iii. Comment about the destruction of said comment is to be destroyed.

iv. Comment about the destruction of the destruction of said comment is to be destroyed.

v. Comment about… And so on, ad infinitum.

The Editor has also asked me to write a personal message to you from him, as he is simply far too busy to take the time.

Hey O,

Seems like only last year I looked up to you. Your drive for this ‘Five Friends’ thing was inspiring and that’s something I’ve definitely taken away – all the way – to London, where I’m now working far harder than you – far too hard to even write this! Lol! That I got some articles out of you, was great – you got some exposure, I got some content: everyone’s happy right? If you’d moved from Edinburgh or Aberdeen (or where are you again?) perhaps we could have continued working together. But you didn’t move did you and now I’m in London and you’re… wherever (did it begin with a K?). I’m sure you know best.

Still, can’t have my secretary gabbing to you all day, I’m so busy I’ve got busy coming out of my secretary and I need him to clean it up. Hope the project goes well. Sorry I’ll not be able to have any further involvement in it, but I’m far too busy.


Ps. If the project is big –you know, acclaimed, praised in the papers, etc- give me a call and I might be able to make time in my schedule.

Let me take the time to add, we don’t need you anymore: Our Christmas edition will soon be shipping to only the most influential Londonites, and had you chosen to renew your subscription there is no guarantee you would receive our attention. We have a small print run. Small keeps it très exclusivé. Please don’t be offended when I say A.J.! is too exclusivé for you. Or be offended if you wish, as your business is your business and no-longer any of A.J.!’s.

We hope you and NotLondon will be very happy together,

All the staff at


Written by Sam Ball

A J! Guest edited by Sam Ball

A.J.! Heights
Highview House
LND 01

Dear Oliver,

We are very sorry to hear that you will not be continuing your subscription to A.J.!. Your patronage meant a great deal to us, but we understand that a London-centric lifestyle-cum-fashion magazine may be too highbrow for artists in the provinces. Our core demographic research indicates that Glasgow is to London as outer-space is to London: we could hardly be expected to broaden our circulation to such barren territory, as I’m sure you understand. Were you to join us on Planet London, we would consider re-evaluating your relationship with A.J.!. However even without your patronage the magazine is certainly going places and it saddens us that you have chosen to be left behind the trend.

That you are content to stagnate in Gasglow, instead of pursuing a career of pursuing fame in London is surprising – almost incomprehensible to all of us here at A.J.! Having been involved in A.J.! and our other publications in the beginning, you were uniquely placed to dump all your unimportant friends and join us in our exciting new relocation to London. That you chose to stay in
Scotland reveals the paucity of your vision. It is perhaps best that our association ends here, as much of being ‘chic’ and ‘in’ is in not being seen with those that are ‘unchic’ and ‘out.’

As a result I have been asked to explain to you that it is unreasonable to expect someone as busy as the editor to return personal calls, texts, emails and letters. Furthermore the editor is disinclined to return the aforementioned communiqués with regards business projects, when said business is not explicitly his business. The editor is a firm believer that one’s own business should remain one’s own business and his refusal to countenance further involvement in your business is illustrative of this view.

Additionally, our lawyers have raised some concerns about your project and the damage it may do to our brand. Doubtless they will contact you in full, in good time, but I have been asked to relay a few points:

i.Despite the initial approval and tacit support of “My Five New Friends” by A.J.! our client wishes to state that this approval and support was dependant on both parties being in the same city. Thus any collaboration is now null and void. Our client wishes to state that although this clause was not mentioned at the time, it has now been mentioned and shouldn’t that be enough?

ii. Comment, whether through text, painting, sculpture, collage, mixed media, video, soundscape, or found object assemblage (and all copies of stated comment), that does not support the brand is to be destroyed or the commentator/s will risk litigation.

Well I need to go and ready, actually, A.J.. Ellie and I are going to an opening at the Modern Institute.

Amazing. Thanks. I'd love to.

Oliver slipped his glasses off. Pinched the bridge of his nose.

