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  Mon 8th December 2014

Another long night coming up. I've got to finish editing the local real ale drinkers' magazine by tomorrow morning. People send me their reports, pleased with themselves, thinking that they're submitting the finished article, imagining that all I do is I click Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+P, before sending it away in an email. They don't see the hours and hours I spend correcting their shite formatting, reversing their repeated taps on the space bar in place of paragraphs or indentation, their longwinded imitations of speech with capitalisation used instead of punctuation, all composed in the lazy dictionary-shunning spellchecked spelling of people who sit in pubs bemoaning modern educational standards.

Both the lodgers announced that they are moving out the other day. It didn't really sink in until Friday. I was in town and bumped into --- who used to live in this house. "What are you doing in half an hour?" she asked. "I think we know that, don't we?"

I went to get £20 out and it wouldn't let me, because Tom has -- correctly -- cancelled his standing order for the rent, so the ATM would only let me have £15. I withdrew that much, and met her in the pub. I apologised for not being able to buy her drink, and told her about Donna, whom I'd rung earlier; and Trina reading the letter to her. She told me about a threesome she'd had in the place in which she works once everyone had gone home. It was an enjoyable, sexy chat.

I came back to the girls' house. On Saturday night someone rang me asking to see the room "now" -- as only foreigners do. I told her twenty minutes and went back to the house to let her in. She's Polish and a cleaner. Polish -- that puts her, in the net of stereotypes by which I judge prospective tenants -- in the first class. They're grafters, and direct. She's likely to be able to pay the rent and will be out all day, not like these irritatingly shy Vietnamese students who take "all bills included" to mean using the central heating to re-create the climatic conditions of Saigon for twenty hours a day.

I showed her the two rooms. Both Tim and the other lodger were out. Both their rooms were in a strewn disarray, the carelessness of people to whom a house will never belong, just as, recursively, this house is not mine and will never be a home.

She noted the lack of wardrobes. There's these spindly metal things with canvas pockets at the sides. "There is not much space. I am a woman," she joked, second language-ly. Haven't heard from her since.

It is a problem for me, and I went to bed at the girls' house imagining sleeping in foil wrappers in the park and wondering what to do with my record collection. If no-one replies soon I can only ask Seriouscrush for a deferral of the rent which was due four days ago.


A working class editor is a hero to all. I wish I had one for my grammatically ignorant scribblings. It’s just a blog but I care.

Glad that you think highly of the Polish. I’m half Polish and can confirm that we are a hearty, bill-paying stock.

If I had a big bag of cash I’d send it. Still no thought of obtaining dull but dependable employment? It beats foil wrappers, albeit barely.

Mon 8th December 2014 @ 12:26
Comment from: [Member]

Yes – I sometimes spot errors in this blog weeks, months, afterwards, and they all get corrected. I consider it an honour to have been asked to edit the magazine. My predecessor rescued it from oblivion and greatly improved the quality of the articles. I want to maintain his standards and distinguish it from other similar magazines.

Half Polish? Ah, so that explains your slightly odd surname :) Yes, the Poles are alright, the ones I’ve met. I’m not having East Asians here again though. I can’t read them.

And I’d send your money straight back. I’ve made my bed, and I’ve got to lie on it. What little work I do at the moment I enjoy, but as a general rule, I would rather avoid it. And it won’t come to sleeping rough: that was just a night-time spectre coming to visit me.

Mon 8th December 2014 @ 12:47

The surname belongs to my wife. It’s Irish. When we got married I took her name. My father, whose last name is VERY Polish, was a fool of a man who had little to do with me. Carrying his name onto the next generation wasn’t a priority for me.

Thu 11th December 2014 @ 12:19
Comment from: [Member]

I see. I wondered if it was an Anglicisation of a fairly common Polish surname beginning with K but obviously not.

Talking of taking the female partner’s name, my girls took their Mum’s name. I find these modern middle class double barrelled names very pretentious and we never married, and Kirsty’s got a really nice, old English surname, so they took that.

Thu 11th December 2014 @ 12:27

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

M / 57 / 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
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