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"opsimath - n. someone who learns late in life."
- the chambers english dictionary
i start at university... at my age. no,
on my way home one night i spy a plump dead rat by the railway lines. a week or so later and it's been reduced to a small wizened bag of black leather containing a jumble of polished bones. those maggots don't hang about.
stuart invites me out for an evening of what he describes as "chin-strokey theatre", an evening that hostess elisabeth immediately insists on calling my "big gay night out with stuart". we go and see metamorphosis, at the lyric, hammersmith. stuart likes it, i'm not so keen. i thought the acting was pretty ropey and the dialogue much the same (gimme berkoff's adaptation anyday). apart from a few nice visual touches i thought it was pretty much rubbish. we go for a drink at a nearby pub after the show and stuart reinforces hostess elisabeth's view on the sexual orientation of the night by ordering half a shandy. so, not only a shandy, but half a one. blatant flaming poovery i'm sure you'll agree. the pub in question lends further credence to the gay theme by announcing above the bar that it has something called 'sausage of the week'; our euphemism glands go hog wild.
back at university (i refuse to call it "uni"), when our lecture is double booked with another class, we're told to wait in the hallway for another room to be found. a girl who works at the university, who brings a few lost students to where we are, listens for a while to our protests at being cheated out of a room. "are you all first years?" she asks, when we reply that we are she just laughs loudly, the intimation of course being that by the second and third years we'll be more than used to this kind of thing happening.
out of nowhere, a day's work in harlesdon. no, i didn't know whereabouts it was in london either. i'm told that the kfc on the high street has bullet proof glass between the employees and the customers; apparently the food is slipped through a hole in the glass like in a bank. nice.
i think elin chrom sounds like a bond villainess.
late one night, after she'd been fed, i'm pretty sure the cat looked me in the eye and said the word "marinara". a plea for vegetarianism?
this week i turned down a free ticket to see daddy cool. i think this was the right decision. i mean, michelle collins and the music of boney m.? on one stage? i think i may have had some kind of genital embolism.
i brush passed a meandering fool of a woman in tescos, kentish town, and all of a sudden i'm being shouted at as if i'd slapped the silly cow. she shrieked that "an excuse me would have been nice" i tell her that not stopping dead in the middle of the fucking checkout aisle might also have been 'nice'. another woman nearer me joins in the shouting, telling me not to swear at the first woman because she was a woman. um... ofuckoff. i inquire of the second woman who it might have been that had requested she put in her two penneth; i fail to receive a suitable, or intelligible answer. the shouting goes on for some time. i can tell that the first woman is getting more and more angry and i sense she might be toying with the idea of suggesting, rather loudly, that i pushed into and passed her (which would have been a bald-faced lie but would have strengthened her position in the eyes of other customers, not to mention make me guilty of assault). i look at the security guard and he rolls his eyes. i tell the first woman that i didn't even touch her and she tells me that i have no manners. i smile, shake my head and leave. the whole thing had blown out of all proportion in less than half a minute, it was all a bit dizzying and utterly fucking absurd... people.
for a much recommended night out, you could do a great deal worse than go and see 'lady macbeth of mtsensk' at the royal opera house. a great evening of sex, murder and disco dancing; and while the first two might be staples of opera, the third has to be worth a ticket. great music too -it's interesting to note that when the opera was first staged, the pravda described it as "chaos instead of music". as a side note i should say that the bloke playing sergey's hair was perfect, very russian, if that's makes any sense. go see. (and no, i don't know how to pronounce 'mtsensk' -answers on a postcard)
while in new york, at a flea market, hostess elisabeth came across a box of 30 black and white pictures, 23½ x 28cm, printed on card. the lid of the box read 'thematic apperception test'. under this is printed "this test is sold on the understanding that the plates are not to be publicly displayed and may be purchased only by authorized persons", which, realising that there could be fewer people less "authorized", immediately made her want to own them. if you've accessed the above link, you'll know that this is a psychological test, to interpret patients' moods, attitudes and their, what i've chosen to call, 'potential mentalness'. most of the pictures are pretty grim or sinister (unless that's just my unbalanced reading of them) and have been criticised in the past for an unhelpful leaning towards the negative. what concerns me is the answers that might have been given when it came time to show card #16, which is totally blank.
a 'fun' fact: "lettuce is a member of the sunflower family".
and so, utterly at my wit's fucking end with electric shavers and at a loss to know just how much i'm supposed to pay before i get one that actually, o i don't know, f u c k i n g w o r k s, i have reverted (for the first time in close to 20 years) to wet shaving. and i have to say i really rather enjoyed it. there's something relaxing and methodical about it and i've been surprised with how little trouble my skin's given me as a result. urgh, i've just had a horrible thought, does this make me a 'man'?
having had to re-book due to the aforementioned lady macbeth, the date was finally set for my vasectomy. friday 13th. and no ordinary friday the 13th either, the morning metro informs me that if the date 13/10/2006 has all of its individual digits added together, they add up to 13. and so they do. apparently this hasn't happened since 1520. so, a great day to be having your unmentionables sliced open and tinkered with, no? the date also happens to be my mother's birthday ("happy birthday mum, no grandchildren from me!") i should mention at this point that not only were both my parents born on a 13th, they also married on one. the superstitious among you might argue that this explains a great deal about their progeny...
more laid back about the whole process
than some would argue i should be, i looked on the 'procedure'
as nothing more serious than, say, going to the dentist's
to have a tooth removed. it was far from bravery, appearing to
me as nothing more than a necessity. having decided that it was what
i wanted, it was simply me putting my money where my mouth was, or more
accurately putting my gonads where my mouth
was, but then that sounds a little too athletic... and not a little
finally directed downstairs to where i paid
and then i alone was directed further down to the final waiting room,
leaving hostess elisabeth upstairs to ponder my fate. in this final
waiting room the walls were lined with a series of sun-loungers
covered in blue toweling, presumably because
lying down puts less pressure on any post-vasectomy testicles than sitting
upright(?). the sun-lounger i chose made
a loud half grinding / half flatulent sound as i sat on it, a disturbing
and awkward sound in the near silent room.
while waiting for the diathermic axe to fall, i browsed through a strange
magazine called golf
punk, which seems to be trying to make golf 'cool' again... just
by putting the word 'punk' after it. so, only thirty odd years since
that term was fresh and exciting then.
while browsing i luxuriate in the ability to cross my legs, knowing
that it'll be a good few weeks until i can do so again with any degree
recommended: (audio) 'lady macbeth of mtsensk' by shostakovich / (comestible) tregroes chocolate waffles with soft butter toffee centre -ooooh, my w o r d / (visual) 'lady macbeth of mtsensk' by shostakovich / (sensorial) wet shaving!
reviled: (audio) ambulance ltd. -thank you nudey / (comestible) tesco 'finest' carbonara sauce / (visual) intimate bruising / (sensorial) 'electric' pain in me nethers