Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Here Comes The Rumour Mill

17.12 On Time
In an effort to set the record straight and counter any Chinese Whispers we might be hearing, our HeadofDirectorate sent out an email.

He made it quite clear that there is no truth whatsoever in any of those silly rumours we might have heard about relocations and reassignments. Nothing's been decided. Yet. Apart, that is, from those relocations and reassignments that are on the cards, and will definitely happen at some tba point in the future.

It's really not something we should be worrying our pretty little heads about. They'll share the boring detail in due course, when we need to know.

So, that would be about a week before it's happening then?

Here Comes The Rumour Mill - The Young Knives
Kate - Ben Folds
On My Way - Ben Kweller
Sold My Soul - Willy Mason
A Century Of Fakers - Belle & Sebastian
1972 - Josh Rouse
One More Mile - Tom McRae
Get On With Your Life - Stina Nordenstam
Fell In Love With A Girl - White Stripes
The Gulag Orkestar - Beirut


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"one of those things you put down to experience"

17.12 Five Minutes Late
It started with a tup related enquiry and an ill-advised third cup of coffee and ended in me driving ThesaurusBoy from his desk in despair at the unstoppable babble of caffeine fuelled high school reminiscence.

Yes it is true.

I really did have a friend who went out with someone (the chemist's son: blonde, smarmy, sarcastic) she didn't like that much for over a year as a means of getting close to his friend (the jeweller's son: blonde, aloof but decent), I really did work with someone who was related by marriage to an Olympic swimmer and I really did play a game of chess with UnrequitedLove without exchanging a word: why would that surprise anyone?

My Eyes Adored You - Frankie Valli
Sad Sweet Dreamer - Sweet Sensation
Homely Girl - The Chi-Lites
Going Back - Dusty Springfield
Arms Of Mary - Sutherland Brothers & Quiver
Goodbye To Love - The Carpenters
My Little Town - Simon & Garfunkel
Betcha By Golly Wow - The Stylistics


Monday, September 24, 2007

"Everything it seems I like's...a little bit harmful for me"

17.12 Ten Minutes Late.
I examine the facts: I love chocolate, I love alcohol, I love cheese, potatoes, pastry, bread and butter. I'm not that fussed about fruit and veg, hardly ever drink water and find exercise boring.

Viewed like this, my life should be one constant, unremitting battle against temptation.

I should really be twice the size I am. With terrible skin.

I feel strangely heartened. Maybe I'm actually doing OK?

Chocolate - Snow Patrol
Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk - Rufus Wainwright
Cigarettes and Alcohol - Oasis
Blueberry Pies - Prefab Sprout
Mexican Wine - Fountains Of Wayne
White Winos - Loudon Wainwright III
All U Can Eat - Ben Folds
Lazy -Suede


"I know it don't thrill you, I hope it don't kill you"

8.10 Five Minutes Late
Sometimes the jukebox is perfectly synchronised to my mood. I don't tell it where to start, it just knows.

It is important that my mood is enhanced, as I am feeling a little despondent of late.

The facade of over inflated self-worth, cynicism and cast iron certainty which I craftily project to disguise my overwhelming insecurity and terminal lack of confidence can, funnily enough, sometimes work so well that I forget it's all a front. Then something happens to pull me up short and slap me round the face with the facts. "Haha", the inner voice cackles, "you almost had you fooled. Well, now wake up!"

I've been thinking about the future and checking the vacancies. In my darker moments I wonder if I could ever fool anyone else for long enough to get another job.

Welcome To The Working Week - Elvis Costello
Just A Day - Feeder
Salute My Shorts! - Rilo Kiley
Health and Efficiency - Cinerama
Ticket To Ride - The Beatles
Spectacular Views - Rilo Kiley
Fake Empire - The National
Tart - Elvis Costello

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Friday, September 21, 2007

16.12 On Time: Thankyou. Thankyou. Thankyou.
Today passed extra-extra specially slowly. Slower than a treacle-dipped sloth.

