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THIS IS A RESTRICTED AREA CONTAINING OLDER WORK PLZ TURN BACK

Kim's Empty Urn, 2017

Literary Ad Campaigns for Every Living Individual Valued Customer, 2017

Gelli Baff – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MD--I2bReE​

White tiles, white soap and white cocoa butter shower gel, silver taps, white blinds, white towels, white light through a frosted glass lamp shade, clear water which if I had to draw I would use a white pen, white skin with black hairs stuck to it, black jeans in a pile on the black bath mat. I struggled to remember any bath I’d had that wasn’t monochrome, at least in my recent memory. If I went back earlier, I saw a few yellow clouds and the odd brown flake being sieved out by the plug hole as the bath drained, however, for the most part, all my baths had been monochrome.

This was the first thing that dissatisfied me.

           I loved baths; I remember a certain point of my life where I was having as many as four a day, sometimes leaving the water in for a short time while I did other things, then coming back and topping it up later, and sometimes emptying it and running a whole new one when I got bored. I would sometimes sneak out of my room when I was supposed to be sleeping and run one, testing the tap to see what power made the least noise (too slow and the droplets made loud plops, more powerful and it at least made a consistent hum – sleepers can deal with drawn out sounds – and sometimes I used a flannel to assist in silencing it). It was costing my parents a lot of money and I had to cut down, but I’ve always retained that love for bathing and have one every so often. There is a certain silence that is achieved from dipping your head under the water in a bath that is unmatched by any other silence. The heaviness of the warm water on your eyelids, the momentary break from the monotony of breath. And the temporality of the experience, that eventually the lack of breath will become so uncomfortable that you have to leave that silent bliss, makes it all the more special. Even when you break the silence: you can tap on the side of the bath and it travels to your ears in an extremely satisfying sound, like tapping the hull of a ship and listening to the whole thing reverberate. I imagined the weight of the water on my eyes at 1000ft deep; I imagined the silence, and the blue.

            Immediately bath time was completely unsatisfying to me.

            I showed Gelli Baff to my mum when I was a child in a break between cartoons on the T.V. She refused to let me have it. Bath time was for bathing, and to my mum Gelli Baff seemed like the opposite to bathing. You wouldn’t wash yourself in gloopy green jungle waters, would you? But she didn’t realise that it was offering me so much more than bathing, Gelli Baff was offering me an adventure to an alien red planet, an exploration of gloopy green jungle waters; the prettiest prince of pink. No mum, it wasn’t offering me a bath, it was offering me a baff, and I knew which I would rather choose.

            I thought about how we know less about the deep sea than we do about the surface of the moon, and as no one was about to offer me a trip in their submarine, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and, at 20 years old, there was nothing my mum could do about it. I ordered 300g of lagoon blue, strawberry scented sodium polyacrylate, and two days later it arrived at my door.

I carefully read the instructions: 4cm of warm water in the tub, then sprinkle the ‘step one’ powder evenly, and stir. The water grew thicker with every slosh; thicker, more sloshy and slimy. I wasn’t prepared for how deeply satisfying this would be. Such. Gelatinous. Satisfaction. It got so thick that I was no longer stirring it, I was just picking it up and slapping it on one end of the bath, then picking some more up on the way back and slapping it on the other. I filled it to the required amount but there wasn’t enough to bury me yet. The instructions said to continue to fill the bath at this point until it was at the consistency I wanted, not exceeding 8cm of water, however this limit would have to be breached for the sake of the expedition. Soon it was time for me to dive in. I was apprehensive as I prepared to dip my big toe into the bath, probably residue from my mum’s anxieties; one small step for man.

