Gay Nazi Sex Vicar in Schoolgirl Knickers Vice Disco Lawnmower Shock!

Me and Trina do not have sex

  Wed 1st September 2021

One of my current assignments is serving fattening, unhealthy food to fat, unhealthy people, in a works canteen. After my shift, I am turning my scooter on at the works gate, where they all go to smoke. "Right goodnight then," I say to Ten Ton Teddy, whom I served earlier. He interrupts rolling his cigarette to say "have fun on your illegal scooter." "Yeah!" I say, laughing.

Wish I'd had the presence of mind to say "well, they don't suit everyone. You've got to be under a certain weight to ride them for a start."

To Lancaster, to wave my eldest off to Moscow, where she's got a job as a English assistant in the State system there. My damaged leg moans all weekend and I spend money on taxis to avoid the ten-minute walk to Kirsty's house.

I have a couple of days with Trina on her narrowboat and another overnight at her house. Our years-long reconciliation is complete, and I have a happy, drunken, sexless time with her. One morning, I am making an omelette for our breakfast. "I think you're wonderful," she says, wrapping her arms about me.

On Trina's urging, I give in to the irritating limitations of my injury and "go" to the doctor, by filling in an online form. Two hours later I am booked in for an X-ray in Bristol, as they want to eliminate a fracture.

Outside the hospital, dozen of people with visible and invisible disabilities are puffing away under no smoking signs. In radiology, I am met by a rangy African man who shines the sinister rays through my groin. I am embarrassed about my unimpressive credentials showing up on the photograph.

I am informed later that there is no fracture, but there's muscle damage and a bit of arthritis in my hip. On the doctor's advice, I buy an arthritis kit from B&M Bargains.

I go to buy some coffee. The young man in the shop describes the flavour as "funky". I am tempted to say that there is a now obsolete sense of that word which refers to the smell of a vulva, but instead I proffer a tenner. I am told I have to pay by card. "Amazing," he says.

Outside the shop, a homeless beggar says of my scooter, "that's cool that." I straighten up with pride and go off down the road with perhaps exaggerated acceleration.


A pint of custard

  Sun 15th August 2021

"What are you doing?"

I am mixing custard powder with cold water before adding the hot milk. It's not an uncommon form of alchemy in a kitchen, I'd have thought.

"Making custard. He wants custard on it."

He's specifically asked for it thick, so as I pour it on I ask him if it is of the desired viscosity. "Is that OK?" "Just pour it on." "Thicker? Thinner?" "Just pour it on."

I have taken against the man now. There's a power play going on, with him refusing to answer the question. He senses my boss's disapproval and that he can gang up with her against me.

"That's not enough," says my boss, and takes the bowl away from him. She makes a pint of custard -- I know it's a pint because I do the washing up and looked at the level on the jug -- with the emphatic gestures that bosses use when they want to demean one. She inundates the pudding to invisibility.

My boss is one of the most pleasant I have ever had, but she very much dislikes it when one takes the smallest of initiatives.

To force la peste to be over, I go raving. "Italo, electro, disco, house", it said. As I knew she would, Hayley ignored my urging her to buy a ticket immediately, instead sending an email to the organisers which went unanswered. On the night, she was generous with the crack at her boyfriend's slummy, shitty flat. "Are you really going out now?" she said, disappointed that I didn't want to spend perhaps a hundred pounds to slump on a sofa all night.

The place is full to the extent of having to walk sideways past people. So much for it taking a while to get back to normal. It was either a dressy crowd with women in the majority, or my delighted gaze only noticed girls in dresses. A group of young people come and occupy all the seats about me, probably wishing I'd go away. The lad though is friendly, and we talk about drugs and techno before the inevitable ageism, flavoured with homophobia, has to be brought up.

"Can I just ask you with all respect," he elaborates, "do you always come to this kind of thing on your own?" "Not if I can help it, but like I said my friend couldn't get a ticket. I only got a return. It's sold out, isn't it?" No-one would have thought to have asked me such a thing had Hayley been with me. A younger woman as armour.

