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Silly point

  Sun 17th April 2016

I told Kim about my housing situation. A couple of days later she sends me an email in which she suggested that I move in with her, for the extra costs it would incur, "maybe about £30 a week." It's difficult for an attractive, chatty woman like her to go out on her own "and you could help me with this."

Later, through a drunken phone call from me, we jointly get the better of that idea. I don't want to live so far from my children. I'd be living on the train, with all the expense that involves. And I didn't say it, but I've had enough of being the social worker.

Instead, we have planned a weekend at the Racing Commentator's flat in Leeds for next month. I'm looking forward to it. Don Paterson wrote (from memory, can't be bothered to gargle) "Women have taught me everything I know, but men have often taken me aside and told me things." Racing Commentator hesitates to tell me anything -- not because he's withholding valuable technical information -- but because he has a type of grace that I attribute to true intelligence.


I'm glad I got away with stealing the two bottles of cava from Marks and Sparks in The Strand the other day but shoplifting isn't a reliable business model. I don't want to do what everyone suggests to me -- proofreading for students -- partly because I think that people at a university like Lancaster ("world-leading", like all the others), should know how to write in English, but also because it's fucking boring work with no reward beyond the financial.

I was saying something similar the other week to Vic, who said that the bloke in the corner shop near him is looking for someone to do a few hours. I rang him and he asked if I could come round in twenty minutes. The Sri Lankan franchisee unnerved me with long pauses between questions to which I could give no more elaborate answers than that which I produced, while he stared at me; at my face.

He took me behind the counter to show me how modern tills work. I was then asked if I could come back the next day at four for my first shift. I was preparing to leave his stiflingly hot shop, when he said "So, what sort of wages are you expecting?" "Well, I suppose, the minimum wage. £7.20 an hour for someone my age." "Well, we pay £5, cash in hand."

I said that there would be no advantage to me working cash in hand for that amount, thanked him for his time, and said that I hoped that he will find some desperate Vietnamese person who is more suitable.


In a disinhibited moment, I text Wendy. "I love you Wendy. I love you in every sense of that word." With the improved fine motor control that comes from a few pints and a Lebanese cigarillo, I sent it to Wendy, Cilla my old Hungarian lodger, and Trina.

Wendy was easy to sort out. 6am next morning, awakening with the start of anxious worry that is the privilege of the heavy drinker, I texted Wendy seul. "I'm sorry Wendy. Please ignore last night. A friend and I hit the wacky baccy a bit and it went to my head. I value our friendship very much, like I know you do too. I apologise, and if we can just pretend I never said anything. See you soon! x

"No worries petal. You're in enough trouble I expect?"

We got into a conversation in which she asked if I could nip to the chemist for her. I replied "Hello, Dr Surname here. Yes, the prescription charge you guessed at is correct. However, I will have to examine your breasts first."

Trina was more difficult, an emailed shit storm, but like most depressions, you just have to wait for the worst of them to drift off towards Novoya Zemlya and, in words of the Shipping Forecast, "lose its identity".

As important as the drama with Trina is, it's the first day of the County Championship today and we are skittling out Nottinghamshire, 214 for 7 at tea, and I've made some forced jokes to her relating to fielding positions, to temper the heat. Alles klar.

6 comments

Comment from: Isabelle [Visitor]

You’re the silly mid off of late night texts!

Mon 18th April 2016 @ 06:53
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

With Wendy I’m not just long off, I’m not even the twelfth man.

Mon 18th April 2016 @ 09:06
Comment from: isabelle [Visitor]

The twelfth man in the corridor of uncertainty :(

Mon 18th April 2016 @ 15:04
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

She definitely wants to keep me on the boundary.

Oh dear, this could run all day :)

Mon 18th April 2016 @ 15:16

The L word. Are you nuts? Rein that shit in or she’ll give you your walking papers.

Mon 18th April 2016 @ 21:27
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Absolutely stupid of me, I know, you’re right. Just drunken bollocks. I’ve never loved anyway in a sense separate from that in which I love my children. The romantic sense of the word “love” is the term we use for a set of behaviours that draw vampirishly upon sexual attraction, to satisfy men’s innate emotional neediness and women’s innate wish to do fuck all and live with gin and labradors.

I regret saying it and I admire Wendy even more for making so little a point of it. She’s fucking brilliant.

Mon 18th April 2016 @ 22:29


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M / 56 / 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

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63 mago
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