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An open field of filth

  Thu 26th March 2020

I live in a shithole. That's what my suburb's name means in ye olde Englysshe.

I went on a random walk this morning. No map, no plan. I went down an alley and stumbled across a 50s council estate, with semis and play areas for the urchins, from the lost time when people were housed decently and not for profit.

Then, again by accident, to the parish church with a jumbled graveyard, full of primroses. The oldest remaining parts of the church are from C16th, although according to its bell ringers' website, the peculiar shape of the graveyard suggests pagan origins, and it's possible that no less than St Augustine, or one of his followers, had a church built there to replace the heathen cesspit of un-Christian activity.

In the graveyard is buried John Frost, a leading Chartist, showing that even then Bristol was full of revolting peasants. He was hanged, drawn and quartered for his trouble, and his lumps now rest in my parish's graveyard.

There are some gifted, beplaqued benches, which I have earmarked for peaceable drinking. The website says that the Rector will be opening the church on Saturday mornings, so I'm going to call in to express my appreciation of the erection, to locate its architectural features noted in the English Heritage citation for its Grade II* listing, and to find Frost's grave. What you find when you look without seeking!

I've had some interesting birthdays in my time, but I've never spent one cleaning a gynaecological ward.

On my first day at the hospital, me and an uncommunicative man starting at the same time as me were shown into a tiny room. We were given a stapled pamphlet which told us that we should respect each other, embrance change and celebrate difference, or respect change, celebrate each other, and embrace difference. I forget which. When my fellow starter was made to speak, his speech impediment was revealed, which made me ashamed of my silent irritation with him earlier.

I was relieved to be told that they were not expecting me there for fifteen hours a day, but just the second part of it, from four till ten, Monday to Friday. We get time-and-a-half from eight o'clock, which makes up for the short shifts.

I was visited upon an Anglo-Chinese man in his early thirties who wasn't expecting me. He dealt with this unexpected coat-tails hanger-on with admirable forebearance. We have to clean examination rooms, in which there are instruments that would make the hardiest man quail. Now, even the word "speculum" makes me cross my legs.

It's a doss of a job. I was told to slow down as I gave the taps an excessively vigorous hand job. Now that he feels safe with me, we sit doing nothing in reception for at least an hour of each shift, which I spend with A Confederacy of Dunces.


Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Ignatius J. Reilly… one of my favorite characters in all of fiction.

Thu 26th March 2020 @ 23:22 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yes, it really brings a broad smile to my face on the bus. I’m enjoying it a great deal.

Fri 27th March 2020 @ 08:44 Reply to this comment
Comment from: daisyfae [Visitor]

If you’re going to be cleaning in a hospital, doing it in an ob/gyn ward isn’t the worst place. And there are blessings in silent co-workers… Hoping that this gig keeps you in cash for the duration.

Fri 27th March 2020 @ 16:24 Reply to this comment
Comment from: monkey man [Visitor]

Post-war estates are often very good. What’s with the Brit cult of miserable leaky cold Victoriana?

Our lords & masters in London seem to be gradually closing the parks and cemeteries - stealth Sinisation - but there was a solitary drunk in one of the latter this afternoon shouting, “Boris got the bug, la la la la la.”

Fri 27th March 2020 @ 19:25 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

DF – yes, it’s easy really. There’s not really enough work to fill six hours, but don’t tell them that.

MM – until I gave it to Kirsty, I owned a small Victorian house. They silently, slowly, fall apart.

It’s surprising how you notice the homeless and the tramps, now that the beards and yummy mummies are inside.

Sat 28th March 2020 @ 07:42 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I worked at what i dubbed the Big World Bank Machine for just over 10 years before i got laid off, i don’t think i ever worked more than 4 hours of my 8 hour shift, i took at least one nap every day, went boozing on my lunch break, scored whiz on my lunch break, did said whiz off my desk, read tons of books, handicapped horses to bet on, once slept off a wicked hangover for 6.5 of the 8 hours i was there, i loved that gig, i’d have been there for the duration, better yet the bosses loved me cuz i just got my shit done and they didn’t have to worry about me, they wanted to promote me to a “supervisor” position, i turned them down, lol!

Sat 28th March 2020 @ 12:31 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

I think you will probably have plenty of work for the foreseeable.
Take care, m’dear.

Sun 29th March 2020 @ 07:28 Reply to this comment
Comment from: monkey man [Visitor]

Looby, Looby, Looby, the only house you should ever give away is your house of clay, and that not without a struggle.

Sun 29th March 2020 @ 08:05 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Oh kono that sounds like my ideal job! And you managed to stay there for ten years!

Scarlet – I hope not. I’m fed up with all this already.

MM – it was alright. it’s the girls’ now anyway. It’s fine, it’s what I wanted.

Sun 29th March 2020 @ 22:46 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Eryl [Visitor]

Random walks round cities are my favourite thing, there’s always somewhere you can get a drink/snack/wee sit down if you get horribly lost or the weather turns nasty. Unlike the country, where you just have to cling to the largest boulder when it suddenly snows and you have no idea where you are, and there isn’t a pub/cafe/vegan deli for miles.

Happy belated birthday, I hope you got your self something nice. X

Mon 30th March 2020 @ 19:15 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Hello Eyrl! Yes I’m happy walking round cities for hours. I’ve been here 18 months and barely scratched Bristol’s attractive surface.

My best present was Wendy’s homemade card. It was a bit demotic. She’s far too easy to love, even now.

Mon 30th March 2020 @ 21:18 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

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63 mago
Another Angry Voice
the asshat lounge
Clutter From The Gutter
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Exile on Pain Street
Fat Man On A Keyboard
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George Szirtes ditto
Infomaniac [NSFW]
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Leeds's Singing Organ-Grinder
The Most Difficult Thing Ever
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Sequenza 21
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