On the long walk into town he kept catching Ellie's eye. A disapproving fishy glare. He was between the two of them. Between A.J. chirping about he was an avant garde superstar and Ellie bloody-helling under her breath. Eventually, she gives up altogether, and starts to walk a few steps ahead.

Oliver, A.J. hissed. Guess what I've got.

Oliver stopped walking and looked down at the object in A.J.'s open hand. A shiny, unironic looking Playboy tobacco tin. He flips the lid and lifts out a long and badly rolled joint, knobbly as a witch's finger.

They took turns taking tokes, under an old railway bridge where pigeons flapped and babbled.

Oliver inhaled too deeply, coughed and spluttered, sending up wasteful plumes to the birds.

What are you doing, you paedo? That's good shit. A.J. snatched it back. You've had enough.

They floated up to the front of the Modern Institute, to the glowing white box that was the gallery window. Black blurry shapes inside. Figures in a camera obscura.

Get us a drink, said A.J.. I'm going in for a piss.

Oliver joined the queue. I feel okay, he told himself. I feel okay. I feel okay. The rest of the queuers were suited and suavely middle aged. None of them had pointless seeming rucksacks or soup stained corduroys. He focused on the houndstooth buttocks of the salt and pepper gent standing in front of him. He thought about the Human Centipede . Imagining the queue strapped anus to mouth all the way up to the drinks table. The woman at the front with her mouth open, her head tilted back as warm moderately priced red wine is poured down her throat. It passes through a filter of ageing guts and splashes Oliver rudely in the face.

Hello-o? Can I get you something?

Oliver had somehow reached the table. How long had he been standing there?

Anything except red wine.

She handed a warm bottle of beer.

I thought that you were going to get me one too?, asked A.J. impatiently. He was flicking through a copy of his own magazine. Looks good, doesn't it, he said, pushing a page towards Oliver.

Wonderful. Here. You can have it. I'm feeling too ill already.

In the large main room, which somehow seemed huger than it had ever seemed before, the art looked hilarious and terrifying, like a T-Rex bursting into tears.

A.J. - Guest edited by Stephen O'Toole

A.J. Aprey preened in the mirror. He sucked in his cheeks and puffed them out and put his hands on his hips. His elbows stuck out like bony wings.

It's Hakim Bey, said Oliver.

A.J. made coy eye contact with the mirror-Oliver and raised both eyebrows in way which Oliver took as encouraging.

He calls it immediatism. Poetic terrorism.

A.J. rolls his eyes and takes his hands off his hips. Poetic terrorism?, he said. He turned to face Oliver, grinning, and did a double wank sign with his fists. Huge heavy tugs, like he was bell ringing, cow-milking. Is your internet on?, he asked. He swooped across to the table by the window and started typing and clucking to himself. You'll love this. It's totally shit.

Oliver sat down next to him, wringing his hands under the table. The last time A.J. had showed him something, it'd been the DVD of Human Centipede . He stared at A.J.'s smiling silent profile. He could see the edges of his contact lens, clinging and quivering on his retina. His eyelashes long and possibly curled. There's a tiny spot glowing on the end of A.J.'s nose. Does he know it's there, thought Oliver. Does he know I know it's there. Of course he does. How can he stand to stare to himself? If Ellie wouldn't object, he thought, I'd turn that mirror to the wall.

I've found it!, A.J. squawks. The sound of Single Ladies , tinny, tiny. One of Jedward gyrating in a skin tight red leotard, his yellow hair standing straight up from his head like a grainy beam of light. They watched as of One of Jedward spun, twirled, and spanked himself. The leotard was so tight that Oliver could see every muscle and line of his torso. He stared at One of Jedward's crotch, which was smooth and almost impossibly flat where his penis should have been. No bumps, just an absence, even when he thrust it at the screen.

Oh God, it's an Action Man, he said.

It's Jedward, said A.J..

I meant that I can't see his penis.

I know, is it not the worst thing that you've ever seen? He logged into his Facebook, refreshed the home page twice and groaned. Isn't life awful? I'm so fucking bored I can't believe it. Like I actually can't believe it . I mean, if you were to tell me now that I am as bored as I am, I'd tell you to fuck right off. But it's so true. He began to scroll through photos of himself, scrutinising each of them briefly, before hitting the next button decisively.

