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'j o n ' s b a c k : a p o s t r o p h e b o t h c o n t r a c t i v e a n d p o s s e s s i v e'


"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

last month 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.
we all arranged to meet at the cheshire cheese pub in temple, just off the strand (and no, before you ask, we all went but none among our number at any point had a banana) - i had mistakenly read the pub's name as 'the cheshire cheese temple' which sounded to me like the place of worship for some kind ancient dairy-based masonic cult; sadly it was just a pub for lawyer's to flaunt their poorly fitting suits at one another (the venerable gude of course a well-tailored exception). mr. roast was unsurprisingly the first at the pub, having taken the whole day off work with the dual purposes of playing his playstation and consuming alcoholic beverages; o the lives people lead.
jon sat down, took off his seagull guano encrusted coat (no, don't ask) and immediately apologised for wearing a fleece, which i think was good of him (ridicule limitation exercise or not). and so we set about drinking and waiting for the venerable gude... and waiting and waiting. now the venerable gude was working in his office not five minutes from the pub (juggling legal papers, shredding affidavits, practicing his "i object!" voice, whatever it is he gets paid for) and yet as the hours crept by he failed to show. mr. roast went out to try and call him from a payphone (none of us had mobiles -hoobloodyrah for us), returning quite some time later, alone, and with a sheepish grin across his morten-harket-meets-clive-anderson-like features.
but at this point some kind of background information might be useful. while mr. roast has, as i have, shunned the invasive wanker-magnet technology that is the mobile phone, he has found himself strangely drawn to that modern day file-o-fax (am i showing my age?), the pda (or 'personal digital assistant' for those who feel they can keep their breakfast down after such a revolting phrase). looking not unlike a cross between that double screen donkey kong lcd game from the 80s and a copy of the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, the pda stores all manner of information, phone numbers, addresses, colleagues inside leg measurements etc... anyhoo, no doubt skipping along merrily to call the venerable gude, the butter-fingered mr. roast lost his grip on the aforementioned pda and watched as it bounced on the pavement and promptly disappeared down a drain -how the machine was personally assisting him, digitally or otherwise, at this point seems open to question.
now the drain was dry and the pda still clearly visible, sat on a cushion of litter and general filth, but try as he might, mr. roast could not reach it with his stunted, if manly, fingers. so myself and jobless jon in japan try, we crawl around on the ground like winos straining for a big mac remnant, squeezing our fingers through the grating, reaching, skinning our lithe, piano player's hands but it's no use, the drain itself is too thick and the hundreds of pounds of questionable electronic equipment remains out of reach. we try lifting the drain cover, several pub patrons are even enlisted with the promise of a free drink but thankfully before it's 'hernias all round' we realise that the drain cover won't budge. at first we think it's because it's too heavy but it then becomes clear that it's bolted into the tarmac. arse and buggeration. jon then suggests that having been resident in the land of the rising sun now for some years, he could get it out with a pair of chopsticks. i have to admit i was doubtful, not least because unsurprisingly no one had any chopsticks on them (funny that) but it was suggested that chopsticks might well be just the kind of thing that the venerable gude would have at his office. and so that's where we went, well, i say 'we' but in fact as he entered the building jon turned to me, pointed at myself and mister roast and said in his best school maamish voice "you stay there". harsh, perhaps but probably wise. to cut a long story short the gude did have chopsticks (only he etc.) but jon was unable to reach the pda with them. just then, as everyone was losing hope, jon, with a spark of genius, simply scaled up his plan and using two pool cues from the pub as chopsticks, he finally rescued the jumped up pocket calculator, much to mr. roasts relief. i maintain that this kind of bizarre and protracted fiasco could only have happened to us. o but we know how to have a good time...

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).

is this art? is it a game? or simply a beautiful waste of time....

two blokes 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:
"banagkja strovenswyij skurdyburdupj dorsal appendage hasalbladjinickov falegavatenkj"

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!

while 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.
anyhoo, we let bob get back to the office and marched off back to my place, at which point all went horribly wrong. having spent his entire adult life hunched over computers, jobless jon's back has suffered. half way home and he has what can only be described as a spasm -if only because i like the word spasm. spasm; there, i said it again. by the time we reach chez me he is in enough pain to have to lie down on my bed (insert homo-erotic themed joke here). he takes a few of hostess elisabeth's virtual pharmacy of painkillers/anti inflammatorys and is packed off to the venerable gude's abode where he's staying, commenting that the little brown pills had made colours very v i v i d... the next day's festivities are called off due to his growing incapacitancy, ditto the day after that. he's soon ferried off to his parents in nofuck where he convalesces until deemed duly mobile to make the marathon flight back to japan. and it was all going so well...

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: 80 million
2) christian martyrs: 70 m (5.5 million at the hands of other christians)
3) hindu martyrs: 20 m
4) buddhist martyrs: 10 m
5) jewish: 9 m
6) ethnoreligious: 6 m
7) sikh: 2 m
8) baha'i: 1 m
9) other religious martyrs: 5 m"