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  Wed 6th March 2019

I start in the cafe on Monday; these are the last days.

Saturday night, and the pub is very busy. I quickly squat an empty table, much to the displeasure of one of the two men who come back to reclaim their post. I recognise that my main work, in what I expected to be a short evening out, was going to involve placating Angry Man. The Pleasant One was doing the same. Angry Man went out for a fag.

"Is your mate alright?" "He's not my mate; I've only just met him. He says he's just got out of prison." "What for?" "He won't say."

It is about to come to blows between them, so I leave, which is a costly evasion as I've just given The Pleasant One £40 so that we could split a gram of Pepsi.

In the street, The Pleasant One catches up with me. "What a cunt he was. Do you want to come back to mine and I'll get that stuff sorted out?"

We get on a bus and get talking to a sixteen-year-old girl. It's midnight now, and she says she's "just come out for a bit." "Did you meet your friends?" "No, I just came out for a bit."

We sit in The Pleasant One's local for a bit. A thirtysomething man and woman turn up. In what was to be typical of the night, we told each other everything most immediate about our lives. The business done, me and The Pleasant One key up in the loos, then leave and go up to his flat.

Reader, I had a lovely night. Me and The Pleasant One talked openly and freely, me about my alcoholism, he about his addiction to the other thing; about relationships, music, and things I can't remember. At some point in the small hours, his friend came round and we went thirds on another gramme. I walked back, an hour in the rain. I miss walking home at eight in the morning, feeling as though you're behind a big sheet of glass yet imbricated with the fine grain of one's surroundings.

A few hours later: the city centre. I am meeting Middle Daughter.

"You mean, you went home with a complete stranger till 7am? What were you doing all night? Are you OK?" "I'm fine love, honest." "Were you on drugs?" "We had a couple of refreshers, yes." (She's known for a long time.) "I'm a bit tired, that's all. Could do with some coffee."

In the coffee shop, a tall black man in shorts and singlet was sitting bolt upright at the next table, opposite a white mild-mannered lecturer type, both talking in over-loud voices about their jobs, forcing everyone else to raise their voices in an arms race of volume against their declamatory middle class drivel. Nevertheless, we spent three hours in there, cheaply, undisturbed. A woman a bit younger than me was having her first day employed there, and I watched her smiling and awkwardness, and wanted to telepathically tell her that I hoped it was all going OK.

The other Sunday, me and Esther get up in time for an invitation I hadn't expected. She wanted me to come to this happy-clappy church she'd been to for the first time the previous week. Before that, we started on the white wine. "Looby, you know red wine is the blood of Christ? Well, this is his piss."

It's a majority female crowd, a few young Asian people, one black man. After a heteronormative preamble by the pastor (I had images of how he would pale -- literally -- behind some of the great black Pentecostal and Baptist preacher-singers-politicians), the service consisted of a Christian rock-lite group playing long versions of songs I don't know, although they mainly go I-IV-V-I so you can guess the melodic line if you've ever wanted to punch Phil Collins.

People do that one arm raised in the air Songs of Praise style of rapture. We then sat through an interminable sermon about a mustard seed, during which the twentysomething female preacher, who looked like she'd just got out of a washing machine and been ironed, unintentionally radiated ignorance about the world outside her moneyed life, as well as announcing a Christian duty new to me.

"And so here we see in Mark, that we are called to be the very fragrance and aroma of Christ." "Was that Christ in the bed with us this morning Esther, when you farted?"


Well, you’re having a bumpy ride but it hasn’t affected the quality of your writing. I’m kind of done with blogging and have bailed out on reading all but just a couple. Yours is still the one I’ll always read first. I wish you could monetize this so you can enjoy good wine.

Thu 7th March 2019 @ 05:04 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Looby [Visitor]

Cheers me dear. I hope you reconsider that decision. I knew Instagram would turn you. Don’t be seduced by younger models. They’re not as satisfying in the end.

Yes I should work on editing what I’ve got rather than droning on and on and on.

8n the meantime., Esther, who is my dear facto wife – complete with authentic lack of sex – is in bed having had a couple of small sherries earlier in the day, and I’m cooking our tea, which I hope she’ll like. So it’s not all bad. Thanks for sticking around

Thu 7th March 2019 @ 09:27 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Looby [Visitor]

“De facto", although “dear facto” could stand.

I’m doing this from a dimphone.

Thu 7th March 2019 @ 09:30 Reply to this comment

I read your blog backwards (from 1st entry to almost last) - quite the craic! I’m the same age as you and raise my glass of cognac (sipped through a sleepless night while quaffing your words) to your indefatigable appetite for partying. Keep it oop!

Sat 9th March 2019 @ 22:24 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Golly! You lass, deserve a medal! Wow that’s some endurance. Lovely to see you round here though and hope you enjoyed that cognac.

Sun 10th March 2019 @ 03:59 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Jonathan [Visitor]

Damn shame about the job Looby…. but really pleased to see the rollercoaster has landed you back in some kind of gainful employment. And café work might not be the worst, what with the plentiful opportunities for observing (and chroniciling) the everyday that it offers.

Not that your not-exactly-ordinary everyday doesn’t present more than bleeding plenty to write about for you, all the same. And I do (have been thinking about this since I first read about the railjob thing, which was a few days ago) agree with Exile- that maybe this is fate telling you that this is the time for you to get on with making this wealth of words into something that will pay the bills. Got to be a way of making that happen!

Sun 10th March 2019 @ 15:35 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

It’s hard work Jonathan. It’s so tiring. Half hour unpaid for dinner but otherwise 10 till 6, and no other breaks, not sitting down once, and not two consecutive days off except once a month. Minimum wage.

But I’m quite resilient, and I’ll do it till I find something better. I just need to find 450 pounds by the 25th to pay my rent.

I’m so knackered in the evenings that editing this farrago to make it attractive gets pushed aside all the time but I will try to spend some time doing it soon.

Tue 12th March 2019 @ 13:57 Reply to this comment

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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.

63 mago
Another Angry Voice
the asshat lounge
Clutter From The Gutter
Eryl Shields Ink
Exile on Pain Street
Fat Man On A Keyboard
gairnet provides: press of blll defunct, but retained for its quality
George Szirtes ditto
Infomaniac [NSFW]
The Joy of Bex
Laudator Temporis Acti
Leeds's Singing Organ-Grinder
The Most Difficult Thing Ever
Strange Flowers
Trailer Park Refugee
Wonky Words

"Just sit still and listen" - woman to teenage girl at Elliott Carter weekend, London 2006

Bristol New Music
Desiring Progress Collection of links only
The Rambler
Resonance FM
Sequenza 21
Sound and Music
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