Look who's standing behind you,
trilled A.J..

Where's Ellie?, asked Oliver.

It's Nick.


Nick . Rolled r's echoed round the room.

Nick turned and saw them, raised his little beer in a salute. For a second or two, it looked as though he was considering coming over, but Marie cupped a hand over his ear and turned his face slowly back to hers.

Has Nick dyed his hair?, asked Oliver. His hair looks totally different from the last time I saw him.

Oh the last time, said A.J., winking verbally. We all heard all about that .

His eyes too. Does he wear contacts? Oh my God, I saw your contacts earlier and I thought how frail the human body is. You're like a fucking cyborg or something. A bionic man.

I can't believe she still lets him cock her. Is it true his hair falls out because he's angry?

Isn't alopecia a medical condition?

Oliver. Fuck sake. Rage is a medical condition.

I can't stop thinking about The Human Centipede . Oliver held his hand against his damp forehead. Does Nick remind you of the scientist from the film The Human Centipede ? But taller. Obviously.

Last night when Sean said he'd visit, I just kept waking up and thinking Oh, four more hours until a blowjob. Three more hours until a blowjob. One more hour until a blowjob. A.J. paused. Did I miss out two more hours until a blowjob?

Did you really wake up every hour?

And then in the end Sean never arrived.

Quick, Oliver said. Start talking to me. Nick's looking. Pretend that we're having a deep philosophical conversation. Pretend we're not talking about your sex clock.

What should I talk about?

It doesn't matter what you talk about, just make it look like we're talking really seriously.

Blah blah blah, said A.J.. Poetic fucking terrorism. Blah blah blah. He was jabbing at his palm with his index finger. I think you'll find I think you'll find.

Oh never mind, he's already left.

They stood in silence, swaying.

Hey, said A.J.. Did I tell you about what Mike did? For his practise dissertation? He handed in this really short essay about him having a wank in the library and then he got into trouble for it and they asked him to do it again, so he just wrote the exact same essay and handed it in.

Oh my God. You're all completely obsessed with masturbation. It's so weird.

A.J. laughed and held up his fists. Blah blah blah, he said, doing a big double wank.

Written by Stephen O'Toole


A.J. told me we should watch porn together. On his work desk was a new copy of this amateur Scottish porn that he’s into. I think we both did that thing when you think about sex in front of someone and you have to both swallow hard. He made a reference to ‘hungrily sucking a cock’.


When we were walking out he asked me if I was attempting to perform the walk my mother taught me to do as a teenager. It was a special walk designed to develop my masculinity and was based on walking with a sway, like a gorilla. A lot of people say they don’t think I’m gay until I open my mouth. But this is probably because they think most homosexuals still walk around as beautiful as Quentin, or at the other end of the scale, like Village People.

We went into his spare room, where his friends who don’t stay in town can come to have sex with people they meet on nights out. There is just a single bed with a bare mattress, metal frame and a red and orange striped duvet. I think about all the different naked bodies that have been there. All very animal. I wonder what would happen if I had sex with A.J.. I just think if it happened I’d never hear from him again. I think maybe I have somehow equated sex with the fear of abandonment.

It seems like A.J. has a ‘liaison dangereuse’ with every homosexual at art school. He tells me about them all the time and illustrates his stories with Facebook images. It must be weird for him to be with me and for me not to be trying to have sex with him. I just like to tell him how beautiful he is. I feel as if he’s trying to seduce me. He says he often thinks fat people can be sexy.


A.J. told me that he seems to have recently upset one of his best friends by making a joke that no- one else thought was very funny. I think people found it a bit savage. I sympathize because I know it happens to me a lot too. I say things I think will be received well, but find out I’ve taken things too far and people are genuinely upset. When this happens, even if I apologise, I still can’t fully take it seriously. I have this tiny little thought that it’s something to do with growing up gay and getting used to ‘offensive’ jokes specifically directed at you. This could just be an excuse for bad behaviour.

