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Toilet encouters of the Modernist kind

  Mon 19th December 2022

As I have done, on and off, since I was a teenager, I went to Uddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. I could only attend three of its ten days, but I found a place on couchsurfing for a couple of days, then for a bonus day (and a welcome warm flat with a shower), I was hosted by Leeds' Singing Organ-Grinder; and as I don't pay train fare any more, I had only to find my drink.

I was picked up from the station by my host, who sported a woolly multi-layered couture that reminded me of my student days before universities were turned into businesses. It should have alerted me to the coldness of her house, which was in inverse proportion to the warmth with which I was received into it.

The house was down a cobbled lane near a mill, built for the "middling sort" -- neither shop floor workers nor management. Had it not been so cold I'd have stared at the pugnacious hills on the other side of the Colne Valley for longer. I was shown in, and sat down with my host's dad. His daughter said she had to go somewhere; that was the last I saw of her all weekend.

On the table, there was a photocopied extract from a technical manual with diagrams of exploded parts of a tractor, and instructions for its disassembly and repair, every tiny part named, its complexity the match of anything I've ever found in my musical studies. The two systems, I thought, tractors and music, have a necessary complexity, otherwise neither work.

It was her dad who entertained me. I thought he was a bit disappointed when I said I wasn't staying for tea, and I made going to a concert I was greatly looking forward to sound like an obligation, in order to assuage his feelings. I knew he was disappointed that I was treating the place like a hotel, and his daughter hasn't put any review in response to my appreciative one for them.


Mid-concert, in the toilet at UCMF, I turn round and see an elderly man in a wide-brimmed hat. "Oh! Is it Mr S---?" It was the founder of the festival.

We chatted a bit and then he took me under his wing for the evening, getting me into a reception on the basis of my true story about coming to UCMF when I was fourteen years old, when they gave bursaries to "people of limited means", and arranged accommodation with friends of the festival who had a spare room. I felt elevated, being on terms with the festival's founder. There was free wine, some of which ended up on my trousers. He gave me his card. I must follow this up rather than my usual approach of thinking all pleasant experiences are accidental and socially inconsequential.


I was unsuccessfully on top of Mel the other morning. "Maybe you should try Viagra," she said, not knowing that I already do, and was. "Yeah, that'd be interesting. See what happens." We laughed -- her honestly, me lying. Maybe I could try drinking less.

8 comments

Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Sounds like a curious festival, and I think everywhere was way too cold last week!
I love those technical diagrams, they remind me of how technically useless I am and how little I know about so many things, but they are aesthetically fascinating.
Yes, try to drink a little less.
Sx

Wed 21st December 2022 @ 07:04 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

It’s great, some of the concerts really transport you. And it feels like a gathering of the clan. You feel part of a subculture.

Hope you’re all cosy and tucked up down there Miss S. It’s been a bit grim, even down in the pansy-ish southwest!

Wed 21st December 2022 @ 10:24 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

The way you get into things and on with people reminds me of someone i know… ;)

believe it’s time to pitch my reality show to the networks… Looby and Kono Travel the World… it’s ostensibly a show about two blokes who’ve never met in person then meet in, i dunno, the Prague train station, and then head off on madcap hi-jinks which usually involve drinking, drugging, fine ladies of suspect reputation and any other adventures they get themselves wrapped up in… like Scooby Doo with out the dog, unless of course we find one and bring him/her along… what network would honestly turn this down?

Wed 21st December 2022 @ 13:30 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

That is a sure-fire hit. Whether the protagonists ever manage to get out of hospital or the police station or the loony bin in time to sign the contract is a moot point however.

I recently entered a competition dozens of times in order to win a week in NYC. I’d have been straight over to yours and Exile’s in Newark. Unfortunately the competition was rigged and someone else won.

P.S. kono – I have no idea how I’ve only just seen this. I’ve been away from loobynet since 23rd December but I notice you posted this before then. Sorry my friend. The British internet is starting to resemble its strike-bound, unreliable, privatised, “Royal” Mail.

Fri 30th December 2022 @ 23:21 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

No worries mate, we all have things going on and the internets sometimes has a mind of it’s own, lol! besides i’m so stoned most of the time i have to check to see if i left a comment or if i just imagined i did, lol!

Full disclosure- the telly program is a spinoff on an idea i once had on the way to Cleveland from the Burgh… we had stopped at highway rest stop to take a piss… in a momentary lapse of discipline we had began to indulge in the Bolivian Marching powder that was supposed to be for later, (luckily someone thought ahead and brought an extra bit) and since we were getting a bit off our tits the ideas were rolling… we happened to see this very American lad who was wearing a fringe jacket with the scene of a wolf on a rock ledge howling at the moon and stars… needless to say it we were giggling fools and so we came up with the idea of spending 24-48 hours at a highway rest stop while getting off our face on various substances ranging from weed to coke to psychedelics with some booze clandestinely thrown in for good measure, of course in the name of Hunter Thompson we’d have to do this without “permission” while we filmed/documented the whole bit before most likely being tossed in jail. Sure the Travel Channel would have paid loads for this show!!

Happy New Year my friend!!

Tue 3rd January 2023 @ 01:06 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

A splendid way to spend a couple of days on the road!

And a very Happy New Year to you and everyone else who has stuck around all these years.

Tue 3rd January 2023 @ 13:41 Reply to this comment
Comment from: 63mago [Visitor]

Goodness - man it’s simple :
Down the Hooch, Up the Ram (or how ever one wants to call the one and only).

If yer already using the blue pills - to no avail - : Cleanse, Meditate, Sober up.
Give yer body a chance to recover. Get all out of yer system, after 36 hours all is gone.
It miracuously will recover.
(sooner or later. But usually fast. we are of the same age.)

After a few weeks of tea, water, vegetables, and meditation, a little joint is yer friend, and you’ll stay on the tower of power for hours again. Never leave out Mel. Dot’s important. But who am I, to tell you, eh ?!

Mon 16th January 2023 @ 22:20 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Hello Mr Maggs. Well – last week I stayed off the booze for an unprecedented three days and tried the pills again, and Lo! He is Arisen! :)

I raise a carrot juice in your direction!

Thu 19th January 2023 @ 21:31 Reply to this comment


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


M / 59 / 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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