If I were to say that I was fine, would I be lying? Do I have the right to ask such a question? Poor suffering wretch. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, a ringing in my ears. Would I be lying? No, maybe. If fine is a painting, then am I the canvas? Colours and pretty shapes, seductive lines and elegant curves cover me and work their wonders. Expensive cocktails and stylish clothing, pearly white teeth and a proper haircut.

An idolised image of what I try to be constantly pulls at the corner of my eye, a twitch I wouldn’t trade for the world. The pleasure of walking across hot coals or the self-immolation that I hold so dear to my cigarette stained heart. I’m better than fine. Fine is an insult. A middle-aged man’s compliment to a piece of ass.

At what point does it become masturbation to degrade oneself for feeling degraded in this snow globe of sculptures and advertisement?

Are you fine? I don’t care. And I don’t mean that in a prickish wankerism of it all but in an honest, stripped down and naked confession of a toddler being sprayed with a garden hose. Just tell me you’re fine and I’ll smile and say, “that’s good”, after all it’s all I expect in return.

The window cleaner from the outside is trying so fucking hard to wipe away that smudge, that streak, that imperfection that just won’t come off. I can see the sweat on his brow from here and I can’t help but sneer at his work. Reflections can do strange things to contort the face. My, oh, so, beautiful face. Can’t you see it? Can’t I see yours? Isn’t that what we are here for on this concrete coloured stage of flashing lights and filed nails.

No, I don’t mean this stage. This corner of truth we allow ourselves, this clasping of hands through the greasy sludge of hinges meant to keep the door swinging. Not this stage.

You know, I suppose I am fine. Lucky I’m told. What other choice is there?

I’m fine, you’re fine. We are all just so fucking fine, all together… aren’t we?


Words by Simon-Peter Telford

Illustration by Sascha Tan


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