisted that she doesn’t use any medications because she doesn’t need them. I would love to have a conversation with her GP.

    'No, I can't even blame anyone it's awful, it's just a shit day'.

    She always does this on a Tuesday afternoon when the café is empty and us little bee workers like to scrub the shop early and get out, go home, make some dinner, nice relaxed evening.

    She will of course insist on sitting there right until closing time with one, maybe two other customers there. But they know the vibe, they know it’s quiet, they know if they leave, then we can leave early, no one’s making anymore money at this stage. They’re cool, they think about other human beings in the world.

    I bring her the mint tea and the next phase of operation infuriation has begun. Not only is she, mid phone call, putting her feet on the stool next to her, she is wearing those ridiculous looking short socks or ‘Pomp’ socks. Of course they are see through and frilly, they look like tights from the 70’s gone wrong. The shoes are off obviously and now she twiddles her inquisitive toes discovering every inch of that stool.

    I have to say it to her, I should:

    'it's disgusting, this is not on. People are trying to eat here or have a coffee and you have your manky toes fingering stool legs!'

    It’s one of those moments where you know that you’re not the only one that feels this way. She needs to be told. She’s a regular, she’s in here all the time and I bet I’m not the only one who’s head she has being doing in. I bet if I say something here, it’ll be a moment like out of the films, like ‘As good as it gets’ and all the people will stand up and applaud when I tell her:

    'Look we've all had enough, you're attitude stinks as bad as your feet, I'm sure you were attractive once upon a time, but you're a sour fish now and we have no need for your custom anymore. Please leave you toad.'

    I could possibly risk losing my job here, but it’s worth risking as I walk up to her, they may even give me a pay rise, they probably hate her too.

    I approach and she doesn’t even look up from the phone:

    'Is it too late to have a Granola?'

    Keep calm, keep cool, no need to the use of bad language, don’t let her drag you down to her level.

    She’s a genius. She’s also made me look like a fool when I have to go into the chef at 5:30pm on a Tuesday and say: ‘Em can you do a Granola for table 1’ and he looks at me like I am going to get his frying pan across the back of my head.

    'Are you serious?' he hisses.

    I get back to cleaning the shop floor and the other customers have politely left, it’s just me and her on the floor. I stand, watching her whine, while I think about the broom in my hand. If chef isn’t looking, and she doesn’t see me coming, there are no cameras no one would know. I’d have to be quick, quiet and ninja-like, but I can do that. It will have to be a clean hit though, swift and firm to make sure she is knocked unconscious. I’ll just pretend she’s fainted when she awakes.

    'Granola, order up.'

    I take the dish from the kitchen and as I walk up to her my blood begins to boil again as she has moved into the next stage of the act: ‘Talking about the divorce’.

    'I mean I don't think people realise I've been through a very difficult divorce this past year'.

    Difficult for who exactly? I want to meet the man, or the saint who was at the alter with this chick. Was he on heroin when he decided that he was going to be with this woman till death do them part? He must have been dreaming of beautiful ways to die when he sobered up.

    I know that one is supposed to be positive in life and always look at the bright side of situations, but having thought long and hard about this particular strife, I have decided that I, hate, this woman. I hate everything about her. I know that’s probably wrong and maybe I’ll even get past it one day, but today I hate her.

    Perhaps the thing to do is to let her know, maybe then she will never come back.

    I put the granola down and she begins to eat it without recognising how it got there.

    I mop the floors, put up the stools, turn off the music, shutter down, still nothing she sits there:

    'I need a holiday'

    Of course you do dear. Finally at 6pm on the button, she begins to make gestures to move, slip the pomps on, hands me the half eaten bowl of granola all while still talking down the phone. Is there even anyone on the line or is she talking to the Samaritans? They’ll need to talk to a professional after she’s called in.

    She slowly drags her feet to the door. Does she even know my name?

