Not Missing Missy

This (as Eddie Izzard would say) is a true story…

About a year before we met, The Lovely S and I were listening to the same radio programme.

In fact we were listening to the same record and, as we heard it, we probably had the same thought in our little fluffy heads.

Look, between the two of us we have a pair of Batchelors’ degrees and a Masters, whilst in the ‘pending’ bin we have a postgraduate professional qualification and another Batchelors, so I think I’m allowed to be slightly Mickey-taking about the content of our heads.

Anyway.

How can I be so positive that my (at the time still unmet) bride-to-be and I were listening to the same radio programme whilst having the same thought?

Jonathon Woss.

JW occasionally slips in to his wadio radio show tracks that don’t make the normal playlists.

And on the Saturday in question he played an absolutely stunning record.

I remember…

I was driving in to the centre of Birmingham, it was a particularly warm and sunny early May Saturday.

Within 30 seconds of the track starting I’d jammed the radio volume right up and pulled the car in to the side of the road.

There I sat, outside the fruit market, listening; doing nothing but sitting very still and very quiet, listening.

The track electrified me.

As it ended I scrabbled around in the car for a pen and paper whilst praying that JW would be an efficient radio professional (for a change!) and back-announce some kind of information about the song.

Like a pair of daytime audio thieves my ears gleefully snatched the name of the singer and album from the radio loudspeakers.

I finished the drive in to The Bullring.

HMV.

‘Have you got… ‘

She looked; computerised and ‘fiched records.

‘Nope, it’s not even in our catalogue.’

Meaning; it really must be crap if we don’t have any record of it.

Dashed across The Bullring to Virgin.

‘Have you got… ‘

He looked; computerised and paper-based searches.

‘Ah, well it’s an import, see. We could get it for you but to be honest you’d be better off buying it over the internet.’

How is it possible to be extremely grateful and bitterly disappointed at the same time?

I ordered the album that night.

Three weeks later it was delivered by a Channel Islands-based importer.

And it’s been in my iPod playlist ever since.

And then, just under a year ago, I met The Lovely S.

We discovered a shared liking for a particular artist – she’d discovered the singer while living in Australia; I owned one of her albums.

A few weeks ago we were driving somewhere when The Lovely S said, ‘You know, I heard this track on Jonathon Woss’ wadio show… ‘

Bolt, blue.

But…

How is it possible to not love someone who loves Missy Higgins?

Today I’ve been

Struggling:

To get out of bed at 04.15

To get out of the house before 05.30

Through the occasionally heavy, squally showers

To battle my way down the M42, M6, M1, M25, M11, A12 and A13

To believe that some of my fellow drivers of cars, vans and HGVs could have ever got a legitimate driving licence.

And surprisingly (or not surprisingly)…

Not struggling at all to:

Get things done

Keep interest high during a day of almost back-to-back meetings

Continue to be fascinated by my fellow man and woman

Finish work at 19.00

Drive back to Brixton

Do a little emergency shopping in Tesco

Prepare food, cook, eat, do washing up

Speak to The Lovely S

Fall in to bed at 21.20

Now planning to:

Read for as long as I can stay awake (I have a New Book, oh yes!)

Sleep

Brennig.

Not today you don’t

Nor tomorrow.

I’d planned to school Big Vin over showjumps today.

Big Vin fancied a weekend off.

When I went to get him out of the field I noticed straight away he only had three shoes on.

So I guess he won.

Bum.

I spent some of the time productively; cleaned tack, shoved apples in to Beech and Vin (even if Vin didn’t deserve them for removing his off-fore shoe).

And now I’m back home, serious thinking done.

Cleaning tack is like that – productive time for serious thinking.

Sigh.

I’ve decided that I’m going to retire Beech; this fracture is one injury too many.

So once the vet’s given us the thumbs up I’ll start looking for a retirement home for him.

Sad.

Brennig.

Gone shopping, slowly

It’s Friday evening so naturally I’m shopping at Morrisons, Bromsgrove.

Wild party animal that I am.

I’ve stopped off to have fun do the shopping on the way to pick up The Lovely S from work; she doesn’t finish until 20.15.

My boundaries of disbelief are under threat from a couple of directions.

