Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yeah, yeah, I know: beaten by a 'village' team, the shame!
But who cares? I won at least!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"...late December back in '63"

17.18 Ten Minutes Late
What with it being only twenty-nine sleeps till Christmas (according to CanoeingInstructor) we were talking about the things we'd always wanted as kids but were never allowed to have. Scalextric, Mr Frosty and those money boxes that dispense miniature dairy milk being favourites.

I always wanted 'Mousetrap'.

During several years of anticipation and anti-climax Mum and Dad trotted out a variety of explanations as to why it wasn't a good idea: ‘It's got too many bits’ was handy, as it had a variety of interpretations. They tried 'You'll lose the bits', but I was almost as annoyingly tidy as a child as I am now, so that excuse mutated into the more plausible 'When your friends come round they'll want to get it out and they'll break the bits' (I was discouraged from 'getting things out' when friends came round. Anyone would think my Mum had spotted what was going on in the Wendy House). Additionally, implicit in the 'too many bits' theory was the inference that it would be too complicated to set up and would never work properly anyway, leading to massive disappointment. Avoidance of situations that could lead to disappointment was a high priority in our house.

It's most likely that it was too pricey and they didn't much fancy having to play it with me.

One of my best things ever was Battling Tops – hardly any setting up and you could play it on your own, after a fashion. I don't remember ever wanting it though which, I suppose, goes to show that sometimes parents do know best. Hours of fun. Although not nearly as enthralling as smearing Copydex on your hand, waiting for it to dry and then peeling it off.

Into My Arms - Nick Cave
Strung Out Again - Elliott Smith
Bulletproof - Rilo Kiley
December '63 (Oh What A Night) - Four Seasons


Friday, November 21, 2008

"...maybe it's the time of year"

17.18 On Time
I think all the writing is making me giddy.
It's certainly playing havoc with my ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

I feel as though I've just got off the Waltzers: dizzy and a little unsteady on my feet, but thrilled at my own audacity.

Well, if it's not that, it's being driven round Euxton in circles all afternoon.
Or the free sausage and chardonnay I was helping myself to in M&S.

Somebody Told Me - The Killers
Local Boy In The Photograph - Stereophonics
Boys Don't Cry - The Cure
Woodstock - Matthew's Southern Comfort


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shout To The Top!

17:18 On Time
He was back again today.
Still wielding intimidation as his weapon of choice.
It worked though. He got a call back from HeadHoncho.

We took what comfort we could from discovering that his house is on the market. We had a virtual tour and laughed at his banal interiors, nursing home carpet and vulgar bath taps. My insurgent streak wants to publish the link. The rest of me needs to keep my job.

The asking price is over £700,000. I do hope he needs a quick sale.

Shout To The Top - Style Council
The Saturday Boy - Billy Bragg
Jack Of All Parades - Elvis Costello


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"...I see you crying and I want to kill your friends" (Part II)

17.18 Five Minutes Late
He pauses.
I try to work out if his rant is over.

"Well?" He demands an answer. "You would appear to be struggling too...."

What I want to say is: "Yes. I am struggling."

Because what I want to say is this:" Forgive me if I'm wrong, but you don't sound like an uneducated man. You don't sound like a man who might be a stranger to the concept of manners. You sound like a man who Should Know Better. And yet, somehow, you appear to believe that it is entirely appropriate for you to adopt a hectoring, intimidatory manner in order to achieve your desired outcome, you bully. So, yes, I am a little lost for words. For reasons that currently escape me my Department don't like people like you to be upset by people like me, so I'm biting my tongue."

I wasn't really thinking all that at the time, obviously, at the time I was trembling a bit and thinking: "Get off my phone you arrogant tosser".

But my Department really wouldn't have liked it if I'd said that.


"...I see you crying and I want to kill your friends"

7.59 On Time
All sorts today.

I’m sharing the table with three university lecturers.

They are marking – well, whatever the stuff students produce these days is called – and they are giggling amongst themselves about the silly things the students have written. I'm thinking there's a time and a place for mockery, and this probably isn't it. If I didn’t have my headphones in and wasn’t listening to The Buzzcocks at top volume (O.K. at '7', but that's pretty loud, right?) I’d be able to hear every word you were saying. Where’s the discretion??

Outside it’s a bit of a dead cat day - grey, damp and misty; cloud rolling down over the tops, condensation beginning to steam up the windows.

I’m thinking a lot about music and age – and then I’m dancing off the train and down the street. But a
s soon as I arrive at the door of the Office that grey cloud catches up and swamps me. Sometimes this place would leech the glad out of Pollyanna.

On the plus side, yesterday didn’t happen after all.

Oblivious - Aztec Camera
Just Lust - Buzzcocks
Ten Feet Tall - XTC
What Do I Get? - Buzzcocks
Oblivious - Aztec Camera

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"...we only want what's best for him"

7.59 On Time
Today is going to be a difficult day.
My fingers are crossed.
I am girded, braced, steeled and fortified.
My teeth are gritted and my heart is in my boots (except that I'm not wearing boots).

