The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Tome On The Range

Orgasm Addict: New Fiction Inspired By Buzzcocks
The Quietus , October 5th, 2019 09:40

'Orgasm Addict' by Tomoé Hill is an exclusive extract from the new Dostoyevsky Wannabe book, Love Bites: Fiction inspired by Pete Shelley and Buzzcocks, edited by Andrew Gallix, Tomoé Hill and C.D. Rose

Filth. Not that kind – not yet, anyway. Just dirt for now, ashy fallout from constant smoke which covered the south-east side of the city like the outpourings of an industrial Vesuvius. It was the kind of grey that dulled paintwork on cars and blotted out the sun, got in your nose until you couldn’t smell anything but the ink on stiff, sickly yellow clock-punch cards, metallic oil from shift work machinery, 6 a.m. beers and perpetually warming filter coffee drunk in dimly lit brick corner bars with names like Mike’s Come On Inn, as ubiquitous and monochrome as the pollution. No one ever goes in a place like this. It’s hard to believe anyone ever comes.

Café Voltaire. At least that’s what it used to be called but maybe no one got the aspirational wink, whether named for the writer-philosopher or the home of Dada. Regardless, it was as bleak and drained as the rest of its surroundings. The large black-and-white spiral sign beckoning on the side of the venue was enough to make me take notice, even though I was oblivious to it as anything except another piece of washed-out landscape taken in from the back seat of my parents’ Mazda most weekends. It sat overlooked by the cylindrical towers of a cement factory – working-class skyscrapers to the tall glass and chrome corporate banks of lakefront downtown – two connected houses wilfully set apart from other buildings, a dingy fuck you, but just right for the kind of music that was anti-glamour, making the news for the wrong reasons. Maybe the real joke was that even here, grey matter(s). Waiting for the river’s bridge to come back down one winter Saturday while a ship passed through, I turned my face to the marquee above the door, which read in inevitably crooked plastic letters:

BUZZCOCKS

I’d never seen a name like that before. Though of course I knew the words it separately held, looking at it was as mesmerising as the spiral on the venue’s sign. It felt like – was – another language, new forms to decipher as if those nine letters held something much greater. I mouthed it silently over and over, liking how my lips pressed and curled the letters, loving the starting pout of the B, the drawn-out Z, the way my tongue bounced o the roof of my mouth on the Cs and K, the short sharp hiss at the end. Oral exploration, but I was being explored too: searched in the hope of something more than grey—a sign of life, a desire. And then a jolt that ran through my body, slow but fast, heavy and wet as a pool of newly melted snow. Sometimes that’s all it takes to change everything. Before the song comes a vibration, an intuition.

It wasn’t that I’d never felt the jolt before – it was familiar and welcome, but until now always private – I just didn’t know why it happened when I saw the marquee, sitting in the family car, exposed. There was so much other noise between my parents and sister that no one noticed me sitting in the corner, overheated with the first fruits of pre-teen irrational – an orgasm for a word seems nothing but rational now – lust, my body knowing that sensation was an instinct. In an impulsive, or maybe it was a necessary moment, I placed my lips against the cold window: ripe pink against drab grey, the imprint’s distorted perspective looking as if it were about to swallow the band’s name. As I pulled my mouth away, a single pearl of saliva stayed just above COCKS – premonitions of pleasure I hadn’t yet had – and the car started to drive o again, my fingers tapping against my inner thigh as I thought of other rhythms and repetitions; once secret, now revealed.

Fast forward. Sleeping over at a friend’s house where I’m restless – too high, too aroused. Not from drugs or sex but the only thing available, a basement full of records and cassettes: scattered open cases with unfolded sleeves like discarded clothes, black vinyl stripped of their liners, bare and waiting for the first scratch. Devouring lyrics with the same intensity I’ll take in future lovers. Read me, touch me. Lounging on a sofa with springs like hands, yielding from everyone else’s action, sensing my turn. Pressing stop-rewind-play until my fingers go numb, pressing through my jeans like I was just another song, that one—the first and almost only song in my head since the day I found the voice that t the name that t my mouth when I pressed my lips against the glass. It’s music for coming, letting the body follow an impulse like it follows a rhythm, and what comes out of my mouth in those last breaths he’ll cover with what comes out of his, pitch for pitch until there’s nothing left but rough silence – the end of a track is the feel of satiated skin, both distant and near.

I’ll later come to realise the heat of my body at its peak is like that of bodies at a show: the breathless friction of strangers and voices almost lost, aching with response for the person on stage singing. The jolt amplified, almost liquefied in the closeness until it becomes a physical, not just aural throb, a pulsing that makes your lips swell with beating blood as your fingers accidentally brush someone else’s hand or jeans or skirt – the warmth of another kind of throbbing, but music still owing through: rising, falling, coiling; fervour and fever. Heat is a language, too.

An ache is a door to be opened and my fingers are everywhere now, searching my body for pleasure in not- so-secret places, to a soundtrack only I can hear. Ask me if it’s the hormones or the music and I’ll laugh and say it’s both, like inseparable friends giving each other permission to get into trouble, teasing and urging to see how far the other will go to pursue that feeling. A note, a surge, it really doesn’t matter which when you feel the thrill that sinks slow and fast, hot and cold, from your throat to between your legs – just like it’s not important that Voltaire didn’t say let us come as well, when he wrote ‘Let us read, and let us dance ...’, and what harm is there in that? To come is to go to another place, to discover. That day in a grey city like any other, something did say it; not in so many words, just one. Body listening, I turned my head, and with my lips against the glass I let the sound come in.

Love Bites: Fiction inspired by Pete Shelley and Buzzcocks, edited by Andrew Gallix, Tomoé Hill and C.D. Rose is published by Dostoyevsky Wannabe. A book launch will take place tonight (Saturday 5 October) at Lounge at Gullivers, Manchester. Entry is free

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.