Today the road to the piercing salon was shut, there was a massive jam developing and I took the decision, to pull off the roundabout, across the traffic, to park somewhere nearby and walk. Kidderminster is having a minor wobble and by all accounts at the beginning of the pandemic was being slightly cavalier in its attitude. Crossing the roundabout here felt like running the gauntlet so we took the subway or pedestrian underpass; it didn’t disappoint, smelling of piss and cider and daubed with the shitiest graffiti, undecipherable tags of small-town boys lending some much needed brightness to the roughness of the drab concrete and the darkness of nationalistic misspelt daubings.
We’ed crossed the tracks, Stourport has the 365 day fairground, Kidderminster used to have carpets, now it has laughing gas, as we kicked the spent canisters down the tunnel underneath the A451, rumbling ripples of piss. Instinct told us to walk, heads down, breath held, waiting and prepared for abduction.
The adult shop, now a beauty salon still with the suggestion of a vagina from the old sign and a record shop, adjoined to the collectables shop, as paper coffee cups and plastic sheeting are scattered onto the pavements by soil laden lorries belching blackening red diesel fumes over the tired victorian buildings, boarded up shops and neon lit kebab houses. Not even charity shops locate here.
Pinky’s Piercings was opposite the pub where fighters lurk,; a big white edifice, union jacks in the window, Brexit is alive and well here. We signed in, sanitised, sat down in side the shop and then stood outside watching the world pass us by, people pulled up on the double yellows to disappear into a building, carrying out suitcases, putting them into the boot of the dull and dented Audi, and speeding off.
I had my ear pierced on Khao San Road in Bangkok by a man with a naked flame and a needle, I ended up with a Yin and Yang stud, before that went septic and had to replace it with a silver hoop, which I kept for about 8 years until I lost it. I never replaced it and nothing has sat in my ear since. But meeting Pinky (she had Pink hair, I’m sure it was her) as she prepared my daughters nose for a stud, and I thought to myself.”Maybe its time for a little mid-life excess” Not a crisis, I’ve had that, but she told us the door was always open as she told my daughter to bathe her nose with a cooling camomile teabag for 3 weeks to prevent infection. Make up is bad for the nose by all accounts. Who knew?