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  Sat 24th April 2021

It's half past ten and I've just got in after work. Hayley has been tugging at me -- six missed calls; texts pleading with me to ring her as soon as I've left work. I've done thirty-two hours shoe-horned into three days, in a works canteen where I serve large dollops of unhealthy food to large unhealthy men. I'm low on resources to spend on others.

Upstairs on the bus with aching feet and a bottle of cider, watching Bristol on a determined Saturday night out. Women whose feet will feel worse than mine by midnight; skirts tightening and riding up. How glad I am to see them.

I ring Hayley, who is on track 1 of side A again, Boyfriend Woes. She wants: me to come round, five pounds for a bottle of wine, and for someone to do her move tomorrow; the implication being, me. She's done nothing about it by herself despite several weeks' notice of the date. "Well, I don't know," she says. "There's Wayne over the road... maybe I could ring the police, they're sometimes nice."

I am not giving up my day with Mel tomorrow to rescue you Hayley.

At home, mid-shower, she rings again. I ring her back, saying that I'll put a fiver in now, exaggerating my tiredness and annoyance. I put seven pounds in her bank account. All is silent.

There is rejoicing in the House of looby. Middle daughter, who, at the age of one, almost ruptured her mother's stomach by bouncing on it at 5am, announcing "I, awake!" -- has landed a proper acting job at a big Northern producing theatre. She announced it from Leeds, where she'd been for her "third recall", which I am guessing means fourth audition.

I am radiant like a heater with joy for her, and a fervid hope that this will be the start of her making a living out of what she's always wanted to do. She's a dogged and constantly optimistic Lancashire lass who's had no advantages at all in a world in which working class candidates are filtered out by endless train fares, unpaid work, and assumptions of money available to pay for every bit of candidacy, which neither me nor her mum can provide.

I don't know how much more inspection my out of date rail pass can withstand, but I want to join the whole looby clan, who will cancel everything to see her when it's put on -- before we're shunted into the pub after the show while she goes off to glitter.


Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Congratulations to your daughter! Great news that someone has beaten the odds.
And I’m pleased to read that you didn’t completely give in to Hayley.

Mon 26th April 2021 @ 12:29 Reply to this comment
Comment from: monkey man [Visitor]

Delighted to hear the news about your daughter & look forward to seeing her! Many thanks also for the wishes on the great move north. We’re having a wonderful time.

Mon 26th April 2021 @ 20:15 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Superb news for the Middle Girl, top stuff… and sounds like Hayley has finally become that drag that i saw coming (as i’m sure you did as well) sooner or later the varnish wears away and you’re left with well, you know…

Mon 26th April 2021 @ 20:55 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Scarlet – thanks, it’s still not quite sunk in.
And yes Hayley racked up the emotional guilt tripping later on, but I’ve been working too much this last week and wasn’t going to give up a day of messing about with Mel.

MM – glad you’re settling in to life outside the M25. We’ll try to arrange a drink with middle daughter during her run.

Kono – yes I think putting a wee bit if distance between me and Hayley is a good idea from time to time. For her and me.

Tue 27th April 2021 @ 15:02 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

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.

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