Friday, 25 September 2009

Feedback Friday :: Nothing

bulk :: 13st 8
exercise :: none
even remotely sexual things :: none
back pain :: niggling, proscriptive
marks out of ten for the week :: 5

I’ve got nothing.

All week I’ve been writing this thing I’ve been writing. Trying to. And succeeding for the most part. Monday was a washout though. In the meantime I’ve bitten the bullet and sent out a couple of feelers for proper jobs. Nothing snapping my hand off as yet, but it’s the principle of the thing that’s a bit saddening. I don’t want to do that rubbish if I can help it. I know, I know. Boo hoo.

Seriously though, I’ve got nothing. I’m listening to Eartha Kitt (Ben loves Eartha), I’m using eBay for the first time to try and get myself a chair (back still fucked – next week professional help), my room stinks of abramelin (Crowley’s own concoction apparently, which contains menstrual blood – thanks, Frank), I’m trying to write this thing I’m trying to write and I’m gearing myself up for another weekend without the internet.

That’s it. Oh, and I found this in Ben’s room. Not that I was prying. Found it under his mattress. I can’t help feeling it’s slightly more disturbing than finding weird porn.

I didn't really find it under his mattress by the way - it was in between a couple of books. When I quizzed him about it, Ben said he used to want to be a knitting pattern model, like this guy.

Like that explains anything.

People eh? So, I'm off out in a moment to run some errands and then get uproariously drunk.

And you? What you up to this weekend? Anything OUTRAGEOUS? Tell me at once.

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Friday, 18 September 2009

Feedback Friday :: Conversation Piece

bulk :: 13st 7
exercise :: none
back pain :: crippling
chair purchase attempts :: 4
chair companies called :: 2
chair purchases :: 0
% of chimps working at chair companies in question :: 100
no. of passionate kisses :: 0
no. of desultory kisses :: 0
decent days of writing done :: 3
marks out of ten for the week :: 5

So. These are the photographs I wanted to show you last week, when I posted that vicious little rant that some of you found a tad off-putting. Interestingly, Ben mentioned something the other night about the slightly unpleasant tone I tend to exhibit. I tried to resist it for a while - because ideally I’d like to have the warmth and amiability and purity of intent that seems to come so naturally to, say, Bill Bryson - but Ben was absolutely right. I am rather negative, and bitter, and certainly cynical, and generally disrespectful, and judgemental. I’m quite the misanthrope really. But I still love it. You know. Everything. I still love everything.

Anyway, here’s something positive for us all to rejoice in, hold hands and dance around. To recap briefly, I discovered this public art in South Shields just a few days before leaving the North East, after missing it regularly for three or four months. It really moved me. It made me feel warm and amiable and pure. And I loved the fact that they hadn’t been vandalised. You can bet your arse they would have been in London. Eh? Bloody Londoners.


Good, huh?

I’m currently leeching internet from a company downstairs (ssshhhh), and they’re about to turn it off till Monday morning, so please ensure that when I check back in then, I have a massive ragbag of comments waiting for me. Come on, it’s easy. Join the conversation! What did you think of the sculptures? Do you like Bill Bryson? Isn’t he nice? Don’t you think TS Eliot looks like Aleister Crowley? Makes you think. What are you up to this weekend? I’m not up to much myself. Writing. I’m trying to write something. Ben and Imogen are both away doing musical things. Imogen’s in the States for a couple of weeks and Ben’s spending the weekend in Dublin. Bloody musicians eh? Life of Riley. Life of O’Riley in Ben’s case. And you? What are you doing? What are you wearing? Do you think I’m needy? Oh, just speak to me, for God’s sake, you motherfuckers!



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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

London Philharmonic :: A Fresh Start

Ben’s divorce came through last Saturday. There was a party at our house to celebrate. I live with Ben. And we both live with Imogen.

Both Ben and Imogen are musicians.

Imogen plays the oboe. No. The oboe she plays is not pink.

Ben plays the cello. Yes. Ben's cello is pink. Figuratively. Hence Ben’s divorce.

It’s a long story, and unfortunately not mine for the telling. It’s off limits. And rightly so. Because it has nothing to do with me. Sometimes though, even if something does have something to do with me, that doesn’t give me the right - certainly not if there are other people involved - to take this thing out and wash it, or dye it, in public, then leave it to slop around in the faceless, phlegmmy sea of eyes and ears that is the internet for all eternity. I know. I'm an idiot. I’ve said it many, many times before, but it bears repeating now.