The e kicked in, and back on the dancefloor the black silhouettes of the dancers were spangled with little rectangles of red confetti.

The following afternoon, revelling in the glassy post-raving daze that has been like a long lost neurological friend, I ring Hayley and ask her if she fancies a pint. Her and K turn up. Whilst K had the pleasant humour of someone who has been to bed recently, Hayley brought a miserable, self-centred, paranoid mood with her. Little hints lately, jokes she's made, have implied she's back on the smack, but this felt more like crack paranoia. I'd left them at midnight so they'd probably been on it for fourteen hours.

I felt as though I was in a laboratory which looked like a harbourside pub. Her mood switched by the minute, taking her boyfriend away for snogging consultations after which she'd return to the table only temporarily cheered.

"Hayley, you're dragging the atmosphere down here. It's a beautiful day, look at the weather. And everyone's in a nice mood, I've had crack, weed, alcohol and I'm on the tail end of some lovely mdma, and you're being all suspicious thinking that we're talking about you. We're not. You're not as important as you think you are. We just want a nice time. You're sat here with two people who love you, so...belt up."

They left suddenly and rudely. The next table had been following it all, and I smiled and gave a little laugh of relief towards them, and welcomed my neurological friend back in.

I ring Mel. "Do you fancy a quiet night in?" I said, partly in order to imply that I wasn't up to sex, although I hardly needed to say that. She's experienced with e and knows how it blurs sexual desire.

She made a delicious Roquefort and mushroom quiche with a base made of grated potato instead of pastry. She was so affectionate and undemanding, despite undoing her blouse and looking down smilingly at my pleasure at her tits in her black bra, which vies for position as my favourite along with the more strappily pornographic red one."You're so girlfriend-y", I tell her. "Lovely bras, nice food."

But despite a willingly undressing girlfriend who's an excellent cook, there remained a scooter-shaped hollow in my life. By kicking the rent and the Council Tax down the road a couple of weeks, I have acquired a replacement for Lesley. I've called the new one Lesley too, as a refusal to let the original out of my life.

I took her out at 1am to the 24-hour offy. It was an exhilarating slalom through the industrial estate, past the fragile sleeping of car- and caravan-dwellers, past a group of black youths smoking weed whilst standing around a car, underneath a dripping railway bridge, and arriving upon the nocturnal Old Market where social life goes on with total disregard for clock time.

Yesterday we went into a new pub I have discovered, a corner house crowded with drunken cider drinkers at two in the afternoon. "Cunt" used in the sense of "close friend"; handshakes and questions about me, just as it should be. It's next door to a posh greengrocers-cum-cafe with a passive-aggressive list of behaviour requests on an A-board outside. It goes on and on, an order of sanitary service. Pleased with themselves, masked middle class people love it, their distaste for the body now writ into non-binding conditions for shopping.


Going, going, gone

  Wed 4th August 2021

I don't worry about my drinking when all it jeopardises is a job. I've lost a few through it, including the very good one I came to Bristol for, in which I could now be on at least 30K for doing little. A friendship, however, is more serious.

As is often the case, I'd already had a couple before I started work on Wednesday afternoon at The Big House. Feeling too confident of my position there, I offer the judge's clerk a glass of wine when she comes in and then overstep the mark by pouring one out for myself.

Sexy Ex Boss comes into the room, makes some remark about dinner, and leaves. Me and the clerk jabber away until it's time for me to start sorting things out for the evening meal.

I'm stood at the dumb waiter and Sexy Ex Boss comes up. "Looby! You mustn't have a drink with the clerks. You mustn't drink at all. People have got sacked for that!"

I trudge smilingly through the treacle of my shift, desperate to go home. "I'm sorry about tonight. It was just a spur of the moment thing when T--- came down." "Ok, we'll have a chat tomorrow x".

