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Grade one

  Thu 12th December 2013

We've got a new housemate, who seems sociable and unproblematic, and Trina has taken me on a surprise treat night out at the Midland Hotel, a Grade II* listed Art Deco hotel. It would have normally been 190 quid a night but Trina got it for 80. Great architecture, modern Italian furniture, real wood, a miraculously spiralled cantilevered staircase which is really a miracle. How does it hold on? Concrete, again. It unnerves me that you like me to the extent of taking me here. I can't reciprocate this, you realise? Neither financially nor in depth of feeling.

All my girls were in a music and dance showcase thing at their school, which inconveniently started two hours after a seminar at the Uni on "The Spectral Finance of New York." I roamed around the Uni, confused by the endlessly rearranged departments, then espied the bloke who supervised me for the last term of my MA and who introduced me to a world of art theory that I wish I'd had time to pursue, sitting in an over-illuminated room with a couple of other people I vaguely know, so I scraped in through a brush-dampened door, late, made an apologetic nod, and sat down.

The seminar was brilliant. I loved how he veered from the quotidian to the literary in his language within long sentences that tilted from the empirical to the imagistic. By "loved" I mean, that delicious skin-stroking sensation of ideas that are almost, not quite, within my grasp.

I sat in the girls' performance afterwards reliving the hot rush of speed-fuelled embarrassment I felt when I'd chimed in with the debate afterwards. Two things argue for precedence in my head: one, the tumbling sociable sense of wanting to talk, the other, my shadow self trying to control it. I gabbled a rambling comment out and left its soggy mess on the table for him to rearrange and make coherent. I stared at his glasses, over-keen, needy.

Teenage girls in leotards were dancing to Beyoncé and Gloria Gaynor. It's OK, you're not as important to others as you imagine you are. And anyway, people sometimes like muddled thinking. It lowers the bar.

15 comments

No photos of the hotel? I’d have like to see the staircase. Her hopefulness makes me a little sad. Can’t wait for the slow unveil of the new housemate. They always seem so normal at the onset.

Thu 12th December 2013 @ 11:56
Comment from: [Member]

“It’s OK, you’re not as important to others as you imagine you are.”

Incredibly wise words. Took me decades to realize this. Until then, i’d lay awake at night, tossing and turning and reviewing my words and deeds to find some way to repair a relationship i’d destroyed along the way… only later learning that it hadn’t even been noticed.

Thu 12th December 2013 @ 11:57
Comment from: [Member]

UB: Staircase picture (nicked from the BBC) now added.

Don’t be too sad–we’ve worked out a modus vivendi. I’ve been frank going on harsh with her: she’s not under any illusions about my inability to reflect her feelings.

DF: Forgive me a smile!

Thu 12th December 2013 @ 12:27

That’s great! Thanks! Every time I stand at the top of a spiral staircase and look down I imagine tumbling over the rail. Am I the only one who does that? And listen…I don’t care what you’ve worked out in advance. She’s still hopeful and that’s what makes me blue for her.

Thu 12th December 2013 @ 12:34
Comment from: [Member]

You’re welcome! The steps, apparently, are cantilevered into the steel frame that supports the entire hotel. They were “electrically polished” to simulate the appearance of marble–although it’s actually brighter and more sparkling than marble.

As to the future–well, this is it.

Thu 12th December 2013 @ 12:42
Comment from: Hipster Yaya [Visitor]

You’re uneven Looby. Even if you tell her. I’ve been trough that before -not with you, dear- and in the long run there were feelings involved and someone hurt.

The staircase is beautiful, but like Mr Pain, I’m afraid of heights.

Thu 12th December 2013 @ 20:58
Comment from: Leni Qinan [Visitor]

What’s wrong about being f*ckbuddies, Yaya?

Thu 12th December 2013 @ 21:10
Comment from: [Member]

I think she’d be better off with someone else, someone for whom “love” is at least a possibility. I’ve got the emotional depth of a puddle and do not have the capacity for love. I think that love is a social construct, a culturally specific set of responses to sexual attraction that helps you get a mortgage. Well, for me, anyway–I know other people find it this wonderful fabulous exciting experience of physical and emotional togetherness. Yeah, lovely, I’m very pleased for you. OK, so whose round is it?

