The Man Walking Home From the Tube

The man walking home from the tube has heard that it is a classic sign of paranoid schizophrenia to think that you have shit yourself and to think that everyone can see that you've shit yourself and to keep checking - with surreptitious hands and straight-ahead eyes - as to whether or not you can feel a wet patch on the back of your trousers (for though the man walking home from the tube has never actually shit himself, he imagines that it would be a wet shit that would be the culprit if he were not to realise that he had shit himself when he had. The first warning sign would be a feeling of dampness on the material of his trousers, between his cheeks.). This is not true. It is not a classic sign of paranoid schizophrenia to think that you have shit yourself.

But, shit himself he has, he thinks, or at least he thinks the possibility that he has shit himself is a definite possibility. That is, having shit himself is a possible possibility. So check himself he does, with his shifty hands and his forward facing eyes that give him away (he thinks).

For a moment he imagines himself as a police horse trotting and shitting without regard. How sweet, he thinks, to have the authority (for even when horses are not police horses, they seem to have authority: over the people that ride them, and over the other animals in the farm [an imaginary farm, that the man waking home from the tube has imagined. In this farm are only animals about which the man walking home from the tube has strong{ish}opinions, such as but not limited to horses, cows, dogs, pumas and dolphins.]) to shit as and when you decree, directly on to the street. The very pavement is the police horse's toilet. But, he thinks, their shoes are nailed into their feet, so it's not all fun and games.

Just to confirm, the man walking home from the tube has not shit himself.

The man is holding a satchel in one hand, and with the other he sort of slaps the back of his trousers, trying to find the tell tale wet patch that will confirm his suspicions. If he finds a wet patch, it will confirm his suspicion that he has shit himself. If he cannot find a wet patch it should confirm that he has not shit himself. But, a positive re: the wet patch can be 100% confirmed via the method of slapping the back of his trousers, where as, an 100% confirmation of the absence of a wet patch can only be established once back at home, via close examination with eyes, nose and fingers.

The contents of the man's satchel are as follows: a banana that has blackened, a free newspaper, an empty bottle of water, an ID card + lanyard that he uses to enter the office building which contains the offices of the call centre at which he works, a plastic sandwich bag containing a sock encrusted with semen that he carries to and from work (washing, singly, that is, on its own. A single sock for a whole hour long wash [quick wash, 30 degrees, still takes an hour], just because he is scared that if he washes the crusty sock with the rest of his clothes then he will smell of cum all the time and everyone will know that he is a compulsive masturbater) in order to masturbate more quietly and/but with the required amount of friction in the toilets of the office building, an empty lunch box (with crumbs and fluff and a crisp packet and a thin metal fork from his home's kitchen), some papers that relate to his job but that are not necessary for him to keep copies of, several biro pens that do not work and one 3B pencil that he ends up using every time he goes in to his satchel to look for a pen, a tie that he is required to wear at work but does not wear on the journey to and from work.

And so he slaps the back of his trousers, checking for the wet patch, and stares ahead and tries not to grimace (and doesn't, grimace, but imagines he does) and tries to stay on the same side of the road for as long as he can stand it, before he simply has to cross the road, even though he knows this makes him more susceptible to the paranoia that someone weird or scary or crazy or violent will suddenly appear on the new side of the road and he will not be able to legitimately cross the road (as he would have been able to, on the old side of the road) in order to avoid them.

And as he crosses the road he thinks he smells the smell of rotting leaves, which always reminds him of the smell of cum and he wonders perhaps if he smells of cum, despite washing the crusty sock on its own in the washing machine. Perhaps, after masturbating in the toilets of his office, he wiped his hands unthinkingly on his trousers, and now the wetness of the shit that he perhaps has done has perhaps activated the oderant molecules in the cum that he perhaps wiped upon his trousers.

But even now, in this moment of complex, colliding paranoias (that to us maybe looks like a low point, but to the man is neither a low nor a high point, but simply one of many such points of contemplation that he reaches whilst walking, or working, or reading, or talking to people, or watching television, or masturbating) he can laugh at this strange idea, for he masturbates at work with his penis through the flies of his trousers, and the sock covering his penis. And even when he ejaculates with enough force for cum to make its way through the fibres of the sock, he folds the sock carefully and puts it straight back into the plastic sandwich bag, and therefore he would not be able to get any cum on his hands and wipe it on his trousers.

It is not a classic sign of paranoid schizophrenia to believe that you have shit yourself and that everyone knows it.

Works in Video

Disruptive Histories: Tatlin Tower, 2010, a video made by Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau in collaboration with the artists Penny Whitehead and Daniel Simpkins will be screened as part of 'Works in Video', 17th March 2011 at Space in Between gallery in London.

17/3/11 6pm - 9pm

Ben Jeans Houghton
Luke Montgomery & Josh Alexander
Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau with Penny Whitehead and Daniel Simpkins
Disruptive Histories: Tatlin Tower
Nicole Morris
All the different ways I love you (endlessly)
Simon Linington
Cliff Hanger no.14

Space In Between
Unit 26 Regent Studios
8 Andrews Road
E8 4QN