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10 quid to get in

  Mon 27th July 2020

At Hayley's there's no-one in. A man is delivering a table and chairs. I assist ineptly, down the awkward steps, round a stubborn corner, and into her flat. I am about to wave him off when he asks for £45. No answer from Hayley's phone. I leave an irritated message and apologise to white van man, who drives me to the cashpoint so that I'm able to pay him. She's lucky: it's far from every day that I have £45 laying around.

I get a phone call from Harry, asking if I've seen her. She went round to her dealer the previous evening and hasn't emerged since. No outsider can get through a pea-souper of crack, so I decide to sit in the park and compose myself.

About twenty minutes later, I see Harry coming towards me in the street. He's looking somewhat bruised and sore about the head. He says he's been mugged in the same park and has had his money and keys stolen. He says he can't cope with Hayley any more. Again, there's little I can do, and he walks himself home.

Later, Hayley rings, brightly not apologising, saying that I'll get my money, and asking me round. I want to see how she is.


On my way, and feeling somewhat fatigued by now with a hot day of cider and Hayley drama, I sit down next to an elderly homeless woman in the street. She reckons she's about my age, but I'd place her at the mid-sixty mark at the youngest. Homelessness is a dree for even the hardy, but seeing someone of her sex and age in that situation is particularly affecting.

I give her a can of cider and my spare coins. Near where we are sitting, there's a narrow lane locally known as Crack Alley. She asks me if I want to go down there, where she'll "sort me out" for a tenner. I decline her offer, at which point she tries to enhance her advertising by lifting up her T-shirt and showing me her surprisingly well-kept braless breasts.

I wished her well and set off to Hayley's, who was all blithe charm, none the worse for her sojourn at the crack den. She says she's coming off it, which is like me saying I'm stopping drinking.


Cath approaches the same topic, which involves me in an unsettling vulnerability. She tells me that she wouldn't be happy having me living with her and Ingrid, her daughter, if I can't get my drinking under control.

I had had (very unusually for me), two dry days at this point, and had been thinking about kono's suggestion of using a dose of mushrooms as an attempt at erasing at least some of the often irrational desires for alcohol that come upon me hundreds of times a day. I'd also had a chat with a doctor about my referral to the Drug and Alcohol Services.

But instead of saying this, I invented a story about having started on a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Course at the local hospital. "It's just an introduction so far. You know what I liked? We weren't asked our names or anything. I was expecting some sort of confessional AA-style meeting, but it was more like an academic seminar." And on and on, detail upon lying detail. I just have to remember now to be out of the house for an hour on Tuesday mornings.


Kim, who is laying in my bed across the room, is camping in the garden here for a couple of days. She dropped a clanger last night as we sat round the fire, peaceably drinking with Cath and Richard, by saying how indifferent she is to the risks of catching the lergy and that she takes no precautions against it. I thought she could have kept that to herself, when I have had to overcome Cath's reluctance to have visitors here at all. But all seems calm this morning. Cath was on the cognac, so I'm hoping its amnesiac properties have worked on her recall of Kim's tactless remarks.

Up in my room, I'm lamenting the lack of interest that my dating site profile is exciting in the middleaged women of Bristol. "Why don't you add, 'I'm looking for a fuck, or a friend'?" she suggests.


This strange poster has appeared off Gloucester Road. Richard deflated my enthusing about Bristol's artistic culture by pointing out that in tiny print at the bottom, it indicates that it's an advert for Halifax Building Society. I still think it's a strikingly confusing image.


Ageing ravers will need no help with the reference in today's title: Shut Up And Dance's 1989 cellar rave tune, 20 Quid To Get In.

5 comments »

5 comments

Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Ha ha! I would’ve been caught out by the Halifax advertisement too. Odd though, for a Halifax ad.
Sx

Mon 27th July 2020 @ 16:18 You are currently replying to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yeah it’s a bit odd. So, maggot-like fingers start pouring out of your stomach?

Mon 27th July 2020 @ 17:55 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I’m not a doctor but i play on on the internetz!! and usually my remedy for everything is “eat more shrooms!” (though in the case of curing addictions it’s been found to be most effective so in your case it was actually sound advice… i think, lol!)

did you ever get the 45 quid back?

Sun 2nd August 2020 @ 13:14 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Well, I’ve got a couple of grams of mushrooms now, sitting in my knicker drawer, looking like something out of a science fiction novel. Long and white. I’ll have to wait for the right time though – I know from experience you need to cancel tomorrow. I’ll let you know of course!

My 45 quid is promised tomorrow. She did actually surprise me recently by repaying another loan.

Sun 2nd August 2020 @ 15:30 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

If you’ve never read Terence McKenna i highly recommend it, he was a big proponent of mushrooms and psychedelic substances in general, particularly of the natural plant based variety, True Hallucinations and Archaic Revival are good reads and the guy is funny to boot. They have his interviews and lectures online and the guy is great to listen to as well. I’m beginning to run low eek!!! looks like it’s time to put in a call. ;)

Mon 3rd August 2020 @ 12:09 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.
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?
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The working man is a fucking loser.
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