...but in hindsight not entirely unpredictable. The last time I saw Tim Goldie was in a part of East London that has recently taken on a dark significance for me. He screamed as he rode past, drooling over his handle bars and leaving a thin trail of spittle behind him. One with a less discerning nose might think it the trail of a slug. But no slug left this glistening thread. Indeed, I had previously thought these guttural outpourings merely the expressions of a stage persona. Apparently not; breakfast time and performance time are all the same to Mr. Goldie.The irony for me was that I should see him there, of all places. One more manifestation of a
malignant presence has taken root along that popular stretch of canal. Similar in nature to the one that lives aboard the nuclear submarine The Astute it is as discernible to me as the barges clogging up the waterway and the holes being dug all over the place in preparation for those damned Olympics. Perhaps this is the cause of it? Pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, dog walkers, tourists, travellers all being squeezed along the same tiny route. Confrontation is inevitable and the residue sticks to the walls like fat.
The first inkling I had that something was taking hold was a drowned cat floating a few
inches below the surface of the water under the bridge. Hanging in suspended animation, in the aspic of the green water it had more poetry and meaning than any demented sheep or basket ball in a major gallery. I thought of who would be missing their friend. How did it fall in? Was it pushed or did it slip? Trying to catch a squirrel or saying hello to the wrong person? Or maybe it was taken there to die. It wasn't telling. All it could convey was the ferocity it must have fought for life in the murky water, its last desperate thrashings reflected in its stillness now. And its failure displayed for all to see.
It wasn't there the next day. I wandered if it had a funeral or if it just ended up in a bin.
And that's when those dogs arrived. Harbingers of the malice that has roosted here. Obviously belonging to one of the flotilla of barges lately to have turned up. Odd for such a supposedly counter-culture to be jostling each other to join in the gentrification of this spot, but I digress.
Like two denizens of hell they wait for me. On my daily walk, once so enjoyable and
careless. Eagerly I suspect, knowing my habits as they seem to. I've never been an immaterialist but I can't help thinking my fear is like petrol to their barbecue. There are two of them. A tall stripy one and a thick set black one. They work as a team. The lanky one comes in first, nudging you, pawing you, pushing you, trying to get a reaction. And when it gets one that's when the other arrives. Full tilt, backing up its chum, snarling and biting. I run, of course, terrified. I try to fight them off but I'm no match for either one of them. I try to get out of their territory, as it is now. But not before they've had their fill of me. Eventually they get bored and I scuttle out of there, all dignity gone, breathless and ravaged. Perhaps they don't want to finish me altogether so they can have their fun again the next day. Slave to my routine that I am. Why can't I break free? Its the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing on my mind at night. Not the thrill of finding some bread on the floor but my daily barrel run at the hands of those beasts.
Where's the owner you might ask? Generally nowhere to be seen. He was there once though.
My owner hauled me over to where he was propped up, smoking a roll-up. He wasn't having any of it. Not his dog. Too smug in his own self satisfaction at “opting out”. My owner spluttered back a bit, bless him, as unable to negotiate a confrontation as ever, until eventually told to fuck off and take your little rat with you (he meant me!).
The cat was back. In exactly the same spot but now bald across its back. Shawn of all its
poignant beauty, it was now a cruel mockery of life. The evil in this spot unable to let a poetic
gesture stand, no matter what the price payed. Like a giant fruit bat hanging under the bridge,
gloating at its own great joke. Well I'm not laughing. And I spit on you, abysmal thing. Now I know what Goldie was screaming at. Why he dribbled everywhere. He could see the darkness too. And he spat back. Daily he stands in the face of the demonic harpies that swirl about our heads and gives you this: his own tool for their destruction. If only my paws could work an i-pod I'd play it before my next walk. I'll meet my tormentors. They may be the phenomenon of a malignant growth but I am a NOUMENALANIMAL! Hear me roar!

Ada appears courtesy of her owner Nick Phillips.

                                                                                                                            Nick Phillips