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"We will never win the Eurovision Song Contest again"

  Sun 26th June 2016

Saturday afternoon. I'm in a crowded pub in Loughborough, pleasantly dazed with tiredness with my second pre-5am start in 48 hours. Eldest is at the University's Open Day. It's a strange accent, as difficult to place as the area -- the "East Midlands". A woman hands a man her bag. "Oooh blimey, that's heavy. What have you got in there?" "Slug killer."

I had my interview at the betting shop. I changed my jacket so came out without any money or cards, so had to blag it on the train, there and back. I did a maths test which even at its applicant-sifting apogee amonted to asking us to multiple 4.5 by 7. The manager led me up a staircase strewn with disarrayed boxes of paper, like a set for a fire safety hazard film. Minimum wage, no overtime, no enhancements for Bank Holdays, shops open 364 days a year. I'll find out on Wednesday.


I was working at the referendum. I rang Kitty to ask if she could help take the screens and the ballot box and all the paraphernalia up to the church social centre which was to be my station. She said she could do it straight after school on Wednesday, "but shall we have a drink first?" so we sat outside and she told me some tales of Wendy's estranged husband's attempts at maintaining his control over her, using the daughter as proxy and her drinking as the moral high ground.

I felt glowing with sympathy for her as Kitty told me the details. I texted her, knowing that she'd know that Kitty had shared the story with me. "I love and care for you very much Wendy. I want you to be happy, with all the door-opening vistas that you deserve. I am tremendously fond of you." I was implying a criticism of her husband's behaviour, and advertising myself.

She replied an hour later, "And me you. I'm very busy next week but maybe I could sneak you in round the back when [daughter] is in bed."

Text exchanges with Wendy can make me feel crumpled, screwed up like a fisted sheet of A4. She doesn't fancy me; doesn't want to sneak me in to her house for the reasons I'd like. I replied with a levity that was not mine.


Thursday, and voting day in the UK and Gibraltar. Got up at 4.45, was at the polling station by 6. It was in an airy room with large picture windows. I had two poll clerks, one of whom annoyed me greatly. He turned up in jeans and a T-shirt, a ring through his lip, an ugly gargling speech that was difficult to understand, a reluctance to talk to the voters, a droopy-lidded man who wants to tell you things: I learnt that the Ring Cycle has never been performed in its entirety outside of Glyndeboune, the opera house built specifically for its performance; and that I am wrong about the name of the street next to the one in which my children have spent all but the first year of their lives. I imagined his house, all World of Warcraft boxed sets and board games. I steered him into him doing the role which requires the least interaction with the public.

All finished at 11, I got back to the girls' house to follow the results. Eldest wanted to follow it too. Kirsty was all ready to go to see boyf but fetched a sleeping bag down for me. I felt that adrenaline chattiness, ran down my clockwork with a sleep-deprived, glassy, sociabilty. We both went to bed for an hour-and-a-half, then got up again at one o'clock. I lasted until a quarter to six, then was woken again at seven by the other two, who had to go to school. Kirsty arrived back from her night with boyf at about nine, articulately twitchy on sparkle dust, and we talked about it all.

I voted for the frying pan of Remain rather than the fire of Leave, but the Remain compaign came across as a group unable to speak to anyone outside their own class. You can't dismiss people's concern about immigration. It's a subject that the left finds embarassing even to approach, but there are many people in white working class areas that have been made spectators in their own streets, as a functioning cohesive community has been undermined by the arrival of immigrants. The established inhabitants are expected to settle for a mannered apartheid in their suburbs to replace a practical closeness, an instruction which perhaps reflects the middle class preference for distance in social relations.

I went down the pub for a Brexfast pint. Everyone I spoke to thought it was a great move. I went home to see Fuckwit Lodger in the act of moving out. I shook his hand and wished him all the best with a neutral face designed to mask my relief that he is finally out of my hair.

10 comments

Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

The Leics accent is a weird and dirty one. I alienated most people on a course last week by mocking the way my adopted city pronounces my name - Annoh.

