Lloyd Evans Lloyd Evans

Diary – 23 November 2002

The occasional reporter and freelance onanist (prospective) discovers that no news isn't necessarily good news

They’ve scrubbed it off now, but until recently the outer wall of Hackney’s HSBC bore a weird piece of graffiti. The ugly felt-tip scribble stood out harshly against the whitewashed stone. It consisted of a girl’s name (illegible), then the equals sign, and then ‘horing buckethole sellpussygal 10p a hour’. When I saw it, I stared at it for several minutes, aware of something intense and elemental being expressed with unusual power: a man’s rage. I was enthralled by the muscularity of the words, their bitter and compressed viciousness, their lyricism. There’s so much brutal anguish there, and a sort of blowpipe suddenness. And what about the improvisation? Whatever this girl had done, her offence was so vivid, foul and fresh in his mind that the old words had become useless, hopeless. He needed vivid, foul and fresh words – brand-new coinages – to vent his fury. ‘Buckethole’ isn’t a term with which I’m familiar, but even the vilest of its synonyms seems feeble by comparison. And ‘sellpussygal’ has a withering simplicity. He might have said ‘slut’ or ‘hooker’ but those are just ciphers or noises – parcels of air in the throat – when set against the bluntness of ‘sellpussygal’ and the rank disgust of ’10p a hour’. The scrawl stood there for most of the summer, and whenever I passed it I felt a harsh tug of sympathy for this anonymous sufferer. Sometimes I came to a complete halt and would glance around me frowning and making fists. My head seemed to swell, my flesh prickled with an uncomfortable heat and I felt as if there were a threaded barb inside my ribs being pulled at by someone who was giggling. I know how he feels, you see. I wish I didn’t, but I do. The poor guy, wounded into brilliance.

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