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Hayley makes me think

  Tue 18th May 2021

A Hare Krsna man collars me and starts talking to me about something. Purification might have been involved, because I remember saying that I'm not looking for progress up the slippery pole of self-realisation.

Impatient to get to the point, he asks me for some money. I tell him I'll give him the cost of the bottle of cider from which I was drinking, so £2.49. In the modern style of soliciting, he gets his wireless card reader out. "Could you make it a tenner?" I tell him he's a cheeky bugger and he types in 2,4,9.


At half past two in the morning, I text Hayley, telling her that the new speed is very nice. She rings immediately and asks me over. I have transport now -- my new electric scooter -- so I'm there twenty minutes later and we have a pleasantly retro night of music, speed and both types of crack. The journey back, on quiet Saturday morning roads at 7am, is sensual, vivid.


The pubs are open inside again. Wethers at Temple Meads was almost full by midday, contrary to the doomsayers' predictions of (read: hope for) permanent social coldness.

Everything quickly settled to type: bits of food on the carpet, middleaged couples who have come out for a good afternoon of silent texting, the gay male couple having an irritatingly considerate conversation, and the ciderheads with their pockmarked, rubicund faces, who sit yards and a world apart from the office workers' striving positivity, before they go back to work for companies which offer Solutions.

In the cider bar, the usual conditional, reluctant welcome from the landlady. A man sits next to me without asking and tells me about his alcoholism, how his stomach started swelling up one day as he was sat in the same pub -- "I was on about twenty pints in those days" -- and how he felt more upset about the death of his cat than that of his estranged wife. I have become fond of several cats in my life so I played my own stories of feline bereavement. Then, his friend -- Cat -- rang. "He's got a scar on his head that looks like a cat's arse, so we call him Cat."


I meet Hayley off the train. She's looking very attractive, with a little bit of blue eye-liner. She's got a large, old teddy bear, but no ticket and I watch her make a gesture with her one free hand to which the gate assistant responds by opening the barrier for her.

"How the fuck did you do that?" "You liked that didn't you?", a sentence which made the thought of her taking my cock out of her mouth flash across my mind. "I said I'd just got out of hospital. Seventy-five quid saved."

We have a pint in Wethers. She surprises me by paying for it. She talks, drifting off when I do. She's waiting for the man, and her eyes are on the phone. The one appointment we always make.

She leaves and I wander over to the first person ever to talk to me socially in Bristol. He used to take a little desk thermometer out with him and place it on the table, along with his own beermats. Neither are allowed now, banned under the hysterical general licence to invent regulations that have no justification attached to them. But there's a glow settling around the end of the day now which can't be sullied.

2 comments

Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Is that craic? and crack… or is there a new type of crack i’m unaware of? i hope not i take a silly pride on staying up to date on narcotics…;)

and isn’t it amazing how the addicts mind works, they can fuck up any number of things, miss appointments, birthdays, jobs…but when it comes to scoring they (we’re) the most organized and together person around.

Also i understand why Hayley is such a hard habit to break, i’m sure after five minutes i’d be quite smitten with her.

Tue 18th May 2021 @ 19:34 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

No, it was just us enjoying the two spellings :)

Yeah, I was thinking, in the bit about her never missing that appointment, I really should change it to “the appointment we never miss", since otherwise it sounds as though Hayley’s the only punctual one when it comes to retail therapy. (Done)

Hayley’s magnetism is waning a bit, but at least physically, she’d knock you for six :) If we’re walking arm in arm together I can see men thinking “you fucking lucky bastard.”

Tue 18th May 2021 @ 22:40 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

The Comfort of Strangers

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16.1.19: Further pruning

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