    I want to tell her, scream at her as she leaves, ‘I hate you!’ but she is already out the door and all I can muster is a middle finger to her from underneath the counter.

    Then just as I think my evening is free of her clutches, her head reappears through the doorway, still on the phone. She looks at me, with a twinkly smile:

    'Thank you'

    And with all my might, and every part of my being, with all I have wanted to say from every time she has called in I let out:

    'You're very welcome have a lovely evening.'

    The Mongrel

     

    Writing for the Monngrel Productions, ‘Stevo James’ will be performing his stand up show around London in the coming months. You can keep up to date with all things Mongrel

    themongrelproductions.tumblr.com/

    facebook.com/TheMongrelProductions

    @mongrelthe

    themongrelproductions@gmail.com

    Illustrated by the great Robin Hoshino follow her work at hoshinorobin.tumblr.com/

    — 2 weeks ago
    Don’t regret to dream

    image

    ‘We are dreamers and that is the way it is. We are made for this’.

    Petra sends me a voice mail from Austria. A former philosophy student in Vienna, she is driving her car to her friend’s house as she speaks, because her mind can paint pictures better that way.

    ‘We all carry dreams with us; we picture things in our mind just to keep us going. That’s why regret comes close to dreams or wishes.’

    Regret. That word has spun in my head for the past week. Living away from friends and family can bring moments of weakness and tiredness in which the mind, body and soul can collapse quite quickly.

    We are artists. We are souls and these souls need to dream to live, but what is this thing that creeps in my head some days? Is it just me?

    Jane lives in New York City, the city of dreams. Moved from Ireland five years ago this summer and I ask her about it.

    ‘I’m a 30 something year old with no career, don’t talk to me about regret’, I can hear her smiling.

    Let’s talk about it I say! We can’t deny it, ignore it or pretend these feelings don’t exist from time to time. So what is it that brings upon this time of hurt, of wishing ‘what if?’

    Recent times have led me to up sticks from familiar surroundings and leave them behind. This one suspicious boat of opportunity comes down the river and I jumped on it leaving everything behind. Some days it feels like I am on the wrong boat and some days it feels like great excitement of what is to come next.

    So you could say I am standing on the boat looking back and thinking. The past becomes smaller and further away.

    image

    Jane continues:

    ‘Is regret maybe linked with our realisation of our own mortality? Do we feel it more in our twenties and thirties?’ This panicked feeling that every little error is sealing out fate and dragging us away from the perfect world or perfect self that we long for!’

    I remember reading a John Lennon quote where he spoke about the necessity to create ‘the torture of having to get up everyday and create something and make something’.

    That feeling is what drove me to move. Bob Dylan says that be it inside or outside, ‘you gotta keep moving.’

    Artists are not built to conform to scheduled ways of a working life; we are born to imagine, to create and to dream. We live in this world of dreams.

    Yet there are days when the real world is too much to take. Where the dreams seem so far away and getting up is not as easy as everyone likes to think. Such as the wondering of things I left behind.

    There was a time when all of us didn’t think about such things; a time when worry didn’t exist, a time when the imagination was all that there was and a time when you could fly ‘past the stars on silver wings and it was wonderful’- Matilda (Roald Dahl).

    Jane’s latest adventure makes it seem as though regret could no longer come into the dream.

    ‘Becoming a parent makes me so aware of how everyone transfers their own issues onto their kids, trying to guide them, creatively, spiritually or academically, but it doesn’t work, it often damages. There are no regrets for kids because they are just free. They just operate out of their own uniqueness’

    Sitting in a London warehouse that is now my abode; a loft in South Tottenham. There are rats, stabbings and plenty of characters which surround me. The things around me sometimes do not smell of the things in my dreams.

    The death of the great Philip Seymour Hoffman broke a lot hearts. What an amazing artist, a generous man and a committed actor. A man flawed like us all, who had to carry his own demons. The world feeling robbed of never seeing him bring himself to the work again.