Perhaps I just have a very aggressive sense of humour, but it doesn’t seem enough to acknowledge but not trace back. It’s typical I should try to trace it back to a problem relating to homosexuality.

It was really hot in his flat. He took his top off to change but I was unsure about whether I was allowed to be there. I’m always really bad at ‘not looking’. He told me about this shy student he brought round to seduce. I’m worried that this is happening here too. I should want it to happen but I’m worried it will lead to insanity – like with Simon, when I was 21 and used to break into his house to go through the things in his bedroom.


Sitting in the window of a restaurant, we’re watching people walk past. I’m trying not to spill my soup. A boy I know called Christopher walks by and seems to be glaring at us through the window. I went to a party once and he spent the night glaring strangely at me and my friend Paul. I told A.J. about it and we talk about that strange tension that sometimes happens between two gay men in a social situation. Is it jealousy or sexual nervousness? Is it something to do with trying to ‘out gay’ each other? Or a reaction to an imagined concern that people will simply assume you’ll be attracted to one another?

I’m in the restaurant with A.J.. Just me and him, just us two, on what looks like a date. They gave us a table downstairs, in the sinful basement area. The seating has positioned me right under a spotlight, as if to deliberately make a feature of my ever growing bald patch.

A.J. tells me he likes shorts. He owns some very small red hot pants but he’s too scared to wear them out of the house. I tell him I’m always naked in my house when Ellie is away; I like to do my cleaning when I’m naked.


When I go into a supermarket I can never allow myself to buy the things I really want, especially if they are cheap. I feel obliged to buy ‘finest’ products because I have a fear that the person behind the check-out is judging me. A.J. works on a check out in Morrison’s and tells me that all my fears are true.

A.J. has a much more relaxed time than my neurotic experiences. He tells me I think too much about everything and that he just thinks about ‘the wrong stuff’, like sex. Later at my house I tell him he could stay on the sofa. It can turn into a bed and we could watch a film. He says next time we will.


A.J. shows me an old copy of the Evening Times with him featured in the Style section. He looks much better in real life. He asks if I’ve ever been on any of the Glasgow style blogs. It seems like a weird question when I obviously look like a bag of rags. He might have meant did I frequent the sites, but even this makes no sense. These blogs don’t seem, to me, to be about Style, but rather about some kind of conservative hipness. A strange regime hidden under ‘free expression’. Everyone in the photographs has a brown leather bag and brown leather shoes. Everyone seems to have, at some point, thought ‘Oh, time to buy my brown leather bag now’. I’d love to spend a day walking up and down Buchanan Street trying to get ‘spotted’ by deliberately wearing ‘Stylish’ clothes. Like a spy.

A.J. looked great tonight. Just a plain white shirt and a red cardigan from Ralph Lauren, which he said is his only ‘designer’ item. Later he also mentions a pair of Gucci shoes. Both were from TK Maxx and it reminds me of Kayleigh Pearson, a glamour model in the year below me at high school. She won a lot of glamour competitions and every time I went back to my hometown she’d always be in TK Maxx snapping up designer bargains with her winnings.

A.J. got here at nine. I had to make a massive effort to be overly friendly. I thought I was secretly annoyed at him for being late.

We drank the remains of the vodka and bought two bottles of red wine. We should have bought more vodka because A.J. is really slow at drinking wine. He always asks for water with it. I keep asking him to drink up and he lifts his glass and pretends to sip at it.

He shows me photographs of the new guy he has met on Facebook. He did that classic thing, when someone shows you a picture of their new partner, by saying ‘This is a really bad photo, he’s much sexier in real life’. He has a long set of facial features, long nose, long ears and a piercing on his cheek. I really don’t like the latter. Maybe it’s why A.J. likes him.

A.J. was telling me how he had been in a Style section of the evening paper. His Mum bought loads of copies. But he’s not stylish. He is stylish for a journalist because their concept of style is actually a concept of fashion. A.J. looks very fashionable although Joey always says he looks very second-hand. A.J.’s look doesn’t tell anything about him philosophically. I wonder what his relationship is to his look. It seems much mediated by lots of other things. I don’t think his beauty is connected to his clothes. I think I’d find him more attractive in simple outfits, like a blank canvas. I’m sure everyone would disagree with me. It just seems like one of those looks which everyone loves because it seems to be expressing individuality whilst also expressing peer conformity.