Firstly, Morrisons management.

They’re twisted.

The store has two aisles near the exit that are designated as ‘express’ check-outs.

But they’re the two slowest aisles in the store.

The tills are designated as ‘Hand Baskets Only’ – and that’s great because by and large that’s the way it works.

But they’re still the two slowest aisles in the store.

Why?

Because the management (did I mention that they’re twisted?) put the slowest members of staff on the stores payroll on these tills.

Really!

Twenty six minutes to process the contents of four shopping baskets.

I kid you not.

Twenty six minutes!

But…

But this evening I didn’t mind.

Oh no.

I didn’t mind because (and this is the second reason my boundaries of disbelief have been tested this evening)…

I was in front of a group of…

SuperChavs! (innit).

Look, what I’m about to say isn’t sexist, I’m just stating what I saw.

Five Chavettes – actually, SuperChavette – queuing behind me.

13 years old.

Lamb dressed as mutton; floating on a cloud of whatever cheap, nasty, tacky perfume they could spray on for free at the Boots Tester counter.

Garishly coloured, spangly tops; black. skin-tight slacks, open-toed sandals-with-heels.

Accents I can only describe as ‘Brummie-Lite’.

(‘Wotcha do a’school to die Shaz?’ that kind of thing)

Fake tannery underneath layers of makeup applied by builders’ trowel or powder-puffs the size of a bathroom sponge.

Hair styles that must have taken hours to gain the appearance of being so sculpted.

Each of these SuperChavettes carries a bottle of Lambrusco or similar whilst muttering almost silently how unworried they are about getting ID’d.

Guess what?

They got ID’d.

‘I’ve left it in moy car.’ Said the Senior SuperChavette.

‘That’s fine,’ said the checkout supervisor who had spotted the girls from a distance and intervened across the top of the store’s Slowest Checkout Operator.

‘I’ll wait here while you go out to the car park and get it.’

Unfortunately I couldn’t hear precisely what happened next because I had to finish packing my seven items of shopping and leave – I was beginning to look like either a sinister stalker or an escapee from the community mental health team.

But as I was driving out of the car park I did see all of the SuperChavettes leaving the store.

Sans bottles of wine.

Friday evening in Bromsgrove, ah we really know how to rock the world.

Birthdays

I really am crap at them.

There’s one coming up (not mine, naturally).

I’ve had plenty of notice.

But why is it that after I’ve listed the presents in my head as I’m driving home I think, ‘That’s rubbish! How much thought went in to that?’

Actually?

Quite a lot.

I’m just rubbish at choosing presents Full Stop.

Why did I do that?

Put a ‘.’ After ‘Full Stop’.

I dunno.

Anyway.

Back to work.

I’m an addict and I have sinned

Bloody bookshops.

Shouldn’t be allowed!

I now have a copy of Dick Francis’ latest paperback ‘Under Orders’ and Billy Bragg’s exploration of ‘Britishness’, ‘The Progressive Patriot’.

Like, I have time for such fripperies as reading?

I mean.

I’m getting a bit freaked out by the lack of spare time in my life as it is.

And I’ve gone out and bought two books – two books!?

Whatz goin’ on?

Sorry about that bit of Chav-speak there.

The Lovely S works in a library ferchrisake.

And if that’s not enough we have a spare room that resembles a, well, a library.

I know she loves books, just as I do, but I’m supposed to be able to pull back and say ‘Oi Mr Bookseller, no! I don’t have the time for your tree-grown version of crack cocaine. Leave it!’

But no, not me.

I said: ‘Oooh, buy one get one half price? That’ll do nicely.’

What a twonk.

Still.

Saw a copy of my book in Waterstones the other day.

At least it wasn’t in the remaindered bin.

The sound of silence

The sound of silence goes like this (are you ready?)…

Faintly in the distance: Meow?

Nothing.

Then, still faintly in the distance but coming closer: Meow, meow, meow? Prrrtt? Meow?

And then, close by: MEOW!!

You wouldn’t believe it but the cat in question is the other side of my bedroom door.

What, I hear you ask, is the cat doing inside my bedroom?

Nothing.

It’s me that’s inside my bedroom, the cat’s on the landing, OK?