            It was extremely slippery so I took care lowering myself into it. The warm jelly granules flowed slowly into the cracks and coves of my legs and bum. I picked it up and piled it onto my chest and stomach. It was so heavy and warm, like being buried in hot sand but wetter and less itchy. Moving around in it had a massaging effect and I had a great idea about opening a spa. I continued to fill it up whilst I was in it and I watched my crotch as the sludge reached up through my thighs and slowly submerged it. The manufacturers probably never anticipated their product being anywhere near pubic hair, and I imagined that the granules would get stuck amongst them well after bath time was over, but also the thick tangled hairs under the deep blue reminded me of seaweed…

Things were beginning to get satisfying again.

            I had to document it – for my research. I reached out of the bath but as I did some of the blue slime got onto my white T-Shirt, fortunately it doesn’t stain carpets or clothes. I posted one of my pictures on Instagram – for my research – and then attempted to re-immerse myself. I leant back and committed myself to the experience. This bath was going to transcend all baths, I was about to reach bath-enlightenment. I felt a fart coming. Bath farts always smell different to normal ones, but how would a baff fart smell? Would the strawberry fragrance distort the scent? Perhaps it would mask it completely, or even enhance it. I’d heard of a bespoke candle and scented oil maker who used small amounts of a special faeces extraction in some of their oils and candles, maybe the sulphurous faecal scent of my flatulence would blend with the steam and the synthetic fragrance in just the right way – maybe, I thought, I could bottle it. I could’ve been the first to fart at 1000ft below sea level, so there I went, a pioneer… The fragrance was a disappointment, I couldn’t really smell anything, however the sound and the timing of it was notably different. It took slightly longer for the bubbles to reach the surface and so the air had time to collect, in the moment it spent  under my bum, in just two big bubbles rather than loads of little ones like it usually does, this made for a much deeper pop.

            Not a complete failure – medium satisfaction.

            I could sense my likes rising and I was looking forward to looking at my phone when I got out. I wanted it hotter so I put on the hot tap. It was hard to spread the heat of the new water – this was noted – and I wanted to go for the dive before it started to get too cold. It said on the manual that it was non-toxic but that it was dangerous to get it into my eyes and if I did I would have to run them under cold water for ten minutes. Ten minutes is a long time, especially whilst running your eyeball under a cold tap. I thought of what back breaking shape I would have to contort myself into to put my face under the tap. I realised that there was a high chance of it getting into or around my eyes and this worried me, however I wasn’t going to let my fear jeopardise the expedition. This was bigger than me. I began to lean back until the slime was up to my neck, then I paused to catch a breath and then continued to sink until I disappeared into it.

 

A school of green eyed fish swim by, avoiding the gaze and light of a smiling anglerfish. I can feel the breeze as they pass, it rustles the sea weed. Can you have breeze down here? Then what is it called when something passes by and you can feel it? A current, the school of green eyed fish made a current as they passed. There are a lot of things I’m going to have to get used to down here; no more breeze, only current. This must be where we left our ship, all those years ago. The sea floor is a bad place to park a boat. I gave it a tap, and then I hit it a bit more, it doesn’t reverberate, it thuds, it is dull, everything here is dull, as if it was printed on furry blue sugar paper. Something emerges behind the seaweed, a jellyfish – or something, probably a species new to science, I’ll call it a gellifish. It is quiet and there is blue, my eyes are closed, but there is blue behind them, it’s heavier than white when it presses on my eyes and that is how I know it is blue. There is only so long you can sustain this kind of blue quiet, my vessel isn’t made for it.

 

I rose and rubbed my eyes, then I put in the step two powder and stirred. The thick jelly began to dissolve into thin blue water with small residual jelly granules floating around in it. I released the plug and let the blue return to the sea. Bath time will never be the same again™.

