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Today's new matches, looby

  Wed 6th May 2015

It's half past ten and I'm up at 5am tomorrow to be Presiding Officer at the polling station at the University. Morgane came in an hour ago and told me she'd split up with her boyfriend, and I said that me and Trina had done the same.

I took the ballot box and all the other stuff up to the Uni yesterday. The taxi driver knows Wilma and we were chatting about break-ups. I told him about mine and he said he'd broken up with his. "Fancy a swap?" he said. "She's gorgeous. Sixty but looks about forty-three." "Yeah, Trina's sixty as well." I was on the edge of asking him for an introduction.

We had a pre-booked holiday in St Malo, so agreeing that there was no point in wasting all her that money, we set off to Portsmouth, from where the MV Bretagne made lowing progress across the Celtic Sea. We sat in at cabaret, where an artiste threw three oranges onto his head and they all landed still on top of one another, that kind of thing. An almost extinct, technical, unthinking craft, a relief from pop music's and theatre's seriousness.

A chatty Norwegian woman joined us. She surreptitously passed us a bottle of aquavit at thigh level whilst talking at length about her fuckwit husband -- a story of which there might be another side. The aquavit was delicious; the man balanced two sabres on his chin, connecting them at their points. At the next table a group of three beshorted lads rejected my eye contact and laughing attempts to merge the two tables.

We went to our cabin. Trina started snoring so I went to sleep in the corridor. I'd forgotten to take a pillow so it was very uncomfortable. At some hour a female security guard type person someone came round and roused me, asking me what I was doing there. "Desolé. Elle ronfle -- bruit." "Is OK," and she went off smiling.

We stayed in a ruthlessly modernised flat in a grand 1770's corsaire's building, with plastic wood-effect panelling stapled over the stone. It had a precipitous staircase and only one window in the whole flat, which made the bedroom stiflingly hot. In the middle of the second night Trina came down and demanded that I go upstairs and sleep up there. In the morning she said that she didn't remember how she came to be sleeping in the living room.

We spent most of the time on the beach with our Carrefour haul of cider and wine, thus sustaining the reputation for decorous drinking behaviour in public for which the English are renowned. I was pleased one day to to see the habit spreading to some young people, sitting there with a carry-out of Grimbergen.

Back in England, any implied hope for a reconciliation died as sulphorously as an extinguished match. For example, here's this evening's email exchange.

From: Trina, 1601
Win tickets to the Ashes on [Hardy's, the winemaker's, website]

From: looby, 1637
Brill! Thank you -- any of those matches would beat the last day of today's inevitable draw between Northants and Lancashire that has provided gripping entertainment today!

From: looby, 2019
Ahh... I understand now ... it comes off a bottle of Hardy's :)

From: Trina, 2024
Once a drunk always a drunk.

From: looby, 2029
No doubt unintentionally, you sent that twice :)

From: looby, 2106
But not that bad a one if it means a day at the cricket!

From: Trina, 2112
Actually I get several messages from you twice. The latest was today - "Thank you. It will be a very interesting night" You were probably drunk though anyway.

This refers to a text message I sent this afternoon referring to the election tomorrow. I hadn't had a drink at that point.

From: looby, 2115
Of course I was! For God's sake woman, do you have so little respect for me to think that I would still be sober at 4pm?

From: Trina, 2117
Fed up with word-playing. Good night.

She's nicer than this most of the time, and was generous and kind to the last, leaving me with some Monsoon Malabar coffee before she started clearing out her room. But it's too fraught for me. I am simple and want a quiet life without much drama.

8 comments

I don’t believe for one moment that you would have done, literally, anything to be her boyfriend. One whiff of compromise or lifestyle change and you’d have headed for zee hills.

I would have loved to see the orange trick. I love stuff like that. It goes largely ignored and under-appreciated.

My wife had begun snoring. I don’t know where it came from. Out of nowhere! I hope this doesn’t become a long-term problem. I look to you for guidance.

I envy your election process. So clean a quick. Do you know the campaigning has already begun for our Presidential election in November of 2016? It’s awful. Awful.

Thu 7th May 2015 @ 11:52
Comment from: [Member]

Sorry for the late reply Exile but it’s been a bit full-on here with the elections.

You’re right about Donna I suppose, but I hope it wouldn’t have changed my lifestyle. Anyway, it’s all theoretical now.

There is no solution for snoring. Trina tried everything. Has your wife been putting on weight? That’s often what causes it.

Our election was quick, but it came with disastrous results.

Sat 9th May 2015 @ 16:24
Comment from: Suzy Southwold [Visitor]

I don’t know, Exile on Pain Street - we saw a different, may I say less cynical side of Looby during the Seriouscrush saga of several years ago.

In my considered opinion you just weren’t that into Trina.

Another 5 years of Call Me Dave with no LDs (or intention of doing a third term) to put the brakes on. We’re fucking SCREWED.

Sat 9th May 2015 @ 20:52
Comment from: [Member]

Trina wanted to make more of it than I did. I didn’t have the same level of feelings towards her as me and you can’t fake it. I’ll miss not having someone to ferry me around to dancey nights out, but I did OK before I met her.

I think it’s good we’ve split up. She can grow up a bit now – at the age of sixty – and I can breathe again now. I’ve just been down the pub with Kitty, a proper friend. Bit flirty, but still, a proper friend, for life.

I am worried as fuck about what an unleashed Nasty Party will do without the feeble brakes of the Lib Dems on them.

Sat 9th May 2015 @ 22:14
Comment from: Leni Qinan [Visitor]

My deepest condolences for the -unexpected- results of the elections, Looby.
I cross my fingers and toes for a different outcome in South Sandwich the 24th May.

About snoring bedmates: ear plugs sometimes help. ;)

Sun 10th May 2015 @ 07:05
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks — they’ve started already, 48 hours in, by planning to revoke our agreement to the Human Rights Act.

We bought some “hi-tech” ear plugs for 40 quid from a flash German company. Didn’t help.

Sun 10th May 2015 @ 16:03
Comment from: [Member]

i continue to be amazed - and mildly annoyed - that Trina kept coming back without changing her expectations. Given her tolerance, suspect she’ll wander back into your life again…

Sun 10th May 2015 @ 21:22
Comment from: [Member]

Yes Daisy – she’s incredibly persistent! Only this afternoon she said she’s coming to the Soul Festival this weekend!

Mon 11th May 2015 @ 16:51


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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.
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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

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The Comfort of Strangers

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