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My daughter comes home in a stranger's car

  Thu 1st December 2016

Edit: apologies for the many errors of all sorts, in some earlier, more drunken, versions of this post.


I'm in a pub in Blackpool, where I've been mystery shopping in two other boozers this afternoon. Paid hardly more than the minimum wage employees I observe, I send detailed notes about any departures from the behaviour that middle management think is what customers like, human interaction scored to the extent it resembles an assembly line.

I like a day away from Lancaster and getting a few free drinks and my tea. I like the dissembling and making myself anonymous; I'm in my own theatre for half an hour. I have to clock details of state of outdoor seating area; of hair, appearance and build, replies to my requests, state of toilet roll dispensers, and note if the curse of the upsell is missed. I always try to give them good marks. I overlook transgressions, I polish their sentences for them.


Middle daughter went to see Primal Scream in Liverpool on Sunday and was driven home by a strange man.

There being no connection to Lancaster from the last train from Liverpool to Preston, Kirsty and I had forked out £45 for a taxi for her last leg home.

"Dad, do you still have to pay for a taxi if you cancel it?"

"I suppose not, but what about getting back from Preston?"

"I've met a man on the train and he says he's dropping his son off at Uni and could drop me at home."

I ascertained that he had his son with him and his car at Preston; and that they were all sat round the same table. Kirsty and I liaised and decided it was alright, so we cancelled the taxi. Melanie ended up at her front door, driven there by a man she'd known for forty-five minutes. He just dropped her off, Melanie said her thanks, and without waiting for Kirsty's, he drove the ten miles back to his home in Garstang. What an excellent form of Lancashire behaviour. Can you imagine such a thing happening in London?


Intermission: I've just asked a young couple sat at a table not far from me if I'm anywhere near Blackpool South station. False eyelashes, carefully arranged white vest top to reveal the scalloped top of a black bra, on the one hand; number one haircut, baseball cap, jeans, on the other. They point the way but we carry on a chat. I am called into adjudicate in a black-blue colour differentiation argument. She lays her jet-shiny black nails against her coat. Her coat, which I've described as "black", now seems like a strong version of blue, and my argument is weakened.

She's having a few drinks before she goes to work. She's a lap dancer. "Blackpool's a shithole," he says, straight after she's told us her job. At the same time, I think, "if that's your instinctive sense of protectiveness towards her, wishing that there could be something better as a job for her, good for you, you proto-feminist;" and, "let her do it if she doesn't come to any harm. We all sell our labour at various degrees of degradation."


Saturday night, and to Bury Town Hall for an all-nighter. It's mainly a Northern night but they've recently opened an anteroom for those of us who like that other line, of disco > house > techno. We went in Olly's BMW, which, like its owner, is a fast mover which can get out of problems by quickly disappearing for a while.

I'm the only one at these nights who uses poppers. It makes me a cynosure of others' eyes for a while, which is irritating -- watching people wait for me to erupt into some kind of uncontrollable butyl nitrite-inspired Brownian motion after having the bottle at my nostril -- but whose advantage is being interpellated as someone who goes a bit too far.

I liked the half hour DJ rotation, although one DJ seemed to have a different understanding of the meaning of "half an hour", the overtime of which he used to treat us to some James Brown remixes, which I am always glad to hear again, only having sat through them 9,487 times before. Karen was dancing well in her grey heels, and it was an amusement to see men flick their eyes away from her as soon they noticed themselves noticed. A young, slender girl in a boob-tipping bustier was dancing well and uncaringly; another of a similar age was smiling through her e.

I went back downstairs to the Northern Room, aware that Olly's wife had "suggested" we wind it up at about half past four, a woman who cannot go out without patrolling hers and others' pleasure. I was inducted into a circle of people they know with meaningless but good-natured handshakes.

We got back to Lancaster surprisingly quickly. The speedo was holding at a steady 100-105, but as Olly is a scrupulously law-abiding man, and BMWs are made in Germany where they use kilometres, it must have meant we travelled home at around 65mph.


