Still Sylver-Surfing

I’m back at the Sylver Surfer. I wanted to post a blog in Primrose Hill yesterday, when I staggered out of the dentist. But although this part of London may heave with the sexual antics of fashionable underpants designers and pretty-boy actors, pay-per internet access is thin on the ground.

When I come to think of it – and must we not all come to think of such things eventually? – cyber cafes are the tanning salons of the infosphere, they beckon you inside to bombard your cerebellum with sinister radiation; they encourage you to fritter away minutes and then hours playing the plastic piano of trivia.

But I digress. I’d wanted to post a blog while my entire jaw was numb, because frankly that’s as close as I get to a mood-altering experience nowadays. Louise, my dentist of 20 years standing, was trying to give me yet another crown. Like an old sheep, the relentless rumination of decades of troubled sleep has resulted in the wearing down of my back teeth. In the grey hours of dawn I awake to a crumbly gorge of amalgam and dentine, cough, choke, spit and discover that another molar has bitten itself into dust.

Each new, gold tooth is about £500 a pop – not cheap. But Louise couldn’t pump enough procaine into me to prevent the pure-pain laser of the water drill lancing into me. Eventually she gave up and said she would carve a niche in the stup of the tooth (somewhat in the manner of Joe Simpson placing a piton on the North Face of the Eiger), and ‘anchor’ a filling on to the tooth. Result: it cost 400 shitters less than the crown would. She averred that: ‘The nerves must be deranged in there.’ Next time she says she’s going to shoot me up with a stronger local anaesthetic, one with adrenaline in it. Woo-hoo! As Homer would say.

When I was in rehab in the 1980s I knew a geezer called Pete whose scam was to visit all the dentists in England and blag the glass sheets from them, on to which they’d smeared the leftover silver amalgam from filling teeth. Pete said he could make a nice little earner flogging this stuff to scrap metal merchants. I thought this such a bizarre example of the division of labout that I put it into my novel ‘Dorian’. Now, of course, silver amalgam and scrap metal merchants are just part of a bygone age. But I’m still here – with my ground-down teeth.