Recently I fucked up a good thing by saying too much on this blog. I knew this person wasn’t comfortable with the whole Truman Show-lite, self-fellatio thing, but I thought I could make it work. I was wrong. I fucked up. And I gave myself a fucking egohernia in the process. The egohernia erupted spontaneously when this woman compared me to Liz Jones and I could see quite clearly that she had a point.

Well, I wish I could say I’ll never make the same mistake again, because it makes me proper sad, but in one way or another, I'm thinking I probably will. So I won’t say anything more. But I am sorry.

But then... I’ve just moved into a new house and some very interesting new people are suddenly knocking about the place and I want to talk about them. So what I did – I had a brainwave, and I thought, I’ll feel them out first. So that’s what I did. I felt them out.

Ben said that as long as I don’t use his real name, or the name of the real musical instrument he plays, or the fact that he has an alcohol problem, then we’ll be alright.

Imogen said I could only talk about her in rhyming couplets, but even then I wasn’t allowed to use her real name, her real instrument or say anything to bring shame on her or her family. Then I made her see that rhyming couplets were a very bad idea. And we talked about something else.

So. I feel like a student. Except I’m also the oldest person in the house, which is a little odd and makes me feel like an underachiever. Yes, a student. Imogen and Ben, and as far as I can tell, most of their friends, studied together. Or else they met on the circuit, or on big jobs. Now they gad about all over the world in vibrant little shifting clusters, playing whatever needs playing and having a whale of a time. (Tour Wives indeed.) Concerts. Film soundtracks. Weddings. Adverts. TV Shows. Rich People’s Parties. Royal Variety Performances. Band tours. You name it. Wherever there is need of string, reed or piston valve, these people fly off, play their pieces, drink very heavily and commit heinous immoral acts.

Here are some of them here:

They’re all top rank humans though, the ones that I’ve met so far at least, and what’s really funny is, although you’ll often find them denying it, they’re all terribly posh. I don’t say that in a disparaging way by the way. Posh in my books is Excellent. I love posh people. And mark my words, if I ever have offspring of my own, as opposed to someone else's, they’ll be posh offspring. Palpably posh. I’ll be shoe-horning them out of the womb with a silver spoon the size of a spade and they’ll be bashing notes before the cord is cut. And if they ever know the uniquely dispiriting sight of a Goblin Meat and Gravy Pudding spilling its unseemly guts across a plate of cold chips, I’ll work my balls off to ensure it’s merely in the name of play or posh gloating.

Speaking of play, two of Ben’s best friends are happy to label themselves ‘failed musicians’. Will is also happy to label himself ‘designer florist’. And Kingsley is perfectly content with ‘music teacher’ at a London comp. I met them both at Ben’s Divorce and Coming Out party. They’re both single. One very recently. Ben too now of course. Mum’s the word. And as for me, I’m up around the nine-month mark. It’s getting just like the old days. When I told them this, they were sympathetic, and drunken plans were immediately hatched to Do Something About It. In the meantime, apparently I have to watch some Sex and the City and figure out which one of us is Miranda.

In other news, I have recently mistreated my spine and now my spine is taking revenge. I currently have a cheap wooden chair tilted forward on two bricks and I’m pumped full of Nurofen. I think I’m going to watch a little more Larry Sanders now, then lie flat on the floor and listen to some Brahms. (Imogen is teaching me about classical music. I still prefer Michael Nyman at the moment, but wouldn't you simply die without Mahler?)

If anyone has any chair advice, by the way, I would be very grateful. My back is proper crippling me at the moment, worse than The Da Vinci Code, which I finished today. (Eminently readable. Hilarious. Inconceivable!) Balls. There must be a surfeit of decent office chairs in London at the moment, what with all the lay-offs and all. I might do some sniffing about.

Happy 9/15!

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Friday, 11 September 2009

Feedback Friday :: Naked Prejudice

bulk :: 13st 5
exploratory rides :: 2
other exercise :: zero
tobacco intake :: elevated
insolvency threat level :: elevated
pages of The Da Vinci Code remaining :: 276
new friends made :: 7
new friends lost :: 1

Before I get back into the thrills, spills and humiliations of life in London, I thought I’d like to properly say goodbye to the North East.

