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Soft

  Thu 17th April 2014

The Muslim women are chatting about on the doorstep opposite in their black pillarbox get-ups. I don't like living in a mainly Muslim street. The men say hello as a routine, and the women--you're simply shunned.

The house four doors up from Kirsty's is up for sale. How I wish I could buy it. In that street, where my daughters have lived for all but one of their fifteen years, Maureen cat-sits for us when we're off to France; Doreen looks in on the girls when I sneak a night off dancing, and Rather Sexy 70-y-o Next Door puts our bins out for us. My neighbours here will never do any of those things. They're separatists, preserving a culture. As Sergei Korovin said about non-drinkers, "they are not my comrades."

Closer to home, Tom, the lodger, continues to leave a pebble of shitdash round the loo every morning, which I clean off, every morning, before he pumps his bowels on his bike seat on his fibrous journey to work. I went out with Tess yesterday, and she said that Tom had said to her "So are you nocturnal then?" and that when she comes in late, it disturbs him and he can't get back to sleep. I would say he's anally retentive were it not for the daily evidence to the contrary.

The bailiffs have been round again, with a hand-delivered letter. The next stage is that they'll leave an official-looking notice "seizeing" the car parked outside my house. I haven't got a car; I've never driven in my life. it only worries me to the extent that Tess and Tom might have to indirectly get involved in the labour that my state of pinched hedonism entails. I wish we could just hurry up and cut out the middleman and I could go to prison for a month and get the whole fucking thing over and done with. I've been in prison before and a couple of weeks in jail is nothing to worry about for someone so class-crossingly adroit as I am.


Trina and I are back "together". After a few days of silence she got in touch and I told her that, yes, just as much as she's had enough of my insensitivity, I am finished with all the discussion and arguments after we have the good times. I wanted it to come across as an unnegotiable condition of any "future" we might have.

She had to work in Southport early on Monday so she asked me if I'd like to stay at her hotel on Sunday night. She picked me up from my house. We were both careful not to apologise too much. In Southport, the hotel owner, a pied noir, detained us a bit at the desk with his now familiar comparison of French bureaucracy versus English spontaneity. I was speeding and too chatty; I became aware that it was boring Trina, who was twitching.

We found our room, unpacked, and went to our usual place, where she worked through two bottles of Chardonnay, and I through an untallied number of pints. We sat in the window, criticising other people's hairstyles and clothes.

My phone rang. I looked at the display and put it back in my pocket. "Who's that?" "No, it's OK, doesn't matter." "Who is it!" "She Who Cannot Be Mentioned."

It rang again--Kim again. "Answer it, no, answer it--she obviously wants to talk to you." So I did. Trina went away to the bar and got talking to a plumber and came back and started talking at me, about her chat with the plumber, an attempt at invoking jealousy, perhaps, on and on, oblivious to my raised, delaying finger, indicating that I'd be with her in a minute. I found her ignorance of me objectionable, before I recognised my own selfishness reflected back to me.

We got back to our conversation soon enough and it turned garrulous and enjoyable and why I like being with her again. She's into rare cars and lit up to see two old classic British cars cruising along Lord Street in Southport, because Lord Street is the Venice Beach of Lancashire. I said that I love grey shift dresses on fiftysomething women and she was bemused. "But they're so plain." "Yes, that's the point." We went back to the hotel where sex was more frottage than penetration.

A woman talking about cars and a man talking about shift dresses, followed by bendy-cocked half-sex. Should stay with her really.

7 comments

Not ever driving a car is quite a feat! Many, many people in New York City have never driven as well. Here in the States, outside of the bubble of NYC, you really can’t get by without one. Half the reason I stayed in NY for 20 years is that I didn’t have to drive. I hate it.

Can you blog from prison? That’s not one of my snide comments. I’m wondering.

If I worked through two bottles of Chardonnay and a few pints, I’d be laid flat for days. I’m afraid I’d be of no use whatsoever to Trina. Good that she met you in stead of me.

You two are my favorite doomed couple.

Sat 19th April 2014 @ 13:34
Comment from: [Member]

Living without a car here is easy. Lots of people do it, and it’s not unusual.

No, you can’t blog from prison. I’ll put a notice up before my court date not to expect any responses for a while.

Yes, we’re doomed, but the journey to perdition can be pretty good.

Sat 19th April 2014 @ 19:35

The journey to perdition can also be very painful, and probably unnecessary.

Sorry Looby, but this no longer sounds like a doomed relationship, but a post-apocalyptic relationship.

Only two bottles of Chardonnay? just for her?
I hope you had at least 10 pints to stay matched…that could explain the flexibility.

Sun 20th April 2014 @ 06:25
Comment from: Tony [Visitor]

Its great that I can increase my English vocabulary reading this classy blog.
Frottage had to look that one up.
Anyway I reckon I won my bet by 30 odd days unless non penetration doesn’t count. :-)

Sun 20th April 2014 @ 09:19
Comment from: [Member]

TSB: Well, it’s probably a dead horse, but we’ll flog it some more.

Yes, she had two bottles of wine, I had, I don’t know, wasn’t counting. 5 or 6 pints? For some mysterious reason the sex afterwards was lacking in a certain firmness.

Tony: Actually, looking the word up again, I realise I’m using it incorrectly, because we didn’t have any clothes on.

I’ll give you that fiver next time we meet :)

Sun 20th April 2014 @ 12:15
Comment from: The Joy of Bex [Visitor]

You’re way more tolerant than I am in a relationship, I’ll give you that :)

Please don’t go to prison. I’d miss you, and who would clean Tom’s shit off the toilet?! (Ew, by the way)

Tue 22nd April 2014 @ 12:56
Comment from: [Member]

I’d only be away for a month or so. Nothing to worry about. And think of the blog material I’d have.

We’re having a bit of a debate about Tom actually. He’s been a bit of twat towards Tess. He’s quite controlling, I think. More on this story later.

Tue 22nd April 2014 @ 20:34


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


M / 54 / 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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