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Ways of Seeing

  Tue 15th February 2011

I grew up in an Orthodox Feminist denomination in the early 80s, when men went on strike and women went on peace marches. One of its doctrines was a suspicion of any form of sartorial or cosmetic adornment for women. Women policed themselves for signs of a political betrayal in the form of a knee-length skirt. As a result, I occasionally ended up in bed with women I liked, but not in a sexual way; and of course, it didn't work. It's such an obvious point, but it took me years to realise my error. Going to bed with someone I helplessly find sexually attractive is a delight.

One of the florists I used to work with at Doom and Bloom is now running her own shop, a fairly upmarket affair by Lancaster's standards. "Not roses," I said, "because they're a bit of a cliché." She did me a generous deal on some orchids, underselling them by a good ten or fifteen pounds. I carried them home, feeling a bit of a charlie.

I made a Spanokopita, chilled some cava, then took everything up to Frances's. She was beautifully dressed in a moss green V-neck top and I straight away wanted her. Apart from the alarm clock beeping in flagrante delicto, everything went so well that my shadow-self stopped bothering to check if I was enjoying myself.


Next week I'm going to be in London for a couple of days, partly to meet people from an old usenet group that flourished about fifteen years ago, and partly to do some things connected with my PhD. I am hoping to interview one of the finest clarinettists around at the moment, and I'm nervous about it. I have an irritating inferiority complex when approaching people professionally superior to me in a field of endeavour for which I have respect. It's silly; I'm a PhD student in a respected School of Music: it's perfectly socially acceptable to be in conversation with a musician who specialises in the music you're studying. I'm still worried I'll make a poor fist of it, my anxiety about my own self-presentation getting in the way of actually addressing the research questions.

5 comments

Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

I couldn’t agree more. I was 29 before I slept with someone I actually physically fancied (no, not the one you’re thinking of!). The cult of personality conned me for years; time to accept that physical attraction is actually pretty vital in and out of the bedroom.

Tue 15th February 2011 @ 18:42
Comment from: [Member]

I went for a drink last night with Linda who said just the same thing. “You’ve got to want to fuck the person first of all, before anything else.” It’s absolutely essential, and no amount of wishing sex up from liking someone “as a person” (as the refrain always was) will produce it if it isn’t there.

Wed 16th February 2011 @ 10:10
Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

BTW, are you still on Twitter?

Sat 19th February 2011 @ 18:15
Comment from: [Member]

No, I came off it. I don’t get it. You say something, no-one replies, that’s it. I talk to myself all the time anyway, I don’t need a computer to help me. People “followed” me. Why? What am I doing that’s interesting?

Sat 19th February 2011 @ 18:24
Comment from: homer [Visitor]

Oh really? I have grown to love it. It feels like a diary I can fill in a few times a day. I like the challenge of being succint too. But I suppose if I still blogged and facebooked it would seem superfluous.

Sun 20th February 2011 @ 07:50


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M / 56 / 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.
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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.
John Whale

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.
Mick, The Golden Lion, Lancaster, 21 Mar 2011

The Comfort of Strangers

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16.1.19: Further pruning

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