A.J. told me he had to change his trousers before he came here tonight as he’d come in his others at his house with that new boy. They haven’t had sex yet and I was wondering if the boy might be coitophobic.

We waited for our dinner to be delivered and watched a programme about drunken people in a small town in England. He sat on the sofa, but right in the middle. When I sat down we were really close and I was neurotically wondering if he’d done this deliberately or if it was by chance. I want people to be interested in me, even if I have no intention of pursuing it.

When the guy came to deliver the food he looked like a killer from a film. A.J. walked past the door and locked himself in the bathroom. I wondered if the delivery guy was disgusted by two gays. Every time he puts his hand in his pocket to sort out change I feel that he might bring out a blade. Our flat is perfect for a bloodbath because the walls are all completely white.

A.J. and I sat at the table to eat dinner. He told me about how all these different men had made ‘passes’ at him. He showed me a new photograph on Facebook of him with his arse out and told me how he loves looking at it. It’s a good image. He showed me some pictures of his work. It’s hard for me to have an opinion. Nothing about it mystifies me.

He wanted to go into my room to look at my bookshelf. I think A.J. likes things to be very direct. He told me his Mum was interested in buying my drawing of him. He was lying on my bed, but I felt creepy as if I was trying to seduce him. Instead I talked about how much I loved hard workers and how important work was to me. I was drunk though so I couldn’t think of anything useful to say beyond this.

He said he had to go because he wanted to get up early in the morning. He said he wanted to send me a portfolio but he never did. I wasn’t really surprised. I could never be interested in A.J. in a romantic way. He says things about working hard but then I don’t really know if he means it.



We were both hung over and tired. I was finishing my work for Berlin. My mind wasn’t really there. Sometimes I can’t remember how you have a good time with people, or how to make other people think they’re having a good time.

A.J. met some guy in a club last night and seems to be really into him. I couldn’t work out whether I was bothered or not. I felt like I should be bothered. By making myself think I wasn’t bothered was just a defence mechanism to stop myself from getting upset or remembering how I wanted a boyfriend.

He drank peppermint tea and I drank strawberry and banana smoothie. I talked about being a-sexual again. I’m so stupid.

I did feel jealous. But I couldn’t work out if I was jealous of the guy or of how A.J. can just meet someone like that.


I was supposed to have dinner with A.J. but he was half an hour late. I text him when it got to eight. He said he’d be round at nine instead because he was with this boy. The problem is that I can’t be friends with men without needing them to love me. So that I can fool myself into thinking I’m in love with them too.

I’m just too difficult to know. It could be my weight, or my hair or my voice. I think my face is okay. This lack of self-appreciation is combined with a false sense of self-worth. Sometimes I think I’m really beautiful and that everybody is attracted to me. Other times I know that I am fooling myself.

I don’t want A.J. to come round now. I don’t think it’s exciting to see someone once you know there is no potential. It’s the potential I like, not the realisation. I text A.J. to say he should just stay with his boyfriend. The more I think about it I probably am gross and any other thoughts are just denial.

I was going to buy a lot of wine tonight. I thought it would be fun to get drunk together. Now I sort of don’t want him to come. I’m a spoiled child.

I wonder if he’s making a big deal out of this new boyfriend to make me jealous or more interested. My whole life is fantasies and coping strategies.

He has a horrible texting manner, all missing vowels and shortened words. I prefer long words, long texts and grammar.

I’ve got a proper alcoholic’s cupboard today. I just put away a half empty bottle of vodka next to a loaf of white bread. At least the white bread is a crusty loaf. It’s bad to drink before he gets here.