Coda: I've just been saying my goodbyes to the young couple. A guess the age game. Got her -- nineteen -- and overestimated him by three years -- he's twenty-nine. They met on a dating website and have become friends, not boyfriend and girlfriend. I said that I was on that one too. He said that his mum would like to meet someone "on the level" like me. There's a bit of a standing up, about-to-go body language, testing whether we're serious.

"Oh fuck this -- give her my number. What's the worst that can happen?" I rip a page out of my diary. I'm already open-eyed curious about his mum. I hope she rings me, on the back of her son's vouch.

12 comments

Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Haha!! that was top, oh my love and respect for the lap dancing ladies of the world knows no bounds…

And we are trained these days by electronic inundation that the world is a fantasticly dangerous and harmful place and many times humanity proves that theory right but then things like a ride home from a stranger, random acts of kindness, people just being fucking decent to each other happen and it reminds us that there actually is some humanity in the world, strange how that works…

Thu 1st December 2016 @ 21:27
Comment from: [Member]

Yes, I thought it was quite poetic and apt that after a Primal Scream concert, of all things, that someone should look kindly on her – and really, only do what anyone of any basic decency would do, seeing a seventeen-year-old girl having to get a very expensive taxi home.

Not sure if I’d be keen on any of mine being a lapdancer, and I really didn’t want to start quizzing her about her job as a man asking her about it might have a strange tang. I was mightily curious though. Maybe if I end up knocking about with her mum us four can get together for a few drinks and we can chat about it.

Thu 1st December 2016 @ 22:33

Ah, now I remember; what to me is a strange obsession with details of ladies clothing seems to fit you like a glove, a black velvet glove, with diamante bordered cut-outs on the back and wrist.
Good luck with the Mum, and as is said on the army forum I frequent, don’t forget the pictures, or it never happened.

Nice to be back, your world is strangely different from anything I’ve lived through

Fri 2nd December 2016 @ 05:56
Comment from: [Member]

Thank you! I like women, and I especially like well-dressed women. I decide what “well-dressed” means of course.

I’ll do my best with the pictures but everything described here actually does happen.

Fri 2nd December 2016 @ 10:33
Comment from: J-P [Visitor]

I’ve always been ambivalent about Blackpool. It’s like the curate’s bum—a shithole in parts—but I do love me an out-of-season seaside resort, and Blackpool is the ur-resort for that kind of atmosphere.

Also, who can forget about its nascent grime scene?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXFQsnbN0NQ

… As you were.

Fri 2nd December 2016 @ 20:44
Comment from: [Member]

Fabulous video! Thank you. That’s a very enlightening half hour. Blackpool grime had passed me by but my youngest has just come down and recognised a Sophie Aspin track before seeing the video!

Sat 3rd December 2016 @ 10:59
Comment from: [Member]

Spent some time catching up in the world of looby… and am reminded that regardless of the disappointments that come your way, you are living - making the choice to keep doing what you do no matter what slaps you in the head. LIVING your life as you choose. There’s something beautiful in that…

i’m back for a bit at least. doing my own version of ‘living’, and stumbled upon some new demons to wrestle. the blog is my arena…

Mon 5th December 2016 @ 05:04
Comment from: [Member]

Well well, first Twisted Scottish Bastard and now you! Welcome back – will get over to your site now for your version of living :)

Mon 5th December 2016 @ 14:08

Shit. I missed the drunken version. I feel gypped.

So you’ve resorted to espionage. Clever way to spend the day. Ever bad-report someone who clearly deserved it?

I can’t imagine that sort of thing happening ANYWHERE. I guess that means I’m jaded.

We all sell our labour at various degrees of degradation is all well and good, but the operative word in that sentiment is “various.” That’s where the rubber meets the road.

Mon 5th December 2016 @ 20:25
Comment from: J-P [Visitor]

Oh, boy: am I still down with the kids?

Tue 13th December 2016 @ 15:04
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

J-P, it would appear that you are in the vanguard of Fylde teenage popular music!

Mon 19th December 2016 @ 11:27
Comment from: J-P [Visitor]

*Yes*!

Mon 19th December 2016 @ 17:11


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