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Submitted by on September 30, 2012 – 5:57 pmNo Comment

Why would you stick your head up stuff? Maybe it’s some inner longing to imitate those women I used to have to stare at for hours on end while me mum had her hair remodulated. The long row of hairdryers, domes on a steel chrome pole, looming over, dangerously contemplating their next victim. My mum’s mates would sit smoking, reading a magazine and chatting about everything and everyone. They knew everything there was to know about everyone that existed.

They knew that Dot was pregnant before she knew, they knew that Jean was having a secret affair with her brother and that his wife who was the cleaner in the Two Black Boys was doing the landlady. They knew that Sam the caretaker in our flats had got an appointment to have his bowels sorted before he got the letter telling him of the operation.

I would sit there and wonder, how did they know all this stuff? Once Grace told me what reading book I would be getting next. I was totally amazed at such accurate predicting of future events. Were the shiny domey things they stuck their heads up connecting them to some giant machine that controlled and orchestrated the comings and goings of every person, dog and baby I knew? When in a later life I read the brilliant George Orwell book ’1984′, I didn’t think it was so much a warning of a dictatorial totalitarian future as it was a description of my mum’s hairdressers. Big Brother was pretty timid compared to Big Sister.

It was fairly clear to me at a very tender age that shoving your head into stuff gave you great insight and wisdom. As well as giving you the power to predict or even dictate the future. It is well worth the risk. I was once in a park that had a huge metal instrument that made music when the wind blew. It was constructed from hundreds of iron tubes. The tubes all varied in length and diameter, some of the tubes were big enough to put your head up. I worked on the assumption that if your head went in it would come out. This had no real logic to it because I had seen on many occasions one of my mates stick his head through the railings on our estate and not be able to get his head out again. How this happens is still a total mystery to me. But suffice to say the fire brigade were called and every woman on the estate came out to watch the poor lad get his head covered in grease and a big leathery gloved hand pull the fuck out of him until his head gave up and came out.

When I got to the Abandon Normal Devices event at temporary council buildings, conveniently placed at the edge of the world, I rushed to a golden domed head sticking-in exhibit. You paid a quid, you stuck your head in the golden dome and you got to know everything there was to know. It was tremendous. I saw it all, the future, the planet, the social upheavals, the political turmoil, the promotions, the losses and departures and deaths. It was well worth a quid.

I took my head out and looked around me, the grass was the same, the people were the same, the buildings were the same. But somehow I wasn’t, the future had changed me. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone DeBeauvoir were right all along. Then I realised it wasn’t that I had changed, it was just that my head was no longer in a golden dome.

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