    In Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic film, ‘The Master’, Hoffman plays the leader of a new religion (inspired by scientology) that uses a method called programming to fix the wrongs of our past lives. To bring us back to our ‘inherent state of perfect.’

    In one of the most beautiful scenes of the picture, Hoffman’s character, Lancaster Dodd, puts a Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), through a session of programming.

    Freddie who is a wreck less soul is also a potion brewer, a man who has many women, a soldier who came back from World War Two and who has been running from himself ever since. He is a free man carrying the burdens of having no foundation in his life. There is a connection between the two characters throughout the film; a fascination with each other, the Master and the scoundrel become close.

    Lancaster Dodd watches Freddie breakdown through a programming session as he is hammered with questions that break his heart:

    Lancaster Dodd: Do you often think about how inconsequential you are?

    Freddie Quell: Yes.

    Lancaster Dodd: Do you believe God will save you?

    Freddie Quell: No.

    Lancaster Dodd: Have you ever had sex with a member of your family?

    Freddie Quell: Yes.

    Lancaster Dodd: Are you lying?

    The scene continues as Lancaster Dodd intermittently asks throughout:

    Lancaster Dodd: Do you regret this?

    Quell continuously denies any regret right until the end when he’s heart is pierced with the truth of a pain he lives with.

    Lancaster Dodd: Is Doris the love of your life?

    Freddie Quell: Yes, sir.

    Lancaster Dodd: Then why aren’t you with her?

    Freddie Quell: I don’t know.

    Lancaster Dodd: Yes you do. Tell me why you are not with her if you love her so much.

    Freddie Quell: I told her I’d come back and I never went back and now I just… I gotta get back to her.

    Lancaster Dodd: Why don’t you go back?

    Freddie Quell: I don’t know.

    Lancaster Dodd: Why aren’t you with that lovely girl?

    Freddie Quell: (Screams) I don’t know!

    Quell breaking into tears, totally immersing himself into the pain of the memories The Master ends the session announcing Freddie as:

    ‘The bravest man I ever met’.

    No asking about regret as it pours out in every tear from Freddie’s eyes. Here, regret takes on it’s other meaning, to regret, or to repent, or say, or to be sorry.

    image

    I am still standing on this boat that travels down river and I’m looking back. But I take a brief moment to look in the mirror at something quite beautiful. We are not talking about aesthetics, vanity or the trappings of a consumer society. Instead, there are some signs of where we’ve come from. I’ll see lines and marks on a face, on the body that have come from the journey so far. I will see eyes that have been worn and weathered but behind them there is a soul that is quietly burning its own flame of truth.

    These marks are things of beauty, there is no returning to perfect, for we are beauty where we stand.

    ‘When you are dreaming, in your dreams, you can put in anything. There are no boundaries, and everything is possible!’

    Petra is adamant, fixed on the fact that the boat still moves forwards.

    ‘For me there are only two types of regrets; the type when you hurt some one, or you did someone wrong… but not just anyone.  You don’t regret like this with any person, you regret people that were special to you. You regret something bad you did to someone you cared about. You say sorry for this, then it is over, it can no longer exist.’

    As the boat moves forward and I’ve had some rest, the tank refills and there is realisation of the things that have floated by.

    But floated by is what they have done. So let them.

    I ask one more question of Jane. Do you regret your 18 month old son?

    ‘eh… he is a vision. The best thing that ever happened to me’

    I remember the child like state that we all have enjoyed.

    ‘Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me’ – Dylan Thomas

    We didn’t care then. We didn’t look back and we certainly didn’t regret. We just did, and we stuck true as true can be to that little flame inside.

    I take a turn around and I look ahead. The regrets are dreams that went wrong. That didn’t happen. But why not drop them over the side and keep the load light?

    The great journey is getting to the dreams ahead. No longer is it time to wallow and regret. It’s time to get to those dreams.

