Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Sunday, 19 March 2017


The Voyeur

No, it's not enough to know.
It's never been enough.

It just all depends on your point of view
how much you can see
of Truth as she changes.

And how much that reveals
depends on what you're looking for.

6 April 1991

Voyeurism has always fascinated me. I’m not talking here about sexual voyeurism. That’s easy to understand. The two or three times I’ve happened to see a neighbour in a state of undress have stayed with me even though I can’t remember what any of the women looked like; the idea of nakedness is always more appealing than actual nakedness. What they looked like wasn’t important. What mattered was catching a moment of unfettered truth. As soon as we’re aware we’re not alone in a moment our behaviour changes. I’ve always been desperately interested to see what people do when no one’s watching or they think no one’s watching. So I suppose ‘spying’ would be a more appropriate word but even that’s not right because spies usually have malicious intent. I don’t. I’m simply fascinated by other people.
It’s like Jen says in Left:
I enjoy eating out. Especially alone. I amuse myself by watching the other customers or, if they’re a dreary lot, by peering out the window at passers-by. People interest me, their doings and their undoings. I don’t get them in the same way I don’t get meerkats but still like following their antics.
Jen’s not like other people. She’s not a poet but she knows she’s different. She notes at one point, “I often feel as if there’s a glass pane between me and everyone else.” Well that’s truer in 2017 than it’s ever been. In January 1997 I go on to write two poems both called ‘Screen’ and in both I refer to glass screens, TV screens, computer screens and how they only seem to let us in; we’re still separate, apart.

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