Friday, May 30, 2008

17.18 Eleven Minutes Late
A SuperSized lady asks if the seat beside me is free.
It is, and as she slides into it I'm grateful that the arm rest is already down as, if it were not, she'd sure as eggs be slipping over into my seat too.

"I'm sorry" she announces "I'm really pissed."
I laugh; I mean we've all been really pissed on the train, right?

"I'm really, really pissed"
This time I smile, a bit weakly. It's going to be a long fifteen minutes.

"I'm sorry"
I concentrate really hard on getting my headphones plugged in.

She concentrates, really hard, on getting a greaseproof paper wrapped package out of her bag. She concentrates, really hard, on breathing.
Then she unwraps the package and begins to eat.
It's greasy and pink and looks like she already threw it up once.
The smell from it begins to permeate the carriage.

I concentrate really hard on looking the other way and taking shallow breaths.

She pauses and rests her head on the seat in front.
Bits of food are on her shirt, in her hair, on her fingers.
She sits up, swallows a few times, crosses herself and continues eating.

I try not to look. Or breathe.

After about fourteen hours the train begins to slow and she begins to gather herself for the monumental effort of holding it together long enough to get home.

I still feel sick.

Narrow Stairs - Death Cab For Cutie


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"'s just a life story, so there's no climax"

17.18 Four Minutes Late
It was a compliment apparently. Whatever.

This book is older than I am.

I don't actually get to use it at work, but I wish I could. My favourite chapter includes advice about the legal rights of one's Charwoman. My favourite quote is: "illiteracy is a misfortune and not a privilege".

The Stage Names - Okkervil River


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

" can't hide from what's inside of you"

16.43 On Time
"You're never THAT old" shrieked ThesaurusBoy. For once I don't exaggerate. He really did shriek. In what appeared to be horror.

"No! No! Never" CanoeingInstructer gleefully joined in "No WAY".

Having no blunt instrument to hand with which to bludgeon the pair of them to death - and come on, 'what jury in the land?' etc - I laughed. Hysterically.

MiddleAgedWomanOnATrain doesn't have the same ring does it?

A Girl In Port - Okkervil River
Way Down In The Hole - Tom Waits
Baltimore - Randy Newman
Any Major Dude - Steely Dan


Monday, May 26, 2008

Yeah, it's great. But we all know it's not really going to make any difference, right?

And even a little bit of training might have been nice. You know. Before.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

13.42 Cancelled
Just not good enough on the day.


Saturday, May 24, 2008


I opened the window and heard a train steaming (but not literally) up the West Coast line.

At the same time the 'Today' programme was telling me that it's forty years since the last steam train was retired. Now, I've always believed I could remember steam trains running on the line in my childhood. Not the latter day Sunday Specials full of enthusiasts paying top whack and photographers clogging every lay-by between there and Carlisle; but normal run of the mill, timetabled steam engines.

In retrospect, it's probably this one day that I'm remembering. Although I don't 'remember' it. If you know what I mean.

Anyway, that clip most definitely reminded me of this. The exhibition of which was, I think, the most hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck series of photographs I've ever seen.

Harper Valley PTA - Jeannie C Rielly
Young Girl - Gary Pucket & The Union Gap
If Paradise Was Half As Nice - Amen Corner
Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations


Friday, May 23, 2008

16.29 Five Minutes Late. I have to stand up*
There was a lot of fucking in the office this afternoon.

Maybe it was the humidity, maybe the anticipation of a Bank Holiday Weekend.
Maybe everyone just got really really pissed off at the same time.

It's good to clear the air.

Rockstar - Ben Folds
Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far) - The Thrills
Only The Good Die Young - Billy Joel
England 2 Columbia 0 - Kirsty MacColl

*This has never happened before. Ever. I realise I've been incredibly lucky.


7.59 On Time
Something's different.

There are roughly the same amount of people on the train, but somehow the train feels fuller. They look 'wrong'. They smell wrong.

I sit down at a table with a couple of blokes: mid 40's, shiny-faced, hair cropped to disguise the thinning, polo shirts with contrasting corporate logos,drinking Heineken. Drinking Heineken? At eight o'clock in the morning? I check the rest of the carriage. The demographic is, as Lee McQueen might say, almost exclusively of the male genre. Mostly drinking Heineken.

An older man moves among them, distributing tickets and collecting cash. If it's his job to count them all in again at the end of the day then I don't envy him.