For most of the morning it felt like a pneumatic drill was going off inside my head - which I thought was pretty unfair seeing as how I didn't drink that much last night. Felt slightly better after it was confirmed that men were digging up the street and there actually was a pneumatic drill.

CanoeingInstructor took the day off to tidy her sock drawer which was a shame, as it meant that half-nine came and went and there was no one to suggest a bacon buttie run. However, ThesaurusBoy had scarcely taken off his coat before OldFishWife asked hopefully: "So, are we having chips for dinner then?"

We did.

I perked up.

Then had a Mars bar.

But now, I'm so tired I feel sick.

It was a good night though.

Three out of the four performances caused scarcely any pain at all and the other one, well, we gave them ten minutes and then gave up, so relatively little harm was done. I scribbled a few highly amusing, insightful, scrumpy fuelled notes under the fluorescent light:

"Flashing-Eyed Disco-Assed Kitten!
You're from Leicester, you don't need to "buy a fake id" you can just go to Londis.
Haircuts of ten year olds.
Grown up ladies and men pretending to be children isn't really for me.'
WhyDoesJesusHateMe' Southern Gothic.
I feel his pain, but I don't share it.
It's not a sin to break it up with a verse-chorus-verse once in a while.
The Blue Nile Twin???"

In the absence of fluorescent light and scrumpy they seem only slightly baffling.

Transatlanticism - Death Cab For Cutie
We Looked Like Giants - Death Cab For Cutie
Our Song - Joe Henry
America - Simon & Garfunkel
Because - Elliott Smith
I'll Wear It Proudly - Elvis Costello

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7.31 On Time
It was a late night.

We didn't get in till two, but I didn't drink much, which is how I've made it out in time for the Early Train.

The hot topic on the platform is whether anyone has heard the train go down the line yet; we agree that if we didn't (and we didn't) it was because of the rain. We agree that the mornings are getting dark and that the evening train has been extra busy for a week or so, but that a couple of cancellations will sort out the wheat from the chaff and make more room for us die-hards. We agree that it's the wrong kind of rain, and all this agreement brings us closer together, as we huddle beneath the meagre shelter which is the best that 'Northern' can provide.

KnittingWoman switches seats and is directly in front of me for a change. She's still making the matinee jacket, although it's looking so big now that I'm beginning to question that it is a matinee jacket but - so white and so lacy - what else would be? I'm hypnotised by the movement of the needles and watch, trying to work out the pattern. Just when I think I might have it sussed she pauses, checks her work and unpicks the last half dozen stitches. That wool is so fine; those needles so thin - it doesn't look like a whole lot of fun.

Our Song - Joe Henry
Tiny Vessels - Death Cab For Cutie
Sold - Joe Henry
Transatlanticism - Death Cab For Cutie
Tiny Voices - Joe Henry


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"it started badly and it's ending wrong"

7.31 On Time
It was either dark when the alarm went off this morning or I forgot to open my eyes.

The girl on the seat in front of me has a job interview on Friday.
I know this because she has just written it, neatly, in her diary. In preparation she's reading a book called "1001 Really Tough Interview Questions To Answer Before You Die" (or some such). She chews the end of her pen, then makes notes. I catch sight of the words "I find it frustrating that..." . With a slight twist of my shoulders and a crane of my neck I could easily read the rest of her round, childish handwriting, but I don't.

I wish her a silent "Good Luck" then close my eyes and focus on my new favourite song.

Our Song - Joe Henry


Monday, September 17, 2007

"You're damn right there is, but we can't talk about it now"

17.12 On Time
I know it's your belief that dwelling on problems is the cause of problems.
I know you believe in the power of positive thinking and looking on the bright side.
But there are times when that just won't do. There are times when something isn't right and, for me at least, ignoring it won't make it go away.

I worry that if it does come out it will be in one of those tearful outbursts of stammering incoherence to which I am prone. So, for this reason, I practice the sentences in my head. I take a deep breath and decide that tonight will be the night. I run through the pros and cons. I hear everything I know you will say. I rehearse my replies. I remain rational and calm. The trouble is (and it happens this way every time) I arrive at my destination as I reach the conclusion: it's down to me.