The thing I need to bear in mind is that it's not me that it's going to be most difficult for. And even if it were - I have the playlist to get me through anything.

Making Plans For Nigel - XTC
Felicity - Orange Juice
Whole Wide World - Wreckless Eric
Another Girl Another Planet - The Only Ones
Outdoor Miner - Wire
Love You Lover You - Yachts


Monday, November 17, 2008

"...think I love, you think I love, you think I love you love you love you"

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
(you know what for)


Sunday, November 16, 2008

"...cynical cynical cynical through and through"

What I really, really, really need is to hear The Yachts "Love You Love You" but I can't find it anywhere.....


Thursday, November 13, 2008

17.18 On Time
I'm standing on the platform considering front fastening bras and wondering if they still exist or whether they were an 80's invention designed to confuse boys? Much like the leotard.

When the train arrives it's busy for a Thursday.

A woman sits down next to me, asking first "Is this seat free?"
She's quite large and I'm glad I've already lowered the arm rest as I wouldn't want to appear rude.

Once seated she can't keep still. She lifts a pale pink backpack onto her knee and ferrets about in it - all elbows - all digging in to me. She pulls out a folder and removes some sheets of paper, she shuffles them, not reading at any. Her elbows are straying way over the dividing arm.

She's delving back into the bag again. I'm not looking, but I can smell food.
This is when it hits me. It's
her! This time she's sober and chewing on a relatively inoffensive stick of celery, but it's most definitely her.

Luckily, after about five minutes of crunching and poking she stands up and makes her way towards the door.

It's then I notice that sitting across the aisle is, to put it bluntly, a rather gorgeous man. He looks a bit like that nice
George off the telly, but not too much.

An older, not unattractive, man swaps seats and sits down opposite him: "I was sitting here before" he says by way of explanation "but there was this really noisy kid..." He pauses.
The Gorgeous Man says "Oh aye, he wasn't happy was he?"
"...and I don't like going backwards. That's why I moved back." I begin to suspect the Older Man of protesting too much. His next line is the clincher ".....didn't I see you on the train this morning?"
The Gorgeous Man graciously (and with a very appealing accent) accepts the possibility and explains not only where he's been, but what he's been doing all day.

I glance at the digital display above their seats.
It tells me that they're both 'available.'

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"...think I want you still, but it may be pills at work"

17:18 Two Minutes Late
I have lost the plot.

An unwanted love interest has appeared and I can't get rid of him.
I thought I'd turn him into a villain, just to show him who's boss, but that's not really working either.

Every time the bastard opens his mouth he knows exactly what to say.

Handsome Devil - The Smiths
Just About Glad - Elvis Costello
Faron Young - Prefab Sprout
Driving Away From Home - It's Immaterial
A&E - Goldfrapp


Monday, November 10, 2008

"...pour yourself into me"

It's been a busy week.

First up: Sigur Ros at the Empress Ballroom. My third time and easily the least satisfying. The band weren't to blame (although I do prefer them with the strings) they didn't hold back or under perform. It's that darn venue. Chandeliers and a sprung floor - it should be so right, yet it can feel so wrong. It comes down to the crowd doesn't it? There was an incredible amount of hostility in the area - a band less likely to spawn an aggressive following you would be hard pressed to imagine - they come from Iceland for God's sake, they are statistically proven to believe in fairies! They sound like angels dancing on glaciers! They have cute knitted hats! But did that deter the 'I've paid my money and until they play Hoppipolla I'll do what I want so fuck-you' element? No it did not. There was nearly a fight a couple of rows back.

Luckily, the company the next night was the polar opposite; knowledgeable and appreciative, adoring but considerate. It was all love and rock and mutual respect with Okkervil River. Faith in human nature restored. And they did 'A Girl In Port' which I do love so. I won't forget my first time.

Then last night back, through the torrential rain, to Manchester again for the self-effacing and harmonious Fleet Foxes. Second time in six months: we're comfortable with each other but not complacent.
Some - lets be charitable and call him a - wag ( the word, not the acronym), decided to spend the evening shouting 'play Mykonos' even after the band had politely explained that as they 'only have about two songs' they would, at some point and in their own time, most certainly be playing Mykonos. I think he was just over excited. Anyway, you could've heard a pin drop during 'Oliver James' and that other shouty one that Robin Pecknold does on his own. And that isn't a criticism.

Manchester 2 : 0 Blackpool


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

...won't fuck us over?

7.59 Three Minutes Late. Standing.
Between three and four this morning we lay awake half listening to the World Service and watching percentages on the screen of a laptop where a flickering map was turning blue and red.

At 4:10 TheOlderBoy sent me a text: "President Obama! Huzzah!"

A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke
Mr November - The National


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

8.29 Cancelled
9.00 Three Minutes Late
There was a body on the line.

While we wait the Carlisle train arrives.
You know? The one that calls at
Kents Bank
Cark & Cartmel
Green Road
St Bees

Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust - Sigur Ros


Monday, November 03, 2008

17:18 On Time
Anyone would think I'd found some other hobbies or something.

The Stand-Ins - Okkervil River


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