I was worried: what kind of "chat"? I don't give a shit about the job. It's making things difficult for Sexy Ex Boss I'm worried about. It was a warm evening, and I collected three for a fiver from Tesco and went and sat in Castle Park. I started chatting with a Bulgarian and a man from Zimbabwe who share my rung at the bottom of the catering workers' ladder.

After an hour or so I took my leave of my new friends. With the clarity that alcohol bestows, I decided that I would shorten my journey home by a few seconds by going across the slippery wet grass instead of walking to the path.

I came to in an intimate embrace with my scooter on the wet earth as peals of Afro-European laughter rang about me. Adrenaline got me home and into bed. I went to turn over in the night, and gasped with a pain democratically shared between my groin, my right shoulder and my right toe.

The following day I thought I'd walk it off by going to our de luxe shopping centre, white bread soft to the last slice. I edged along my road with the walls for support and a slowness that irritated me. I rang SEB and said I couldn't come in to work. I said with little exaggeration that I could hardly walk. She was driving; she was pleasant, short, it's OK looby, let us know.

The following day I scootered down to my local and chatted to Mel on the phone for a bit. Hayley then rang saying they'd had a back payment bonanza and wanted to take me out to a couple of gin bars. Not really my thing but I was sick of feeling sorry for myself. I lopsidedly got back on the scooter and met them outside a place where there was a copper still and middle class couples who can afford drinks around ten pounds a pop.

The cocktails were delicious, like sorbets; the two brothers running it were the interesting in their explanations, and Hayley's boyfriend paid for everything. They had their eyes on us, not our usual types, might do a runner. We moved on to the second bar and sat outside. They went inside to order. I nipped in for what must have been under a minute to tell them what I wanted.

A big thump on the window. Someone at the next table was pointing at a man making off with my scooter. I chased him ineffectually, painfully, an invalid, my hi-vis vest swishing, and saw him ride my scooter away irretrievably off over Bristol Bridge.


Boom and bust

  Wed 28th July 2021

I've got work later at The Big House. The Facilities Manager and various underlings are having a "meeting" there tonight, the purpose of which is unclear.

As we sat round the dinner table last night in the same Italianate villa. the husband of Sexy Ex Boss said "it's a meeting so that no-one can say what they think. So if someone says 'what do think your problems are here?' and someone says 'shit micromanagement' -- well they know they can't say that."

Sexy Ex Boss got a bollocking recently for overspending on flowers for the drawing room. In the meantime the MoJ -- read, you and me -- are paying thousands a months for scaffolding up the back of the house which can't be utilised because the roof repair hasn't been signed off yet. It's just sitting there, with the scaffolding company coining it in whilst doing fuck all. Anyway I don't care, I'm getting ten pounds an hour for it, serving canapés and Prosecco and chatting, but not too much. Thanks, we've got our food now so fuck off.

I'm having an affair with my new scooter, so zoomed down to the harbourside. I sold the old one off last night to a roofer from Keynsham, a miserable little town near Bristol. Me and Mel went to Keynsham once and sat on a bench outside Sainsbury's drinking, and saw two of its staff chase off some harmless young people who were sat with us, one of whom was making this staged but charming attempt to chat up Mel.

I was relieved to get rid of the old scooter. The suspension is too hard, the acceleration is aggressive and difficult to control at low speeds, and the stem lurches back and forth. I got a message from him this morning saying "great fun!", and how he'd had it up to 28mph down a country lane, so that's him off my back.

Me and Mel had a good day and night in. We were talking in bed and I said I was a member of the loony left party. "I like how education is important in the Party. If you want to learn about basic Marxism they'll always help you." "What's basic Marxism?" "Well, it's about how to suck cock in different positions." We then proceeded to a reification of the materialist basis of human relations. The development of the bra from a practical to a sexualising item of underwear has been a great advance of the twentieth century.

Mel has got lovely tits. As has Cath. Cath is my ex-landlady from my previous place in Bristol. We met up in the pub on Sunday. Grim-faced men staring at my scooter as I wheeled it in. The barmaid, attractively fat in a black vest, waved me and my vehicle in.

