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  Tue 30th November 2010

If you are hard up in West Yorkshire, head over to Dewsbury. I had a couple of hours to kill there last week and saw a barber's advertising haircuts for three pounds. Inside, a notice said that they refuse to cut any hair which has too much gel, is greasy, or which hosts head lice. Dewsbury's also got a proper market selling big knickers with elasticated fronts, spanners, and tripe. The tripe stall advertises "50p mixed bags: dog bits, cat bits, husband bits!"

I got to Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival by the skin of my teeth, dragging together at the last moment a few pounds and a couple of places to stay. After train fares, my budget was about 4 pounds per day. On Wednesday, with the festival starting on Friday, I had nowhere to stay, my intended host letting me down ("I'm sorry looby, I've got to go to Poland.") I rang Kim, she of the ill-advised kiss lunge on Platform 14 at Leeds after our one and only date,  asking rather diffidently if I could stay with her for a couple of days, thinking that it was a request too far. Seeing as we don't really click in any way, she's been good to me: it was in her house that I finished my MA at 4.40am on the day it was due in, and she agreed to put me up for the weekend until my other billet was ready.

Being hard up at the festival was difficult at times: trying to dodge train fares and having to exit our stewards' party after one drink saying I was tired wasn't much fun, and in a moment of madness in Wetherspoons I saw an abandoned pint, stole it, then had a man march up to me asking me what I was playing at. I really did think there would be violence. But I gave him two pounds for another and went and sat down. He brought me the penny change.

There was a flicker of erotic interest (just a flicker) as I got talking on Day Two to a flame-haired hippyish woman. We met the day after and decided we both fancied the singer in a concert we'd just seen. Over the week we swapped relationship disaster stories and email addresses. I told her that I was at HCMF to do some participant observation for my PhD and that I was off to the pub to write my notes up. "Do I figure in them?" she asked. "Prominently," I said. Unfortunately there just wasn't quite enough spark to conclude the festival friskily.

I met Radio Kootwijk Live, giddy and wired after a successful performance. They invited me to sit with them and refused to let me buy any drinks. As her tea arrived, a Dutch woman turned to me and said "What's this?" "A Yorkshire pudding," I said. "Oh. What do I do with it?"

I accidentally knocked a bottle of official HCMF wine into my bag one night. I borrowed a glass, and took it into a John Cage concert. My second supervisor was there so I sat with him. "Your night off then?" he said, cocking his head towards the bottle I thought I'd concealed.

I got home and went to see my girls, bringing my meagre presents of a mini box of Ritter Sport chocolate each. I don't know how my haircut looked, but Melanie asked "Was it a violent festival?"


Comment from: Jonathan [Visitor]

I’ve only been to Dewsbury once but would hazard a guess it won’t be starting up any rival contemporary arts festivals any time soon. I met my dad and a mate of his there for an afternoon session a while back (on the grounds it is near enough half-way between Manchester and Newcastle on the trains, and has a bar on the platform). We had pork pies from the market before embarking on a tour of the towns seemingly innumerable no nonsense stonebuilt boozers, which after a while started to resemble each other, or perhaps we had just gone round in a circle and ended up back at the start. After the North East contingent departed I stayed on myself for an ill-advised couple of pints at that platform bar, then fell asleep on the train home and ended up at Manchester Airport.

Tue 30th November 2010 @ 22:50
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I think they pump strange fumes into those trains that terminate at Manchester Airport because they must have the highest proportion of startled passengers waking up there with a jolt than any other station in the north. Dewsbury station bar is indeed a lovely place and one which I’ll investigate once there’s been a bit of quantitative easing.

Wed 1st December 2010 @ 10:04
Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

Melanie sounds a legend. That’s a cracking comment from an 11 year old.

Wed 1st December 2010 @ 19:12
Comment from: [Member]

Yes, she does have the best one-liners.

Thu 2nd December 2010 @ 00:30
Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

I’m off Facebook by the way. Got into a stupid argument with a friend of a friend about school snow days, and realised it brings me more irritation than enjoyment. Of course, my resolve may not last.

Thu 2nd December 2010 @ 15:59
Comment from: [Member]

Yes, it can sow as much rancour as harmony. When I was in Huddersfield I didn’t miss it at all, and whenever I’m actually *doing* something, I forget it’s there.

Thu 2nd December 2010 @ 16:52
Comment from: smallbeds [Visitor]

Looby, speaking of budgetary peculiarities, I just sent you an email about seeing free arts gubbins in the east of England, by virtue being a mystery shopper. But it buh-bounced like a bad ‘un. Try my GMail.

Anyway, it might not be for you, that mystery shopper lark. I’m not sure how much you actually shop, but it sounds like your three-pound haircut has made you look decidedly mysterious.

Tue 18th January 2011 @ 20:50
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I wish this wouldn’t happen. Misjudged spam is supposed to go into a spam folder from which I can correct the filter, but yours has disappeared. Thank you very much - I’d be most interested in hearing about that and will get in touch again through the Great Satan.

Tue 18th January 2011 @ 23:29

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

M / 60 / 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.
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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?
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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.
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Terry Eagleton, What Is A Novel?, Lancaster University, 1 Feb 2010

The working man is a fucking loser.
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The Comfort of Strangers

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