Ipswich Walks: Sweet Charity Giovanna Maria Casetta / And Tonight is the night baby and forever but no recycling
Ipswich town centre. Giovanna Maria Casetta is our guru on this pilgrimage. Our journey is to Upper Brook St, the place she calls “The Golden Mile.” Giovnanna, our guru, is right. “The Golden Mile” shimmies seductively in front of us like a whore on heat; Salome tempting Herod or Mary Magdelene in Jesus Christ Superstar… Promising treasures known and unknown to the left and right. I don’t know where to look.
I’m an old hand; and my palms are sweating in anticipation.
On the other side of town Moa is letting Donna Summer moan and moan and moan. Again and again and again. Playing with herself until it hurts, but Moa can’t quite get her there. Surrounded by stuff ,she was never going to be satisfied. Not until she has what he has. What she has. But we haven’t met yet.
I play it cool. I know what I am doing. I have done it before. And I’ll do it again. Let the ceremony begin, and I’ll follow the leader. Giovananna seems to have it all under control anyway. No wandering off the path. First stop, Age Concern. As indeed we are. The older the better. Narrowing eyes. A strict observance is required for us to receive and I am, of course grateful.
I have my own ritual and I will always check the bric a brac first. Even though I promised myself enough was enough. Finally.
Moa is not interested in bric a brac. It’s the clothes on her back she’s after. Consume consume. Change change. Never satisfied. She’s trapped in that space. I get the hamster on a wheel thing. Like, that’s an easy one to get. Metaphor wise. Round and round you go. The hollowness of unfulfilled desires permeates the room.
It is here I continue my quest for the holy grail: A Fergie and Prince Andrew Wedding commerative mug .I’m not sure where this started. I re- read Sarah, My Story often. Her description of binging on Marks and Spencer’s egg mayonnaise sandwiches and loading up the Aga with sausages draws me like no other. And I enjoy her descriptions of Balmoral at Christmas. Believe it or not I am a republican.
And the room is a white one. So pure and littered with costumes and disguises for Moa. She’s like a caged creature, ravenous, crawling in supplication, submission to alter of our own flaws. Her sermon is clear:
I will have to look through all the vinyl twice, even though I know for a fact it will mostly contain: James Last, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Classical Box sets. Of course, the vinyl thing is newly back in the charity shops. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Until I picked up a copy of Alice Cooper’s School’s Out with gatefold sleeve for 50p. It was mint. But not today. Ipswich is a bit switched on. They know how much things are worth.
Consumerism will only ever encourage desire not true satisfaction as true satisfaction will result in the end of consumerism. The hamster on the wheel.
Yes, I will discuss nostalgically past triumphs, to whomever will listen – usually about a whole Midwinter Country Garden dinner set I got for £3. Funnily enough, I keep this particular bit of info to myself today. I wonder what is wrong with me? I feel a bit self conscious maybe? I’ve never been shopping with Giovanna before. I want her to like me. I don’t want to show off. Giovanna was really encouraging when I found my bag. It’s a 1960s/1970s true blue old ladies bag that I am surprised to find, to be honest. Giovanna is pleased for me.
Sex is an initiation for some kind of intimacy here and there seems to no differentiation to that and the show of laughing. Moa swings from one to the other. Circling her cage. One end to the other. Repeating dressing, covering herself. She becomes inhuman, subsumed by her own obsessions. I enter Moa’s space. She is in her own world.
I will moan and moan and moan, to whomever will listen: how Charity Shops are not what they were ( this will include the oft repeated: “ it was cheaper to buy it new at Primark” “Charity works both ways, you know..”) My mantras are a repetitive bore to myself but I feel mystically compelled to repeat them. I have nostalgia about nostalgia.
We meet and I already know how it will end. She sees my yellow trainers. Doesn’t give me a second glance. She kneels at my feet in worship and urgently undoes my laces. I can’t lie to her. They are new. Brand spanking new. It’s like she can smell it. The new ness. And she can’t get them off. Pull. Pull. She moans lustfully. Pull Pull. Our moans meet, but mine comes from a place that is deeper. It’s the one I use for giving birth.
So, I swallow it whole. I have to. It fills the back of my throat and makes me choke. I watch her slowly falling apart amongst the seams she is wrapped up in. And I’m wearing odd socks. Dirty odd socks. I want my new trainers back.