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Is that a normal man?

  Mon 1st March 2021

Ah-ha! Finally worked out how to get the internet on the rather complicated router-clock-intercom-VoIP phone contraption in my new flat.


I moved in on Wednesday. The removal man was called Mr Stent, so I was worried he'd have a heart attack as he struggled with my sofa.

Having been barred by the block's management from using the communal lounge for their weekly raffle and bingo, the residents now come closer in the corridor. Me, Mr Stent and a cheerily helpful resident barged apologetically between them, arresting their dabbers poised over possibly remunerative numbers.

Mel came round and watched me timidly wire up the electric cooker her friend had given me. I poked the on switch and leapt back. A silent elemental red started glowing under the black screen.

Just as everything was in, I got a phone call offering me an almshouse. Whilst the nature of the tenancy here is highly attractive, the neighbourhood -- where vegetables are harder to find than pornography -- is not. This is not the gaily coloured Bristol of the postcards; it's white, working class suburbia, where B&M Bargains is your best bet for a food shop. The almshouse is in the city centre, a bungalow in a quiet street behind one of the oldest churches in Bristol.

The next day I rang the manager to express a concern. I'd heard that some almshouses impose in the Licence a prohibition on overnight guests. She confirmed that this was the case in St Joseph's Close, so I declined the offer, and omitted to say anything about how the poor are always expected to be models of chastity in a way never demanded of people with their own housing.

Besides, the accommodation seems to have a baleful effect on one's health: this is the (uncropped) picture on their website with which they lure potential residents.


Mel came round for the weekend. I was nervous about the volume at which she wanted the music on, and we have very few overlapping areas in our Venn diagrams of likes. Had I not insisted on us improvising our own soundtrack, she'd have had it on whilst we had sex.

She was disappointed by my dinner offering of three-day-old reduced price quiche, cauliflower, sprouts and carrots. I agree that that ensemble might lack a certain seductive allure, but my kitchen armoury until yesterday consisted of two dinner knives and forks, and a saucepan. The carrots, refusing the blunt edge of the knife, turned my worktop into a skid pan. I am also financially wrung out from overlapping rent payments at Cath's and here.

She refused it, and all I could offer instead was scrambled eggs. I usually warm plates, so I poured some boiling water onto hers. Turning into the living room to humour her, aware that I had displeased her, I then returned to the eggs. Forgetting my plate-warming technique, I plonked them down into the hot water.

"I'm a bit disappointed looby. I thought you were going to cook something nice for me. 'Oh, I can make a souffle!' and now it's out-of-date quiche."

"It was in date when I bought it. Anyway it's nicer at room temperature." "Yeah but not three days."

But we're at the sexed-up stage where desire can stifle arguments, and a couple of hours and a bottle of wine later she asked "do you want me to dress up?", a cock-hardening question which I pretended to be reluctant in answering. The sex, now I'm free from Cath's supervision, was the best yet. Selfish, for both of us, many overlapping pleasures. "I like it when you're in all this," I said. "It reduces you to sex."


As I was sitting in the park the other day, a little girl walked past and enquired of her parents, "is that a normal man?"

13 comments »

13 comments

Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

….and what did the little girl’s parents say in reply? Or did they just scurry on past?
I was thinking that you can’t go wrong with scrambled eggs, but it seems that you can!
Sx

Tue 2nd March 2021 @ 11:48 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

They laughed and we shrugged at each other. It was quite amusing.

I actually poured the water off, tipped them back into the pan for a few seconds, and she didn’t notice. The damage was done by then though.

But we made up in the end.

Tue 2nd March 2021 @ 11:59 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Kono [Visitor]

Let me comment!!!

Wed 3rd March 2021 @ 13:35 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Kono [Visitor]

Now it won’t let me publish my actual comment?

Wed 3rd March 2021 @ 13:39 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Fuck, I don’t know why not. I;m sorry kono, I don’t know what happened there. Email it to me and I’ll post it.

Wed 3rd March 2021 @ 17:43 You are currently replying to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

No worries mate, it’s not your doing it’s the little internet gnomes fucking with me!!

Thu 4th March 2021 @ 13:33 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Occasionally the platform seems to take a dislike to someone. I don’t know if it’s a filter or something. Sorry about this and I hope you won’t be discouraged!

Fri 5th March 2021 @ 21:08 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Eryl [Visitor]

And are you a normal man?

Sat 6th March 2021 @ 16:30 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Children are expert psychologists Eryl. She could see through what I thought was my perfectly unremarkable deportment in the park last week :)

Mon 8th March 2021 @ 12:15 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Discouraged? me? i’m a glutton for punishment my friend, i’ll keep trying lol!

Sun 7th March 2021 @ 00:40 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Good man!

Mon 8th March 2021 @ 12:15 Reply to this comment

I love sprouts. What’s the bother? Are you a normal sprout?

Sun 14th March 2021 @ 19:29 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

I really couldn’t see much wrong with my meal offering, under the circumstances. I had no cutting knives. Spouts are delish, glad you agree.

Sun 14th March 2021 @ 19:44 Reply to this comment


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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person


M / 57 / 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

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