“Even the Music has got a Serious Hygiene Problem”

Tonight, the city wears dirty slut perfume and matching outfit. The rain has stopped, leaving the streets with wet greasy hair, strands of pulp blocking the drainage. All the flyers of every party of all time have gathered at the plughole of life. I’m standing on the balcony of Dubtek’s nightclub, holding my hand over my mouth. High above me, projected from the roof, lasers paint a dark cloud with colour, chameleon to the beat. I’ve come out for some air, but even the music has got a serious hygiene problem and there’s no escaping it. It’s my first ever gig in Manchester, and the place is one giant filthy arse-wipe loudspeaker, zero panache. There’s no sign of my challenger. When I walk to the edge, look down, I can see waves of people streaming out of the club, lit by stuttering lights. A purified canal runs back of the club. Some tables, chairs, a couple of sun umbrellas, all wet and soggy but no matter; it’s the small gaps between the rain that count, and learning how to live amongst them. Clouds of cheap shop-bought hormones lift from the young bodies.

From here, an excerpt of “Homo Karaoke” from Pixel Juice by Jeff Noon.

Noon was one of those writers whom I was madly in love with, back in the late ’90s, when I was also mainlining Philip K. Dick, The Invisibles and Bill Drummond like there was no tomorrow. Weirdly – perhaps because he kind of dropped off the face of the world? – I ended up entirely forgetting about him until he recently re-appeared on Twitter to promote the re-releases of his earlier work and his first new novel in over a decade. When remembering him, I had one of those How could I have forgotten? moments; Noon’s use of language and literal metaphor – for want of a better way of putting it; lines like “clouds of cheap shop-bought hormones” to describe perfume, and the like – were amazingly influential to me, shaping the way I wrote back then. Noon was amazingly important to me as a writer, although you can’t see it now. I’m glad he’s back, and I’m embarrassed that I forgot about him for so long.

(I should find some of that earlier writing for this site, sometime.)