* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Postcards From The Edge (of the pool)

17 September 2001
Jamie is on holiday.

Sorry to rub it in. (The suntan lotion, of course.) Just a cheeky factor 4 for the moment, build up a lovely golden base before we get onto some serious bronzing with the old vegetable oil. Pass the Pimm's, dear.

Why do columnists on holiday insist on getting someone to fill in for them, leaving a little picture of themselves at the bottom of the article so you don't forget it's usually them that fills that space? If I had a readership of thousands of 9 to 5 workers who never see south of Cornwall, earning a thousand pounds a month if they're lucky, I'd be sure to rub their faces in the fact that not only did I earn five times as much as them and do a fifth of the amount of work as them, I also got five weeks of holiday a year and got to spend them in the sunniest places on the globe. Let's face it, if you're going to leave yourself open to burglary by blaring out the weeks when your house is going to be unattended, you might as well piss a few people off at the same time.

Take me, right now. (No sniggering at the back.) I'm laying in a hammock, a mere three metres from an ice-cold swimming pool. The temperature outside is an estimated 31 degrees. If the sky was a shade of Dulux it would be Mediterranean Azure or Dolphin Blue, and it's entirely devoid of cumulo-nimbal blemishes. The fridge is well stocked with lager, white and pink wine, and watermelon; the freezer features ice cream, ice cubes and vodka. The barbecue is still out from last night's feast. It's eleven thirty, and I'm the only one up.

It's the detachment from the rest of the world, as well. Leave the mobile turned off. Don't give anyone the phone number of the villa. And only listen to foreign radio stations. Anything could happen between now and the time I get home: no news, no intrusions, nothing to shatter the idyll of the best kind of solitude.

When the biggest question you have to ask yourself is 'Beach or Pool?' or 'Wine or G & T before dinner?', you forget all about the things that really mattered to you a few days earlier. Suddenly the residual crap that flooded your dreams in the working week, refused to leave you alone for months on end, gets sweated out in the sun and wiped off onto the beach towel. And damn, does that feel good.

It can't last, of course. Every day that goes by seems like two days nearer that dreadful Monday when you walk through the office doors again, people asking you how it was and reminding you with every breath of what you left behind. When you take off your watch and see the tan lines; when you pick up your photos from Boots; when you go to the VD clinic to get checked out, if it was that sort of holiday. Every little recall of the time is a desperate attempt to hang on to the world that seems a thousand miles away, and simultaneously a painful reminder of the life you almost lived

Maybe that's why journalists don't stress the point. What if you pissed people off so much they bombarded you with their own postcards every time they went away? Imagine getting a hundred messages a day from people having a better, more relaxing time than you, a hundred fuck-yous for being smug, over-privileged and untalented. Maybe they should pay exorbitant sums for ghost writers to fill in while they're away, so it looks like they work so hard they can't spare the time to have a holiday. Maybe they'd get letters of sympathy, invitations to dinner, offers of villas for a week or two. Maybe I'm on to something.

If any passing journalists want someone to fill in, my email's just below. Cheers.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
13 October 2003. Jamie writes: The Persistence of Memory
22 September 2003. Jamie writes: The Email Eunuch
1 September 2003. Jamie writes: Credo
11 August 2003. Jamie writes: Brad and Jennifer and Me
21 July 2003. Jamie writes: Interruption
30 June 2003. Jamie writes: Do you remember the first time?
12 June 2003. Jamie writes: Forthcoming Attractions
19 May 2003. Jamie writes: Stupid Mistake
28 April 2003. Jamie writes: Hoping and Praying
7 April 2003. Jamie writes: Strangers on a Plane
17 March 2003. Jamie writes: Q&A
24 February 2003. Jamie writes: Altered States
3 February 2003. Jamie writes: How to say goodbye
13 January 2003. Jamie writes: In A League Of Their Own
23 December 2002. Jamie writes: What's in a name?
2 December 2002. Jamie writes: Lies, Damned Lies and Spastics
11 November 2002. Jamie writes: Memoirs of a Gaysian: A Preface
21 October 2002. Jamie writes: Love is blindness
30 September 2002. Jamie writes: Time for bed
9 September 2002. Jamie writes: Angry Exchanges Can Be Puzzling [10]
19 August 2002. Jamie writes: High Speed
29 July 2002. Jamie writes: Firkin Hell
8 July 2002. Jamie writes: Do you, er... haiku?
13 June 2002. Jamie writes: Unnatural Porn Thrillers
20 May 2002. Jamie writes: The Triumphant Return of the Septic Fiveskins
25 April 2002. Jamie writes: Meeting People is Easy
4 April 2002. Jamie writes: I Want I Want I Want
7 March 2002. Jamie writes: The Player of Games
11 February 2002. Jamie writes: Fat Man Walking
17 January 2002. Jamie writes: Passive/Aggressive
3 January 2002. Jamie writes: Love (classified)
29 November 2001. Jamie writes: A Lil' Nite Muzak
5 November 2001. Jamie writes: Natural born liar
11 October 2001. Jamie writes: All I need
17 September 2001. Jamie writes: Postcards From The Edge (of the pool)
23 August 2001. Jamie writes: Class act
30 July 2001. Jamie writes: Ritchie Neville is dead
5 July 2001. Jamie writes: A Letter from God
11 June 2001. Jamie writes: "If it's in French, it must be deep"
17 May 2001. Jamie writes: Reportage
23 April 2001. Jamie writes: Show me the Logos
29 March 2001. Jamie writes: Sobering Thoughts
8 March 2001. Jamie writes: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid
8 February 2001. Jamie writes: Spent
15 January 2001. Jamie writes: Full to the brim
21 December 2000. Jamie writes: fuck xmas
27 November 2000. Jamie writes: Eye Candy
2 November 2000. Jamie writes: World-wide-web?
9 October 2000. Jamie writes: Kids' stuff
14 September 2000. Jamie writes: Scatological Warfare
21 August 2000. Jamie writes: I can't stand up (for falling clowns)
10 July 2000. Jamie writes: The Etymology of Greatness

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