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  Sat 7th November 2020

In a training room at the hospital, I am sitting through a long afternoon of assessing the load and keeping your back straight, the fire triangle, and how you've got to be nice to disabled black lesbians.

In front of me, a cleaning supervisor who has been sent on a refresher course sneezes, for the third time, into his hand. As he withdraws it from his face, a string of mucus hammocks between his mouth and his hand. He puts his hand onto his thighs, redoubles his interest in the slide, and wipes the slime on his trousers.


Me and Mel go to Wells on a day out. The jolliest seats on the bus, at the front, on the top. In the cathedral, we see the second oldest working clock in the world, which every quarter of an hour has a jousting scene popping out like a cuckoo clock, in which the same wooden jouster has been knocked off his horse since at least 1340.

That was impressive, but the thing I remember most was Jesus in a 60s sculpture, styling his corset.

Near the bus station, we find a little micropub run by a misandrist South African woman in her sixties who keeps telling me that I won't like various of her ciders, as "men don't like that." We sit on an old sofa in what was recently a living room, and I deliberately have the one she is warning me off. I tell her, truthfully, that it is delicious. I feel my head melting a bit. I fall asleep against Mel on the bus, before waking up and guiding her hand on to my hard cock.

We spend a rather intense night at her friend's house. The drink and dope is plentiful, as is the resentment. There's an eight-year age gap between her and her seventysomething husband, and the drunker she becomes, the more complaining and flirty she gets. Over and over again, saying she wants a toy boy and not "this old man" sitting next to her. He takes this with resignation. I tell her that she's being horrible, "and it's no good looking at me Trish, 'cos I'm taken now." Mel repeatedly rescues the situation by getting us all up and dancing.

We go to bed and Mel kisses me forcibly, almost violently, pinning me down, which turns me on. I tell her I'm buying some things for her to wear, or to take off rather. (And browsing hosiery websites is enjoyable in itself). She sounds hesitant. "I don't know...I think I might feel ridiculous." Patience, looby.

In the Suffolk Arms on the last day before we're forced into house arrest again, it's crowded, and everyone's stoned and chatting. As the crowd thins out a bit, Mel delights me by standing up and dancing, and I join her immediately. It's probably illegal now. "Oh God, here go the lovebirds again," someone says, and the best track from a rock-based, white man's pub jukebox comes on -- Grandmaster Flash's The Message and I'm showing off in suburbia to my girlfriend, knowing most of the lyrics.


The new job started on Monday. I'm not sure. Everyone congratulates me; I can't see what for. Les Murray, reading at Lancaster Literature Festival decades ago, had a line "Any job's a comedown from where I'm from." I feel I've lost such a lot. It's a divorce from the smackheads and alkies down the park, and Hayley, and her constant not turning up on time or at all, and whole days spent drinking. When I talk to others about its advantages I speak in a voice that isn't my own, in something of the same way as I do when I tell Mel that I love her, the one false note.


We have a family conference over the phone, in which we resolved that we are going to spend Christmas together, along with Fiona's very likeable ex, regardless of any new rules of association.

2 comments »

2 comments

Comment from: monkey man [Visitor]

I feel someone should leave a comment on the duplicate because who’s to know whether it’s actually the original.

Tue 10th November 2020 @ 22:05 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Oh fuck… thanks MM – I wondered why the url slug got changed with an appended “1″.

Wed 11th November 2020 @ 19:56 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.
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

If your comment box looks like this, I'm afraid I sometimes can't be bothered with all that palarver just to leave a comment.

63 mago
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5:4
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