Although, to be fair, who could set out to watch cricket sober?

Boy Or Girl - Astrid
Come See About Me - The Supremes
A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke
Brick - Ben Folds Five
Rabbit Fur Coat - Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"...just turn the music up and keep your mouth shut"

8.29 On Time
A slightly disturbing photo of Jens, looking a tiny bit demonic.

Sometimes you can be too close.

Oh yes and 'Wildbirds and Peacedrums' were very good. Very...LAWMy.

Oh You're So Silent Jens - Jens Lekman


Friday, May 16, 2008

7.59 Fifteen Minutes Late
A white haired lady in mauve is chatting to a biology student.

She’s not happy with the design on his sweatshirt.

She thinks the font leaves something to be desired. She’s been staring at it for the last ten minutes and would never have worked out that it spelt “Cradle of Filth” if he hadn't told her.

When You Were Young – The Killers
On The Beach – Kirsty MacColl
Heatwave – Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
It’s Gonna Take Some Time – Carole King
Love Will Tear Us Apart – Jose Gonzales


Thursday, May 15, 2008

The window of opportunity for enjoying this is very small, so please excuse me while I revel and bask.

"Fifteen points
Who gives a fuck?
We're Super Leeds
And we're going up"

Now come on Doncaster, make it a Yorkshire final!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Iron & Whining

7.59 On Time
Lying on warm grass, watching the sun set and the moon rise, on a balmy summer evening it might’ve been different.

You might wonder: "What could go wrong with a pedal steel guitar and a limitless array of percussion?"

As it was, listening to an extended alt-funk version of almost every song, in a freezing Ritz Ballroom, while being subjected to the unfunny, not even coherent enough to be heckling, input of a couple of pissed up fuckwits began to pall.

Please Sam, next time just sing!

In The Reins - Iron & Wine/Calexico


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

8.19 On Time
So how did my birthday go then?

After weighing up the almost limitless possibilities for self indulgence and enjoyment, Tim & I decided to spend the day throwing money down a hole in the back yard while a man from 'Drain Doctors' shook his head and tutted a lot.

It was fun.

Being able to round the day off with a it's-not-as-if-it's-important-or-anything football match was a nice touch.

The Sea And The Rhythm - Iron & Wine

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

"...I taste the summer on your peppery skin"

16.43 Ten Minutes Late
Going to bed while it's still light.

Cut grass. Warm skin. Cool cotton sheets. The smell of all childhood holidays.

Rolling your sleeves up at lunchtime but leaving your watch on, to compare strap marks.
Falling asleep in class, and exams on every birthday of note.

Going to bed while it's still light...?

Summer Skin - Death Cab For Cutie
Sunshine Recorder - Boards Of Canada
Boys Of Summer - Don Henley
Long Hot Summer - The Style Council
Summersong - The Decemberists


"...You know that I could be in love with almost everyone"

7.59 On Time
Unfathomable Childhood Crushes:

Trampas out of The Virginian
Avon out of Blake's 7
Jason Walton

Fathomable Childhood Crushes:

Pete Duel out of Alias Smith & Jones
Hawkeye out of M*A*S*H
Erin Walton

Alone Again, Or - Love
The Letter - The Boxtops
Summer In The City - The Lovin' Spoonful
For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield
A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

" an interstellar burst, I'm back to save the universe"

17.19 On Time
"Whether you like it or not it's happening."

ExLineManager seems to say this at every team meeting we have these days. In every conversation we have these days.

He still hasn't worked out what his new job is; but we imagine he functions as some kind of floating brain, like Krang, the pink blob fromTeenageMutantHeroTurtles.

We've worked out how to deal with him at the next meeting though.
We're not going to tell him when it is.

Airbag - Radiohead
Sadness On My Back - Hope Of The States
Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime - The Korgis
Brand New Colony - Postal Service


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"...I have all I want, is that simple enough?"

15.29 Five Minutes Late
What a gorgeous day it is. First coatless, flip-floppy day of the year.
What a gorgeous weekend it's been - that it was five days long and included a Handfasting and a Gillingham-sinking did no harm at all.

How I love May.

It's nearly my birthday you know. For the first time in years I don't mind. You can send a card if you like.

Drain You - Nirvana
Galveston - Glen Campbell
The Book Lovers - Divine Comedy
Fever - Starsailor
Private Universe - Crowded House


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