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In which looby goes to Leeds

  Fri 1st October 2010

To Leeds for my first PhD supervision.

Managed to dodge my train fare as far as Manchester and pinch a sandwich and a croissant from Sainsbury's. I arrived at my department facing a door. I asked the secretary "How do I get in here?" "Er... just push it." It had a keypad next to it and I thought you had to be taken into a windowless room, covered in honey and buggered with the neck of a lute, before the secret code that grants unlimited access to the School of Music at the University of Leeds would be revealed. I paid the first instalment of my fees (less my Scholarship, it comes to 744 pounds), my fingers anxiously hovering over the keypad as I waited to see if I had that enough credit on my card.

Afterwards I went to The Angel. I love that pub. People come and sit next to you and it's assumed that the conversation is collective rather than private. "This woman wolf-whistled at me the other day." "Was it her rape alarm?" Someone told of a wronged wife throwing a kettle of boiling water over a husband who went with a prossie.

In the station, a chemically painted woman clasped a man to her. I could see her face resting on his shoulder during their embrace. She looked like she was bearing it, watching herself. I started mentally sneering at them for their lack of authenticity before realising that we all do this in the various contexts in which we need to present ourselves.

A young woman on the train back was carrying a folder saying "a toolkit for Arts Award advisers" on its spine. She's a teacher and had come back from York after doing a course, the content of which sounded to me like another chapter in the way that meaningless documentary evidence is substituted for competence or the desire to do something. But at least her eyelashes were natural, unlike the performing girlfriend on Leeds station.

2 comments

Comment from: Jonathan [Visitor]

Looby, faredodging again! I’ve just been scolding you for that in my comment box. You’ll be getting a name for yourself..

No reason to apologise for the Hungarian girls though. In fact I’m starting the campaign right here for them to be given their own spin-off blog. Maybe with a subscription-only upgrade, with added pictures? Just an idea, like…

Fri 1st October 2010 @ 22:17
Comment from: [Member]

It’s not “faredodging", it’s “creative transport billing solutions".


Fri 1st October 2010 @ 23:05


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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person


M / 58 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.


There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

I am here to change my life. I am here to force myself to change my life.
Chinese man I met during Freshers Week at Lancaster University, 2008

The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
James Meek

Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

I hate the iPod; I hate the idea that music is such a personal thing that you can just stick some earplugs in your ears and have an experience with music. Music is a social phenomenon.
Jeremy Wagner

La vie poetique has its pleasures, and readings--ideally a long way from home--are one of them. I can pretend to be George Szirtes.
George Szirtes

Using words well is a social virtue. Use 'fortuitous' once more to mean 'fortunate' and you move an English word another step towards the dustbin. If your mistake took hold, no-one who valued clarity would be able to use the word again.
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One good thing about being a Marxist is that you don't have to pretend to like work.
Terry Eagleton, What Is A Novel?, Lancaster University, 1 Feb 2010

The working man is a fucking loser.
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