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"as a general rule he regarded the tendency of human beings to agglomerate in one place as the beginning of unreason."
- from 'arthur & george' by julian barnes
it was lovely to have jobless jon in japan
over for a visit, flaunting his newfound dole-scummery and practically
force feeding me more beer than i've been
able to drink in a dog's age. i have to say that being a man of leisure
suits him, he looks most chipper; or should
that be looked... but wait, i'm getting ahead of myself.
an email from lang, subject: "you'll love this". and d'you know, he's not wrong. aggressively funny stuff.
hostess elisabeth bought the new scott walker album, 'the drift'; and what a strange beast it is too. 'the sun ain't gonna shine anymore' this ain't. those of you familiar with his 1995 release 'tilt' will have some idea of what to expect: full-on avant garde balladry and general oddness, and all delivered with that incredible voice, thick as molasses with melodrama and tragic emotion. at one point on 'the drift' he sings the line "i'll punch a donkey in the streets of galway!" and then on another track he does what can only be described as a donald duck impression. strange stuff indeed. and yet it wouldn't be fair to merely list all of its eccentricities, the album is equal parts confusing, bewildering and actually quite moving; particularly on the track 'jesse', which is annotated in the hefty booklet: "in times of loneliness and despair, elvis presley would talk to his stillborn twin brother jesse garon presley", and which ends with the repeated line "i'm the only one left alive". it's unconventional stuff certainly, and challenging to the ear but, i think, sincere and definitely affecting. go buy.
a t-shirt seen by hostess elisabeth: 'everything you like, i liked years ago'.
a couple with a child have moved in to number 13 across the hall, and a noisy little fucker it is too. also, they've chained up their expensive looking pushchair to the banister in the downstairs entrance way... o so now the hallway belongs to you? obviously i failed to get the letter about that particular compulsory purchase order; i hope they let me know if they decide to annex our bathroom. and now they've dumped a mattress and devan in the hall? what is this, pentonville fucking mountain?! i tell you, this used to be a nice building... before anyone else moved in.
and speaking of the building, the alarm was f i n a l l y silenced after a week or more -and on closer examination that's exactly what's happened, it's been silenced, not fixed. on the alarm unit downstairs (opposite the new pushchair invasion) the 'mute' light is flashing which means that they've finally turned up, and rather than actually fix the problem which would be, o i don't know, t h e i r f u c k i n g j o b, they've simply muted it; which means of course that it's still actually going off but silently... and that as an alarm it is now u t t e r l y useless. idiots.
unnecessarilygraphic sounding spam for fans of 'the matrix':
hostess elisabeth and i have taken to going swimming twice a week, to perhaps provide her with some zero impact exercise for her back and to get my stygian-chambered heart pumping at more than two to three times a minute. to do this we have to go to the new municipal pool about 15 minutes from our front door and picking our times wisely, have so far managed to avoid most of the local youth splashing about spastically and trying to drown one another. some things have changed since my day. the water no longer has the chlorine taste of years ago but instead now tastes kind of salty -insert ejaculate themed joke here- and there's no foot bath -i'm still waiting for the onslaught of varucas to swarm over my body, transforming my skin into something akin to the barnacled hull of a ship (i'm quite looking forward to it, i could keelhaul someone just by rubbing up against them). yesterday we arrived at the pool as the staff were cleaning the changing area and i noticed something strange behind the opened 'staff only' door. a large, white, semi-opaque cylindrical plastic tub, roughly the size and shape of a water cooler, sat on a stool, two wires disappearing into its lid and connected at their other ends to what looked like some kind of electric transformer or fuse box to the mains. if this wasn't odd enough i couldn't help but think i saw something blueish moving slowly inside the tub... curiouser and curiouser...
i want one of these. waste of money? perhaps. beautiful, ingenious little item? definitely. do you think it would have 'comfort features'?
no news yet on a date for my scrotal re-alignment, it's looking more likely that i'll go private rather than wait until the nhs get up off their arses and book me in. in lieu of any real news why not go here, click on the link under the picture of russian dolls and watch a vasectomy taking place! no scalpels involved, it's all very star trek (not worksafe due to intimate sackage on display).
were sitting next to us in nandos. they were foreign, talking in some
scandaweigen language or other, i'm no expert, and not that i was eavesdropping
but i distinctly heard two very odd and unexpected english words in
amongst the unintelligible babble:
and talking of appendages... a very odd mark appeared on my left foot a week or so ago, vanishing slowly after a few days: there was no pain, and seemingly no reason for the mark. the really odd thing is that this is exactly where i broke my foot... i ask you, is this some kind of stigmata?
a nasty cold leaves me with a bit of a fever which, coupled with watching the mighty boosh before bedtime and unintentionally overdosing on contac (formerly of 400 fame) tablets, gives me a strange and fitful night of bizarre, disjointed dreams, each one a kind of comedy sketch show re-edited into a confusing surreal mess; kind of like the fast show made by william burroughs...
so, a few years ago now, whilst in new york, i picked up a second hand red shirt in a kind of cowboy style, with press studs for buttons; hereafter referred to as my 'brokeback mountain' shirt. ahem. it was the only one there in the second hand section of the, ok i'll play 'when in rome' and call it a 'store' and so i was happy to have found it. now. move forward a few years to the other week when we were meeting the venerable gude, mr. roast and american john for a curry in covent garden. we're a little early and as we wander past a second hand 'retro clothing shop', on a whim we decide to go in. there, 6 or so thousand miles from new york, i find not one but two identical brokeback mountain shirts, one in red the other in black. i of course buy them both. this all strikes me as quite an incredible coincidence, me just happening across identical shirts on both sides of the atlantic bloody ocean, a few years between them, all of them second hand. no? it's just me then?
steak and kidney puddings and potato waffles, dinner of kings i tell you, of kings!
jobless jon in japan was over we took a trip over to canary wharf to
see bob. (backstory: bob is a frankly lovely
bloke whom i met via j.j.i.j., who from time to time has been known
to stammer on the letters d and b -i only mention this because when
he met jon he was apparently working on databases.
o cruel, cruel fate) we go to a tosser-encrusted bar in canary wharf
and bob orders a pint of 'leffe';
the bar person tells him that as it's 6.6% they don't sell it in pints.
"can i have two half pints?" chances bob, "yes"
comes the reply. bizarre and idiotic. i
also try some leffe, which tastes fine while it's in your mouth but
then after the swallowing process (insert fellatio themed joke here)
you get a nasty aftertaste of what can
only be described as aniseed flavoured surgical spirit. the oddest thing
is that by the time you've finished the glass you seem not to mind anymore;
or perhaps that's not so surprising...
undisputed conversation highlight: bob
has been wanting to take his daughter (12-ish if i remember rightly)
reef diving and jon, being something of a diving (ir)regular, said he'd
be glad to assist, in fact what he actually said was "i'd be
glad to take her deep". ahem.
recommended: (audio) 'the drift' -cd- by scott walker / (comestible) falafel & hummus pitta / (visual) what katie did / (sensorial) a hot shower after a cold swimming pool
reviled: (audio) the kid in no. 13 / (comestible) salt popcorn / (visual) overweight man straining at the seams of a tiny pair of speedos / (sensorial) the 'did something die in here?' smell inside the dishwasher
and finally, a wonderful moment from the latest oxbow newsletter, under the subtitle of 'still not enough':
"a "martyr" is defined as a believer, killed for his beliefs and so far the tally is
1) muslim martyrs: