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I bump into a man

  Mon 24th June 2019

Esther rang, asking what I was up to; it was code for "could you come round for a bit and dilute my mother?"

We spent the afternoon watching Royal Ascot and checking for any frailties that might give Esther hope of inheriting. We only started with the second race but Esther's mum went straight the card with winners. We tortured ourselves by calculating that a £5 accumulator would have netted £7000.


At the last possible moment, I am clutched from the jaws of my mum's house in Middlesbrough.

In a hotel room designed to drained all vitality from those who enter, I joined two other people at a presentation by a catering agency. We went through some health and safety questions, before we were tested on them by giving a thumbs up or thumbs down corresponding to the veracity of the statement presented.

The following day, at another agency, I was interviewed by a woman half my age. I only realised as I was walking home that I had had a button in the central chest area undone throughout the interview. No doubt mesmerised by a glimpse of my front elevation, she rang up and offered me a gig for Saturday.

It was for a "family fun day" for people connected with a local arms manufacturer. The inside tables were all set out around Concorde. The exhibits included this huge ugly missile launcher, painted battlefield green, looming twenty feet over children being introduced by their parents to modern "defence" equipment. We were outside all day. I was helping man the salad stall; mounds of colourful, glistening vegetables and feta, which served as my delicious tea.

Apart from slicing a tiny sliver of my finger skin into the cucumber salad after an argument with a mandoline, I got through unscathed. I did try to find it to fish it out, but cucumber's a slippery customer, so whoever got that portion of salad was unknowingly induced into a bit of cannibalism. l felt like God yesterday; a living presence in another.


Down the pub with Hayley, Mick, and a little of his excellent speed which manages to be both soft and powerful. For all the eccentricity of Mick's manner, his voluble and often unidirectional talk while he see-saws on his walking stick like a Russian doll, he's bright; he also never says anything even remotely unkind, dismissive or sexual to Hayley.

Next day, I meet her in town after her job interview. "All he did was talk about himself." We sit in the park drinking Polish lager out of tins coloured Alcoholic Black. What a lovely girlfriend you'd be. "My first boyfriend Mel, he went to jail for seven years..." She's an artist with a talent in inverse proportion to the amount of remuneration it attracts, and is meeting a man who might be able to arrange some studio facilities. She doesn't like him for some reason and wants me with her.

In the street, we meet The Black Potentate -- the man who astonished me in single-handedly, wordlessly, breaking up the ruckus I was involved in a few weeks ago. He always greets me cordially, which gives me that location-less quiver that comes from meeting a person of whom one feels unworthy. I'm still learning his physical language. I've just about mastered the fist pump, but I need practice with the Opposing Shoulder Bump.

2 comments

Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

I did laugh at the cucumber incident, I’ll probably not eat salad when I’m out for some time.
The health and safety presentation sounds ghastly - probably best not to mention the cucumber incident to the people there.
Sx

Mon 24th June 2019 @ 13:59 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Looby [Visitor]

Just hope they weren’t vegan.

Mon 24th June 2019 @ 14:45 Reply to this comment


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M / 55 / 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

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