Wednesday, October 31, 2007

17.12 On Time
Spent the afternoon gently banging my head on the desk and moaning softly.

Colleagues gathered to sympathise and mutter "I'm so glad I didn't volunteer," while I reconsidered pig-headedness and secretly wondered if it is, maybe, sometimes over-rated.

Still, off to see "Control" this evening, so it's not as if I'm not having any fun.

Love Will Tear Us Apart - Susanna and the Magical Orchestra


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

17.12 On Time
The Galumpher called me into her office this morning.
I'd gone in early because I had a thing to do before I had to do a thing.

"Have you got a minute?" She asked.
Not really" I said, but should have realised the question was rhetorical.
"It'll only take a second."
We made our way to her office.
"There's no need to look worried".
Not thinking that I had looked worried, I began to worry.

We reached her office.

She asked me if I would un-volunteer for a thing I'd volunteered for.
I said I wouldn't.
It didn't go well.

The Galumpher is LineManager's LineManager and has been for twelve months now.
This is the first conversation she's had with me in that time.

California - American Music Club


"Take us to the land of milk and honey"

7.31 On Time
I really, really need to start planning that next big trip.
But where to go?

There is just so much to see.

God Bless America - James McMurtry
Hackensack - Fountains Of Wayne
You Wear It Well - Rod Stewart
From Wisconsin - Wolf Colnel
By The Time I Get To Phoenix - Glen Campbell
Tulsa - Rufus Wainwright
Texarkana - REM
The Painted Desert - 10,000 Maniacs
Lone Star State Of Mind - Nanci Griffith
This Place Is A Prison - The Postal Service


Monday, October 29, 2007

Wake Up!

7.31 Cancelled.
Ha-ha! But I knew it would be! So I stayed in bed for the extra half-hour!
8.10 On Time
Memories of the last time were strong, and there was a lot to live up to, but I've still got a residual Arcade Fire induced Ready-Brek style glow to keep me warm.
I'm glad I got off that "I'm never setting foot in an arena again, not for no one" high horse; if only for the pleasure of sharing in the choruses of "Wake Up" that flooded out of the Arena, spilled down the steps and washed around the streets of Manchester on Saturday night.

However, I hate that I was hypnotised into staring at the stupid texts on the stupid lit-up stupid message board. (My personal favourites were "Dear Sam, No. Love Edwin" and "Vicky dont bother coming home tonight we are finished").

TheOlderBoy commented that it was strange not to be able to see the band's faces (we were a very long way up). He has obviously been spoiled.

Anyway, better folks than I have described the experience in full (and taken some decent photos).

Funeral - Arcade Fire


Friday, October 26, 2007

"cast some light and you'll be alright"

8.10 On Time
Here is a blurry photo of
Jose Gonzales.

And (because at the first attempt I forgot to have the flash turned off) (sorry) also some of the
lovely people from the RNCM last night who were able to sit still and not chat for a whole 90 minutes. Thank you.

In Our Nature - Jose Gonzales


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"working on mysteries without any clues"

17.12 On Time
It was quiet in the office, so the conversation moved on from food.

CanoeingInstructor changed schools a lot and can't remember being told anything, but she'd sussed out early on that it wasn't going to be of much interest to her anyway.
OldFishWife learned it from priests and disregarded it on principle.
I came over queasy and all but fainted during the video.

Which might go some way to explaining some other things but not why, later on that day as I was picking up my Grandad's shopping, I was unable to keep my mouth shut when, in between ringing up a tin of pilchards and handing me 20 Players, UnrequitedLove's Mum asked me what I'd been up to at school.

Her eyebrows shot up, (her mouth really did do that round 'O' thing, like in cartoons) and future cross-examination was written all over her face.
"Our Unrequited never mentioned any of that!".

Err, no, I'm sure he didn't.

Night Moves - Bob Seger
Boys Of Summer - Don Henley
More Than a Feeling - Boston
Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers
She's Gone - Hall & Oates
I'd Really Love To See You Tonight - England Dan & John Ford Coley
What A Fool Believes - Doobie Brothers
Costafine Town - Splinter
Wicked Game - Chris Isaak

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Monday, October 22, 2007

"...its a fine town, I'm coming home"

17.12 On Time
Next week it'll be dark by the time I get home.

Still, not to worry - far more importantly, I finally managed to track this down.
Let the joy be unconfined!


Friday, October 19, 2007

"I wish I could remember, but my selective memory won't let me"

8.10 On Time
I found this picture on FriendsReunited.
I know which one is me, I know what it was about, I'm almost sure I was sober; but I have no memory of it whatsoever.

Selective Memory - Eels
Forget Myself - Elbow
Painted From Memory - Elvis Costello
And She Would Darken The Memory Of Youth - The Twilight Sad
The Girl I Can't Forget - Fountains Of Wayne
Love In A Memory - Nanci Griffith
Memory Lane - Elliott Smith
Almost Forgot Myself - Doves


Thursday, October 18, 2007

"forget your troubles, c'mon get happy"

17.12 On Time
ThesaurusBoy sat down opposite me this morning, smiled, and said: "Last night was wonderful. Thank You"

Release The Stars - Rufus Wainwright

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Do I Disappoint You?