Dismayed by the result. Husband’s hometown was the most Brexity result in the country. It’s a poor rural area with 1 in 8 Eastern European. I can see why locals are overwhelmed (it’s happened in 10 years) but on the other hand if they wanted to cut caulis for £1.60 an hour the immigrants wouldn’t be there. I was genuinely flattered to be addressed in Polish on my last visit, as the average local my age weighs 18 stone and has four dyslexic/ADHD kids.

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

Me too – had a weird feeling on waking up on Friday morning with the momentarily delayed realisation that yes, we have voted to leave.

The Remain camp really should have addressed the issue of immigration, rather than avoiding mentioning it. The Guardian’s got a story this morning about how Labour Party organisers were told to avoid the subject entirely.

That said, the unleashing of the xenophobic core of Little England since Thursday has been a sorry sight to see.

Tue 28th June 2016 @ 11:07
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I often find it fascinating how people tend to vote against their own self-interest, i thought America had cornered the market on that, the rural white south or those who eat up the bulk of public services are always carrying on about brown people taking their jobs yet these Kings of the Trailer Park have barely worked a day in their life, really what do they care if some brown guy wants to work in the field? They certainly don’t want to do it, but alas as the brilliant Bill Hicks once said, “humanity? we’re not all that great. more like a virus with shoes.”

And out of curiosity, what day is the betting shop actually closed?

Tue 28th June 2016 @ 19:15
Comment from: [Member]

It’s fucking crazy here at the moment. Everyone is talking about it and events are galloping along, hour by hour. My own opinion is that the exit will never happen. Big business doesn’t want it, and they hold the real power in the UK.

I worry what would happen to the poor, the least well-educated, the most vulnerable, if the government was free from the constraints set on it by the EU. The press here is quite clever at setting up arguments between different sub-classes of the poor to make them in-fight.

I can’t be too harsh on work-avoiders because I don’t want to work either. Well, only in something interesting, well-paid and where I can make up my own hours. But in the meantime…it could be minimum wage in a betting shop, with Christmas Day my only guaranteed day off.

Tue 28th June 2016 @ 19:29
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Oh don’t get me wrong, i’m like a fucking world champ at work avoiding, i usually just have some sort of grift set up or what one may call “opportunities for tax free income"… and you’re quite right, what Big Business wants Big Business gets, if it doesn’t it will bend you over with hot poker sizzling next to the sphincter until it does… i’d love to see what x-mas eve was like at the betting shop, i had some wicked good x-mas eve’s in my wasted youth, when i had nowhere to go and nothing to do, fuckin’ hell, they’ll be lounge fodder one day.

Wed 29th June 2016 @ 02:56
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yes, ideally, I’d like to develop a cash-based “off balance sheet” enterprise too.

And who knows – I might be reporting from the bookie’s this Christmas Eve. Although I hope not – it’s my daughters’ 18th.

Wed 29th June 2016 @ 07:59

I know your feelings about work but I hope you get the betting shop gig. Imagine the characters you’ll come across! Imagine the posts! It’s good for us, your faithful readers.

It’s unsettling to see you so smitten over a woman. It takes some getting used to.

So, do you have a new lodger lined up? Perhaps David Cameron. He’ll need a new place come October. The people who are pro-immigrant generally don’t live in immigrant communities and don’t realize how difficult that can be.

Thu 30th June 2016 @ 12:06
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I supposed to find out yesterday. Firms do mess you about.

Even talking to Wendy now is becoming very frsutrating. It won’t go anywhere. I think that’s a shame. There’s a whole new world there to go running through.

It’s been an utter luxury lately, having the house to myself for several hours a day. Maybe if I did get the betting shop job I could afford not to replace Fuckwit. That would be great. And then, fingers crossed, next year, I’ll be living at Kirsty’s.

Thu 30th June 2016 @ 12:18
Comment from: Liverdrawer [Visitor]

Are you dead Looby?

Mon 11th July 2016 @ 20:24
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

No, just hectic. Written some of it up today. Back very soon. You’re a love for asking x

Mon 11th July 2016 @ 21:15


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