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  Thu 23rd October 2014

I'm in Middlesbrough for a few days while my Mum is in Lancaster having a rest from my Dad. I was to be "looking after" him, which conjured up blanching images of flannels and genitalia, but I have had the jammiest stroke of luck.

Instead of having to endure his company twenty-four hours a day, my duties are now much abbreviated, as he is hospitalised in The Biffa Bacon General Hospital, having thankfully banged his head the other day, compounding his malingering and self-pitying attitude towards a broken leg. All I have to do then, is a couple of hours of hospital visiting a day. My Mum has warned me that he might not know who I am. One day he saw three goats at the end of his bed, and more recently was pleased to find himself on holiday in Margate.

I had my "voluntary" interview with the police yesterday. No matter how prepared you think you are, and how many times you've rehearsed your answers and their possible subversion, it's exacting being in a tiny, airless room with a copper, your solicitor, a tape recorder, and your guilt. My solicitor told me that they had very little on me and that Plod would be going on a fishing expedition, so in the words of the hectoring old ad, just say no.

An envelope destined for a former lodger of mine was intercepted at Gatwick. The airport's drug detection machines identified the "substance" as methamphetamine, and so the police came looking for a meth lab which might have been hidden between the Eurovision Song Contest CDs and the poetry of W N Herbert.

There was an air of wanting to get it over and done with. "No," I laughed with unwonted nervousness, "meth is one thing I've never tried." As soon as that was out I realised its implication that I'd tried other drugs, having previously answered "no" to the question "Have you ever been a drug user, Mr Looby?"

He clicked the tape recorder to a stop, and said "I'm not sending this file up. It won't go any further as there's insufficient evidence." I asked about getting the money back for the broken down door and having to change the locks. They said that as they'd been round four times to try to enter the house peaceably -- and we'd all been out -- they had been "left with no option" but to break in, so I'd be unlikely to get my money back. I still think that's wrong.

Outside, the light is all turned up. I am a little disappointed at the intensity of my elation, but taken by surprise at how wobbly my legs are. I am reminded of Kirsty's Dad, walking down The Strand after being released from the Old Bailey, quiet for some safe yards, before saying to his daughter, "That's a relief. Because I did it."

I texted Erica, Kim and Trina. Trina came down for a drink, as did fortuitously, Seth, a friend of mine I've been seeing quite a bit of lately. We agree not to talk about his interest in Healing With Coloured Torches and other middle class quackery, but we get on well and I like his attitude to money. He went off to pawn a couple of gold sovereigns, waving away my offer of a tenner loan.

Then Trina started to turn my afternoon into hers. "I've read that letter you sent to Donna," referring to a long letter I wrote -- but never sent -- whilst I was on holiday with Kirsty and the girls in Dieppe, a fragment of which I posted here. From friendly touristic beginnings it firms up into sex -- our sex, mine and hers sex, not anyone else's.

"So while I've been locked into an interview room at the police station, you've been riffling through my private letters?"

"No, no, I was was looking for something else." "Yes, and then you found the letter to Donna and read it all?"

I was determined not to let her spoil my afternoon, but told her that she had prodigiously overstepped the mark. She bulldozed on, more interested in discussing its content than apologising. "I don't know how you put up with me for two years; I must have seemed very tame." And then later, trying to sound jocular, she said "Men are strange. You're all pervs."

Thrown into my second involuntary quizzing of the day, I simply refused to answer and shook my head. Trina sees sex as either comical or dirty. Unable to let the subject go, but receiving no further response from me, she stood up with the drink in her eyes and announced her intention to have a lie down at mine -- something to which me and Seth assented without demur.

Back to Middlesbrough. I sit down with a discount ale, no obligations until about 7ish this evening. Opposite me, an elderly foursome, spending their pensions and house inflation. To my surprise, the letter's intended recipient, the girl with the filthiest name on my phone, texts me.

Donna is in "an important meeting" and is sending me secret texts. I am trying to keep my squirming from interfering with anyone's Two Meals for 7.19. I apologise by text to Donna for taking the seat next to her and accidentally allowing my fingers to stroke slowly up her skirt and pulling it up asymmetrically across her thighs so that my fingertips can rest on her stocking tops.

Donna, Donna, Donna. My slut, my always-want-you girl, my compliant, dressing-up, high-heeled, open-legged, stairs sex, cunt. I thought this was all over? I don't think anyone has ever turned me on like this.

"Oh dear, so now you've told me my imaginings are correct. I fancy you so fucking much Donna. I'll give you a ring when I'm calmer. But just to say... I LONG to fuck you."


Another bang-up post, sir. The police are nothing to trifle with. They’re bad news. They can ruin your day. I tangled with the Internal Revenue Service once over a tax matter and they’re the same. They garnished my wages for two years and put me on watch for seven. Governments are genuinely frightening.

You shouldn’t use “cunt,” in my humble opinion. It’s so harsh. Fuck is okay but leave out the other one.

Fri 24th October 2014 @ 11:43
Comment from: [Member]

very glad your Mum could get away for a bit. caretaking is no fun… even better that your father has round-the-clock professionals attending to him so you can relax a bit - it’s a win-win-win, i think…

trina has nailed her own relational coffin with that bit. may be time to block her phone number?

Fri 24th October 2014 @ 12:26
Comment from: [Member]

Yes, I’m really glad it’s over. I’ve learned a few lessons, if not the ones they’d like me to have learned.

I’m not taking any advice about what words I can and can’t use in my own writing. Why would I relinquish such a lovely word? When I think of Donna as “my cunt", it’s a term that mixes affection and lust. Trina never uses it and doesn’t like it, which is telling, I think.

Perhaps it’s a little less powerful over here. There’s already speculation about what will take the cunt’s place. I’ve just finished reading Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh and it’s used in that novel, set in an Edinburgh tourists never see, far more often to mean “person” or “fellow” than in a derogatory sense.

A comment on a Guardian article from 2011 about swearing makes a similar point: “There also has to be a consideration for geographical differences. In Glasgow swearing is commonplace everywhere and the C word more specifically is practically used as a term of endearment. Only this afternoon on entering a room full of my mates I commented that “Every cunt’s in here” without thinking about it and was promptly scolded by a friend of mine from Leeds who would never dream of using that word.”

Here in Lancashire – a good deal nearer to Glasgow than London – we haven’t quite started using it to mean “friend". But between lovers, I can’t see what possible other word one would use during sex (and outside of it) to one’s sexually desired other. It’s intimate, close, and marks that person off into a specially favoured category. “Oh darling, you’ve got beautiful pudenda.” Nope. This blog will remain cunted.

Yes, I rang my Mum tonight and she’s having a great time in Lancaster with my daughters and Kirsty. No-one deserves it more. Dad’s away with the fairies, but I’ll mention that in the next post.

I don’t want to block Trina. I just want to confine our friendship to those parts of it that work. I’ve given her a right bollocking about it, saying “I’ve already cut the relationship out; if you do that again I’ll cut the friendship out too.”

Fri 24th October 2014 @ 21:45
Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

Margate?!?!? No one is ever happy in Margate - well there was one time I’ll not mention in public here but other than the odd gig - seeing Bellowhead there in Nov Margate is simply the end of the line

Tue 4th November 2014 @ 13:29
Comment from: [Member]

We used to go on holidays there when I was a nipper – but I was too young to notice anything then. Sounds like that was a blessing!

Tue 4th November 2014 @ 14:39

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

M / 60 / 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

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