8.10 On Time
Disappoint? In the flesh? Oh no Rufus. Never.

About fifteen minutes into the main event, having already tried a 'hard stare', I lean over, attract the attention of the couple at the end of the row, and ask (reasonably enough I think) if they could possibly keep the noise down.

"Why? What’s it to you?"
"I can hear you."
"I didn’t pay to come and listen to you chatting"

I am nonplussed. I really didn't think this through did I?
"...what are you going to do about it…"
I am completely thrown by this. I made the mistake of thinking he was just stupid. I didn’t allow for the fact that he might be a dick.
"…get me evicted?"

Luckily, being a complete dick he has provided me with the solution.

I clamber across him and his equally charmless companion and have a chat with a rather large man from security. The rather large man has a chat with Dick. The rather large man reports back. Any more trouble from them and they're out. The down side, of course, is that I now have to clamber back over Mr & Mrs Dick to get into my seat. They don't give an inch; but when the lights come up for the interval I notice that I have managed to leave a footprint on his thigh.

During the interval the ladies in the row behind say "Thank You". Apparently they were on the point of braining him.

It is at about this point that I manage to stop shaking.

Realease The Stars - Rufus Wainwright


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

7.31 On Time
A teenage boy with the expression of a bewildered hamster spills coffee on the new coat of the girl who has just finished telling GirlWhoTalksWithHerHands how pleased she is with her new coat.

He doesn't apologise profusely but this is because he is seventeen and can't rather than because he isn't sorry.

NewCoat dabs at the spillage with a tissue while I debate whether offering her a Wet Wipe would be a gesture of concern or ostentation.

HamsterBoy sits very still for the rest of the journey. He looks down at what's left of the offending coffee with longing, but worries that to drink it now would be unfeeling.

He still carries the coffee, in its fluted cardboard sleeve, as he prepares to leave the train. He drags a wheelie suitcase behind him and, halfway down the carriage, runs over the foot of a young woman wearing ballet pumps. She squeaks. HamsterBoy is oblivious.

That Summer, At Home, I Had Become The Invisible Boy - The Twilight Sad
Redground - Astrid
Autumn Is Your Chance - Robyn Hitchcock
Rainy Greys And Blues - Roddy Frame
Rain Leaves Smoke - Ben Weaver
Valley Winter Song - Fountains Of Wayne
Valentine's Day Is Over - Billy Bragg


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

like the deserts miss the rain...

17.12 On Time
Most of my teenage memories, the real and imagined, are set at dusk in the rain.

Lights just coming on, wet leaves making pavements treacherous, air smelling of bonfire night. All the cliches. But the grey slate roofs and drystone walls of my town revel in the dampness. The Dales were meant to be this way, quiet and still, sheltering beneath lowering skies.

Me too. It is my natural setting; I default to gloom.

Yet when I hear the song, the streets I see are the rain-soaked, early evening, Southport streets; although the location is not entirely accurate it is not inappropriate. The figures are vague and generic, the faces blurred, which is odd, given that they illustrate such sharp, specific, emotion.

It is not, as I had once thought, a happy memory; but that I want to relive it suggests an absence of hurt. I am sure that if I can only rewind and reply the scenes often enough, I will recapture something I've missed before. A look, a gesture, even a word. I will untangle truth from the fiction I have created and, finally, everything will become clear.

I play the song again.

My Uptight Life - Teenage Fanclub
Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime - The Korgis
Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
Loughborough Suicide - The Young Knives
Return To Yesterday - The Lilac Time
Missing - Everything But The Girl
Missing - Everything But The Girl


Monday, October 15, 2007

8.10 On Time
Took me three attempts to get dressed this morning. Everything I tried was wrong.
Finally, in despair, I grabbed my new favourite black, v-necked, top from the clothes maid and pulled it on, cold and still slightly damp.

I thought my days of cold and still slightly damp clothes were well over.

On school mornings the problem was clammy socks; knee high and Daz white in the First Form, less dazzling five years later and only kept 'knee high' by a garter contrived of knotted knicker elastic - exactly how expensive were socks in the Seventies? Were they still being rationed? Or was there a Yorkshire-wide sock blockade of which I I knew nothing?

At first, in college, most things were ever so slightly damp.
That, or scorch dried to cardboard hardness on radiators hotter than the earth's core. After several months of unpleasantness I put aside the scare stories of shredding and shrinkage and learned to trust the campus launderette.

In ThePlaceICan'tSay I had an antique mangle and thought myself lucky.

Then, after the escape, real luxury: a second-hand twin tub with a spin dryer and all the time in the world for pegging out.

Now, here I am - cash rich and time poor, shivering in a damp jumper. Maybe we do need that tumble dryer after all?

