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Hard work

  Sun 24th February 2013

You can easily do anthropology at home. There's no need to travel, Bruce Parry-ish, to some culturally and geographically remote corner of the world to find people who act in ways that test to the limit one's ability to adapt to the alien.

It's someone's birthday do in a noisy pub, midnight on a Saturday night; commercial dance music and twentysomething women wearing heels in which they can't properly walk. Men in jeans and logoed T-shirts. I don't know anyone, but they're mainly women so I was looking forward to it. I tried to make conversation with the girl sat to the right of me. I asked her how she knew our host. "We're friends," she said, looking away, to see if anything more interesting was happening. Trying to dredge something out of this unpromisingly brief and obvious answer, I followed up with "Do you go back a long way?" She refused to speak, but leant across me to speak to the woman on my left.

I left it a few minutes; perhaps she hadn't heard me. I sat looking around at the display of apparently sexualised dancing which is deracinated from any actual sexual intent. "Get me something!" a man yelled at the bar to his friend, his bum nudging into mine. "Two twenty, get a shot or something." I drank my pint as quickly as I could and left, feeling observed like a specimen. And here we have an exhibit of The Older Man. I wish I'd left the evening in the far happier condition it had been in a few hours earlier.

Kitty and Melissa were in the little room at the Whittle. I walked in and the barman was presenting his skinny arse in front of the fire, loading on more wood. Kitty, with her customary air of sexy, impatient debauchery. Melissa at last slinked her coat off her glamour model figure, and I settled into an old sofa next to her. The doleful-looking dog came and jumped up and curled himself next to us, while we chatted and chatted.

Kitty and I had had a bit of a tiff in the Sun Hotel--only hours after we'd been in the same bed. I wanted to make amends, so I wrapped up Polly Toynbee's Hard Work, about life on the minimum wage--which she'd spotted in my room and had been reading in bed--and gave it to her with a card and a message which ended with a resolution to be nicer to her.

It would distress me if Kitty and I were to fall out. I rang Trina and told her all about it. Trina said she misses me when I'm not there. I had to be a bit careful what I said, because I never miss her.

I left the tightly-skirted, unsexy women and uncool cool young men in Wetherspoons, and was delightedly surprised to bump into A Free Man in Preston and Girlonatrain, two blogpals who have more or less given it up now. Girlonatrain's archives are still there; as is AFMIP's library of infrequent but witty, imaginative posts about office life. It was just a couple of minutes in the street, but I enjoyed the lively little conversation. Girlonatrain, with her attractively wonky teeth, is still looking "quite fit", as a blogger described her. Free Man is doing a launch of his new album at the Gregson on Easter Sunday. I might go if I'm free, but I imagine it'll be guitar-based music with intelligent and thoughtful lyrics.


I’ve gotten that treatment from women before. She heard your question just fine. But it’s her prerogative not to answer. I get it. I never got angry at those episodes.

Well done on your thoughtful apology. Some men can’t bring themselves to do it.

I’ve lost girlfriends to sensitive singer-songwriter. I have no warm spot for their music.

Mon 25th February 2013 @ 12:19
Comment from: Tony [Visitor]

Had to search that pub out. The Golden Lion I believe Sir.
Any pub with a real fire is a favourite of mine.
Just come back from a few days in Northern Ireland and there were a few fires roaring in the bars over there.
Shame the only decent Real Ale was in the Wetherspoon outlets but they were pretty good.

Mon 25th February 2013 @ 15:24
Comment from: [Member]

Sorry to take so long to reply to you both but Trina was here and we were pleasantly busy.

UB: I’m not sure it *is* her prerogative to ignore the question. She was the most outstandingly rude person I’ve met socially for a long time.

Kitty was equally lovely back so my apology was repaid more than amply.

Tony: Yes that’s the one. It’s a great pub and next time you and the gang are up in Lancaster we’ll get you all in there.

Northern Ireland? Did you take your Union Jack T-shirt with you? :) I want to go to the west of Ireland sometime–the real ale scene is starting to get going in the Galway area with (AFAIK) three microbreweries now. It’s about time!

Thu 28th February 2013 @ 11:46
Comment from: [Member]

i have many younger friends - and for the most part the age difference does not appear often as we go out and about to play. but when i’m in the midst of young fluffheads, preening and presenting goods in the mating ritual? it generally becomes awkward and i find myself gone in a hurry. fuck ‘em…

Thu 28th February 2013 @ 12:17
Comment from: [Member]

Yes, that’s a thought. Maybe they would lose their flirty capital if they were seen to be associated with a man 15+ years older than them.

Thu 28th February 2013 @ 12:32

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

M / 59 / 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

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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.
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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
Another Angry Voice
the asshat lounge
Clutter From The Gutter
Eryl Shields Ink
Exile on Pain Street
Fat Man On A Keyboard
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George Szirtes ditto
Infomaniac [NSFW]
The Joy of Bex
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Leeds's Singing Organ-Grinder
The Most Difficult Thing Ever
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Wonky Words

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