Sunday, December 31, 2006

Day Five: I come last at Scrabble. Twice.


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Day Four: Some Fool decided a bit of fresh air would be a good idea.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Day Three: I could do with some help now, really.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Day Two: made progress.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Day One: done the easy bit.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas. Dinner's at three. Give or take an hour or so. The oven hates me.


Friday, December 22, 2006

17.12 Five Minute Late
I was so proud of myself. I left the office after a glass or two of wine, having declined the opportunity to go to the pub, because I had a hot Morrisons date lined up. But the train was disorientating. Apart from the ManWithTheIceCreamHair there was no one in the entire carriage that I recognised. Everyone had gone home early or decided that 'Oh, go on, just one then' was a viable option.

PrissyConductor wound me up with his scrupulous insistence on meticulously concluding each ticketing transaction before opening any doors - what's wrong with the "I'll get back to you in a second" that everyone else employs?

Walking home from the station, the queue at the chip shop was the longest ever. Out of the door, across the pavement, onto the street. I looked for a sign saying "Last chips before the apocalypse" but there didn't seem to be one.

Bolton Wanderer - Planning To Rock

Alone Together - The Strokes
The Real Slim Shady - Eminem
Bitches Ain't Shit - Ben Folds
Man In The Iron Mask - Billy Bragg
Marble Arch - Roddy Frame
Back To The Old House - The Smiths
Gardening At Night - REM


8.10 On Time
It’s easy to spot the people who are going out after work tonight.
The novelty of taking the train is making them a little giddy.
They’ve either got their good coats on or have absolutely no warm outer wear whatsoever.
They have to ask which direction the train is headed.

I hope they have a good time, though it will be Absolut hell in town tonight.
Or, from about 3 o’clock probably.

I need a new Christmas Album don’t I ?

Alan Parsons In A Winter Wonderland – Grandaddy
Little Drummer Boy – The Dandy Warhols
Donna & Blitzen – Badly Drawn Boy
Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade
Just Like Christmas – Low
When I Come Home For Christmas – Snow Patrol
Everyday Is Christmas – The Webb Brothers
Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas – Eels


Thursday, December 21, 2006

17.12 Cancelled. 18.08 On Time.
So. That’s the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with a whimper.

We are grinding to a halt.

Tomorrow is the end of our world (as we know it). And we don’t feel fine.

I thought I might be able to raise a smile with a Fortune Teller, but Lovely was too despondent. Can you imagine being so low that even Origami can’t reach you?

It’s THAT bad.

Maybe it’s as well he didn’t play; my ‘Fortunes’ did tend towards the pessimistic. “If you think this is bad, just wait till next year”, “Q: What’s the worst that could happen? A: Next Year”… that kind of thing.

Mind you, he’s still a ‘2’on my “Where Do You Stand On A Scale Of Minus Ten To Plus Ten?” O-Meter. I’m down at minus 3.

Hopippolla – We Are Scientists
Postcards From Italy – Beirut
Such Great Heights – Iron & Wine
Crazy – Gnarls Barkley
We Both Go Down Together – The Decemberists

God Bless America – James McMurtry


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

17.12 Nine Minutes Late
Seasonal Update : BernieThe(Commuting)Busker is back on the train again.
Though he doesn't wear his Santa hat and cape first thing. Perhaps he's hoping to travel incognito?

If so, the amps and mike stand could be a giveaway.

He likes to get an early start or, maybe, what with the time of year, he just wants to be sure of staking his claim to the premium pitch.
Opinion in the office is divided, but the majority view is he's a tradition & we like it.
Honestly, how could anyone have resisted the whole hearted version of Piano Man he was belting out at lunchtime?

"la da da da di la da di da...da da da dum ... "

Although, this week, I have been mostly listening to some of the tunes of the year provided by James, Robbie and Joe. Some I like more than others.

A Winter's Sky - The Pipettes
Rally - Phoenix
Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken - Camera Obscura
The Mourners Of St Paul's - Liam Frost
Like A Pen - The Knife
Paris 2004 - Peter, Bjorn & John
Jealous Girls - The Gossip
Lust In The Movies - The Long Blondes
Revolver - Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
Bolton Wanderer - Planning To Rock


Monday, December 18, 2006

"I'm Not Happy... I'm Not Having Any Fun..."

