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A plaice of my own

  Sun 17th July 2011

A nice place

I realise that there is evidence of a social error in the above photograph which could result in my banishment from polite society, but Corbière's all I had in.

I've got a Couchsurfer staying at the moment, a twentysomething Syrian Christian who's just finished his doctor's training and has an interview at 8.30am [sic] tomorrow for his first job. Kirsty and the girls had arranged to come round for tea yesterday and I was a bit worried about how it would work socially. Everything went fine, the adults working through a couple of bottles of wine as the background for a long chat about the Islamicisation of Sweden (where Firas studied), a conversation partly promoted by the fact that my part of our street is mainly Muslim. He's looking for flats to rent and is adamant that he doesn't want to live in a Muslim area. Of which, I am relieved to say, there are very few in Lancaster.

We went down the pub this afternoon with a couple of my friends and I realised how incomprehensible colloquial Lancaster English must be to a foreigner. But they all like heavy metal so it seemed to go OK. We came home and I started preparing the plaice which I bought yesterday from the sole surviving fishmonger in Lancaster, not counting the man in Sainsbury's who possesses a certificate about Excellence in Fishmongering Skills which in a couple of years will become a degree, validated by the Pong Ping campus of Lancaster University. I was wondering whether I could buy the whole fish and have a bash at filleting it myself, but the real fishmonger decided it for me. "Plehss? Hawl? Neh mehrt, if y'dunno what ye doon y'v nor chance. Filluts." He showed me two large plates of white fish in the way that a proud sommelier might present a secretly sourced Madiran. I nodded and gave him five pounds something.

Firas, to my surprise, didn't want any tea. "No thank you, I don't eat much." It felt a bit strange to be eating it by myself in the kitchen while he sat in the front room on his computer.


I emailed Arty, telling her about my show in Brussels, and wondering if we might be able to meet up again next time I'm in Glasgow. She sent me the following effusive email, which I quote in its entirety.

Dear looby
Good luck with your show.
Arty

So I think we can safely assume that one's dead in the water.

Never mind. The other person involved in that exchange is coming over tomorrow and staying overnight. It's Kim's birthday on Wednesday so there are some chocolate truffles for her cooling downstairs and I've got her a card which has a picture of a 50s glam woman in a bright yellow jacket holding a glass of wine. It says "Wine: how posh people get shitfaced." The thing she said to me a couple of weeks ago, "I can get emotionally close to someone, or physically; I find it hard combining the two", rings in my head.

6 comments

Comment from: Vanessa [Visitor]

Is the Syrian possibly worried he’d have to reciprocate, fish wise?

Mon 18th July 2011 @ 01:36
Comment from: [Member]

I hope he does’t feel like that. He’s my guest. Ergo, I do the cooking.

Mon 18th July 2011 @ 10:32
Comment from: BlackLOG [Visitor]  

Anyone on this website criticising Belgium, and in particular, its policies for the funding of the performing arts, will have a bar of luxury chocolate shoved up his or her bum

Wow, who would have thought that you could get a performing arts grant in Belgium* for shoving a bar of chocolate (sorry Luxury chocolate, I’m guessing it would be smoother) up your bottom….

* please note this is not a critisism, in fact I purchased a VW Golf from Belgium 11 years ago** so probably have gone some way to supporting Belgium performing arts…

** It is still going strong

Tue 19th July 2011 @ 06:56
Comment from: [Member]

Shh! Don’t give the show’s secrets away!

Thu 21st July 2011 @ 11:10
Comment from: heybartender [Visitor]

Don’t sweat the red wine and fish combo. Those rules are outdated. The only rules that apply anymore are a) Drink what you like; and b)drink what you have.

Thu 28th July 2011 @ 04:06
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks! The long term project is to get b) closer to a) :)

Thu 28th July 2011 @ 14:28


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


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.
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.
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

23.1.16: Big clearout of the defunct and dormant and dull
16.1.19: Further pruning

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