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  Thu 27th February 2014

Me and the girls had a very enjoyable day in Manchester on Friday. The frisson that comes from stepping out from the station into a proper big city like Manchester, never palls. We went to On The Eighth Day, one of the oldest vegetarian cafés in the UK and reassuringly conservative, with its male waiter with his hair tied up in a bun, and some right-on ethno-techno muzak over the PA. I signed a petition asking Manchester City Council to pass a by-law making it illegal to give out plastic carrier bags for free.

We went round Affleck's Palace, a large old warehouse full of teenagerish stalls selling badges, T-shirts, secondhand clothes and other subcultural paraphernalia. I bought a strange Jesus bracelet, I don't know who for, and a pair of earrings made from plastic clementine segments, which my Mum will like. When we got home I showed the bracelet off to the girls. "Oh yeah, they were quite trendy about a year ago."

Then it was straight over to mine to get ready for Kitty and Chris's joint birthday do at mine. One of the felicities of the evening was ogling seeing Karen "Nice tits" again. She turned up with a huge homemade cake for Kitty. Melanie came up from London, and Helen, who had to be in the country anyway, was over from Norway.

We acquired a couple of unknown men. One was a pleasant, smiling chap who kept saying that was just going off on a tangent and that he felt happy to be here because he can really be himself. Later, he went off on a tangent in Helen's hotel bedroom.

Smiley Man brought this friend of his who had that lack of social competence and interest in others common amongst members of historical re-enactment societies. I can see the black T-shirts and loud discussions in Wetherspoons about war game tactics now. In the kitchen, he drew himself up and announced to a hapless guest that his Celtic name is such and such, his Roman name is something else, and his Viking name is something different again. By something o'clock he was asleep and snoring on the settee.

Barry rigged up the music, with a proper amp and speakers. It made me anxious, thinking about next door and Tom trying to sleep upstairs, and I kept surreptitiously turning it down. I was worried about the noise all night, as there was a lot of banging of the front door as people went outside to smoke.

Trina and me went to bed at about 7.30 and got three hours of "sleep", and came down to tell the still continuing party that we were off. First, a Wetherspoons breakfast, a sunshiny bright and smiling affair, full of shift workers and wedding parties glad to be let off the leash to be drinking at 11am; and then to Leyland for the Soulful House weekender.

The music sometimes veered about in style a little too much for me, but that gave us plenty of time to sit in the pleasantly crowded bar and chat. Trina was being very affectionate, and the carpet started to take on a life of its own. On Sunday morning, we declined the £10 hotel breakfast and went to Tesco's in Leyland instead, where we got earwigged by one of the local loons, who was keen to explain some writing on an envelope she had.

Back here and we had a rocky couple of days as we bumped ourselves through the seratonin and dopamine crash and her stew of neediness and the painful awareness that I can't reciprocate her feelings. Only a few hours ago I thought it might have ended altogether, and so I sent off an email on the dating site to see if Irish Lawyer was still around.

Trina has spent today being conciliatory. I told her that all the post-dancefloor stress could have been avoided had she gone home on Monday, hoping that she might infer from this my desire to spend less time with her when we have nothing in particular planned. I lack the psychological strength to relate to you the tedious detail of the negotiations, but I am hoping that we have agreed upon a modus vivendi which might increase the ratio of the times we both enjoy. Although if I am honest, a part of me was hoping that this might have been the end of it.


I enjoy the country air and all of its joys but I’m a fool for the city. I always have been and probably always will be.

I haven’t been off on a tangent in a while. No wonder he was pleasant and smiling.

Ah, the ole’ Stew of Neediness. I knew it would rear it’s feted head before the end of the post. I’m glad it worked for as long as it did. You need to just put a stop to it the same way I need to suddenly yank my kids out of the Catholic church. As if either unpleasantly could be done so easily.

Fri 28th February 2014 @ 19:12
Comment from: [Member]

We’re adults, we’ve got a choice in what we do. In one important respect, you’re not allowing your children the same thing.

–A bit of context for third parties: we have been discussing issues raised in EoPS’s post of Monday. To which I chime in with my usual grace.

Fri 28th February 2014 @ 20:10
Comment from: [Member]

For me, i’d rather be alone than stuck somewhere i do not wish to be. A line from a favorite love song ("Love You Madly", Cake) – “I don’t want to sit across the table from you wishing I could run.”

i feel a bit angsty reading about your tolerance for being somewhere you don’t wish to be… think i’ll go out and have a drink and do a bit of dancing tonight!

Sat 1st March 2014 @ 22:32
Comment from: [Member]

Yes, but there are lots of good bits too.

Your plan for the evening sounds great though–hope you found somewhere to do that.

Sun 2nd March 2014 @ 10:33
Comment from: "Chris" [Visitor]

I’m so jealous you got to Afflecks! But yes, those bracelets are long since out of fashion!

Sorry the party was a bit loud. You did well not drinking!! Xx

Sun 2nd March 2014 @ 19:29
Comment from: [Member]

Hello Girl of Italics. Afflecks is ace. I enjoyed it, and I’m not a teenage girl weighing the relative merits of emo or goth. Re the bracelet–out of fashion is good. It’s reverse in-fashion. Dad style.

Not drinking is surprisingly easy. Poundland whoppa bars of Nestle Crunch stimulate the same pleasure centres as beer, and I’m saving a lot of money. Do miss drinking though. Particularly on the comedown, which is a bit rough without drink.

Me and “Barry” will corrupt you into House music yet.
[Tip of hat] <--- everyone does kisses, it's getting a bit stale. I'll doff a virtual titfer.

Sun 2nd March 2014 @ 22:18
Comment from: Leni Qinan [Visitor]

I remember listening recently on the radio a nasty comment about Manchester (it was something like… you’ve got to visit Manchester before you die, so that you know what hell looks like).
Please, tell me it isn’t so.

Wed 12th March 2014 @ 17:59
Comment from: [Member]

It’s not a city that I’ve ever taken to greatly (despite living there for two years many years ago). There’s a harsh edge about it which isn’t compensated for by other aspects of its character. There’s been a speculative building spree in recent years which has left some areas of the city centre a bit of a mess, with unsold cheap, flimsy blocks of flats.

But having said that, it’s our nearest big city for gigs and nights out, and it’s always exciting. It’s got some great pubs and the music scene is superb.

Thu 13th March 2014 @ 11:09

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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

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

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