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Whilst I am a man who drinks perry, I am not a Lambrini girl

  Mon 29th August 2011

Lambrini: Lowering The Bar

lowering the bar

Every year the butcher in the bleak precinct where my mum and dad do their shopping gives my teetotal parents a bottle of what he calls "wine". It's actually Lambrini, a foul perry with an image that could hardly get lower. Its makers ran a campaign a couple of years ago to market it to young women as a "fun" drink, to be enjoyed round a dinner table rather than in a bus shelter. You can see a young Lambrini-drinking woman empowering herself in a confident expression of modern female sexuality by having pissed-up British male holidaymakers gorping at her crotch, on the left.

The advertisers' efforts were derided in the Guardian, which opined that "the chances of it being enjoyed by doctors and gym bunnies is about as likely as a 14-year-old truant developing a taste for Châteauneuf-du-Pape". You can't use the word "chav" in the Guardian but everyone gets the hint. However, the owner of the company that makes it pocketed ten million pounds last year, suggesting that my friend who many years ago said that "the way to make money is to sell shit to stupid people", was correct.

My parents, bless them, saved it for eight months to give to me, as they have me marked, not unreasonably, as The Drinker in the family. I put it on our local Freecycle list last night and it went in twenty minutes, to a mountebank therapist I know.

Time at my parents' house grinds reluctantly forward as I fence away my Dad's anti-semitism and his ignorant comments about immigration. "Wouldn't it be nice if we all lived near each other?" mused my sister. "Hmmm," I parried. I can't stand these family get-togethers where we're rounded up into a room and sealed in with uPvC to make a poor imitation of conversation in ever thinning air. We can't talk about anything interesting because Dad will chime in with a comment that yanks a promising thread back to the simple world articulated by the Daily Express. "Is Carol Vorderman dressing too young for her age?" it asked on the front page. Neither can we go down the pub. No-one likes proper food. Television, television, television.

The best bit of three long days was being taken back to my sister's boyfriend's house where I was to stay on the last night. Tim asked me if I'd like to take a diversion to see the filmic, steaming, pipelined terrain of a part of the Northeast scoured black by its industries. He drove us through a landscape horizon-deep in bell-bottomed concrete chimneys and eerie neon-lit metal chemistry sets, approachable only on narrow ladders and holed grids of walkway. A tall thin chimney hissed continuously. "You might hear that from your bedroom tonight I'm afraid."

We turned down a road and suburbia began with an abruptness that can only have been decided by a planner's pencil. A sweet but artificial smell invisibly scents the area. "It's a lot better than it was twenty years ago." You don't notice it after a while, but I wondered what I was breathing in all night.

The Architect emails whilst I'm writing this, sending her mobile number and confirming our rendezvous tomorrow.

Glasgow, City of Romance

Will romance blossom for looby and Hazel
'twixt the wheelie bins and the CCTV cameras?


Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

My mum, who is beyond lovely but has led a fairly sheltered life, confidently informed us this weekend that neither Turks nor Russians use deodorant. This is based on a local Turkish shopkeeper who has raging BO, and six Russian scientists she met at Sizewell power station in the 1970s.

Mon 29th August 2011 @ 19:59
Comment from: [Member]

A representative sample then! Steer me away from the Turkish man if I’m ever down your way and run out of carrots.

Maybe I should just dive in and talk to him more about it. Out of nowhere he said “It’s terrible this immigration. We’re being flooded, thousands of them coming in.” I couldn’t be arsed and said nothing.

There is an interesting debate to be had here. I don’t follow the Orthodox Liberal line on immigration. The separatism of many Muslim immigrants bothers me. The man next door but one speaks nothing but Gujerati, and he’s been here 47 years. Then there’s the economic problems associated with Eastern Europeans coming in to do the work which is refused by the white working class. I should engage with him a bit more maybe. All I can plead is that on the occasions when we’ve done this we end up in a disorientating maze of non-sequiters instead of an argument.

Having said that, Americans are a bit fat.

Mon 29th August 2011 @ 20:25

Well, horseshoes are good luck talismans, aren’t they?

You need to jot down all your father’s pearls of wisdom and post them to a blog. Something like that could easily result in a cable TV show here in the U.S.

Tue 30th August 2011 @ 11:51
Comment from: Tony [Visitor]

Looks like you will be OK for a bit of Karaoke it appears to be on 7 nights a week.
Lets hope the horseshoe is lucky for you.
Not long for that Northern Soul.

Tue 30th August 2011 @ 22:22
Comment from: [Member]

Unbearable - Justin Halpern has got that market sewn up (Shit My Dad Says). My Dad doesn’t say anything of interest.

Tony - yes, am very much looking forward to it. It’s more Modern than Northern, you know? Anyway will be in touch.

Thu 1st September 2011 @ 23:16

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

M / 57 / 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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