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  Sun 26th October 2014

My Dad recognised me straight away, but he's not coherent much of the time. He's on a lot of drugs and said he remembers Kirsty's fingers as being "very jerky, with those twelve-inch nails." He said that a cat got into the ward yesterday and was wandering about.

He started fiddling with his catheter and I had to say "that's probably alright as it is, Dad." He's already pulled out one cannula. I think he enjoyed me and Sam visiting though, listening to the chat between ourselves, because much of the time he can't respond. I collected a capitalised leaflet, "What To Do When You Think Someone Is Dying", on my way out.

At my sister's, I am relieved to be in the kitchen to avoid the cajoling and frazzled story reading of bedtime. I made us a chilli for dinner and a less successful tortilla (Spanish omelette) for tea. I managed to get away at 9.30 tonight to the newish Wethers. In the safety of his car, Sam expressed his disenchantment with it all, how he didn't realise how much like hard work it would be, and a weakly encrypted irritation with his girlfriend.

The Middlesbrough people I've met are accepting and friendly and easy to talk to. The man over there was telling me he's starting a new job on Monday, in a bookie's. I said I'd always fancied working in a bookies, since the smoking ban anyway. Middlesbrough has had one of these pointless EU-funded makeovers in which Poundland gets a new pavement and there are metalled signs to the last remaining public institutions, one of which is that reliable indication that a town is absolutely fucked -- a gallery of modern art.

Last night I got away to have a stopover with Kim. She'd been on an unsucessful date with a man whose moniker is Dreamweaver. "I suppose you find me a bit boring," he correctly suggested, at the end of their first and last date. She was wearing a grey thigh-length minidress under a black zip-up jacket; black tights, and little boots with a zip up the side and velcro straps across the top. "I can't even give it away on a plate," she said. I love it when she crosses her legs, forcing her dress to take the angled shorter route across her thighs.

I gabbled a bit to her about Donna, before she said we were going somewhere else. She took my hand and we left the pub out of the back way and down a pitch black steep-stepped alley, to this unmarked door to a flat above a shop. You had to ring to be let in. There was a makeshift bar in the front room and DJs in the back. We danced and I had a trophy wife feeling. It was that moneyed but well-intentioned arthouse crowd, bearded and bobbed -- but good, at least they're doing something with it. They've refused all funding and just run it from the proceeds of the bar.

Back at hers we danced some more and then slept chastely together. I noticed that often, when I was getting into that lovely space -- formless, optimistic -- of dance music, that she would snap me back down out of that, to her life, to add more details to her failed date. I don't want to speak when I'm dancing.

Edit The title is simply a spelling mistake, nothing cryptic.


You should chase that dream of working in a bookie joint. It’d be fun. And imagine all the great post material that’d come from it. Plus, you could end up with a few quid in your pocket. Sorry to hear about the art gallery. Most unfortunately.

Mon 27th October 2014 @ 10:41
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Definitely. I fancy that, or – even better – training to be a croupier. I went to a casino a few months ago, and was transfixed for hours. Finally went home at 8am.

Then – talk about “he who hesitates” – they were recruiting for trainees! It was 8pm - 6am four days a week. Not sure I want to live in Manchester though.

Mon 27th October 2014 @ 10:57
Comment from: Suzy Southwold [Visitor]

…"that reliable indication that a town is absolutely fucked – a gallery of modern art.”

See also: Margate.

Thu 30th October 2014 @ 07:45
Comment from: [Member]

That’s exactly what I had in mind :)

Thu 30th October 2014 @ 10:39
Comment from: Lana [Visitor]

See also: Hastings. The Chapman brothers have just put on a show there, funded by the locals.

Wed 5th November 2014 @ 11:32
Comment from: [Member]

Although, Hastings is a lot less up itself than Brighton.

Mind you, “up itself” isn’t far from what I remember from the Chapman brothers’ sculptures I’ve seen.

Wed 5th November 2014 @ 12:10

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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Comfort of Strangers

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