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Lost property

  Mon 9th March 2015

It was the thirtieth anniversary of the Musicians' Co-operative, and I was asked to compere a benefit gig for them on Saturday. The upstairs pub room was chilly but there were young flimsily-dressed girls there doing that pivoted talking and laughing with their friends, before their men came off the stage and hooked their hands round their backs and slid their hands down onto their arses. Less a gesture of mutual sexual interest, more a public display of ownership.

After an hour of respectful attention to a dreary acre of guitar-based rock music, I retreated downstairs for much of the time to mingle with the boho crowd, returning only to introduce the bands.

A man who started his PhD a little after me and works in a pub I rarely go in, came up to me with this friend whom I'd never met before, to my knowledge. "This is Stu," said my friend. "Hiya, y'right?" I said, and extended as I always do, my hand, thinking it was just another introduction. He took it properly and firmly and shook it for a long time, so much so that even as someone who likes handshaking, I had to inch it out of his grasp.

"I'm Stu," he said. "I was trying to help you at the Castle the other week." I realised that he was talking about my shameful performance at the house night in the old prison a couple of weeks ago. I looked in his eyes and felt a flood of gratitude and humility.

I shook my head in mute apology for a short while. "I am so, so sorry Stu. I'm so sorry for all that. Was it you then? I'm sorry. I realise I imposed myself on you and other people that night... I'd had too much acid."

"I know... but honestly, don't worry about it. It wasn't your fault. I'm just glad that you're OK now."

Richard, my PhD friend, then said some very nice things about how he thinks I am a top man and how he'd like to have a drink and spend some time with me. I'd like to do that, but I'm not in his intellectual league. It makes me feel nervous when people say things like that. I can only disappoint.


Kim, whom I'm very much looking forward to seeing again at the soul weekender in Morecambe in May, sends me a text. Prefacing the sentence with a qualifiction about the disinhibiting effects of drink, she tells me that she loves me.

Well, you don't really pet, because you don't feel any sexual attraction towards me, and I know that you won't make a move on me when we're next in bed on 24th May.

9 comments

Nice of Stu to let you off the hook like that. But you were contrite and sincere about it. No reason to torment you further.

Can’t take a compliment, can you? Makes you uncomfortable? Me, too. Where I was raised, we are lead to believe that people complimenting you are just being charitable. That there’s no real truth in being told someone wants to spend time with you.

Maybe Kim loves you like a brother. There’s always that joyless classification.

Mon 9th March 2015 @ 11:11
Comment from: smallbeds [Visitor]

I honestly don’t know what to say about intellectual leagues that doesn’t sound patronising, but I really think it’s so much less important than people worry about. In Harvey, Elwood says at one point: “‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh, so smart; or oh, so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart; I recommend pleasant.”

The data point I always think of is the cleverest person I know, who also happens to be the clever person I know *of*, and I get the feeling that the company of clever people being terribly clever bores him rigid. Certainly he’s at his most genial - a real gentleman of the old school, but prone to black moods that have dogged his entire life - when he’s not in his most academic company.

Being clever is a bit like being rich: above a certain point, it might get you further - in a career? in an argument? into the empyrean of abstract thought? - but I’ve never seen it make people happier, or more fun to be with.

Mon 9th March 2015 @ 16:45
Comment from: [Member]

Like EoPS, i have an internal mistrust of compliments - but rather than feel compliments come from a desire to be charitable, i believe they come from a desire to manipulate – they compliment me because they want something. This leads to mistrust and walls. i’m still pretty bad at this, but at least recognize my own wiring…

Tue 10th March 2015 @ 02:44
Comment from: [Member]

Exile –
Everyone’s been very tolerant about my errant night and has assured me not to be concerned about it. Perhaps I’m suffering from somethng I’m quick to criticise others for – imagining you’re more important to everyone than you are.

SB –
I always feel that such a generous compliment destroys the mystique of a friendship, in which such things should almost never be said. I feel I’ve got something to live up to now.

Elwood is dead right though.

DF –
I think my friend was being genuine rather than manipulative, but yes, I am sometimes rather suspicious of compliments. I’d rather have constructive, practical criticism of my behaviour.

Tue 10th March 2015 @ 11:13
Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

Compliments… yes… what are they really thinking? Hmmm?

Tue 10th March 2015 @ 15:35
Comment from: Suzy Southwold [Visitor]

I’ll lower the tone, shall I. Maybe he wants to bum you.

Tue 10th March 2015 @ 19:18
Comment from: [Member]

Ah yes, I forgot the possibility that my constantly smouldering male sexuality, combined with the heady atmosphere of the loud music, the darkened room, and the pheronomoned air, might have turned him… giddy.

No, me neither F – I just nod my head uncommittally and change the subject.

Wed 11th March 2015 @ 12:25
Comment from: smallbeds [Visitor]

*reads your reply again* … everyone else, should I tell him?

Sun 22nd March 2015 @ 10:09
Comment from: [Member]

confused.com :)

Sun 22nd March 2015 @ 13:05


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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.


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