The Ides of March (in May, in Shitsville)


It is a truth universally acknowledged in Shitsville that every time things start to go right, cruel Fate intervenes to fuck it all up in a way that is familiar and not entirely unexpected. What most people think of as pessimism is in my case a kind of inspired prescience for being able to see shit coming from the far off distance, like masked riders in Texas, which I happen to know you can recognise in a desert dust storm by the glint off their saddles. In another life I was the proud mayor of Shitsville in Texas and a lot of such practical knowledge I took home with me; as you will have noted my decorating in Shitsville Ranch shows traces of the time I spent in Texas: antlers, cacti, armchairs covered in cow-hide, and a stock-whip ornamenting the cornice in the basement rec room;  the pistol you see in Act 1 that will go off at the end was sealed in a desk drawer in my den, the aunts had rifled through the drawer looking for postage stamps before they left, but the pistol was still there, only the pearl handle was covered in sticky auntish ginger-snappy fingerprints (I checked to see if it was in working condition and it was).


Those days in the aftermath of Brooks that I spent with cousin Francis Matlock Shitsville were some of the glory days; no two cousins have ever been more closely aligned. Frankie had a sartorial flair unusual in straight men which accorded very exactly with a preference I developed for dandies when I was younger than now, yet to be crushed by life, and my bloom not been entirely rubbed off by a demented fondness for pro-animal-testing cosmetic cleansers and six-tonne eye make-up more suited to a career on the stage; back then I had aspired to a frivolous life ensconced in fashion history/ theory academia, and while drunk off my tits on cooking sherry composed fanciful masterworks of bibliography in order to graduate with Honours while not exactly having the attention span to remember what the point of all of the books was in the first place. At that time (I remember it now only because it is topical) I composed a nonsense essay on the psychological implications of the clothes in The Great Gatsby; I did this for a lark really because as any fool knows you can’t take Freud seriously (Penis envy? I don’t think so).

Anyway,  earnest articles discussing the hem hem sartorial flair that would actually be required for a man to get away with actually wearing an actually pink suit the way that Gatsby does in the final scenes of the novel totally miss the point that the suit, rosy and flushed and penetrable as a cough cough cough vagina (thank Freud for that image) represents a pathetic bleeding heart romanticism on Gatsby’s part as he stands rumpled in the sunlight and says farewell Old sport or whatever it is. Frankie and I talked about it over whisky (sidebar here all of these Pepsi-Co or Coca-Cola ads do not represent any endorsement of the stuff on my part, I never drink the poison unless as a mixer: the Sociables I’m sure didn’t drink cola straight either or why the hell would they look so happy all of the time?)  It was the only contentious issue that ever came between us. I maintained that no such suit had ever really existed, certainly not in the Twenties, except perhaps as one of those life imitating art mirror routines. In any case if someone like Cary Grant had worn a pink suit he would have pulled it off admirably and nobody would be debating its ‘masculinity’ now. Then my cousin Frankie confessed that he owned such a suit.

vintage pepsi ad


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