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Mindlessness is best

  Thu 19th December 2019

Straight after Bordeaux, I had an email asking me if I could cover on Friday and Monday at the private school where I was a dinner lady for five weeks. It's like working in a cafe where you're only open for an hour but five hundred people turn up.

On Monday, we had to do a big Christmas dinner. I prepared Brussels sprouts from an almost bottomless sack. I like the mindlessness of it. Who wants to be mindfull? Then, carried trays of dirty plates and crockery up and down, up and down, the pleasure of my muscles getting pushed again. I love the physical aspect of my work there.

The Difficult Girls came in, the fifth- and sixth-formers who are allowed to wear their own clothes, whose short skirts and tight dresses and shapes of their bra straps and hair draped towards their tits must be ignored studiously. The womanly (apart from me) crew, mopped, polished, wiped, soaped, emptied, arranged, binned -- and we were done by three. I went into the office to put back my hat and apron and as I was leaving I overheard the kitchen supervisor say to the Catering Manager "just give looby it? He's looking for something in the mornings."

I pretended not to hear it, and bade my lovely colleagues a warm and sincerely meant Happy Christmas.

That'd be good. Proper hard graft to build myself up in the mornings, then my more effete work at The Big House ironing underwear, polishing tables, arranging flowers, and making mild comments about the issues of the day to judges in the evening. The same food and wine as them, and none of this unpaid break shite. The venues are within walking distance of each other in the poshest suburb of Bristol.


Last night I was working at a big do for EDF, the privatised foreign company from which we buy most of our electricity.

It wasn't too bad. Except for one fat cunt who put his hand on my back to get me out of the way as I was trying to clear his table. Not in an "excuse me, I'm sorry but could I get past?" way, but almost pushing, dismissing me, both physically, and as a person. I'm the same as you brother. You're an engineer, I'm a waiter. We are the same, except that I'm respectful to you and you're not to me.

I hate being touched whilst I'm at work. People do it to me all the time. I'm trying to help you by taking your plates away! God knows how much worse it is for women.

I wish I'd put my tray down and had words. There's work coming out of your ears here in Bristol so I could have decked him, got the sack and started again.

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person


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

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
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