november fragments

November 23, 2011

It’s been a funny month and I think trying to tie it together as some kind of coherent whole isn’t going to work, and I’ve been in a pretty unusual state of mind (for various reasons that no doubt will become apparent). Was lying awake last night thinking about how Cadburys is from the old Quaker Labour tradition whilst Mr Whippy was invented by Margaret Thatcher, so essentially the fusion of the flake with the soft ice-cream is some kind of New Labour 99 cone. I think I’m going to start calling them Third Ways. Not that I ever eat them. Spent a day or so last month only listening to songs that contained the line “working for the yankee dollar”. This morning I’ve been listening to songs that contain the line “the roof is on fire”. Now I’m listening to Field Commander Cohen again.

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Didn’t think I was going to get a weekend in Brighton this month but actually my leg swelled up and ended up going to hospital and spending this weekend in Brighton after all. It would be easy to get very fat in hospital. I haven’t seen anyone I don’t work / live with for quite a long time. I haven’t had a drink for quite a long time. Had my first coffee in nearly two weeks this morning. Have found out a lot more about Flakes than I thought I’d ever know. Had a flake and half a flake allure yesterday. Been reading an incredible amount about whales. There is a man somewhere in America with the world’s largest collection of squid beaks. I’m fascinated by the similarities between the Commerson’s dolphin and the Malayan tapir.

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Jed’s bought a device that converts his slow cooker into a solid-state-heat-sink so he can seal meat into plastic bags and cook them at exactly 60 degrees over the course of two days. Plus an amazing smoke-emitting device that can cold-smoke things. Can’t wait to be well enough to try some smoked things. Jed’s food gadgets are probably my favourite of his gadgets. He’s only poisoned himself once with the heat sink. Spent an afternoon in the pub a few weeks ago writing a letter to Amy and transcribing her what the old men were saying to each other. Been thoroughly unproductive since I got sick, unlike last time, but I think that’s because I’ve managed to resist the temptation (and boredom) to go out drinking on my antibiotics.

From last time:

I have the past week been dejected

My gum was swollen and infected

The pain relief occludes my thinking

Anti biotics prevent my drinking

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Just realising how much this entry makes me sound like some kind of crazy alcoholic. I’m not, really. I’ve got a job and all sorts of outside interests and I really like politics and whales and flakes. Went to the peak district at the beginning of the month for Alice and Jenny’s Twin Peaks celebration. A lovely weekend featuring good friends and tiny little dogs called Onion and me and Anna and Amy having the most fun day after being ditched and climbing a peak and finding a tiny little pub in a village and learning lots of unsubstantiated horse facts and fireworks and broken down cars. I probably shouldn’t be allowed to set off fireworks as I’m quite into the “unexpected angles” aspect of firing off rockets and definately had to duck  at one point when one blew up on the ground.

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White Night was pretty cool, although hosting a quiz show for four hours was pretty intense and essentially spent the whole time shouting questions at people, most of which were absurdly difficult (the questions, not the people), but it seemed to go well and I was ably assisted by my glamorous assistant who can spin people on chairs like no-one else. Saw a few things beforehand including the Alternative Village Fete involving boat building and a prog rock band playing in a laundrette, but by the time I escaped from the Dome it had gone two and it was mayhem in town and all my friends were totally wasted so didn’t actually see very much else (apart from the end of the glowing metahub) and spent a lot of time sitting on the steps of the Unitarian Church drinking beer and then went to the Blind Leopard where Amy accidentally threw wine over one of my co-quiz-team from earlier so we ended up swapping shirts and she had to go interview P. J. Harvey the next day whilst dressed as a clown, but that’s the sort of thing that could happen to anyone, and me and Anna were the last standing and almost made it to the dawn chorus but flaked out about an hour too early. Maybe next year.

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Been really enjoying the LRB lately, mostly for the articles about imperialism and UFOs and late-modernist poets, but also because it’s quite fun seeing where all the Guardian columnists get their titbits that they slip into their columns from. I quite want to get an I Want To Believe poster to hang next to my desk at work but I’m concerned all my colleagues will think I’m a fruitloop. Or at least a bit “spooky”. Agreed to take part in some kind of group reading of Howl at some point so I’ve sent off for a copy in the hope that I’ll enjoy it a bit more this time round. Was never really into Ginsberg (or indeed any of the beats) before and thought he was a bit lazy. I suspect it’s a case of deploring in others the weaknesses we experience in ourselves. Am much more enjoying Louis MacNeice at the moment, and consequently Liz Lochhead’s excellent “Bagpipe Muzak, Glasgow 1990”;

So – watch out Margaret Thatcher, and tak’ tent Neil Kinnock

Or we’ll tak’ the United Kingdom and brekk it like a bannock.

I’m also rattling through Moby Dick (second time lucky – think it might be something to do with the Whale thing) and have (against my better judgement) bought a copy of Judy Blume’s sex book, Wifey. Haven’t started it, although the opening page features a motorcyclist jacking off on the narrator’s front lawn, so it’s possibly a long leap from Blubber.

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Anyway, that’s pretty much it for November so far. I had a lovely weekend back home seeing family and old friends, although whilst loitering in St. Albans’ hottest nightspot at 1.30am I realised that perhaps I can’t keep up with the youth of STA (namely my sister)  like I used to. And I reckon I’m on the mend. There’s nothing like going a bit stir crazy to make you realise you’re getting better – it’s when you’re content to sit around the house staring into space that you know you’re not well. Anyway, here’s hoping – and here’s hoping for some slightly more coherent updates on here as well. You never know your luck…