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二十歳の頃、大阪にロックマガジン主催のライブで呼ばれた時、相方がヤクザとシャブがらみでくっついて居なくなり、西成で南京虫の押入れみたいなドヤで三日暮らし、「これ栄養あるかなあ」「あるでー」というわけで最後の百円を飴湯に使い、とうとう一文無しで天王寺駅前に立っていた。自衛隊の勧誘に応じるかタコ部屋に入るか迷ったが、タコ部屋にした。一月居て小学校をひとつ建てた。タコ部屋には淡路島から両親が死んだので来たという本来なら中学生の男の子も居た。食事は薄い味噌汁とご飯だけだった。数人が逃げる相談をしていて、電車賃もないので傍観していたが、口止め料として五百円もらった。ある日、免許を取らしてやるから天王寺と飯場の送り迎えせえへんか、朝送ったらあとは夕方まで喫茶店で競馬でもやっとったらええやん、と言われた。それで同意したふりをして五百円を握り締めて天王寺まで同乗し、着いたらダッシュして逃げた。一駅分買って、キセルで実家のある四国の松山に辿り着いた。知り合いの店に行き、オンリーワンズの新作『Even Serpents Shine』をかけてもらった(彼らはVengeance[復讐]レーベルというのをやっていたが、メジャーのCBSに移籍し、これはその二作目なのだった)。一曲目の『From Here to Eternity』に「蛇さえも輝く」という歌詞があることを知っていた。それは相方が教えてくれたのだった。そのころは裏切ることが美学だったので恨む気持ちはあまりなかったが、それはずっと不吉な曲であり続けた。不吉な曲に守られるというのは変な話だが、ぼくが女に手を挙げるということがないのは、どん底にその曲があるからだと思う。曲が、ぼくの代わりに世界に復讐しているのだ。そして、だからたまに、あのまま釜ヶ崎に居るぼくが串カツ屋で競馬新聞をチェックしているような気になるのだ。

From Here to Eternity ― The Only Ones

When I was twenty years old, I was invited by a rock magazine to Osaka to perform, and my partner disappeared sticking to a yakuza for some reason related to amphetamine, so I stayed at a flophouse in Nishinari that looked like a closet for bedbugs for three days, used my last 100-yen coin for hot liquid candy because I asked, “Is it nourishing?” and they said, “Yeah,” and finally stood in front of Tennoji Station without a yen. I was at a loss whether to accept the solicitation of the Self-Defense Forces for joining them or to go to a labor camp, and chose the latter. I stayed for a month there, and we built an elementary school. There was a boy from Awaji Island who was supposed to be a junior high school student but came because his parents died. Only weak miso soup and rice were provided to us. Some were planning to escape, and I was indifferent because I didn’t even have a train fare, but I was given 500 yen as hush money. One day I was told, “I’ll let you get a driver’s license, so drive them between Tennoji and the barracks. After taking them to there in the morning you can stay in a coffee shop and play the horse races until the evening.” I pretended to approve and rode in their car holding the 500 yen firmly in my fist, and then the moment the car arrived at Tennoji Station I ran at full speed. I purchased a ticket for one station and cheated the fare for the rest of the distance to Matsuyama in Shikoku, where my parents’ home was. I went to my friend’s store and asked to play Even Serpents Shine, the new album by The Only Ones (they had their own label “Vengeance,” but transferred to the major label CBS, from which that second album was released). I knew that there was a phrase “Even serpents shine” in the lyrics of the first track, From Here to Eternity. My partner had told that to me. Betrayal was my aesthetics at that time, so I didn’t really blame her, but the song stayed ill-omened for me for a long time. It is strange to say that an ill-omened song protected me, but I think it is because the song is at the very bottom of myself that I have never raised my hand against a woman. The song has been taking vengeance on the world on behalf of me. That’s why I sometimes feel as if I’m still in Kamagasaki and looking through a horse race newspaper at a fried-pork-on-skewer place.