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époque press
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Alan McCormick & Jonny Voss
Artwork and Writing: Moments of Ecstasy

TRUMPET FORSYTH
 

Each midnight, Trumpet Forsyth leans out of his sixth floor bedroom window and blows out his horn. The first notes are avant-garde and complicated, angry, like his Guernica is inhabited by limbless limbo dancers and drowning hands. The next series of notes are big-nosed-Sonny-Rollins-sax, then tall and meditative, and after that a little fruitless like a man growing wings to turn into a penguin that will never fly. A horse bray and neigh, a dog’s head in a light bulb tree and a dancing man falling flat on his face make up the final third, and then trumpet Forsyth puts away his horn and lets the dogs, cats and manacled maniacs take up his clarion call to wake up the night.

GINGER BAKER’S TELESCOPE

 

Ginger Baker, the seadog beardy drumbeater with Cream, has given up music to peer at people in flats with a giant telescope. He’s able to afford a huge one, twice the size of himself, and maybe twenty four times the size of his morning extended scope.

 

He is enamoured by the diversity of life on offer in the various flat windows opposite his own: plain Janes, simple Simons, hairdo cockatoos, dogs with attitude, devout mentalists and clinically sound saners.  But his ardour and affection is reserved for the middle top window: for just showered Lucy with her breasts like a two-tooth dog necklace, a hint of tongue shyly peeping from her mouth.

 

Ginger would like to lie with Lucy, to towel her gently dry and feel that little tongue against his own. When he looks down he sees his own scope has extended, and so turns his attention from such things by performing the dance of ‘the seven thrusting knees and the big foot thump’, taught to him by a group of Somali sailors in a German-sausage-themed pub in Zanzibar.

 

He dances, occasionally peering at Lucy until she turns off her light, and dances some more until both scopes have retracted and it’s time for bed, and dreams of drums beating long through the night . . . 

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NIGHT SWIMMING

 

Each summer’s night Beatrice and Marie Von Sudenfed arrived for a skinny dip (though Beatrice liked to keep her pants on) under the lustrous silky moon. They skipped amongst the pond flowers on the bank that led into the water. The air swooned with perfumed blossom and the light warm scent of the young women’s skin.

 

Suddenly a puff of pheromone escaped the lively, watery earth like pollen from a flower sac and rose and swirled and blossomed into the form of a proboscis-quiffed teddy-boy flower; his stem straight and firm like iron; his beady eyes fixed onto Beatrice. She felt the aroused intent in the air and shied away, whilst Marie Von Sudenfed, the elder and more experienced of the two, reached over to wring his neck.

 

He ducked down and appeared to evaporate away. But later as the moonlight cracked and seeped amongst the branches of the trees, his fine misty tentacles could be seen caressing over the water as the girls swam out to the nervous centre of the pond.

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THE PARTY

 

It really was a miserable party, it really was.

 

Young Hilary Stoppard and his pretentious young set contemplated the splenetic corners of art’s responsibilities within a splintered decaying cosmos.

 

Under an ageing Soviet philosopher’s smoke exhalation they gathered in an umbilical circle to soak in each of his puritanical philosophisings:

 

‘Believe in the rhythmic order of your heartbeat and trust no creation younger than your least favourite aunt or neighbourhood spinster.’

 

Hilary’s girlfriend, Bunti, corrected her spine with a long natural breath and a complex re-interpretation of Alexander technique. Sigmund, who suffers from total-allergy syndrome, adjusted the valve feeding oxygen into his astronaut suit and wondered if air was in itself a poison more potent than Velcro.

 

The deflated clown behind the punishing philosopher wore a look of utter defeat, his soul carrying the angst of the world in its tiny blue sac.

 

Hilary Stoppard looked out into the everywhere and imagined himself more than himself but less than an atom.

 

It really was a miserable party, it really was.

THE NEIGHBOURS’ WELCOME

 

‘You must meet Matilda my dear’ said Norman. ‘But first things first: still wine or fizz; which kind of girl are you?’

 

‘A champagne girl of course’.

 

‘Of course you are,’ cooed Norman. ‘Of course you are’.

 

‘Hi de hi campers,’ sung Matilda, flexing a leg on her arrival by the mantelpiece. ‘And please excuse my sweat; I’m training for a half-marathon’.

 

‘Don’t mind a little girl sweat do we?’ asked Norman

 

‘I’m running for the dwarf horse hostel by the canal,’ said Matilda, removing her shorts.

 

‘Matilda is the local animals’ Joan de Arc. Cats and dogs and even foxes, she’s quite a girl I can tell you,’ said Norman.

 

‘What’s your name?’ asked Simon, the chap without pants lying on the lawn.

 

‘Mary, my name is Mary.’

 

‘Not at all contrary: it’s a very beautiful name my dear and it suits you very well,’ said Norman.

 

‘It certainly does,’ added Simon. ‘Like a soft leather slipper on a warm clammy day.’

 

Suddenly Norman’s wife, Brenda, entered sans brazier. ‘Do you respect the tit, Mary?’ she asked

 

‘Well, I’m not sure . . .’

 

‘Put it away Brenda, Mary’s a shy girl; not quite ready for the tit,’ cautioned Norman.

 

In the garden Matilda was naked and bouncing on top of Simon.

 

‘Oh yes, quite a girl our Matilda,’ said Norman with a wink.

 

‘I think I’d better be going,’ said Mary.

 

Brenda’s giant bosom blocked the doorway into the street. ‘Do you respect the tit, Mary?’ she repeated.

 

‘Not really,’ said Mary squeezing past Brenda’s bosom and out into the cold.

 

Half way home Mary remembered she’d left her pants on their sofa and realised she’d have to go back to get them.

Alan McCormick lives by the sea in Wicklow, Ireland. His writing has won prizes and been widely published, including in the recent A Wild and Precious Life – A Recovery Anthology, Best British Short Stories, London Lies, Litro, Found Polaroids, The Bridport and Fish Prize Anthologies, Popshot and Confingo magazines.

 

Alan also collaborates with the prize-winning London based artist Jonny Voss. Their work has featured on previous époque press é-zines, 3:AM Press, Fictive Dream, Words for the Wild and Dead Drunk Dublin. Their book ‘Dogsbodies and Scumsters’ was long-listed for the 2012 Edge Hill Prize.

 

See www.alanmccormickwriting.wordpress.com and www.jonnyvoss.com and www.scumsters.blogspot.com