Fistful Of Rain - Warren Zevon
Parliament Square - Stina Nordenstam
Truth, Goodness & Beauty - The Cure
Don't Fear The Reaper - The Beautiful South
Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured - Arctic Monkeys
Strung Out Again - Elliott Smith
Comfort Me - Sparklehorse
Barely Legal - The Strokes

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Friday, October 12, 2007

17.12 On Time
Indulged by her father, who has the worst teeth I've ever seen (I can't stop looking, even though the sight of them makes me feel sick and induces a psychosomatic ache in my own gums), a five year old girl occupies her time by licking the carriage window.

Across the aisle AnnoyinglySkinnyLegalWoman crows about the implausibly tiny new outfit she's just bought, in which she definitely looks gorgeous.

There is no obvious catalyst but the little girl begins to cry; emitting distressingly piercing wails and summoning real tears and shoulder shaking sobs.
Immediately, instinctively, I know it to be a sham.
Something in her pale face reminds me of me and - kid - you can't kid a kidder.

Meanwhile, in Manchester, a man is hesitating before turning on the tap, not entirely convinced that it will no longer gush dead wasps.

That Summer, At Home, I Had Become The Invisible Boy - The Twilight Sad
Ed Is A Portal - Akron/Family
Welcome, Ghosts - Explosions In The Sky
According To Plan - I Love You, But I've Chosen Darkness
The Cold Swedish Winter - Jens Lekman
No Key, No Plan - Okkervil River
Onions - The Mountain Goats


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

17.12 On Time
A Gentleman's Lady-Friend is suffering from her nerves.

He calls when the gift he has decided to buy her, to cheer her up and take her mind of her mental fragility, fails to arrive on schedule.

Because a cuckoo clock must be just the thing for someone who's already feeling a little highly strung.

A Free Man In Paris - Joni Mitchell
Mushaboom (Red Demo Version) - Feist
Footsteps Fall - Eddi Reader
Your Song - Kate Walsh
Pretty Dress - Rosie Thomas
Marlene On The Wall - Suzanne Vega
Ran For Miles - Gemma Hayes
Fade Into You - Mazzy Star


Friday, October 05, 2007

"All I've found is, it gets colder further north you go"

7.31 On Time
When things look up they really look up.

A man rings to report the testicles of a bull which are not as described.
They have been promoted as 27cm in girth however, after purchase and upon closer inspection, turn out to be no more than 22cm.

This is serious.

It seems that this is a case in which size very much matters.

There is some speculation over whether the fact that the bull has been transplanted from the mild Fylde coast to the less clement Orkney Isles could have any bearing.

Further North - Johnathan Rice


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Phew, for a minute there....

17.12 On Time
A Good Day! A Good Day!!

Kept busy all morning with wheedling and pleading and arguing the toss and then, this afternoon, my very favourite thing: an unintelligible man with an insurmountable problem and an impossibly tight deadline. It was like the Olden Days. It was ace.

A race against time and a document to be forged (all for the greater good).

Also, CanoeingInstructer may have let a cat out of a bag by demanding: "What does 'tugging your forelock' mean? Why has my friend said 'do we have to tug our forelocks at you now'?"

Congratulations may be premature, but "Congratulations".

To cap it all, next month I am to be focus grouped*. It was sold to me on the basis of "You'll be able to have a good moan." Who could resist?

On the train, a boy has his hair shaved in a vaguely paisley pattern. It looks pretty, but more than anything I want to run my hand over it. I think it would feel like textured velvet.

The girl behind me is on the phone: "Yeah, I'm just on the train. Yeah. No. Yeah. See you in the bedroom then".

* G R O U P E D

Karma Police - Radiohead
Wall Street Shuffle - 10cc
Fixing A Hole - The Beatles
Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
Walk On By - Dionne Warwick
What A Fool Believes - The Doobie Brothers
Stay - Jackson Browne
Empty Chairs - Don McLean

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Sports and Wine

8.10 On Time
The train thanks us for travelling with MerseyRail and politely asks us all to disembark, as she is terminating here at Lime Street.

One or two are momentarily flustered, it being Monday morning and them not having woken up yet, but it's possible that the shared laughter of my fellow travellers will be as near as I will get to a sense of community today.

I give myself a slap and decide to be more positive. I'll always have Lancaster, for goodness sake! Months of attempting to coordinate our diaries resulted in R&J&Me all managing to be in the same place at the same time. Drinking wine, marvelling at R's determination and looking at Queen Victoria's willy. I even managed to have the result texted to me without allowing it to spoil things (I didn't allow it to spoil things did I?).

That was then, this is now. On the corner of Cross Street there is what looks uncomfortably like a pool of blood. I swerve, and try not to get DNA on my shoes.

All The Same - Laura Cantrell
Hammering The Cramps - Sparklehorse
Let It Die - Feist
Broken Arrow - The Album Leaf
Biting The Soles Of My Feet - Electric Soft Parade
Strange and Beautiful - Aqualung
Epitaph - Badly Drawn Boy
Diamonds Are Forever - Cinerama
Sports and Wine - Ben Folds Five

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