8.10 On Time
You know when you work really hard at persuading someone to do something they’re not keen on, by saying “Oh go on, we did it there last year and it was great. You'll enjoy it.” and then, eventually they allow themselves to be persuaded, and you’re dead chuffed? but then, when you do it, it’s crap and you feel bad?

That was the Christmas Do.

Anything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong.

Except for the food being awful. Late, wrong, cold, slow to appear - but not ‘awful’. Although when I ordered ‘strawberry shortcake’ this is not exactly what I had in mind.

There is no way Lovely & OldFishWife are ever coming out again.

UncorrectedPersonalityTrait(Ex)Colleague made an appearance later in the evening (and by 'later' I’m talking half five/six o’clock-ish). Charlie was convinced he’d got wider. He assured us he was happy in his work and more chilled, which, as the alternative would surely have meant him spontaneously combusting by now, I half believed.

I discovered that I am the only person in the office unable to converse intelligently on the subject/s of X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. I need to re-think my Saturday Nights. Leanne asked what I did instead, and I couldn’t come up with an answer - though it’s now obvious.

I spend my Saturday Nights in a slough of despond don’t I?

So, to answer the question “How did it go?”
I managed to avoid hypothermia ... was at home and in my pyjamas by nine... and missed TheAlcoholKing landing one on UncorrectedPersonalityTrait(Ex)Collegue...allegedly.

Manchild -Eels
Too Far Apart - Wilco
Army - Ben Folds Five
Don't Talk - 10,000 Maniacs
Nothing Gives Me Pleasure - Josh Rouse
Jonathan David - Belle & Sebastian
A Day Is Far Too Long - Graham Coxon
Do You Remember The First Time? - Pulp

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Tell Me At Least Six Things You May Or May Not Consider Personal, I'm Not Talking About Jet Ski Accidents

It's the Christmas Do coming up in the next...oooh half hour or so and I am anticipating the usual programme of tears, taking umbridge, huffs, equilibrium unbalancing snogging, IneffectualManager being an arse, ill advised honesty, ill advised shots of chilli vodka .... so, pre-empting the drink induced guard lowering to come:

'Six Things'

1) I still regret not realising exactly how ill my Dad was and that, consequently, my last words to him were “I see Arsenal lost again then.”

2) I was a prolific letter writer in my younger days. Because I could tell you things on paper that I would never be able to say to your face, there are some letters out there that I regret. On the other hand, I've yet to send an email that I r e a l l y regret.

3) I am considering sending an email to everyone who’s name I recognise on Friends Reunited before my subscription runs out in January, but I think it would be a bad idea. I will still probably do it, one day over Christmas when I’m a bit drunk. It will be a bad idea.

4) I love to attract attention, but when I've attracted it I don't know what to do next.

5) I worry that I am mean.

6) Even though it is pathetic I enjoy being smug about drinking the chilli vodka.

Jet Ski Accidents - Wolf Colonel


Thursday, December 14, 2006

7.31 On Time
Unusual. Only three other passengers on the platform.
Darkest morning yet.

While walking across the car park towards Winckley Square, “E-Bow” by Sigur Ros comes on the jukebox. The sky is beginning to get light, the rain is starting to stop. Yellow office lights and red car lights are softly blurred. A few leaves cling to the trees. It’s not in the least cold.

If you look in the right places, there are still some very fine buildings left in Preston.

This moment is perfect and everything makes sense.

Bitter End – Placebo
Biological – Air
Winter In The Hamptons – Josh Rouse
Alan Parsons In A Winter Wonderland – Grandaddy
The Pretender – Jackson Browne
Eight Days A Week –The Beatles
Blue & Grey Shirt – American Music Club
Yours & Mine – Fountains Of Wayne
Next Time Round – Elvis Costello

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

7.13 On Time
Whatever next!
the cat appears to be on the verge of plunging us into an International Incident

Apparently, we are refusing to let the Israelis have him back.

There we were thinking
this would be the big news.

