THE DIARY OF EMMA D MAY: Beetlemania
Sunday 21 September 1997
Sunday 12.01am Dud pill. Might as well have swallowed a paracetamol. Remark so to Anna, who mishears and produces two sticky decongestants from her bra. "Sinutab," she shouts over the music. "It's the Effudrin. Really speedy." Swallow them pointlessly with mouthful of flat coke. Anna (a Scottish lawyer with drug and alcohol dependency problem) is dancing round Adidas handbag and chewing like someone about to have jaw wired. Anna's pill is working. Fight way through sweaty dancers to chill out room and order nice cold pint. Sometimes old drugs the best.
4.50am All-night Sainsbury's. Milk, Rizla, fags, News of the World. Wild- haired Man Without Shoes running up and down pet food aisle screaming: "Where are the rawlplugs?" over and over. Dylan says he wants all-night B&Q. "Thanks," he says. "Thanks a lot."
11.30am Definitely going to sleep now.
11.31am"Pub's open," says Anna.
12.01pm Stare at Bloody Marys as if made with real blood. Mel A rings from outdoor film festival. Gunshot. "Mel? Are you all right?" "I'm fine," says Mel A, "but I think Black Beauty's dead." She says we must come immediately to watch Microcosmos.
1.15pm Northern Line. "What the fuck's Microcosmos ?" says Vikram. "French film," says Dylan, trying to cure hiccoughs by drinking out of a lemonade Hooch bottle backwards. "About insects. In a valley. The insects are like people." "Like The Fly?" Anna shakes her head. "More like David Bellamy on acid." Vikram says expression "like-something-or-other-on-acid" overused. Anna says he needs a shag.
3.20pm Microcosmos . Faces of insects unnervingly human. People shout at Dylan to sit down. "I can't," he explains. "I might be sitting on ants or spiders or little creatures. They might be hurt." People nod sympathetically. Dylan produces bag of mushrooms. Microcosmos looking better and better.
4pm A Dung-beetle, apparently gritting its teeth, fills the wide screen, pushing smooth ball of dung twice its size. Uphill. "Amazing," says Anna, who explains she can relate to DB because she once cleaned the toilets at Waterloo station. But suddenly DB topples backwards, little head over little heels, still clinging to dung burden. Collective gasp of sadness rises from crowd. A terrible celluloid moment. Worse even than Deborah Winger dying in Terms of Endearment.
4.03pm DB up again. Vikram muttering about anthropomorphism, Dylan trying to remove money spider from Vikram's hair so it doesn't get hurt.
4.05pm DB down. "Oh no!" says Dylan, loudly. But in same second DB once more scrambling to feet. "Go on!" shouts Dylan. "Go on! Go on! Go on!" DB straining, then, with sudden surge of insect energy, over the top. Crowd scramble to feet, clapping in Rocky-esque frenzy and, as we hug each other happily, we have somehow triumphed with the beetle that shifts shit for a living. "No we haven't," says Vikram. "It's just last night's E."
4.30pm Drops of rain fall in Microcosmos valley.
4.31pm Drops of rain fall in real life. It is too much. "I'm freaking," says Anna. Dylan screaming like baby. People run from field like crazed ants.
10.20pm Must go to bed. Work tomorrow. Living room trashed. No clean knickers. Fridge empty except for pot noodle lite, for fuck's sake. Tidy up, then bed.
10.24pm Key in door. Tinky-Winky, back from Brighton, just in time for last orders.
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