    Don’t regret to dream.

    -The Mongrel

    You can keep up to date with the guys at the mongrel productions on their blog; for all things film, street art, coffee and dreaming.

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    #london #dreams #regrets 

    — 1 month ago
    #london dreams regrets 
    #cavnvaz #streetart #london #love #lost

    #cavnvaz #streetart #london #love #lost

    — 4 months ago
    Chance Street, Shoreditch

    Chance Street, Shoreditch

    — 4 months ago
    Sex, coffee, Rock n’Roll

    All I need now is a football……

    'Where do I go for my Lunch?' I ask my new boss. He's different to back home too, he's proper,speaks proper like… he's English. Some directions are given but I won't remember any of it, so I walk out the doors of the Ace Hotel, it's lobby full of people running their own businesses on their MacBooks, the flower pots, the juice bar, the coffee bar, it's different, it's cool, in a good way. I walk in search of a place that does nice eggs.

    Streets full of cobbles, red bricks, spray paint and posters for the first time since the very unplanned jump over to ‘Blighty’ I begin to feel a little something in the air. This isn’t the London I’ve known from before. It’s not visits to Leicester square and number 10. No trips to Drama school reciting Shakespeare. I’m not eating fish and chips outside Highbury singing terrace chants in a cockney accent. I’ve been watching it all around me this time round, it’s electric.

    I happen upon another seemingly derelict building, it’s just around the corner from ‘Chance Street’. Outside a poster gives the sign to all the people who gather this special thing: ‘OASIS’. An exhibition with unseen photos, videos and memorabilia of the great brit pop band called ‘CHASING THE SUN’. It’s here for 10 days only to mark 20 years of the debut album ‘DEFINITELY MAYBE.’
    Inside crowds take photos of the photos of the band. There’s guitars, parka coats, a replica room of the album cover of ‘Definitely Maybe’ where people can take their photos in, and of course the music. Blaring out the album, Rock n’roll star, Live forever……it’s impossible to not be inspired. The band of unemployed Mancunians, who went and took on the world…. via London.

    Leaving the place all a buzz, I get what it is that’s here. The great coffee shops/ barber shops/ gig venues, multipurpose cinema thats a place to do what ever the fuck you want too! There’s banksy and Conor Harrington pieces on the walls of the streets, theres goes Alex Turner…. it’s here.

    It’s like every idea you ever had about making something, someone did it here, and they weren’t afraid to try it out. They created themselves. You want to be a rock n’ roll star?

    'You can wait for a lifetime to spend your days in the sunshine…..you gotta make it happen' Whatever it is that I want to make, I can touch it here.

    I head home that night, to the loft in a warehouse I live in…..

    Yes Mammy, I live in warehouse, “IMPERIAL WORKS” at the end of a street of warehouses, where the air smells of burning weed and the shit of a Rottweiller. Where the the black, crack smoking beggar calls me a cunt, and the rain drips through the roof. Where the raves last for two days before a warehouse is cordoned off…someone’s dead… yes…again.

    It’s ok I really don’t mind, because now I’m living on chance street and it doesn’t matter what’s going on around here, because there are indeed, those of us who are,

    Chasing the sun.

    TM

    — 4 months ago
    #Shoreditch  #shoreditchhype 
    "These dreams are not real."
    — 11 months ago
    Found this today….. Just what was needed. #johnlennon #lennon #beatles #lennonremembers

    Found this today….. Just what was needed. #johnlennon #lennon #beatles #lennonremembers

    — 12 months ago
    #beatles  #lennon  #lennonremembers  #johnlennon 
    Screen shot The Mongrel Productions new project ‘the Wall & I’ soon to be launched by @revolvrprojects #themongrelproductions #films

    Screen shot The Mongrel Productions new project ‘the Wall & I’ soon to be launched by @revolvrprojects #themongrelproductions #films

    — 1 year ago
    #films  #themongrelproductions