Ralph the Bastard

To his eternal credit the dog really does look like an Ewok, but as I’ve got a life and very little time on my hands (and George Lucas brandishes lawyers like Darth swings a lightsabre) I’ve resisted dressing him up in a cowl and taking pictures of him. There are enough of those images on the web as it is. Anyway, he’s called Ralph and he’s hit our house the way a tornado fucked up Kansas in a Wizard Of Oz. I have a cage pretty much next to my side of the bed now, an actual cage, Katie Price’s latest husband could fight for a title belt in there and I think there’d be enough room. Ralph sits in its corner and snores. At first we assumed he was having an asthma attack as he sleeps sitting upright and with his eyes open. It’s like we’ve adopted Damon from The Omen. He’s snoring as I write, but with his face pressed hard against his favourite towel. Oh yes, he has a favourite towel, he has lots of things, the entire run of the house and our hearts being just two of them. I still feel guilt and shame when I look at a photo of my cat and finding out that Ralph was born around the time Sylvain died did nothing but reduce me to quiet tears (not because I imagined a transfer of souls, I have about as much faith in the idea of a god as I do my agent), but because it seemed to compound the idea that I was cheating on her bones and had abandoned her somehow. I sound like a Catholic.

Not that I’m going to get mawkish about her or him. It’s hard to fall hard for a hound whose pee you’ve stepped in at 3am and realised that given the right combination of low lighting and no socks you can actually scream like a little girl. I woke the dog too. And Nuala. She gave me the skunk eye and rolled over muttering about having to get up early for work so I pulled the quilt off her and dumped her on the bedroom floor. She made a noise like air leaving a deflating balloon. Ralph was her idea. I walked him in the rain the next morning and felt hopelessly romantic though, I imagined a black and white shot of me and him leaning into the hail and wind and passers-by taking that image with them to the tube and saying how heroic we both looked and then going out at lunchtime to buy my book and praise me in whispering tones. Novelist, humanist, vegetarian, dog-walker… That sort of thing. As it was we both looked defeated by the drizzle and I took two plastic bags in case Ralph felt the urge to answer the call of nature in Kentish Town. He didn’t. He waited until we got home, which meant I probably didn’t need to go out in the rain after all. Best not dwell on that last point.

In other news (and thank the good lord for that), the Laugharne Weekend is almost upon us, I travel down Saturday in hope of catching Julian Cope doing his irrepressible thing and then get to share a billet with Kevin Allan, uncle to Lily. The full bill’s quite tremendous and I make up a very small part of it on the Sunday at 2pm with Nicky Wire and then at 5.30pm with his brother, the poet Patrick Jones. If you happen to be in the town Dylan Thomas based Under Milk Wood on then come by and buy a copy of my book, I’ll almost certainly chat to you then. Before then we record a new Perfect Ten, we’ve already slid back on our promise to make them fortnightly, and I’ve been enjoying new music from the Stone Temple Pilots (yes, I was surprised too) and Taylor Hawkins (ditto) and former Kyuss man Brant Bjork. That made me want to smoke a doobie and I mean that in the good way even though I pretty much detest dope as it slows me down. I once snorted vodka and had to smoke dope to stop me throwing up or my head exploding, I forget which. I’ve also rediscovered the A Boy Named Goo record and the debut Chris Cornell album, Euphoria Morning, both gems and for very different, very valid reasons. Anyway, I need to pick some CCMS passages to read this weekend, wish me luck, I’ll almost certainly snort with derision at your good wishes. The window’s open and the dog’s barking at something unseen and unheard outside, best get used to that I suppose…