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Friendly society

  Sun 22nd December 2019

I got paid £198 pounds net last week. That's a bit lower than normal, and what with £112 in rent, a quarterly payment of £80 for a ten-year savings plan to a railwayman's Friendly Society I set up in more bounteous times, and my £25 pounds a week to the credit union, I was left with nothing. I had to transfer £10 from my rent account to get the bus fare to work.

I was worried about not being able to afford the ingredients for my contribution to our house meal today. I started planning a shoplifting circuit, in which I would steal single items from the places in which one is least likely to be caught (Lidl, the Co-op, Asda), before I heaved with regret and asked my mum for a bailout, again. It's sometimes disheartening to be doing all this work, sixteen-and-a-half hours yesterday, and to be in this situation, although one could argue that someone who spent last week in Bordeaux, albeit with subsidies from Trina, can't complain much.


At the end of the long shift, we sat down at 2am and had a drink on the house. The catering manager said that we can all be "mightily proud" of ourselves in making this Christmas season the best -- he meant "most profitable" -- in the three years the hotel's been open. "And still we only get the minimum wage," I muttered to my colleague sitting next to me. The restaurant manager stretched open her arms and said "yess!"

It was a depressing spectacle, watching people on wages which, a penny lower, would be illegal, celebrating their labour's surplus value being funnelled into the hotel owners' pockets.


I walked, my feet moaning, to the bus stop. I have an effective tactic with the beggers. "Sorry mate, I'm on the minimum wage myself, and I've just finished this really long...", by which time they've wandered off.

Central Bristol, 2.30am Saturday night.

Two thirtysomething women are the last to leave from a bar. There's some amusing drunken faffing and pointing, centred over whether to go to the kebab shop next door, before one of them wobbles off down the road, puts her coat on top of a wheelie bin, then yanks everything down and has a piss in a doorway. There might be a girl for me in Bristol after all.

A man comes up to me at the bus stop. "Hello," he says, and stands there. "What are you after?" I ask. "A Rizla, if you've got one?" "Sorry mate, no, I haven't. Someone'll have one." Then he says, "I don't suppose you're looking for anything else are you?" I eye him up and down a bit. "I am, but I can't afford it at the moment." I first thought he was a dealer but as he left it crossed my mind that he might have been a rent boy.

A couple came and moved along the bus queue with a rehearsed, synchronised dance, singing and wishing us all a Happy Christmas.

Someone sitting behind me on the bus says "If you kissed this man he'd shit on the floor. It's not a sexual thing."

4 comments »

4 comments

Comment from: monkey man [Visitor]

Have a good one, Mr L.!

Mon 23rd December 2019 @ 08:31 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I’ve always been amazed at how those who “buy” into this shit system glean so much enjoyment out of making someone else a fuckton of dosh. I often felt the same way when one of my various bosses told the crew how splendid “we” did and how “we” did record business or what not. Fuck them and their “we” nonsense. The only time i enjoyed that speech was when i made it to myself, in the mirror, after shifting a boatload of weed.

And how beautiful are the bits and bobs picked up from conversations… that last sentence brings joy to my heart, lol!!! Though the questions it brings to me could have me ruminating for hours, haha!! Happy Chrimbo mate, hope that Father Christmas brings you some money!! (i’m a Kinks fan what can i say)

Mon 23rd December 2019 @ 13:18 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Glad you didn’t go shoplifting - I have a hunch that wouldn’t have ended well!
Take care, m’dear, and have a Happy Christmas!
Sxxx

Tue 24th December 2019 @ 12:21 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Thank you MM, same to you and yours.

kono – yes I don’t now where they get the ‘we’ bit from there. Once the masses start acting against their own interests then the capitalists’ work us done. People say you’re meant to get more conservative as you get older. I don’t. I get more left wing!

And I’d love to know the context in which the man in the bus was speaking.

Scarlet – I’m afraid some underhand (or under jacket) ledgerdemain was necessary after all. Shameful details to follow tomorrow.

Merry Christmas everybody. Thanks for ploughing on with me through another year

Wed 25th December 2019 @ 09:54 You are currently replying to this comment


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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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