There’s been a subtle shift of desire chez Allbright this week. One that I need to confess to, as it feels a little shameful. Daniel Craig has been too long absent and my faithless thoughts have alighted on Gene Hunt. Not the actor that plays him note, but Gene Hunt, the man with the Bowie soundtrack.
“Take that you dyke-digging tosspot. You killed my car,” he yelled, while pumping bullets into the baddie in the last ever episode of Ashes to Ashes. It still makes me smile as I run it across my tongue. A nice turn of alliteration has Gene, but why the attraction, Allie? After all he’s a misogynistical, racist, foul- mouthed copper; not your type at all. Ah but wait…
I didn’t come across the Gene Machine until the final four episodes, so I’ve got a winter of catching up to do, as I visit for the first time the whole of Life on Mars and I believe three series of Ashes to Ashes. I fell for the man very quickly. It would appear that I’m not alone in my obsession, though I’m not terribly keen on being aligned with a group that call themselves Hunt’s Housewives.
Being with Gene in my head is rather like having a dream that you long to return to. With his pock marked face, so like that of my adolescent desire, Richard Burton, and that lost, far- away look in his eyes, if you manage to catch him in a less hyperactive moment, he provides a lovely feeling of estrangement, of a distance that draws one in. He’s obviously not a man to fall for a waifish young mantrap either. By his own admission, he likes a woman with measure, who looks like a prostitute. I can do that. A woman with mystery, looking out from dark eyes that suggest a thousand years of burning incense. I can do that too. In return he would be a man to throw me enough curves to keep me on my toes, feed me chips out of newspaper and give me the unexpected glints of danger I desire. And safe with it too, because when I’ve had enough I can put him back in the box and file him away. Perfect.
Is that the lie I tell myself to keep my world from crumbling? Dorothy Rowe was promoting her new book Why We Lie in town this week and I went along with Bertram to check her out. It was a short, disappointing lecture but I got the gist. I tell my fantasy story all the time. It is the map that I use to traipse across my allotted years, but I don’t see the tales I tell about myself as lies. I accept the bleakness of the future of this planet, that it’s all going arse over tit and we’re all going to lose our savings and a lot more besides, when we make the leap in perception that saves the day, whatever that is. The Warren might be cosy but it’s no safer than anywhere else when push inevitably comes to shove. I know about The Uncertainty Principle and live it daily, riding the wave, shouting Geronimo as I go(but not out loud). I know Climate Change is real and we are already in the sixth extinction. So I don’t lie about the big things.
But boy do I fantasise about the details. I’m a beautiful, passionate woman with a few years’ wear left in me. I’m always learning and full of life and desirable. But to whom? Not to Sylvester that’s for certain. Three dates and an abortive attempt at intercourse(horrid word but that’s what it was-no transcendence there) I can see the error of my ways. I didn’t take his story into account, as I was concentrating so hard on making up my own. Will I never learn? There’s no relationship there. I’ve checked the seed and there is no oak tree within. It’s but a weed I’m afraid. The man could have told me he was a coke-head before we went to bed. If he had I wouldn’t have taken the risk- we all know what cocaine does to male function.
I will retract for a while. Overwinter early with Gene. Work out why he turns me on. He’s even more unavailable than Sylverster after all. I may fantasise but I don’t lie to myself that anything will come of it. It’s a quiet pleasure for me, inviting these men into my life for a brief, finite and repeated fling. So why Gene? He’s what used to be called working class, rough, difficult and deep; the sort of man who if on your side makes you feel safe. The fact that in the end it transpired that he was a phantom copper sorting out troubled souls just turns me on even more. Oh to be dancing the line with a man who by his own admission doesn’t dance. Having the almost kiss, the almost smile, the almost compliment, if you can untangle it from the undergrowth of alliterative spitting. Looking at the something else going on behind the eyes. The possibility of lifting for a moment the loneliness that lurks there, with a pathos that is never pathetic. Being with a grown up man without having to worry about the frustration of the battle of the toilet seat.
If that’s what Dr Rowe calls the dangerous act of self- lying, I can’t see that it does any real damage and it’s a lot safer than searching out a real life Hunt and having to live the painful truth. No give me the dream Gene; my imagination will do the rest.