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I am surrounded by lesbians

  Sun 28th June 2020

It's just me and landlady Cath in the house. We're a little stoned, and I'm laughing a lot. She's lifting and arching her foot towards pointe. She's undoubtedly attractive.

She tells me that Richard, our housemate, is buying a house with his girlfriend. I'm crestfallen, thinking of the search for a new co-tenant, the anxiety about whether they'll fit in, but Cath asks me what I'd think about her daughter moving back in. This cheers me up.

"So," she says, referring to the time when it looked as though we'd be joining in a Civil Partnership, "we'll be a little family after all." I felt all cosy and a bit wet-eyed.


In a leafy square, a young man coiffured from the Toilet Brush School of Hairdressing has one arm round a girl, while the other rests on a big speaker which loudly dominates the square with an ugly rap music, all braggadocio and misogyny. Me and Hayley are separated on the bench by the deadening presence of her well-meaning boyfriend. Hayley is looking exceptionally sexy. "Are they new tights?" I'd asked her earlier when we were alone. "Yes, do you like them?" "Mmmm."

He's sent back to the house to fetch some keys. She's hard on him, when she wants him to be hard on her. I feel a bit sorry for him. He tries to join in with our ping-pong verbal sparring, always arriving that second too late. I've been him so often, the awkwardly-positioned third party, the laggard gooseberry. She tells me that, really, she likes women. "Basically, men, to me, are business."

"Hello!" A young female voice from behind me. It's someone from the group of people sitting near us outside the pub last weekend when the football landed in my pint. She's on a high from a first date. Hayley doesn't like us talking together, and Davina has to insist on talking to me over her interruptions. "No, I know, it's just I want to talk to looby for a moment."

I engineer an escape to the offy with Davina. She's an underwriter, which is interesting enough, but I want to know about her date. She shows me a picture of the woman concerned. "Phwaor, Davina, she's a fittie!" Has she got a sister? Because my friend's just told me she's mainly gay.

We swap numbers, and later that evening, I text her saying that I want to be her friend and to know how the second date went.


Hayley wants me come with her to her dealer's house. I'm reluctant. "I will, because you've asked me to, but I can't stay long. I've got this interview tomorrow at nine." Hayley talked incessantly, burning up the coke into a stream of consciousness. A man whom everyone else knows walks in and sits down next to me. I try to talk to him but he opens his hands and gestures to Dealer Man, me, and Hayley. "I'm just gettting three conversations here." I stop talking.

On the tail end of three big, free, lines of coke, and as many hours of attempted sleep, I am Zoomed into two people's houses, and interviewed for an admin job with the Department for Naughty Boys. I improvise stories about "situations", "responses" and "outcomes", that never happened.

I am more worried about the loss of my bank card, and more seriously, the erroneously-issued rail pass from which I have had thousands of pounds' worth of free travel. After cancelling the less valuable one with the bank, I find them in the shoes that I was wearing that night. I'd cycled home with them in my shoe.

9 comments »

9 comments

Comment from: Jonathan [Visitor]

Good God Looby- just the incident contained in your last two sentences there would be enough for me in any given month, and if I lived your life for a month I suspect I’d be dead at the end of it. You’ve got one hell of a constitution, physically, mentally and psychologically I think.

I actually mean that seriously, not as any kind of back-handed or glib compliment. And with slightly oblique reference to your Emergency Room travails as recounted during the post before this one…you were saying about the chronic drinking and the collision with what sounds like a timely offer of some help or intervention, which I do understand your hesitance about engaging with…. I’m no expert here (other than being something of a drinker myself as you know) but I suspect if you did want to lay the booze to one side for a while then what would make you do it would be something properly fulfilling and meaningful to you to replace it. The writing is a singular gift that you have ( show me a better ten line dissection of a relationship than ’shes hard on him, when she wants him to be hard on her’) and I think some long form version of what you give us in bitesize chunks here could be quite something.

Sorry, I’ll stop now, you’ll be blushing. And I have been drinking (a bit). But I do not make this comment lightly!

Sun 28th June 2020 @ 23:46 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Jonathan, you do say the kindest things after a few pints. Long may your drinking continue.

Yes, I just bumble from completely unengaging work to more of the same. My heart’s never in anything – apart from, as you say, the writing.

I must resolve to collate some of the shorter prices and knock them into a narrative, then start flogging them. I could be the next Late Starter, like Penelope Lively.

Thanks Jonathan, comments like that are a good spur to action.

Mon 29th June 2020 @ 11:28 You are currently replying to this comment
Comment from: monkey man [Visitor]

Why don’t you bang together a collection & ask Cath if she’ll read some stuff your ex-landlord wrote?

Mon 29th June 2020 @ 12:57 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I’t’s a good idea, but there’s too much giveaway detail to pass it off as my ex-landlord’s work. :)

(Sorry, MM, I completely misread your comment this morning. Bit of a sleep deficit here).

Mon 29th June 2020 @ 13:28 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Dr. Kenneth Noisewater [Visitor]

First time coming through. There’s lots of excitement here. Blogging was the best for me when I had zany adventures and uncertainty about what would come next like with what you’re writing about. Good stuff.

Tue 30th June 2020 @ 15:08 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Well if you’re going to be surrounded i figure it’s best to be surrounded by lesbians!

and i remember some old Billy Joel song, egads!!! where the chorus was “we’ll all go down together!” might be a good song to be singing whilst surrounded.

Tue 30th June 2020 @ 21:09 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Hello Kenneth, delighted to have you comment here. I’ve noticed you elsewhere, so thank you for jumping across the pond. Yes…life here is unpredictable. I like that. Do you have a link to your blog during zany times?

kono – I don’t know, hindsight and all that but it didn’t surprise me at all. Although to be honest I don’t give a shit about the sex who anyone fancies. Hayley has been treated so badly by some men in her past that it’s driven the heterosexual in her almost out.

“We’ll all go down together” :) ha ha, reminds me of an early house track which was a reworking of a Curtis Mayfield track – “If there’s hell below, we’re all gonna go” :)

Thu 2nd July 2020 @ 15:40 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

When i was heavily immersed in the stripper scene i noticed that many of them preferred women to men, men they viewed as a necessary evil and since the strip clubs let the women be the hunters they found the easiest marks and took them for all they could, and i don’t blame them in the least, i’d have done the same thing… of course when you’re the King of North Oakland you are treated a bit differently by the ladies of the strip clubs… but i’ll save those tales for the lounge ;)

Fri 3rd July 2020 @ 14:14 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yeah, Hayley sees them coming. I’m not entirely exempt from her gimlet eye for a sucker – there’s a few loans that will never be repaid, which is why I was so startled when she gave me back the 50 quid the other day.

As ever, I look forward to hearing the details of your period on the throne :)

Fri 3rd July 2020 @ 16:07 Reply 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?
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The working man is a fucking loser.
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