On the whole, as I'm sure made clear, I didn’t enjoy my time up there. Although my sample jar – sociologically speaking – was clearly only partially full, I found it a suffocatingly small-minded place. I mean, actually like no other place I’ve ever been – quite striking in its negative incapability, with vast tides of the population seeming to exist in a state of almost intentional closed-mindedness, in a way that you just don’t see down here, not to that extent. In London, I think, people exist. Even if it’s often a rather confused, haphazard or accidental existence, forced by numbers. Up there they just drift through their soulless concrete cake-boxes like colossal graceless whales sucking up Gregg’s pasties and Bacardi Breezers, trading nods which sit firmly on the fence between suspicion and simple-minded friendliness; the men with their stone cold, lifeless eyes, their giant elastic guts thumping through their football strips like they’re perpetually starting a fight, jutting thighward like enormous chin-pillows of flab; the women with their tiny pinched mouths and surly ashtray children, Brian tattooed fecklessly to each and every neck; and everywhere, harsh empty faces slipping apathetically down hollow skulls, like dirty wet rags in a raw, unforgiving wind. You know?

But aside from all that, I wanted to say something positive about the area. To end on an upstroke.

The first thing I’ll really miss about the North East is the glorious coastline, which is raw and feisty and at points breathtakingly beautiful.

Actually, that’s it.

But something happened in the last week – on my penultimate ride to South Shields, I found something I’d hitherto missed, something which made me return with my camera for the last ride, two days before I came back to London.

It was this...


I just spent over an hour preparing the photographs I took. Around twenty of them, there are. And there isn't enough internet connection here to upload them. Not at the moment. Ah, well. All the more for next week.

Fresh start next week, you know.

Aaah, London.

In the meantime, have an exciting weekend, won't you, and happy 9/11!

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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Happy Birthday Aiko!

Another year, another special birthday post for Aiko. Last year's special birthday post was for no other reason than that Aiko had been wholly lovely in comments and I knew she wasn't very well and I hoped I could make her feel better. This year's is because a) she's continued to be wholly lovely in comments, and b) it's now become TRADITION.

So, Aiko, have a fantastic birthday and a wonderful time with your friend. I wasn't sure what picture to commemorate the occasion with this year, so I decided on your very own sunflower...

And your very own bath Sponge. Aww...

Anybody else who happens to be reading, please feel free to join with me in wishing Aiko the most joyous of days, because a little kindness goes a long way.

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Monday, 7 September 2009

Sarah Ogden's Undergarments :: A Modern Love Story

I was just cleaning out my phone camera when I came across this charming graffito I found somewhere in the North a couple of months ago.

I find it distinctly haunting in its suggestiveness. I can’t help trying to imagine who might have scrawled it there so carelessly, near the bottom of a small flight of stone steps, next to a fairly rank row of bus stops leading out of the city centre. Of course, there are endless possibilities, but I think the most obvious interpretation is as follows…

The graffitist is a former lover of Sarah Ogden, recently spurned. Since the spurning, Sarah Ogden has entered into a new relationship with another man. In my head I have a spectacularly telling two-set Venn diagram representing men who buy underwear for their lovers, and men who carelessly scrawl lovelorn and slightly bitter graffiti in public places, and everyone in the overlap is aged 19 or 20, and works in either Argos, Primark or Subway. Sarah herself – I suspect – works in H&M, and has a slight lisp, like Liz Jones, who is execrable.

The graffitist was severely intoxicated when he wrote the question – probably on a heady cocktail of cider and temazepam – hence the false starts, poor punctuation, shocking calligraphy and general downward trajectory of his work. He was probably weeping at the time too.

Of course, I could be way off. The questioner could in fact be a left-handed lady midget, racked with dementia.

If you have any thoughts about Sarah Ogden, her underwear, or any of the other participants in this torrid love triangle, please get drunk and type them carelessly into the comments box below.

I thank you.

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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Dan Brown :: A Clarification

In my last blog post I gave an account of a recent conversation I had with a shop assistant in a branch of WH Smith. The post gave rise to some stinging controversy in the comments, which on reflection, I thought I’d better address. So, in the name of full disclosure, I feel I should point out at this stage that the account of the conversation I provided last week was not a particularly accurate one. A more accurate version follows here:

Me :: [Handing over a card with the meerkat on it which I was buying for my grandmother, who likes meerkats] Just that please.

Lady :: Are you interested in half price Dan Brown today?

Me :: I’m sorry?

Lady :: You can order Dan Brown’s latest book for half price.

Me: Wow. No, I’m alright actually. And do you have to ask everybody that?

Lady: Aye. Sometime it’s Dan Brown, sometimes it’s half-price chocolates.

Me: Ha! Well, good day to you, Ma’am.

Lady: Good day to you, sir. Do come again!

Sorry if I misled anyone with my slightly doctored version below. It was never my intention to hoodwink or disconcert. I guess I was trying to be funny or something. Please accept my sincere apologies.

In other news, I am in my super spacious new room in London and today - because I think it will do me good - I started reading The Da Vinci Code. At the moment I'm only two chapters in, but I must say, it really is eminently readable.

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