‘For an old bitch gone in the teeth,/For a botched civilisation.’


Whenever I get toothache – as is unfortunately currently the case – I always think about the above lines from Ezra Pound’s ‘Hugh Selwyn Mauberley’. The botched civilisation Pound excoriates is the civilisation which foundered in the trenches of the First World War. Pound never really got over that war: it drove him to adopt crankish political ideas and, eventually, anti-semitism. A lot of people never really got over the first world war. A lot of people went the same way as Pound. I wonder, sometimes, how much of our current imperiled moment can be traced back to the things we weren’t able to get over. Iraq. 9/11. Afghanistan. The fall of the Wall, and its rise. Which wall? Exactly. All in all…

Almost worse than the toothache, however, is the fact that I have not only moved house (my new neighbourhood is one of the coolest places in Newcastle – there will be more posts about it, rest assured), which will necessitate registering with a new GP, but the last time I registered with a dentist was under my old, pre-transition name, and while they were certainly an excellent dental practice, I’m not sure how feasible it would be for me to go back there under that name. I mean, there’s the tits, for a start.

So a visit to Newcastle Dental Hospital is on the cards, for emergency treatment, followed by the faff of getting registered with a dentist in my new manor. Which is going to be interesting because my passport – also under my old name – has now expired. For the past couple of years, never really having the money to pay for a new passport, I’ve been getting by using the old one in conjunction with my deed poll. Hopefully this will work with any putative dentist, but if not, I’m going to have to get my passport updated before getting my teeth seen to – which probably means at least another couple of weeks downing a barbaric cocktail of whatever painkillers I can get my hands on. For work-related reasons I’m staying at my parents’ house tonight. My mum, who suffers from a chronic illness, has access to tramadol. As yet, things haven’t reached a point where I feel I need to resort to that, but trust me, I’m tempted. Then again, maybe I should trust in the power of weird YouTube music videos:


As annoying as it is to contemplate the bureaucratic faff I’ll have to deal with in order to get my teeth properly seen to, things could be worse. I could be a Syrian baby unable to get hospital treatment in Turkey because, having just been born, I don’t have the right documentation, for instance.  Or I could be a pregnant person in Britain’s brave new post-Brexit NHS, forced to show my passport before I can even think about gas and air. Taking back control, eh?

An old bitch gone in the teeth. A botched civilisation.


Oh my gosh, how did that get there?


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