Paul Young

You may well have heard blue-eyed soulster Paul Young claim through the medium of song, ‘Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home.’  Few people know how chillingly accurate those words are.  For some however, they are a painful reminder of an unexpected knock on the door, one wintry evening.  There, standing on the doorstep is Paul Young, who just happens to be in the area, and was wondering if it would be ok for him to come in for a cup of tea and to use the toilet.  Nervously, the householder agrees, bemused but nevertheless starstruck.  For the next hour or so, they enjoy the company of Young, won over by the twinkle in his eyes, his ready wit and his skills as a raconteur.  Inevitably, however, it starts to get late, and the host drops hints that it is time for Young to leave.  If he notices at all, Young gives no sign, and the householder has no choice but to ask him point blank to go.  Young smiles, but shakes his head.  Then, he points a long, slightly chubby finger at his hat, which is resting on a coffee table.  

For many long weeks, the household is tormented by Young, who occupies the property like a mischievous spirit, playing all manner of pranks such as taking things and leaving them in unexpected and sometimes impossible places, rapping on the wall, and locking and unlocking doors.  He will seduce family members into acts of violation, his sexuality amorphous and overwhelming.  His victims are left feeling foolish and used, while Young’s mocking laughter can be heard on the stairs.  

Young has been compared to the trickster spirits of mythology, such as the Native American Coyote, or Loki of Norse legend.  He is seen both as a cultural manifestation of this archetype, and as the contemporary physical form of an ancient power.  Indeed, many worship him as such, in awe of his transgressive energy.

All hope is not lost in the face of Young, however.  At some unspecific point after his arrival, and not often more than three months, he disappears as suddenly as he appeared.  Order is restored, and life goes on.  It would be foolish, however, to pretend that the victims are unmarked by the experience.  Every time an object is not where it ought to be, or life deals them an unexpected and cruel blow, they imagine they hear Young’s mocking laughter, just outside the door, on the stairs.


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