If you're not happy with something in your life you should change it or stop complaining about it.

That will be your bottom line.

But I'm too lazy and too much of a coward for that so, once again, I'll pack away my carefully prepared arguments and say nothing. I'll see how I feel tomorrow. It'll be OK by then, I'll have it all worked through.

There's no need to make trouble when everything's fine is there?

The Absence Of God - Rilo Kiley
Tiny Vessels - Death Cab For Cutie
You Can't Fail Me Now - Joe Henry
Ocean Of Noise - Arcade Fire
Whatever You Want To Haunt You - Ben Weaver
Last Harbor - American Music Club
He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's The Pilot - Grandaddy


8.10 On Time
I am wearing my coat for the first time since April. For once I've made the right choice. Those who decided against shiver on the platform and when on board the train are still unable to settle down to comfortable snoozing.

September, much more than January, is moving on and fresh starts and clean slates and opportunity. About measuring how far we've come and how far we've got to go. A time for taking stock and changing direction. A time when lack of progress is harder to disguise and lack of ambition is less easy to pass off as an endearing character quirk.

Sometimes taking a long hard look at yourself can ruin a perfectly decent day.

Wide-Eyed And Legless - Andy Fairweather Lowe
High In The Morning - Astrid
Wild Wood - Paul Weller
Glison Street - Richmond Fontaine
Cry - Godley & Creme
Sneaky Feelings - Elvis Costello
Wonder - Natalie Merchant
Never Give Up - Ron Sexsmith


Friday, September 14, 2007

As good as it gets?


I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten

17.12 On Time
Me: "Hello, Mrs PotentiallyAwkward I believe you're having a problem with your fridge freezer; is it convenient to talk?"

Her: "No, I've got no clothes on, I just got out of the bath."

We're still having a frank exchange of views about the wretched fridge freezer fifteen minutes later though aren't we? But I know I will win in the end, after all I'm not the one standing naked at the top of the stairs.

Home Thoughts From Abroad - Clifford T Ward
Hymn To Grace - Roddy Frame
Passenger Side - Wilco
Yankee Bayonet - The Decemberists
The Golden Age - Beck
Never Going Back Again - Fleetwood Mac
Jubilee - 10,000 Maniacs
I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten - Dusty Springfield


Thursday, September 13, 2007

"I can smile about it now, but at the time it was terrible"

8.10 On Time
"So, did you see the match?"
"" I shake my head, then the train arrives and spares me the explanation, which would've been: "No. I was at the worst open mic night in the world ... ever".

It started off promisingly enough, the location was an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty about an hour up the road. Spectacular views, soft, quiet air, the motorway twinkling in the gathering dusk, leaves on the turn etc.

Funny how one man can poison an entire evening.

Adopting a world weary air he eased himself onto a bar stool and invited us to "smoke if you want to" in a tone which suggested he genuinely believed he was about to lead the room in an act of civil disobedience. A tip-off whisper had warned "he's not as good as he thinks he is" but I prefer to keep an open mind. Ten minutes later I was considering taking up smoking as a means of escape.

I scribbled my feelings down on the back of a raffle ticket. The more wine I consumed the less charitable I became.


"The lyrics would shame an adolescent"

"I am in physical pain"

"I want to throw my shoe at him"

"That was the worst fucking song I have ever heard"

"I am taking up smoking"

At a safe distance it's difficult to identify exactly what was so bad about him. After all it's not as if I've never been bored before and it's not as if I've never suffered excruciating lyrics before. The desperately unappealing combination of humourlessness, self-satisfied competence and smug disdain? Possibly. Or maybe it was just me?

I didn't win the raffle either.

