Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage

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This article was written on 03 Sep 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Ode to Jo Harrison

My partner saw me blogging earlier and asked, in jest, why I don’t do a blog saying how great she is. Which is, although she might not think so, a fairly good point. I’ve wasted a lot of words on Nigel Farage, I’ve explained why I get angry and done countless other things, but what I haven’t done is to talk about the person with whom I’m currently sharing my life and with whom I plan to share it until I fall off the twig or she decides that my enormous head is too irritating.

Her name is Jo Harrison and she may be better known to people on Twitter @joelizaharrison and, obviously, she is very lovely. We met through Twitter, talking about Robert Smith, and had rather a lot to go over as I also follow another account called @bloodytights which she’s part of and on which she talks about the impossibility of being a woman who cleaves to the media definition of such a thing. I followed it because I like women in tights, found out that, despite myself, I liked her writing and then kept following it. And their ‘Week In Sexist News’ was quite funny.

She rescued me, with nothing more than oceans of patience, a canoe of belief and a paddle of, er, love, from a domestic situation that came very close to killing me and we’re now shacked up, after repeated false starts and several months at my parents, in a cottage in Sussex. The cottage is achingly romantic, but its main virtues are that it’s cheaper than anything we’d seen since and that the overheads are low, because we’ve got an oil-fired boiler and our poo goes into a septic tank at the bottom of the garden. This is particularly pertinent to me as I’m utterly and completely skint. Middle class by education, you see, working class by income.

But that leads me, in a neat segue, to tell you what Jo is like. She doesn’t seemingly care that I don’t earn much money and says, repeatedly, that we’re in this together. It’s one thing saying this in theory, but another moving into a cottage with it and still respecting it when it gets home from the Royal College of Surgeons where it’s been acting, badly, in a role play designed to train surgeons and earned an absolute pittance. And not caring, but thinking it’s rather wonderful. This still disarms me months in. It must, indeed, be love.

She also doesn’t care that I’m crackers. Well, crackers is a word that covers a multitude of sins, but I suffer from depression, so I occasionally get the blackest of black moods that can last from hours to weeks and have me seeing the world through bitterly jaundiced and fearful eyes, and sometimes, although it’s a bit more rare, get an idea that I want to pursue. Like taking the dado rails out of the spare bedroom, which damn near destroyed it, or coming up with a range of ways to make money which, frankly, are batshit. She’s been there for it all. Sometimes she finds it hard, and I know she does, but she’s still there in the morning, which counts for something.

And most importantly, she gives of herself. Jo teaches a community art class every other Friday, for which she’s paid a pittance but passionately believes in, and loves her family, particularly her old mum, with what can best be described as a fierce and unyielding zeal, and would gladly go through any hardship so that their lives were better. I come from a small family and parcel out my affection with the parsimony of someone who worries that it might run out and doesn’t want to look too showy or lavish. Jo loves fully and beautifully and it shames me, frequently into being a better person than I worry that I might be.

Were Jo not artistic, were she to the same kind of piecemeal hack work that I do, or to do an office job, or to work in a supermarket or whatever, the amount of my love for her would be altered by not one jot. It would neither increase nor decrease, because I’m in love with her. The handy thing is that she expresses herself through art, and that makes it easy to see what’s happening in her mind. She expresses herself with sharp and pointed line drawings, in pictures that use colours, often dark, intense reds, in graphic and millions of other media that delight scare and pull me in. And because she also works as a designer, we’re starting to work together, doing words and pictures for clients, which gives me hope and optimism for the first time.

Any paean to a lover that doesn’t end on their physical qualities is a pseudy load of bum, and Jo is beautiful. Utterly and sublimely beautiful. She’s short, curvy and buxom, all in a splendid unity that makes my heart sing, and dresses with the deliriously, joyful abandon of the truly and divinely sexy, as though she could bring the dining room chairs off by putting her bum on them and drive the bed to a mania of eroticism by lying in it. Watching her dress is a great and abiding joy, waking up next to her feel like I’ve won something without trying and for the rest, you’ll just have to use the more outre reaches of your imaginations.

What Jo Harrison gets out of this, I have no idea. I am too old for her and I am a ruin, fat in all the wrong places and thin in all the wrong places as well. My temper can be roused to catastrophic levels of anger by people tailgating and I weep openly at the oddest things. As I’ve said before, I earn no money worth noting, have all the prospects of a mayfly and the same transferable skills as a toddler holding a turd and saying ‘poo, mummy,’ but there’s no accounting for taste. I love her for, to massively misquote and misapply Martin Luther, I can do no other.

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