Spitting Games – Snow Patrol
A Time To Be So Small - Interpol
You Talk – The Strokes
So It Goes – Nick Lowe
Forget Myself - Elbow
Spies – Coldplay
Dance Girl Dance - Cinerama

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

17.12 On Time
I've not been reading a lot of books lately.
Or, I've been not reading a lot of books.
What I mean is, I've started loads, got exasperated by them pretty early on and abandoned them.

For example:

"Cloud Atlas" page 4. A pathetic attempt I know, but I really couldn't be doing with it.
"Ursula Under" somewhere round 178ish. I was enjoying it and everything ... then I put it down and couldn't pick it up again.
A book I can't remember the title of by a writer who's name I've forgotten, but who seemed to be sort of modeling himself on Dave Eggers - made it about a third of the way through, but just didn't care enough not to return it to the library on Saturday.
"Small Island" page 20 - but had heard most of it on Radio Four already and it didn't seem worth the effort. Returned that on Saturday as well.

That kind of thing.

I put it down to bingeing on "Love in the Time of Cholera", because I haven't been able to settle to a book since then.

I need to persevere.

Apart from any other consideration I've realised I don't sleep well when I'm not reading well. I am more than half way through "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid," and have decided I want to go to Des Moines for my holidays; that'd be Des Moines in the 50's.

And I came back from the Library with a whole new pile...but the thought of Brett Easton Ellis is already making me queasy.

(Oh, and as for "The Hours" did anyone, anywhere, ever manage to finish that?)

Hangover - Gomez
Toxic Girl - Kings of Convenience
Mrs Robinson - Simon & Garfunkel
Last Chance Texaco - Rickie Lee Jones
Paperboats - Liam Frost
My Favourite Girl - King Creosote
Shore Song - Roddy Frame
Moving The Goalposts - Billy Bragg


Monday, December 11, 2006

7.31 On Time
Shed loads of guilt about my poor performance in the project , participation wise, so spent the weekend spewing out my thoughts on age, ageing and the care of the elderly.
Then realised that Saturday would've been my Dad's 81st birthday and felt sad, then some more guilt because I hadn't given it a thought this time last year, when he would've been 80.
(All in all, as he didn't even make it to 70 I really don't think he's going to be affronted.)

But, then, that reminded me of London last month.
While we were having dinner in an intimate Italian Restaurant Tim asked me who, in the whole world and if anything were possible, I would most like to be able to have dinner with; and we immediately knew that our answers were the same.
Our respective Dads.

And then we had to change the subject quickly.

Jeez, as if I hadn't been feeling low enough already!

Also, on Saturday, met another poor soul who shares this pain, which is always a comfort.

Precious - The Jam
Lazy Line Painter Jane – Belle & Sebastian
From The Morning – Nick Drake
Up On Cripple Creek – The Band
The Go In The Go For It – Grandaddy
Blue Veins – The Raconteurs
Pyramid Song – Radiohead
Back To The One – Roddy Frame

It's that time of year again.

Friday, December 08, 2006

17.12 On Time
It's been a wistful sort of afternoon.
OldFishWife tasted her first ever Chinese Food but was under whelmed by it.
ThesaurusBoy was spurred on to militant email action, though perhaps "stop whingeing and do something about it then" was the wrong way for me to try to spur him on.
Leanne seemed preoccupied.
Charlie had stuff to do.

WalkingMedicalEncyclopedia & MrPositive were subdued and didn't even do much whispering. Although, come to think of it, I can't remember the last time MrPositive 'worked' on a Friday afternoon so he was probably in shock.

When Lovely's not in it's so easy to slip into melancholia.
I am going to miss him so much come January and the new regime.
What will I do with all my: "Look, can I ask you, as a Man ...?" questions?
And who can I trust to tell me if I've got dinner on my face?

Had my hair done at lunchtime - think Jeanette might've got carried away with the fringe.

Western Skies - Roddy Frame

Thursday, December 07, 2006

7.31 On Time
Prissy Conductor is in a bit of a tizz this morning.

He's got doors to open. Doors to close. Announcements to make.
He's most definitely not got time to sell you a ticket (unless you’re a cash buyer) I’m afraid.
There's too much flapping to do.

Back at the Office, the kinetic wheel had the desired effect.

