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Old School

  Tue 4th February 2020

On Saturday me and Trina went to Glasgow, where a friend runs a house night. Before leaving Bristol, I text Hayley. She moved into her new flat on Saturday. It's an affectionate text, using her pet name, appended with three kisses. I accidentally send it to Trina. Twice.

I cursed myself for releasing Hayley's pet name into the wild, and sure enough, it was used like a mocking weapon against me several times in the following few minutes, which began with her telling me to fuck off and go on my own.

I tried saying that I love Hayley like a brother, but that didn't convince her (it doesn't convince me either), but a tactic in which I adduced my hard labour on Friday -- dinner ladying, then nine hours at a not that dissimilar do for four hundred employees of Jeff Embezzlement until gone one o'clock, yet still getting up at six to get to Glasgow -- was more effective. "It would have been far easier to have had a lie-in today and help Hayley with her furniture [for her new flat] but I choose to be with you." You sleekit man.

Now that I can no longer have her, she's started looking sexy, and when she came out of the bathroom having changed into a clingy red top overlaid with a lacy black one, it was difficult to keep my hands off her. We were in a little basement club with large, unnerving murals of famous Weegies. Afterwards, we had a couple of pints upstairs, and found ourselves next to a table full of moustachioed men wearing dresses. Next time I won't bother with the drugs.

In a pub in Clifton, I was typing with desquamated fingertips from my immersive dinner ladying. The job was in a posh public school I hadn't been to before. I made a hit with my entrance. Going to sign in, I headbutted the plate of glass separating me from the receptionist. I just didn't see it, and gave it a good crack with my head as I leant in to talk to her.

It was an international crowd, with me the only white English person working in a deafeningly noisy kitchen in which my Venezualan colleague wore ear defenders.

Before I started on my down and out journey on the minimum wage, I held an unthinking view in favour of the free movement of labour. Now, I oppose it. The English are collectively refusing to do these kind of jobs, but this doesn't create the scarcity of labour that would force employers to pay us properly. A poorer foreigner will always jump in to accept the misnomer of a "living wage".

Then, my boss at The Big House, where I iron cravats and pants, and do my balancing champagne flutes trick, tells me that there's no hours for me next week. As much as I bridle against it, a normal full-time job might be better for a while. I've applied to be a traffic warden. I don't like cars, think I'm right even when I'm wrong, and enjoy a bit of aggravation provoked by my sangfroid, which can wind angry people up into apoplexy, an actor in a private spectator sport.

I am released from the interesting prospect of becoming legally bound to Cath. The landlord replied, saying not to take such a drastic step. Instead, he will look into paying off the mortgage early so as to free all parties from the mortgage condition that would have the paper partnership necessary. I was quite looking forward to the committment-free party, but not to the expense of it.



Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Wow! Traffic Warden!!! Wow!! I can’t wait for the tales you will tell us - this almost makes up for having to take the hat back.

Tue 4th February 2020 @ 11:32 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yeah, it’s more in hope than expectation. I can imagine it being quite popular, making oneself unpopular. My sister said “I fucking hate traffic wardens,” which gives me an early taste of how I’ll be seen at dinner parties (sighs wistfully, remembering the days of dinner parties…)

Wed 5th February 2020 @ 09:54 Reply to this comment

Googled ’sleekit’. That’s brilliant. And we always want what we can’t have. Isn’t that always the way? If you get the traffic warden gig I hope you don’t become drunk with power.

Wed 5th February 2020 @ 11:28 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yes, someone at work mentioned a particularly cruel concentration camp guard who came from a very lowly and oppressed rural German family and who spent the war over-compensating on Jews.