Thu 12th December 2013 @ 21:21
Comment from: Leni Qinan [Visitor]

Ok guys, I’ll be the devil’s advocate: again, what’s wrong with being f*ckbuddies? That’s a good arrangement for non-committals.

PD.- Someone said to me once that love is only chemistry but never heard about your innovative description.

Fri 13th December 2013 @ 16:47
Comment from: Chef [Visitor]

“It’s OK, you’re not as important to others as you imagine you are.”

An excellent point made by both Ms Fae and yourself. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of positive thinking in regard to yourself sir. People drink in other peoples confidence whenever they are in company. Arrogance and confidence are not always poles apart. It all boils down to each of us being happy in our own skins and how we project our confidence. However, no one likes to be in the presence of perfection. Human character flaws are endearing and very attractive to the opposite sex. A good tip to remember son!

If you can stand in a room full of strangers, be them powerful, intellectual or physically striking, and hold your own in presence, then sir, you have it cracked.

Fri 13th December 2013 @ 17:05
Comment from: [Member]

Nothing Leni (although I don’t like the word, which sounds crude to me). Slight problem is that Trina wants us to be “committed". It’s OK if that’s what you’re both after but I foresee a gradual unfolding of a tragedy arising from our utterly disparate views of what it is to be with another person. At its end, I’ll feel a bit regretful for a few days; she’ll be utterly upset and will cry a lot. She loves me but I just can’t return it, not with Trina, not with anyone, ever.

Chef, as usual, that’s excellent advice (not advice, that’s the wrong word) but holding my own reliably, that’s a bit of a way off for me. More modestly, I think what I could have done with the other night in the Finance seminar is knowing when to STFU.

Fri 13th December 2013 @ 21:45
Comment from: Gossamer Beynon [Visitor]

I’m not entirely sure there is ever going to be a satisfactory definition of love, it means different things to different folk.

( And of course from an airy fairy romantic stance I would like it hit you straight between the eyes, heart (or legs) like a juggernaut one day )

But at least Trina knows where you stand.

‘It’s OK, you’re not as important to others as you imagine you are’

Wise words indeed.

Sat 14th December 2013 @ 16:44
Comment from: Hipster Yaya [Visitor]

Leni is out nightclubbing, so if you allow me, I’ll take her reply turn, Looby.

What I said: you’re uneven. Staying close to someone you want but can’t have just isn’t healthy. Unrequited love is real sad for the suitor part. :(

Just one impertinent question before I go: How can you be so absolutely sure that you could never ever love anyone?

Sat 14th December 2013 @ 20:14
Comment from: [Member]

I’m 49, I think it would have happened by now, maybe when I was in my twenties and at Uni and full of the rush of attraction towards women and intellectual things. Which I still feel. I still love the intellectual life, whilst being an observer of it more than a participant in it, and all my close friends are women. But love, it’s as opaque an idea to me as Christianity. In my actual life, I feel friendship, sex, art, children, and family. That’s it, that’s all there is. Not some other person who is the north the south the east the west. I am almost laughing as I write this last sentence.

And don’t worry, Trina’s going to be OK. I am ruthlessly honest after a few pints and a couple of lines of speed. We’ve had a couple of right ding-dongs about all this and she still chooses to be with me. We’re both using each other, and there’s nothing wrong with that. She dresses it up in more romantic language than me.

Sat 14th December 2013 @ 21:51
Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

Took me pretty much half a life time to realise that actually that my family, my town, let alone the world or the universe didn’t actually revolve around yours truly.

I had to that point considered the answer to life, the universe and everything wasn’t 42 but it was all uniquely designed to piss me right off!

So your observation of “It’s OK, you’re not as important to others as you imagine you are.” is a hugely important lesson to learn as early as possible in adult life

Tue 17th December 2013 @ 15:05


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