He had a Passion fruit Rubicon (wildly exotic or city living) and I had an Icy Lemon Fanta (reminds me of Spanish holidays). I felt bad that he bought the drinks; I only had my card on me. Being stoned and wandering mentally I was saying how it was as if I had just approached him on the street and forced him to buy me a Fanta. I was sort of fantasizing about that scenario and the kind of person who might do that, someone really scary who just makes weaker looking people go into shops and buy him drinks. I did an impression of this imaginary person that went, ‘get in that shop and buy me a fucking Fanta’. I instantly felt like a mental case because I don’t think he was following my train of thought. Obviously that’s because he wasn’t really high!

We keep having these hugs goodbye. I can never work out if they are awkward or not. They’re the kind of hugs where you don’t actually touch someone’s body. Instead of a lovely bear cuddle it’s more how two people who hate each other might embrace, at a fashion shoot or rival business event.

I’m sure that I’m the only one feeling this. I can’t believe sometimes that I’m a 26 year old man worrying about this. I only hope it gives me more to talk about in therapy. Although actually the more talk, the longer everything will take to get sorted.

I had a really good time though tonight and I text him later to express this. It felt like you were getting involved with someone’s thoughts and you were really excited to talk about things. Again, this is drugs. When I worry about my actions I can’t be a proper person. My hands are sweating just thinking about it. I think there’s something sexy about sweaty hands.

A.J. kept talking about sex to me, about different people he’d had sex with. What does this mean? One thought I had, which is what Nancy thought too, was that it meant he was trying to entice me into sex. The other argument is that he feels comfortable with me as a friend and feels he can tell me that sort of stuff.

Despite me thinking we had a great time, towards the end of the night he was just sat on Facebook showing me his ex-boyfriends and looking at other boys he fancied. What does that mean?

I think it is a positive sign. But that’s because I think about things in a certain way. I’d probably do that to try and seduce someone. I’m hardly a testament to this being a successful strategy.

Changing his name from Keith Kraham to A.J. Aprey, even if it is a bit campy, makes me like him more. It’s the kind of thing you’d want to do, but never go through with. I’d be worried about how people would react to it. He’s really good at not worrying, or so it appears.

Today A.J. and Nick both admitted that before I’d made the drawings of them they’d both been on my
Facebook page.

I can’t think if I go on Facebook pages if there isn’t the slightest chance I won’t fancy the creator. I’m not sure I do. It’s very rare, for example, that I spend time looking at a girl’s Facebook page, especially if I don’t know her.

5. Tonight I’d arranged to go to the cinema, to see ‘The Room’, with A.J.. I began thinking I didn’t want to go, or I felt, at most, ambiguous about it. I realised how ridiculous this was. He text to ask if we were still going and I said I wasn’t sure – well then why did I even make the drawing?

Here’s a beautiful boy, who’s actually interested in spending time with me, and I’m too weird or lazy or something to even make the effort to meet him. So I said yes, I would go with him. We’d meet at the cinema at half ten.

Just after I sent the text Peter came round to my studio and gave me some weed, enough for a couple of spliffs. I thought, ‘well, I do really like to see films stoned’. I tried to persuade A.J. to come over early and smoke with me but he isn’t into that. I smoked on my own in the studio before meeting him. Unsurprisingly it made me really freak out about leaving the studio.

It’s just two people going to the cinema, nothing frightening, and all I have to do is go and have a nice time and remember to enjoy his company.

I was panicking about it and about not arriving too early so I stopped looking at the time. A.J. called me and was like, ‘err it’s half past ten’, but the cinema was sold out before A.J. had even gotten into the queue. Instead he came to my studio.

I had a really good time talking to him. When you’re stoned and in a really good place you just have so much to say about every topic of conversation. I was probably talking so much, maybe a bit manically.

There was a point, like anyone under any influence, when I brought up ‘reality’, and how I could stab him with the scissors on my table if I wanted to. It’s not a totally impressive way to deal with someone. He responded with ‘not if I stab you first’.

We went into town to get some soft drinks, it was past ten. He did a little run across the road. It made me think how I always find gay men running really strange. They look a bit like nervous gazelles. I have to stop hating things like that. I’m determined to make no-one perfect. No-one is perfect, and that’s okay. I’m just making problems so I don’t have to deal with reality or so I can get away from being happy.

