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Friday 13th December 2013


All that good work with repairing the thermostat (well, all right, changing the batteries) whilst only slightly damaging it has been undone today. I recently bought a shredder (it was a mix-up, I thought I was getting some Mutant Ninja Turtle Memorabilia) and given I was a bit hungover and didn't have any pressing work to be done, spent a couple of hours going through a box of 1990s accounts and receipts and was enjoying turning them into confetti, whilst feeling a faint tug of nostalgia for old style bills (I had forgotten all about those red final demands having settled all bills by direct debit for years now) and travel cards which had the date stamped on them by hand. Strange that something so mundane can pull you hurtling back into the past. I wondered what journeys I'd taken with those cards and with whom. It's crazy that I haven't thrown this stuff away before, but it felt crazier to be destroying it now. But otherwise it would just be uncermoniously chucked out by whoever goes through my stuff when I am dead. At least this way I was able to say a small prayer to the 1990s and the idiot I was back then as I put it on the funeral pyre.

Everything was so cheap back then. Most of the taxi receipts were for under a tenner.

Amongst all the guff was an unpaid in cheque  for about £150. I don't know if I ever got sent a replacement, but it's too late to pay it in now. It might have made all the difference in 1996.

I had had a close call when I put too much stuff into the shredder at once and it literally ground to a halt, but I had enough purchase on the stuff to pull it out again and everything was OK. But I did not learn my lesson. I put in an envelope containing yet more receipts and more travelcards, but alas it was too much for the shredder to cope with all in one go. It became clogged and I then spent an hour trying to pull them out or cut them up or push them through, but to no avail. That little clump of travel from 1996 had inadvertently caused me to wreck a brand new piece of equipment. Those travelcards had sat in a box for over fifteen years waiting to cause this slight bit of mayhem. What power they had beyond their power to allow me to travel for 24 hours anywhere in London in zones 1-4. The past will always catch up with you. And maybe they were telling me that I shouldn't be destroying these remnants of who I once was. I should let them be. They would be thrown in a bin some time in the next thirty or forty years, but not by me. Did I need a bit more space in my cupboard or did I need a reminder of the things that I had bought two decades ago?

At least in the short term those suicide travel cards had saved another ten years worth of receipts from oblivion. Though the foolish bits of paper did not realise that they would be recycled and made into something beautiful and new and relevant. It was a beautiful metaphor for our own fears. But mainly it was annoying that I'd broken my shredder. I think I'd have got away with just recycling the receipts unshredded anyway as the addresses on them were old and they could surely hold no use even to the most committed fraudster.

I had still enjoyed shredding them nonetheless. It made me feel like a spy or the boss of a corrupt company getting rid of the evidence. Anyone who felt the need to reconstruct the jigsaw that I was creating would have been disappointed by what they found.

And though I am terrible at creating anything (other than stuff with words, but what use is that) I am usually able to destroy things without any trouble. So it made me sad to have destroyed the means of destruction due to my usual incompetence. Like Satan, only in destroying find I ease. Unlike Satan I don't fuck up the the thing that's meant to be doing the destroying.

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My new stand up show, Oh Frig I'm 50 is at on tour from February til June 2018. There's also a new series of RHLSTP with recordings every Monday from February 5th to April 2nd All details of shows here.
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