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Admit it

  Thu 27th December 2012

Kitty's card was the best. Inside, her tumbling handwriting. "[...] keep living my dear, instead of existing." She gave me a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's An Apology for Idlers in one of those editions where the cardboard covers flip out.

I asked my Mum and Dad for Max Egremont's Forgotten Land: Journeys Among the Ghosts of East Prussia about the response of the aristocracy of that land to the onset of the Great Patriotic War, based on an absorbing review in the LRB from Neil Ascherson. I've only read the review, not the book, but I was sympathetic to the bemusement and irritation that the old houses of Prussia felt when the arrivistes barged in, brute force their only argument; and I received from my brother the book I almost bought him.

Christmas dinner went well, and Eldest and I made Heston Blumenthal's Lemon Tart, which requires fourteen eggs and three-quarters of a pint of cream. The pastry, with its five egg yolks, is impossible to handle and I can only press it into the tin like a paste, but it's so rich it's delicious even when it's thicker than it's supposed to be. Fifteen years ago we would have shared it with the Blandys, whom we knew when we lived in Madeira, our summer Sundays spent getting head-splittingly but decorously pissed in their garden, the nosy strelizia wanting to join in, drinking the family's oenological gift to the world. Now I hover in a rented house, nervously alert to any unfamiliar noises, in case it's the bailiffs.

On Boxing Day I went round to Erica's, and was delighted to see Vicky there, who is still, as I described her earlier this year, "A-list, fuckable, Lancaster totty". Loose red top, narrow black trousers ending a few inches above her ankles; black flatties. Her glossy hair, straight and cut in a curve down towards but below her chin. I looked at her lovely neck, and then, following her haircut's line, her beautiful tits and nipples, which were pointing gently out any time she arched her back. Sitting next to her, my hands ached with wanting to feel her nipples flick between every one of my splayed fingers as I passed my hand slowly and repeatedly over her tits.

The red ran out and she put on her coat to go to the offy. I also wanted another bottle and went to give her my card. "Don't do that," said Mr Erica. "That's making her work. Go with her." "Come on," she said. "I won't touch you." "Wish I could say the same," I said, which made people laugh, and got my coat. We went out together under my umbrella. I linked my arm through hers, symbolically giving up flirting with her. I was curious to meet her new boyfriend, having formed a detailed set of prejudices about him, but he never turned up.

Back at Erica's, my gift of a quarter of Complicated Lemon Tart went untouched as they woofed a shop-bought trifle. Vicky told me about the wealthy girl she doesn't know who lives in her village whose cast-offs she buys from the local "dress agency". "You're probably not competing against many girls for clothes like that," I said, a feeling of a clumsy chat-up line coming unstoppably out of my mouth. "There's not many girls who could fit into..." I waved an arm at her legs. "...clothes like that."

I got stoned for the first time in 2012. I don't like marijuana; it can turn my constant consciousness of myself, which I often enjoy and can use to my advantage, into embarrassment. Once it gets a grip in this way, it is impervious to any internal arguments aimed at defeating it. Neither can I tolerate its usual vehicle. But I judged the amount well and had a short phase of talk being loud, shared, and escaped.

Down the pub with Wilma and New Business Colleague's friend, the police come over and want to check his identity. No, his name isn't Steve. Wilma got me a drink and started crying, again. A married man has upset her by enlisting her as a player in the familiar male-directed script in which he enjoys the stability of little wifey at home and the excitement of a sexy side dish outside of it. "He couldn't do it anyway, but I didn't mind that. It wasn't all about the sex."

We talked about what she considers her alcoholism. I'm wary about that word--it creates a situation more than it describes it. "Your problem with drink...," I said, "Well, it's not the drink, it's that the more you drink the more you get down to the root causes, which in your case is your feeling of maternal abandonment." I could get paid a hundred quid an hour for talking like this in Islington.

I perked up when I saw Fit Bit sitting alone. I waited a few minutes, lest Large Boyfriend might turn up, and then went over to her. I had a little chat with her, how was your Christmas, concluding with a needlessly prolonged kiss and stroke of her hair. I love flirting with her, heightened by its danger. I went back to our table and I could predict Wilma's challenge. "You're never like that with me." "No. That's because you can't handle your drink." I like Wilma. Anyone who asks you to be honest is willing a closeness that doesn't exist. She never does that; she just is, as I am with her.

Tomorrow (well, today now), I am off for a chaste afternoon in the uPvc'd and beige-trousered plains of west Lancashire, to see Trina, at her mother's. Trina's mother has lost a couple of marbles along life's highway, and I've been warned that BBC News 24 will be on constant rotation, and that she'll repeatedly ask me who I am. However, there will be sherry.


Comment from: [Member]

I once spent a week hiding in a girlfriend’s house and at the local doner kebab bar because a criminal neighbour said the Dutch gendarmes were looking for me. Then, early on the Monday morning, I went home to get some stuff and was just frying a couple of eggs when the bell went. Thinking it was the neighbour, I opened, and there were three coppers in full gear. I must have turned white, because they said, “Don’t worry, we’re just looking for a conductor for the police band.” I named an impossibly high price to get them to fuck off, and then they asked if I’d do it black. Jesus.

Fri 28th December 2012 @ 04:21

The word “patriotic” is as maligned and misappropriated as the word “freedom.” I love our “Patriot Act” here in the U.S. The implication is that if you don’t support the spying and eavesdropping in the act, you’re no patriot. You don’t love dear motherland.

Excellent work with the unfounded prejudices. It’s an important step in protecting one’s ego. I do it all the time.

I stopped smoking weed a long time ago. It just makes me paranoid and amplifies all my problems and faults. And it’s super-potent as compared to what was around when I was a kid. We used to go out on a Friday and smoke 10 joints before the night was over. If I smoked 10 joints now I’d require hospitalization.

Fri 28th December 2012 @ 05:11
Comment from: [Member]

sounds as though you had a good holiday - books and lemon tarts make the most amazing gifts!

Fri 28th December 2012 @ 07:18
Comment from: [Member]

Great story T! So did you accept the gig?

That’s a bit how I’m worried the bailiffs will catch me out. They’re waiting until I start relaxing and thinking “that’ll be the postman.”

UB: Weed for me is the worst drug going (apart from tobacco). I don’t want to *think*. I do enough of that. It’s so boring watching stoners, sitting around doing FA, and then having to listen to the bargain basement Facebook-level cod philosophy they come out with. I presume they like the kudos of calling themselves a drugtaker.

DF: I love having a tart at Christmas.

Sat 29th December 2012 @ 08:01

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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.
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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63 mago
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