Western Skies - Roddy Frame

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

7.31 On Time
My ears have not been right since they flew back from Portland.

The fuzziness comes and goes, but the final straw was earlier this week when not only did I fail to hear the alarm but was also unable to tell that the radio was on. I couldn’t hear John Humphreys! Imagine! Well, yes, but leaving aside that this might be an advantage – it was actually quite scary.

Anyway, I decided to stop moaning and do something.

Turns out the only available appointment before January is the morning after our Christmas jaunt to G-Mex to see Snow Patrol (I know, I know – but it’s Christmas and Elbow are the support).

And at least I shouldn’t have to worry about not having any symptoms.

I shall be seeing a ‘Dr Ross’ and am already having visions of George Clooney… that’s a mistake isn’t it?

Family Tree – Ben Kweller
Suzy Lee - White Stripes
Generals and Majors – XTC
Gimme A C! – Rabbits
Kissing The Lipless – The Shins
William, It Was Really Nothing – The Smiths
Old Soul Song – Bright Eyes
Small Black Flowers … - Manic Street Preachers
100m Backstroke – Josh Rouse

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

8.10 On Time (First Since 9th November)
I as good as asked a man if he was lying to me today.

Picking up on my lengthy silences and noncommittal answers he knew something was wrong; every time we’ve spoken in the past I’ve been so supportive and unguarded.

So, I had to take the bull by the horns and ask : "Is there something you’re not telling me? Maybe something you forgot to mention before, that you think isn’t going to do you any favours? We know people sometimes don’t give us the whole truth. You need to tell me because... if I’m going to help you ... you will have to be absolutely honest with me."

It was quite intense. Considering.

He insists he’s told me everything, and I think we reached a new level of mutual respect.

Still not sure I believe him though.

On A Plain – Nirvana
Radio Free Europe – REM
The Boy Done Good – Billy Bragg
I Must Be High – Wilco
The Storm Is Coming – Ed Harcourt
All The Same To You - Laura Cantrell
Lovely Head – Goldfrapp
The Good Times Are Killing Me – Modest Mouse

Monday, December 04, 2006

17.12 Twenty Three Minutes Late
Standing on the platform, listening for the announcements; it's already five minutes late.
Still raining, but that doesn’t bother me at this side of the day. I’m on my way home - so what if I get soaked?
Being cold and wet and tired makes getting home even more pleasurable.
Makes thinking about getting home even more pleasurable.
Which is just as well.

Ten minutes late now.
I can think about food or I can think about the exercise bike.
Thinking about food is my default setting, so I concentrate on the exercise bike and how much better I’ll feel if I make the effort. Glowing and righteous and deserving of my tea.

It only takes half an hour. It’s nothing. I really should do it.

Fifteen minutes late, and bored by forbearance.
My impetus is ebbing away. I’ll do it tomorrow. It’s OK as long as I manage four times a week. Anyway, I did it yesterday.

And my feet are freezing, and I’m really hungry.

The Model - Belle & Sebastian
The Look Of Love - Dusty Springfield
Falling Away With You - Muse
And Around - Josh Rouse
Eight Lives Left - E
Over You Now - Kate Rusby
Early Years - Laura Cantrell
Maggie May - Rod Stewart
Because - Elliott Smith

Is this as grown up as we ever get?*

8.10 Three Minutes Late
Saturday; although it occupied the best part of the day I did get my Christmas shopping organised.
That ‘having my Christmas shopping organised’ mainly consisted of asking “Is your wish list up to date?” is neither here nor there**.

Sunday; excitingly wild and windy, provided the perfect excuse for idling.
While Tim’s up in the attic fiddling with his gizmos there’s nothing I like better than to curl up on the sofa with John Cusack.

Tim is very relaxed about it.

I suppose he thinks there are far worse things I could be doing.
Indulging in a multitude of fantasy lives on the internet for example, or line dancing.

(**If I haven't got round to asking you yet, and it's not ... better get it sorted just in case, unless you really do still want that second Darkness album...)

Unchained Melody -The Righteous Brothers
About A Girl - Nirvana
Midnight Flyer- The Eagles
Tinsletown In The Rain- Blue Nile
Perfect Lovesong - Divine Comedy
She's Not There - The Zombies
Sentimental Guy - Ben Folds
The Heart Remains A Child - Everything But The Girl

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