Shakespear's Sister - The Smiths
English Rose - The Jam
Maybe I'm Amazed - Wings
Footsteps Fall - Eddi Reader
Two Step - Gemma Hayes
Pain Killer - Turin Brakes
The Impossible Dream - Matt Monro
We Can't Make It Here Anymore - James McMurtry
No Names - Kate Rusby
The Moneymaker - Rilo Kiley
Town - Richard Buckner


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"the more you know you know you don't know shit"

8.10 Seven Minutes Late
The end of a non-stop long weekend, with four birthdays being celebrated in the space of five days. What is it with May and September? Oh, wait a minute ... that would be August Bank Holiday and Christmas probably.

S in York laid his project management skills on the line by organising his piss up in a brewery but it was a very fine do indeed. Best disco I've been to in decades and, watching S's mum on the dance floor, easy to see where he gets it from.

Being in the area it seemed wrong not to pop along to witness the (once) mighty Leeds achieving the incredible zero points miracle. It is also wrong of me, but I have to admit to maybe weakening as far as you know who is concerned. (No, not that one. He is still evil incarnate)

The Kop was in fine voice. "Fuck off to the Football League" indeed.

Bastard - Ben Folds
In Between Days - The Cure
The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get - Morrissey
The Angels Hung Around - Rilo Kiley
Coney Island - Death Cab For Cutie
Here, There & Everywhere - The Beatles
Probably - Kevin Devine
Second Hand News - Fleetwood Mac

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Exercise Bike - 39.02 Minutes: 400 Calories
I seem to have lost my voice.

Fortunately, it's coincided with having nothing to say.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
Space Dementia - Muse
Here For The World - I Am Kloot
Where Did It All Go Wrong? - Oasis
Radio Free Europe - REM
O Superman - Laurie Anderson
Ballad Of Ray Suzuki - Looper
Before Today - Everything But The Girl
It's Gonna Take Some Time - Carole King


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

17.12 On Time
I do love Johnathan Rice.
Here's one reason why.

Very eagerly anticipating "Further North"

Give Up - The Postal Service


8.10 On Time
That thing I said the other day? Well, I'm having a rethink now.
Walked into the kitchen this morning and there was my aged, yellowing, paperback copy of 'Catcher in the Rye' open and face-down on the breakfast bar. Spread-eagled! Splayed!

I think it is to my credit that I maintained a semblance of calm.

All the tiny, new students are on the platform. They're so sweet. Optimistic, twittering and all a-flutter. Today I can even forgive them for fixing their faces and doing their hair on the train.

Is Josh Rouse's "James" Billy Joels' "James" all grown up and gone wrong due to failing to heed Billy's sound advice: "Do what's good for you, or you're not good for anybody..." ?

Shakespeare said a lot of things, most of which you wouldn't live your life by, but "This above all: to thine own self be true" is a possible exception.

Seatbacks & Tray Tables Up - Fountains Of Wayne
I Wanted To Be Wrong - REM
Last Time I Saw Richard - Joni Mitchell
James - Josh Rouse
The Day I Wrote You Off - E
The End Of The World - Skeeter Davis
Odalisque - The Decemberists

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

17.12 On Time
All sorts of tiny bits of stuff.

The overnight arrival of Autumn. The whole debacle with the printers. The 'Go on, Do you dare me?' email that I sent 'Reply to All'. The consequential Sender's fear of the 'Read' receipt. The idiocy of people who buy milk which is past it's use by date, drink it all, get ill and then think it's someone else's fault that they got ill. My indifferent silence following "I'm going to call the papers, you won't want that will you?". Lovely standing up for the little guy and being a Train Hero. Lovely's cream trainers. Lovely's first aid course (who knew 'impaling' would be covered on Day One - what does it leave for Day Two?)

But I'm just too tired.


Is it too soon to go to bed?

Red - Elbow
Red Rabbits - The Shins
Red - Rover - Rosie Thomas
Bled White - Elliott Smith
Scattered Black & Whites - Elbow
Surrealism + Blues - Ben Weaver
(Antichrist Television Blues) - Arcade Fire

Powder Blue - Elbow


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