Hope it won’t get to that stage though :)

Thu 6th February 2020 @ 08:44 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Where to begin? I’ll start with the text message, nothing worries me more than being in a less than sober state and sending the wrong message to the wrong person/group- like a blatant message about weed to one of the group texts from a bunch of square basketball parents, luckily i’ve avoided that so far…

Wanting what we can’t have, believe that wanker Morrissey wrote a whole song about it, seems it’s how it works innit? i won’t go into a long-winded story about a stripper i used to bed who was hopelessly smitten with me(what an ego) but every time i see her it’s like, “you wouldn’t be into possibly, maybe, well like you know…”

The Living Wage- think i’ll start a punk band by that name, a useless term those pols like to toss about to placate the masses. It’s the same here in Cloudcuckooland, all the butt hurt white folks bitch about the immigrant labor that do the jobs they won’t do by saying they’re stealing their jobs and driving down wages but what they don’t realize it the Oligarchs don’t care who works those jobs (or doesn’t) they’re still not going to pay a living wage, mainly cuz the oligarchs don’t give a fuck…(though i do understand your point about the free movement of labor.)

Get the Traffic Warden gig, don headphones with house music and direct traffic in your own inimitable style. You’ll be on your way to superstardom.

Fri 7th February 2020 @ 13:55 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Sally Gregson [Visitor]

I dunno. I quite like traffic wardens (but then my heart always goes out to the unloved). I’m sure you’d give that job a certain swagger Looby.

Sun 9th February 2020 @ 11:44 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yes, kono, it’d be a good job to listen to music and podcasts and so on. I like the idea of being outdoors all the time too. The weather down here is benign compared to Lancashire.

Sally – golly, someone who likes traffic wardens! I do like the idea of having my diplomatic and persuasive skills being put to the test every day. And I’l time being particularly unpleasant to people just as the Test Match starts so that I can watch it during my convalescence.

Sun 9th February 2020 @ 12:08 You are currently replying to this comment

Geeze geezer, I nearly got blown away by Storm C; my outer dermis is desquamating as I type…

Good to read you again - s’been a while (I’m busy with a new piece of cock)! I think you’d suit being a meter maid. The stories you will tell….

Sun 9th February 2020 @ 20:36 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Jonathan [Visitor]

Another vote here for the Traffic Warden career option, Looby- I think you would be either fantastically good or utterly hopeless at it, and either way it has a ring to it that already feels like not just the hook for a string of blog posts but for that slim bestselling volume on the shelves of Waterstones that we all know is your ultimate destiny. Somehow I just think people are fascinated by the inner and also extra-curricular lives of Traffic Wardens, and would lap yours up. If there is any justice in the world, anyway.

And congratulations on the nearly-getting married thing, I’m glad it’s worked out that you (and Cath) can stay in your amenable shared living quarters without hats being called for… I also think only you could go in the space of three posts from nearly being evicted to possibly being married to not being married and being back where you started… but present it to us in such breezily throwaway and seemingly effortless fashion that by the end we are all commenting not on any of that but on your possible new dayjob as a purveyor of parking tickets.

Sorry if that is overly sleekit of me though by the way! (Great bloody word that, and possibly only the second time I’ve come across it, the first would have to be Glasgow’s own James Kelman, since I can’t think of anyone other than you who I have read who would perhaps use it).

Mon 10th February 2020 @ 22:30 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Hello some lass, oh fuck, another one lost. I did have a fleeting moment a couple of months ago when I thought we might end up faffing about over a jointly-made conjunction…never mind – re the job, not heard from them and it’s been three weeks now so presume my wording hasn’t worked this time. Everything somehow works out. I’m charmed, I’m under a good spell.

Awww, Jonathan, that’s lovely to hear, all of it! I do secretly wish I could knock this up into something sellable. A vanity project which avoids vanity publishing. Someone else to validate my vanity.

“Sleekit". Does no-one read Robbie Burns any more? But then, I’ve not read a word of Kelman either, and sometimes the best recommendations come from people you know.

Wed 12th February 2020 @ 15:23 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Jonathan [Visitor]

Kelman I’m confident you would like Looby. The milieu he sets his work in would resonate with you. If you start with How Late It Was How Late, you won’t go far wrong.

Wed 12th February 2020 @ 16:40 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks Jonathan, I will!

Thu 13th February 2020 @ 02:49 Reply to this comment
Comment from: daisyfae [Visitor]

“…and found ourselves next to a table full of moustachioed men wearing dresses. Next time I won’t bother with the drugs.”

this is why we can’t stay away! checking back in, catching up on my blogs, and i save you (and kono) for late night!

Sat 29th February 2020 @ 02:20 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.

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