Category Archives: Lost Boys

Night of the Living Dead Dogs


It was a cold night, the last days of summer marked by a distinctive bite to the air.  The shelves of my local supermarket were stocked with pumpkins, and orange and black sweets twinkled from the till. Halloween was near. Outside my window the leaves on the trees had turned orange, as if they too were preparing to celebrate old hallows eve, the night that the world of the past and the present collide.

But this year, that day came early.

It was a series of accidents that led to the resurrection of my past,  and dead dogs long laid to rest came back to haunt me.

The first dead dog came to me in a dream. It was the night before my big conference at work. Perhaps it was the stress of the event, or the detailed account Claude had given me of Paranormal Activity 2 (when I’d purposely sat out of watching it) but I woke up at 4am to a scratching noise behind my headboard. Springing from my bed, I flicked on the light and listened intently. No scratching.

I got back into bed and finally got back to sleep when I was woken again by a scratch scratch scuttle. I jumped up, now truly terrified. Not because of the mouse that was likely just frolicking in the wall but because I’d dreamt about Chris (AKA golf boy).

I couldn’t get back to sleep that night, and the next morning was filled with a dread that like that poor girl in Paranormal Activity, Chris was my very own poltergeist and would be haunting me forever

The second dead dog  came to me through a case of mistaken identity when outlook decided to auto-enter Prince Charming’s e mail into a forward I was sending to a client with the same first name. I bantered politely, a little excited every time my e-mail inbox pinged and a message from him popped up. He re-added me on facebook and of course I had to have a snoop. As I looked at his wall, a mixture of stupid status updates, passé anachronyms and cheesy grinning pictures with various thin blonde girls, I wondered what I ever saw in him anyway?

The third dead dog came to me by chance at a night out in Brixton Academy. Dressed in a white lace dress and pushing my way through the zombielike sweaty faces in the crowd, I bumped into the Swedish One. The same dead dog that asked me out for drinks twice and didn’t bother to follow up on it, the same dead dog that was positively cruel to me last summer. I must have been very drunk because somehow I found myself spending most the night with him. And last night, me and the Swedish one had our first actual date. It did take a lot of help from my friends vodka lime and soda, but we were actually having a good time. I mean, he did laugh a lot at everything I said, even things that weren’t really funny and he was a rather simple sort of guy,  but we did bond on a mutual love of Metalicca and 90’s power metal bands. He was really very pretty to look at, probably the prettiest man I’ve sat across from that I had no interest in whatsoever. The chemistry was non-existent and I ordered more and more drinks out of boredom. I had no interest in his memory stick that was worth near £3,000 or his laptop that cost £2,000 and as sweet as it was to see a slideshow of Sweden covered in snow, and various dishes his mother had cooked, there was a point where I wanted to suggest going back to mine to watch Entourage.

Two of my three dead dogs had walked in my present and were laid to rest in my past, there was no room for them in my world. Perhaps had they not acted so badly in the first place, the anacronyms or the pictures of Swedish fish would not have bothered me. But the thing about a dead dog, is that once dead, it cannot be resurrected. Your respect dies along with said dog and while the ghost dog might bark and run around like an ordinary dog, it will never really be one

Though two were gone back to their world behind the facebook screen, one remained.

Chris

The original dead dog. The king of dead dogs and the one whose memory won’t let go of me.

But maybe Chris was never meant to be a dead dog. I didn’t want to be with him, and as a boyfriend he was terrible but then, it wasn’t the memory of being with him that haunted me, it was just that I missed HIM. One thought kept returning to me; I didn’t want to lose him from my life, as a person, a friend.

I had to try and resurrect the friendship if nothing else.

Friday 14th Oct

Sad that we’re not friends after all the fun times.

Had to delete you from FB, it wouldn’t have been nice for either of us to see pictures… etc.

Know this is inappropriate for work e-mail but don’t even think have your phone number anymore….

Would be nice to go for a drink sometime, or just keep in touch.

Really hope you’re doing well 🙂  x

Like a spirit floating round in limbo, my e-mail remains unreturned and possibly unread. This should have brought some kind of rest to the last of my remaining haunts, but it hasn’t. Instead, it has made the ghost of Chris very much present and real.

Xx Amelia

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Valley of the Lost Boys


At some point in your life you will most certainly have crossed paths with a lost boy. Maybe it was the wayward kid at school who smoked weed at lunch and read William Blake. Maybe the struggling musician who couldn’t afford to pay his bills, but made your heart melt playing Simon & Garfunkel. When you meet a lost boy it’s unforgettable, they have this James Dean effect- a mix of self doubt, charisma and blind recklessness that makes you want to save them and lose yourself along with them.