Cath was there already. She was in the tight jeans she sometimes wears, but was wearing a long shirt that covered her arse, which was a disappointment. I once walked into the kitchen whilst she was bent over the recycling boxes, the seam of her jeans dividing her arse tightly, a sexy constraint. No it's OK Cath, carry on, just push your arse out a bit more if you don't mind. She wants to meet up again, with Mel. A woman friend to tranquillise the man.

I texted her afterwards. "It was a delight to meet you today Cath, and I look forward to some one man - two girl action soon x". I hoped it would sound a bit flirty. I'm fond of her, despite all the problems we had when we lived together in a power relation determined by a landlord.


What a bummer!

  Thu 22nd July 2021

To Middlesbrough, for my brother's fiftieth. He's in a home that has housed, through time, lunatics, imbeciles, spastics, people with learning disabilities, and now, clients. "Differently abled" doesn't seem to have caught on.

Trina was supposed to come up, but emailed me with a couple of days to go with a Carry On accident tale. She'd spilt some coffee, slipped on it, dropped the mug, which broke into shards, then landed on it, causing a deep cut which will require a skin graft, and in the meantime, daily changes of big antiseptic nappies in hospital.

"Oh thanks for reacting in that way," she said, after I'd expressed sympathies and regrets. "I was worried about what you'd say, and I've been putting off telling you." I don't know why she would worry like that. Strange isn't it, how people you think you know well surprise you.

At my mum's house, (she doesn't own it), it was a bit of a gender-bender fest. One of my nieces came out as gay a couple of years ago; her and her girlfriend slept in a tent in the garden. I'm glad my mum doesn't give a toss about anyone being gay. A nephew has decided he wants to be considered as having a non-binary gender. We've got to call him a female name, which I don't mind doing, but it's difficult to remember in the moment. Playing a game one evening, I pointed to me, my brother and him, to mime the word "man". Backtracking, I tried to erase his inclusion with my hands.

I go along with it all, but what a privilege it is, fannying about with gender definition, a leisure activity of middle class self-absorption for those who aren't daily affected by lack of money, sexism, violence, racism.

I spent Monday turning red on the beach with Kim. Kim was a wee bit boring, complaining about things, going on and on about her possible diagnosis for ADD, or ADHD, I don't know the difference, and how she gives so much to needy people whilst listening to them in her job... I wanted to say "I know exactly how you feel Kim."

A group of young people were waist deep in the sea, taking photographs of each on their phones. After we comforted ourselves in our old folks' criticism of the modern addiction for photographing and recording everything one does, and how memory is considered an invalid repository of events, she jumped up to photograph a dolphin curving its way in front of the wind farm.

All day long, thick black smoke bulked up from what we later found out was a timber yard. It's not a proper holiday in County Durham without an industrial accident.

At my brother's care home, they'd decked the garden with balloons and happy birthday banners; yards of food in the summerhouse. One of the carers asked my niece's girlfriend when she was due. I turned round to where one of the carers had been sitting a minute previously and said "have you got any recycling? For the bottles?" It was just the loonies clients sitting there and the only one that responded did so with an indecipherable staccato syllable.

The Northeast is different though. Everyone is considered an extended family in the pub, and as long as you understand the social boundaries, people include you, in a way that doesn't happen down here. I went to the rough pub a couple of times. Met the bloke who put me in his phone as "Fucking Lunatic" when I stayed up there for three months with my mum. "I've got cancer of the spine, but I'm a fucking ex-Royal Engineer so I'm going to stick a finger up its arse and it can swivel on it".

On the train I met two lads who lived in Hartlepool. I gave them a can of my Old Speckled Hen. They'd been in Halifax demolishing something and we had an interesting chat about how you demolish a building. I was a bit nervous about the masked girl sitting opposite me, worrying whether they'd say something sexist or intimidating in her direction, but they didn't.


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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

23.1.16: Big clearout of the defunct and dormant and dull
16.1.19: Further pruning

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