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  Sat 21st March 2015

Above is a sensational picture of the eclipse as it appeared in Lancaster. I avoided blindness by not looking at this dazzling spectacle directly, but instead through a pinhole projector that I made from instructions on the BBC. Special award goes to the students who turned up at Williamson Park without being arsed to get out of their 'jamas.

There were loads of people there; I went with Kirsty, but a female friend of mine had yesterday expressed an interest in going. Trundling along as I do on the hard shoulder of the information superhighway, I went to send her a message on farce book.

Talk about not being allowed to forget any more.

Afterwards I went back with Kirsty to hers, and we had a bit of a chat. It's always amiable. You fucking idiot, leaving her.

Then into town to meet my pal Vic, who's become quite a good drink-blether partner in the last few months. Wilma turned up. I said "You're not an alcoholic Wilma, you're a depressive." She's on day two of this pointless programme called "Journey to Recovery." She said "I've got to tell them I don't want to stop drinking."

A deaf girl I vaguely know turned up with her friend, and Vic got his Swiss Army knife out and cut down a photograph of her friend's recently deceased fiancé so that it would fit in a frame. Deaf girl was asking me if I knew anyone who could interpret the funeral on Monday. I wrote back "You'll get the gist, and most of it is quite boring." She showed it to the bereaved girl and I felt a moment of alarm, in case that'd hurt her feelings, but they both reacted with assent. Deaf girl screwed the paper up.

This gorgeous friend of theirs -- late thirties, darkish blonde hair in a bob that was strokably growing out, green eyes, a cotton green loose top -- came and sat with us for a few minutes. I saw Vic's look widen into an eye-smile, and I had a moment of self-disgust, knowing that mine had done the same. So fucking obvious. You're just the same.

Teaching Practice Colleague -- with whom I share an imminent birthday -- who I've known for thirty years -- rang late on tonight. Neither of us have planned anything, but I said that the one thing I would like to do is to see her. I suggested I could cycle over to her house in the morning, before Trina gets back in Lancaster at about 2pm. Trina would invite herself along and dominate the conversation; afterwards she would recast the chat as an accusation, dyeing it with jealousy about a girl who predates her.

I received a letter this morning: Donna's handwriting. I turned the envelope over and over. I thought it would be some precisely concise and honest letter about how she feels insulted by me having Trina on the margin while I was seeing her last year.

It was a birthday card, with kisses. She's happily seeing someone more propinquitous, both in terms of income and location -- and possibly in other ways too -- so I'm not going to interfere. I'll write a little thank you note, affectionate but light. It's understood now: gone.


I’ve seen a few eclipses and I’m always tempted to stare right into it. It’s like when I pass a cop in the airport or in Times Square and I look at his gun and wonder what would happen if I grabbed it. Last week while walking the dog I saw a shooting star. It’s a big thrill.

We’re ALL the same. Them, too.

He may be better off in terms of income and location but I bet he doesn’t use propinquitous in a sentence.

Sat 21st March 2015 @ 20:41
Comment from: [Member]

There’s a saying up north, “fine words butter no parsmips.” I don’t think I’ll be glistering anything of Donna’s any time soon.

It was only a moment, but I hope Glamour Puss didn’t see us both light up like hungry dogs. I wish I could have done the slightest smile, and nodded politely. I am an English dog, after all.

Sat 21st March 2015 @ 21:30
Comment from: young at heart [Visitor]

sadly in London the eclipse was eclipsed by the cloud……..

Mon 23rd March 2015 @ 16:42
Comment from: [Member]

Good that you did hear from Donna, even if it wasn’t exactly what you wanted to hear…

Women do the same thing - sometimes we’re not quite as obvious. When sparking near a new prospect, whether we are taken or not, we certainly turn on whatever charms we can conjure. It’s all biology. Every last bit of it. Sometimes, when i’m feeling particularly rotten about flirtations, i remind myself that it’s in my limbic system. My dinosaur brain makes me do it!

Tue 24th March 2015 @ 01:31
Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

Had to get the dictionary out again… she us southern non-university educated types eh? Not a clue…

Sorry that Donna is gone though.

Your friend should drop out the programme - I’ve wasted many hours smiling beaming at people who are somewhere they don’t want to be - it doesn’t do any of us any help.
I now look for them… the ones with back problems. “I’m only here to get my wife/husband/boy or girlfriend/partner/son/daughter/mother/father/lover/cousin/relation/work colleague/mate/boss/police/probation/house association/social services/landlord (I could go on for ever) off my back".

Tue 24th March 2015 @ 13:32
Comment from: [Member]

Yes DF – I know that the veneer of culture is wafer thin, but it still takes me by suprise when the utterly involuntary reactions of physical attraction are suddenly lit up.

F – I think she’s more or less decided that now. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and would be depriving someone else of a place they’d benefit from.

As I’ve told her several times, I think she’s a depressive and perhaps could seek help for that. I She’s a good friend and I like her a great deal, but she goes on like a scratched record, year in, year out, about the same “problems” – her weight, her drinking, her man troubles – instead of doing something about them.

Or… as I was saying the other day, if she likes eating and drinking so much, then why not enjoy it instead of feeling gloomy about it all the time. Do them to excess and at least have a good time on the path to hospitalisation.

Wed 25th March 2015 @ 10:39
Comment from: Leni Qinan [Visitor]

*looks up for propinquitiquititious in the doctionary*

WOW you learn something new every day … if you’re lucky.

Parsnip, I know that one.


Thu 26th March 2015 @ 16:44
Comment from: [Member]

I’m pushing it a bit, because really, it refers to closeness in blood relations, but it’s such a lovely word it deserves wider application.

Thu 26th March 2015 @ 16:59

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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

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