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The Opal of the West

  Mon 29th September 2014

Trina got into a strop the other day because she found my profile on the dating site, which inconveniently reports when you were last on it. A couple of days later we were down the pub, exhausted after the weekend, the disinhibition of drink contesting with our mutual desire not to spoil anything before bed and our forthcoming holiday in Madeira.

"If you met someone else," I said, "I'd be happy for you, and glad, and as far as I'm concerned it wouldn't change anything between us."

But that's an incomprehensible idea to her, so we let the topic die in shrugs and a conciliatory rake of my hand through her hair that I didn't mean. Back came the comedown, comprised of equal parts of nausea, hunger and a revulsion towards food, in the body; and in the mind, a desire for sociability, as I turned and scanned the unpromising fruit of our fellow drinkers; and a physical restlessness which for the previous forty-eight hours had been poured into dancing at a Modern Soul and House weekender in St Annes, in the hotel next to the Conservative Club.

Erica and her uncouth husband came along this year. I was a bit worried about how it would go with them, aware that if Erica or hubby offended anyone it might reflect me. A couple of hours after we'd arrived at the hotel, me and Trina went to fetch something from her car, and found that he'd stuck empty cider cans underneath Trina's windscreen wipers, which I suppose seems funny if you're thick. In 1926, he won a prize for his dancing to Northern Soul, but it's not a Northern do, and he did awkward, slow movements at the edge of the dancefloor.

But nothing bad happened and the weekend flashed past. On Saturday we had a trawl round the chazzers, my prize item from which is a ladies' lime green Laura Ashley overcoat.

Me and Trina took far too much of the Beecham's Powders, which arrived in Lancaster last week in a plenitude of temptation. When we got home I was ill, throwing up horrible black bile, in bed for thirty hours, and not really right until Thursday. On Tuesday night I had this horrific, realistic, nightmare, with sounds, about being forced by the Nazis to play a game to decide whether my children were to be taken into the camps, in which we had to match quotations to their author, by sticking a pole into the correct one of several tubes which floated before us on a little lake. I got the questions wrong, but someone else in the same position told me it was rigged, so off they went for my children, and I was led into a large hall of desperately starving dogs and weeping mothers, whose teeth rotated laterally.


As you know I am under investigation by the police. What for exactly I'm not sure, but it's something to do with drugs.

I received the following misdirected email the other day, sent from my solicitor to the police officer dealing with my case.

Dear [Christian name]
Regrettably looby cannot make the appointment as he is attending a funeral. Can I rearrange it for a later date I will make sure he doesn't duck out next time.

The email then proceeded to discuss another client of his, speculating about whether he could be charged at his local police station. I wrote back.

Dear Mr ---

Thank you for your email, some of which, concerning another client of yours, was clearly not meant for me.

I am most surprised and not a little offended that you think my attendance at a close family member's funeral, together with my responsibilities as the eldest son in looking after my infirm father during a distressing time for my mother, constitutes "ducking out" of what has been described as a "voluntary" interview.

I am on my way to the airport later this morning and will be back in the country next weekend.

Yours

looby

We've been and gone since I wrote this so I'll tell you all about Madeira next time.

6 comments

A work colleague wrote an email complaining about our boss and sent it to, of course, our boss. Shakespeare never did that.

Mon 29th September 2014 @ 12:07
Comment from: [Member]

I think I mentioned the one Trina sent me destined for a guitar-playing English lecturer that she very briefly dallied with, saying how sexy Under Milk Wood could be if he read it :)

Mon 29th September 2014 @ 12:35
Comment from: [Member]

The 80s wants its ceiling back.

Mon 29th September 2014 @ 13:57
Comment from: [Member]

The photo looked worse before I cut the top centimetre of it off. Stone > asbsestos > polystyrene, the layered shelterers of post-war dancers.

Mon 29th September 2014 @ 15:46
Comment from: [Member]

i believe i had a rambling, partially relevant comment to hoark up here… but the “The 80s wants its ceiling back.” comment completely derailed me… vodka may be a factor…

Wed 1st October 2014 @ 03:40
Comment from: [Member]

Here’s a song with a more generalising sentiment, sung by people likely to be vodka drinkers, but who unaccountably miss collectivised agriculture and intra-familial surveillance.

P.S. I was in the audience.

Wed 1st October 2014 @ 15:01


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


M / 58 / 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

If your comment box looks like this, I'm afraid I sometimes can't be bothered with all that palarver just to leave a comment.

63 mago
Another Angry Voice
the asshat lounge
Clutter From The Gutter
Crinklybee
Eryl Shields Ink
Exile on Pain Street
Fat Man On A Keyboard
gairnet provides: press of blll defunct, but retained for its quality
George Szirtes ditto
Guitars and Life
Infomaniac [NSFW]
The Joy of Bex
Laudator Temporis Acti
Leeds's Singing Organ-Grinder
The Most Difficult Thing Ever
Quillette
Strange Flowers
Trailer Park Refugee
Wonky Words

"Just sit still and listen" - woman to teenage girl at Elliott Carter weekend, London 2006

5:4
Bristol New Music
Desiring Progress Collection of links only
Golden Pages for Musicologists
Lauren Redhead
NewMusicBox
The Rambler
Resonance FM
Sequenza 21
Sound and Music
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