2. The opening of Paul’s exhibition in our flat.
I invited A.J. to come but wasn’t sure if he would. He turned up while I was smoking outside and I didn’t get to talk to him right away. I think neither of us wanted to feel we had to, or to cramp each other. I’m not sure.

I spoke to him for half an hour about a-sexuality. This was a mistake because I don’t want to scare him off or cut myself off from him. The whole thing was a waste of time.

He left early, without saying goodbye. I went on Facebook the next day and saw he had taken a photo of
himself in my bathroom, with his head on the bathtub full of beer.

3. A.J. was the only one of the boys to come to the MFA exhibition closing party. I’m really grateful. He came with his usual friends. He stayed sat on the metal steps outside. I spoke to him more this time and made a film of him, eating a hotdog in a Divine-esque way.

While we were speaking, a couple behind us asked if we had cigarettes. I didn’t because I’d just smoked my last one. They talked to us for so long about Shakespeare that I had to escape to the toilet.

He left early again. It was his friend’s 21st birthday party in town. He took two photos of us on a throw-away camera.

4. A.J., he’s quite self-orientated. That sounds bad. I mean he’s nice, but he’s doing his own stuff too.

This is good and bad. Unless someone is completely devoted to me then I begin to think they’re really not interested. Perhaps they are and they just don’t need to be that intense. I’m so ‘intense’. I’m what people would call clingy. A.J.’s quite removed, but he also always wants to do stuff. He has been by far the most responsive to this whole enterprise.

We went to his flat to transfer some photos onto my memory stick. I’m in his bedroom and I’ve seen it so much on Facebook beforehand.

His flat was messy; the kitchen had a real student feel to it. It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced that. He made me coffee in his skull mug. He opened his bedroom door and, as he went in, sniffed the air to see what it smelt like. It’s the kind of thing I’d do too.

He told me when he was 12 or 13 he’d had a wank over Charles Ray’s ‘Oh Charley, Charley, Charley’ sculpture. He always says things that I’d never say myself. He gets a condom out and rolls it onto his nose. It makes me like him. I think he’s a lot more sorted than me.

A.J. I

A.J. came to the MFA exhibition today and saw the drawing I made of him for the first time. He didn’t know about it in advance, I think it was a surprise for him. I wish now that I’d put a recording microphone behind the work or somewhere inside the frame. I would have loved to hear his reaction. Maybe it’s not playing the game, but it might have been better research.

He was with Claire, and his other friends that I was aware of through Facebook. I just said Hi to them. I’d seen A.J. around before and we’d always had that kind of deliberate avoidance of eye contact – or I thought we had. When they were going through the exhibition entrance he was still doing that. I said Hi but he was trying to get in as quickly as possible without looking directly at me.

Sara was in the gallery when he saw the drawing. She said he didn’t say anything negative, but I guess she wouldn’t say anything even if they did.

When they came back out, I saw his friend Claire first and she introduced us to each other. We shook hands. He had slightly sweaty palms but maybe he was nervous. I tried to entertain him; it was a lot less difficult than when I first met Nick in a similar situation. A.J.’s friends seem a lot nicer or less like frightening posh people. I had already spoken to Claire before now and A.J. had interviewed my friend Paul for the magazine he runs, so there was something to begin a conversation with.

He asked how much the drawing was, because he wanted to own it. I said I’d make him something else. I think he liked that, because everybody likes to feel special. Although I never know how much that specialness can mask something else; I’m probably just projecting.

After they left, Emma and Sara said they all looked very young. I didn’t notice anything like that, but I was probably too busy worrying if I was being embarrassing or not.

I think A.J. might have said he was ‘chuffed’ about the drawing; but I’m not sure, because I don’t think people use that expression anymore.

He looks like a skinny, foppish, shorter Jamie T, with more art school hair. Maybe what Jamie T would look like if he were homosexual.

I’m pretty sure that one of the friends he was with was Brian’s girlfriend. I didn’t raise the issue with her that I’d also drawn her boyfriend. She looks prettier in real life, more so than in any Facebook photos. I guess that this means that if Brian didn’t know before about the drawing, he will now.