Bleu De Chanel - https://youtu.be/oG-nnDlnWrA

This is a pause – that was a pause, this is a long, dramatic pause. I can read the words, ‘he gave a long, dramatic pause,’ in tomorrow’s Hello. I could smell her before I saw her, though I often smell her, she wears the same perfume as my mother[1]. There’s bits of skin on this desk. I itch a lot when I’m nervous. They used to call me Frosty the Snowman – I’m, quite literally, crumbling, like a croissant, on the desk, and they’re all taking pictures of it. I’m in the wrong line of work. My mother thought I was beautiful, and she must have told everyone because now I’m beautiful for a living, but I used to be Frosty the Snowman; I’m still Frosty the Snowman, perhaps it’s in, perhaps it’s winter and snow is in, that must be why they’re taking pictures. Now this is an absurdly long dramatic pause,

‘Would you like her to rephrase the question?’

           The little flakes of skin and hairs gathering on the desk set my mind back.

           When I was little I used to lie face down on the rough cream carpet of my living room floor and cup my hands under my crotch. I remember doing that and staring at the little frosty scales and strands of hair woven into the carpet, and I remember thinking about how much I wanted a receipt printer – that was all I was thinking about when I was rubbing my crotch against my hands. Dad walked in and laughed about me ‘boinking’ again and I got up and showed him the trader’s goods catalogue with the model I wanted in it.

            Some people used to suck their thumb.

            I could buy as many receipt printers I could ever want now, but instead I eat croissants for breakfast every morning, and sometimes I go on holiday for so long that I have to cover up all my furniture with white silk, each tailored to every chair and table so they fit like a glove. I still rub my crotch against things but I don’t really think about receipt printers when I’m doing it anymore. When you’re beautiful for money there are lots of opportunities for rubbing your crotch against things.

            I started itching this morning. It was breakfast time and the croissants were on the table, me and my wife had both just been on holiday so the sheets were still on most of the furniture. We didn’t go on holiday together anymore, but we got back at the same time, maybe to create the illusion that we had done. She was asleep when I got back and I slept on the brink of our king-sized bed. In the morning, we ate our croissants in silence, I mistook this silence for sexual tension and tried to kiss her neck. I’ve never been good at distinguishing the sexual from the banal – maybe I’m kidding myself, maybe I really liked those receipt printers.

            She left and somehow the lady who is wearing my mother’s perfume[2] and pretending she doesn’t know who I am has found out about it and is asking about our divorce.We had learnt to be beautiful and lie together, and now she is on the other side of the camera.

People are probably wondering what I’m looking at.

            I was never going to be a film maker. I sold my X Box to get a super 8 camera and people who do stuff like that are doomed never to be the thing they set out to be. But we had fun rolling around and pretending we were making memories that we could keep forever (for the extreme price of developing super 8 film). She used to like pretending to be beautiful and living, and I used to like pretending I photographed beautiful people whilst they were living. I had to move away, because I’m beautiful, and eventually we stopped calling each other and I didn’t even cry when I realised it was over.

            My mother told everyone I was beautiful.

            She doesn’t even have her own smell[3], but neither do I, nothing is mine. The hair on my face has become a ‘trademark’; I’m contractually obliged to keep it at least three millimetres long at all times. It’s been a long winter for Frosty the Snowman, a very long winter. I’m ready to be so last season, but this time I want people to cry when I go – I want to cry when I go. I’ve got an answer,

‘I’m not going to be the person I’m expected to be anymore.’

            They’re going to say I’ve gone off the rails. I’m going to grow out my stubble and go on holiday for a while, somewhere warm where it isn’t winter.

            I flatulate and smell myself and I smell good and no one else can smell it because I’m finally alone.

            Be unexpected. Bleu De Chanel.

 

[1] Coco Mademoiselle - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRV-2_Un-kk

[2] Coco Mademoiselle - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRV-2_Un-kk

[3] Coco Mademoiselle - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRV-2_Un-kk

Vets 4 Pets, 'Shrug' @ Stoke Newington Library, 2017 (Powerpoint Presentation and Trifold Brochures)

from POEMS PLZ, as displayed in Subject Issue 2: Progress, available from http://subjectzine.bigcartel.com/product/issue-two, 2016-2017