Pete and Shane have gone away for a few days leaving the shower room unfinished and the cats (sometimes none, other times one and infrequently two) marauding around the house demanding attention.

How come they’re so loud, cats (cats obviously; I haven’t the faintest idea how loud Pete and Shane are) – the Scilly Isles being out of listening range)?

They’re tiny.

Cats, not Pete and Shane.

Perhaps they have built-in amplifiers?

Perhaps that’s why they walk around with their tails lifted high like that?

Not so that you can admire (eew) their bum’oles – but so the mini-loudspeaker cunningly located underneath their tails can get a good shout out.

Now there’s a thought I didn’t want to have.
Brennig.

Nemesis

So Meesstair Bond Jones, we meet again.

My arch-enemyâ’s implacable bulk loomed immovably in front of me.

Actually I’m not sure if ‘loomed’ is the right word in this context.

The Bricklayers Arms, south London.

Let me explain.

I left Docklands yesterday evening at about 18.30.

And arrived in the house in Brixton at 20.10.

Yep, it took over an hour and a half to travel thirteen miles.

Or…

At 19.45 I was still only a hundred yards north of The Bricklayers Arms.

Staring at it.

The journey took so long my imagination kicked in.

It almost seemed to be taunting me, The Bricklayers Arms.

Its lip-curling sneer dared me to crawl another half metre further forward.

Suddenly its character changed from Blofeld to Harry (of the Dirty variety).

Think you can make it punk? Think you can get another handful of centimetres further forward, do ya? Go ahead and try punk. Make my day.

I looked around at the other road users and wondered if they too were having hallucinations.

The girl in the Porsche next to me seemed intent on collecting three points for nattering in to her mobile phone whilst at the wheel of the car.

She also spurned her compulsory seat belt.

I mentally composed a new public message seat belt campaign:
Notice to drivers, the penalty for not wearing your seat belt is deathâ’ – accompanied by a suitably gory picture.

Bit too hard core do you think?

The driver of the Lithuanian-registered builders van behind me picked his nose and flicked ash in to the lap of the motorcyclist; shoe-horned between the van and a traffic bollard the motorcyclist brushed the ash from his lap, raised his visor and shouted ‘Oi!’

The van driver either didnâ’t speak English or chose to ignore the motorcyclist’s existence.

I wondered if the Lituanian-registered van had any insurance.

It was an interesting spell of people-observation but I really could have been more productive.

Over an hour and a half!

Thirteen miles?

Welcome to 21st century London, folks.

Never can say goodbye

(1973 i think; gloria gaynor)

Anyway.

I finished Transport – a SciFi short story – last week.

Today I’ve just decided…

* that I haven’t finished it

* that I don’t like the middle section and

* that there could be a much more twistier ending.

So it’s not quite back to the drawing board because I do like the start.

And it’s a great hypothesis.

And I quite like the characters.

I just don’t like other bits.

🙂

I’m off for a beer now; R got the job and while I do feel for the other candidates who weren’t successful (let’s face it, we’ve all been there!) I am very happy for her.

Brennig.

Deflated

Like a sad, tired old balloon.

My normal degree of energy, vitality, engagement and indeed good humour has fled.

Yesterday was not a good day and it finished in some not good style.

Today is a downwards-sloping continuation of that mood.

Reasons to be uncheerful? (oh God, I canâ’t believe I just did that to Ian Dury!)

Project 1: I donâ’t know why but I continue to be surprised (impressed, even!) at the polished ability that software companies have to tell a pack of downright, blatant lies.

Project 2: I have a mental question-mark about the degree of senior management buy-in for another project.

Project 3: Thereâ’s a doubt about the commercial understanding of another area of senior management.

I fell asleep with these things in my head last night; they were still there this morning.

Walking in from the car park I felt as though I was the central character in one of those clever TV adverts – where I’m standing still in my own world of isolation and the rest of humanity is speeding around me, carrying out their productive tasks like a team of worker ants.

The only soundtrack that fitted my mood this morning was the haunting Gong by Sigur Ros.

Isolated is the right word.

R has her interview today, we had a brief deskside chat; she’ll be fine, I’m confident of her ability.

Drinkies after work I reckon.

🙂