I remember an episode of My So Called Life, where Claire Danes’ mother tells her that “It’s easy to lose yourself in someone who has lost their way”. Those words have rung true for my last decade of dating; my relationship resume reads like the yellow pages of lost boys. There was my first boyfriend who’d rescued his entire bedroom suite from various wheelie bins in Wandsworth. Then followed a string of aspiring musicians, artists, squatters, general bums and one guy that actually slept rough (he actually had a home but just thought living on the street was ‘avant-garde’)

What can I say? I’m a sucker for a bad boy, but a twenty seven I can’t ignore the signs that I should be growing up. There’s that grey hair my hairdresser has to wrench out unceremoniously at my 6 week trim, the small line at the crease of my lip that doesn’t quite bounce back and the fact that everyone around me seems to either be getting married or breeding. I guess you have to grow up some time, and at ‘my age’ can I risk another fruitless endeavour with a bad on paper-great in bed type?
Another Saturday, another night in Hoxton. We ended up at the Hoxton Pony- the China White of the East End where the drinks are £10 each, and the men (trying and failing to do the Hoxton look) replace their Ralph Lauren shirts with something plaid. It was the kind of place you would never find a lost boy, but might get chatted up by a banker who’d got lost on his way from the city.

I swigged the last of my St. George’s (a drink that isn’t half as patriotic as it sounds) and headed over to the bar to get another round when I noticed a cute (thought albeit plaid clad) guy smiling at me. I smiled back.

His name was Chris (I think) he worked in ‘development’ and lived in the East End. So far so good. I decided to give this guy a chance, he wasn’t my usual type but judging by my track record that was probably a good thing. I can’t remember what we talked about, but it must have gone well because I remember kissing him right there on the dance floor still clutching my empty glass. I remember that he had nice strong shoulders, and I remember him leaning in and whispering “do you want to get a cab back to mine?”

I pulled back.

Good on paper guy was a total creep. I mean, yes OK, I was two sheets to the wind and may have let him kiss me but still, aren’t good-on-paper guys supposed to be gentleman?

Apparently not.

Looking around the room, I noticed a girl in a white dress, drunk and swishing her head back to the music, her hips popping at odd angles. I noticed the swarm of chequered shirt guys around her like horny overgrown dwarves flocking to their snow white- clearly the drunkest girl in the room. I decided then that  perhaps this really wasn’t my scene.

The lights flashed at 2.30 kicking us out and so the three princesses, giggly from too many St. Georges wondered down curtain road looking for a cab to The Castle in Whitechapel (it must have been an ironic gesture on the part of the owners because it was easily the dingiest hole in the East End) . Somewhere between trying to flag down a cab, bumping into an old acquaintance and rambling something incoherent to a passerby, I saw him.

It was like one of those cheesy scenes in movies where the crowd parts, like in Romeo & Juliet where they see each other through the fish tank; only there was no crowd and no fish but the very night fell away and there he was. I didn’t know then that I’d inadvertently stumbled across a lost boy, but as we stood on the side of the road talking about the death of Feminism, he told me he was an artist and I realised what I’d found.

Determined to hold onto him, I dragged him along with us to The Castle and though I don’t remember what we talked about, I know it was very profound. Back at my friends house, we listened to the Doors and I remember him gazing at the ceiling pensively (in the way lost boys often do) and telling me that he didn’t believe in relationships, just ‘moments’.

I hoped that this was one of them.

I wished that the moment could have lasted forever, but sunlight crept closer and a grey misty dawn shone on the ashtray filled with cigarettes and the beer stains on the coffee table. Like the magic of darkness that vanishes with the day, the Lost Boy’s glamour dissipated in the morning light, leaving behind a somewhat confused and dishevelled boy with rings round his eyes and dirt under his nails.

Lost Boy spent the next day with my friends in the pub. I found out that as well as being an ‘artist’ he was also on the dole and his last serious job (a full six months ago) was managing a Blockbuster’s – of which he was endlessly proud. He listened wide eyes as I told him about my job in the city, and gulping two big sips of the double JD & coke I’d bought him, declared- “Wow, so you’re like, a proper person.”

At some point over the last ten years I had become a ‘proper person.’
When I said goodbye to him that evening, I almost wished I’d left him in the glow of the streetlights. He was like one of those stones you find on the beach that looks so pretty in the waves, but when you take it home its shine is gone, and it sits tarnished on your dresser nothing more than a plain old rock.

As the sky over Clapham darkened and the threat of Monday loomed dangerously near, my Peter Pan wondered back into the world to do whatever it is that lost boys do on a Sunday night (I guessed not get ready for work).

I knew I would probably never see him again. Lost boys generally don’t call. But, it was OK, I guess, maybe I was too old for children’s books after all.