Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Hulk SMASH! beef good!

At about twenty-to the arrival of my dinner guest, the beef in my beef stew was still rather tough and chewy, so I took it out with a slotted spoon, and walloped it for a while with the potato masher, before putting it back in. It worked a treat!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

“…It’s easy if you try…”

There was an earthquake last night. Tracy texted, and I replied.

T: Did you survive the earthquake?
D: No
T: Shit! Can I have your flat?
D: Sure. Got any messages for the dead? John Lennon?
T: Ask if he feels stupid. “Imagine there’s no heaven.”

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Emphatic contrition

I was outside the flat, playing musical statues with the security light as I smoked. As the light was off, a souped-up silver Civic – blue indicators, spoiler, the works – pulled up by the bins. The driver got out and made like he was going to piss in the hedge. My hedge. I turned my head, and the security light came on. He looked up, spotted me, then turned around and started to piss on his own car. Then he got in and drove away.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

I'm not a nutjob, but...

The MOTD pianist was playing again this evening. I’m pretty sure the music is coming from either Palatine Avenue or Parkgate Avenue – it’s definitely set back from Everett Road in that direction. Part of me wants to find out who’s playing the music. I could put a note through every door on those two streets, thanking the pianist for the happiness they’ve brought me, and asking them to contact me. But if I received such a note, I’d think that the sender was a nutjob. I’d like to know who’s behind the music, but I’m not willing to be labelled bonkers for finding out.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


I’ve worked out how Melba is rude. She waits for the person she dislikes to finish speaking, and then – as if she hasn’t even noticed that they’ve been speaking – entirely changes the subject of the entire conversation. It’s a form of blanking that wouldn’t be out of place in a playground. She does it to me every time she’s at Clare’s, and it makes me feel rubbish. I’ve worked out how Melba is rude, but I haven’t worked out why.

Monday, 18 February 2008

“Two words: not good enough.”

Mondays aren’t generally my favourite day of the week, but today was brilliant for three reasons.

1 – Kate came and met me for lunch in town. We ate sandwiches from Katsouris in the square at Spinningfields, then looked around the old John Rylands Library on Deansgate. The day was crisp, clear and bright. I enjoyed hanging out so much that I didn’t realise the time, and I had to sneak back into work late.

2 – For the first time since 17th September last year, I played five-a-side football. My twisted knee held out – in fact my fitness impressed me.

3 – News at Ten included a piece about Liverpool FC’s recent run of bad form. Different fans were asked what they thought the problem was, variously answering that it was the manager, the team, the owners. My favourite was an old man, who said, “Two words: not good enough.”

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Darren Fletcher's house.

Helen Wallis is my stalker. On my walk today, I texted and asked her about a nightclub in Sale that I’d passed. She asked what I was doing in Sale, and I explained that I was walking to Dunham Massey. And then who should I run into there? Yes, Helen Wallis. She’d brought Max along as an alibi, but I knew her game, the viper! I’ve never heard anything quite like the sound of skimming chunks of ice over a frozen pond. It was like a bird singing through a vocoder as it flew overhead, or a rattling tin of jumping beans running away through a tunnel. It echoed, distant, and mechanical. We ate freshly baked scones with cream and jam, a perfect treat given the crispness of the day. We drove back past Darren Fletcher’s house. It’s horrible.

Sol's, Corbierre's, Mojo

What a good day! I met Tracy in Solomon’s and we caught up. It was just like the old days, and brilliant to see her. Then I headed off into town with Pip to meet Kate. Pip and I went to Corbierre’s first, busy as ever, and managed to find a seat, excellent. We met Kate, Lisa and Paulina at Mojo. It was absolutely brilliant to see Kate after all this time. I was amazed (and rather impressed) by the energy and sheer joy of her dancing, particularly as the evening drew on. I felt like a rigid statue in comparison!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Letter to Women’s Hour this morning

Listening to Radio 4 at my desk, I smiled -

"We’ve just had this letter in..."

I’ve noticed that you have had technical problems at the start of your show again. Perhaps you should get a man in to fix them?

[Sound of paper being scrunched up.]


Friday, 8 February 2008

Radio Highlights

Here are some highlights from things I’ve listened to on Radio 4 this week.

Woman’s Hour

Woman’s Hour offers interesting and varied programming through the week. There’s a female slant on most of the programming, but it isn’t the vacuous dribble that fills up the lunchtime real-life scandal magazines. I’m a culture snob, so for me it was a feast. I heard a fascinating piece about the sacred concubines of Hindu temples, the Devadesi, whose lives are changing, indeed - ever shortening, because of HIV.

Daunt and Dervish by Guy Meredith

Daunt and Dervish is a brilliant comedy drama series about two former World War Two spies, Josephine Daunt and Susan Dervish, who met up after the war and decided to form a lady detective agency. I enjoyed my first episode, serialised over the week on Women’s Hour. It’s set in 1953 at the time of the Coronation, and involves Russians, spies, film stars and scandal. There’s a full summary here, from which here are a few highlights…

“A scream comes from Belinda's dressing room. The door is locked shut and Susan Dervish charges it. Is Belinda dead...?”

“He thinks that her suicide was a set up though so that the director could pick up the insurance…”

“By the bank of the Thames, Bill sees a floating body...”

“Is he working for the Russians?…”

High melodrama, cloak and dagger, smoke and shadows – delicious distractions at my desk. Splendid stuff.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Multi-tasking is the future

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

"It's just this bleach making my eyes water."

Our office cleaner used to come round in the mornings, until about three months ago, when a different cleaner started. The new cleaner comes at night. Anne, formerly our morning cleaner, now works on a different part of our floor. She still bases herself in our kitchen. I used to dread making tea whilst she was in there because she'd inevitably start a boring conversation. She's harmless, but cursed with not being very charismatic.

I clicked the kettle on, and heard Anne's voice behind me.

"I miss all you guys. They've got me cleaning somewhere else now. I really do miss you all. You're all so nice."

She was wet around the eyes. She went on to name three or four people that had, she said, been especially supportive when she'd had a bad day once. Who was it? Take a guess.

My heart sank. As I poured the milk into the teas, she mopped up each spilled drop almost before it fell. I looked at her, smiled and walked out. I had to walk out, because I was disgusted. Every single person that she named had been savagely rude about Anne behind her back.

"Has that cleaner been? Not that you could tell..."
"It's disgusting, I don't know how she dares leave it like that."
"She's useless..."
"I'm going to do it again when she goes."

Robbie arrived at his desk as I came out with the trayful, so I took his cup and went back to the kitchen.

"I miss all you guys. I really do. Everyone's so lovely."

I bit my lip, and smiled. And inside I boiled.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

I've stolen your heaaaaaaaaart

Pirate, originally uploaded by valart2008.

Via boing boing, as if you couldn't guess.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Birthday Walk

New Mills, Strines, Marple, Romiley, Bredbury, Stockport, Didsbury.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Immaculate Heart College - Art Department Rules

This (by Sister Corita Kent) was worth retyping:

Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.

General duties of a student: pull everything out of your teacher, pull everything out of your fellow students.

General duties of a teacher: pull everything out of your students.

Consider everything an experiment.

Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.

The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do
all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.

Don’t try to create and analyse at the same time. They’re different processes.

Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

“We’re breaking all of the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” - John Cage.