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Modern technology is shit

  Thu 28th May 2015

I finished The Great Gatsby this morning, and so am now carrying round the melancholy with which that book closes. My youngest is an advocate of it and I read it on her recommendation. I found it hard going at first and I couldn't see how it was the defining American novel -- what, more than Revolutionary Road or Sister Carrie? -- but then halfway through, the reportage of cyclical parties fades into the sad, elegiac denouement, where the detachment that I found irritating earlier on in the book comes to be a strength, in avoiding the cynicism that might have lured a weaker writer.

I went to Manchester the other day for an appointment at the Insolvency Service. He was a harassed, heavy-laden young man and I kept my answers brief, sensing that he might sometimes be dragged into having to cut off autobiographical meanderings that blur the line between insolvency and social work.

All done by 2.30, I sought sanctuary. I noticed that the woman of a similar age to me to my left had ordered the same beer as me. "Nice to see a woman ordering ale," I said. "Oh no, I like a nice pint of ale." She was Irish, but I restrained myself from asking whereabouts. I am so fucking considerate. I then pushed my pint a couple of inches back across the bar and asked for it to be topped up. "Do you not want yours topping up as well?" "No, I like a bit of head." "Oooh, don't we all!" I said, nudging her and thinking who are you with? Want to sit with me? Teetotallers -- you miss all this.

On my way into the pub, a gipsy woman was selling those little sprigs of heather wrapped up in a foil sleeve. I like the look and smell of heather and it's harmonious with my tweed jacket. "Hiya -- I'll have one of them," and I proffered 50p. "It'll be a fiver my dear." "It'll be 50p or nowt," I said.

She gave it to me and asked to take my hand. "This line here," she said, vaguely stroking some general region, "this line, I think you've had a relationship split up recently, and you've had a few drink and drugs problems." Well that narrows it down a bit. Who would speculate that someone on his way into a budget pub in central Manchester might have occasionally had a couple too many shandies in the past? I almost wanted to give her her fiver for such imprecise divining.

A friend gave me an iPhone4 a couple of weeks ago and even another friend who uses one all the time can't set it up. MAC addresses, something something settings... why can't you just put the fucking SIM in and go? That's even after I've made a virtual machine on this pc to get iTunes on it.

A new Belkin router arrived the other day which runs on the N band which is my next step in trying to correct the chronic stop start stop start of the broadband in this house, reconnecting about twenty times a day and turning the whole modem off about twice. Got it going (or so I thought) but even with the wired connection, I think waiting forty-eight minutes for an IP address is a bit shit.

William Morris said "Never have anything in your house which you do not believe to be beautiful or know to be useful."


I really like Gatsby and will reread it on occasion. I’m not sure it’s all cracked up to what it’s made to be, but it’s absolutely an enjoyable read and that’s enough for me. I reread A Clockwork Orange on occasion as well.

Insolvency Service sound very British and very awful. I wonder what the U.S. equivalent is?

I hate having my future foretold. I’m not interesting in anything other than getting through the present day.

William Morris would be proud. I’ll bet that was highly satisfying and cathartic. Best photo sequence ever.

Fri 29th May 2015 @ 04:22
Comment from: [Member]

I made the mistake of reading a couple of pages of Tony Tanner’s introduction, which is like reading a love letter from an awestruck little boy.

I’ve had it explained to me that I could have worked harder getting the devices working, they might have gone to someone who could put them to use, and so on – right, yes, but what do I do with this rage and frustration? Sometimes violence is the answer, and yes, I enjoyed it very much indeed.

Fri 29th May 2015 @ 05:12
Comment from: smallbeds [Visitor]

Only a hammer? After reading The Great Gatsby I’m surprised you weren’t inspired to [SPOILER].

Fri 29th May 2015 @ 10:20
Comment from: [Member]

technology. i am a PROFESSIONAL TECHNOLOGIST and i’ve come close to using a hammer on my damn smart phone on far too many occasions. perhaps i should change my title to “BAD PROFESSIONAL TECHNOLOGIST". i suck at it…

Fri 12th June 2015 @ 17:20

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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

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.

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