[This was going to be a comment in reply to someone else's blog, but it wandered a little....]
I found an ink cartridge yesterday. I don't use ink cartridges, because it's not the 1930s. It was in an unused pocket of the belt pouch I use when travelling. At some point, years ago, we must have swapped pouches.
An ink cartridge. Very nearly gave me a relapse.
I thought about it for fifteen seconds, did a little mindful breathing, and tossed it.
I was fortunate, maybe, that shortly after my breakup and meltdown I was compelled to move cities on short notice. It forced me to rationalize: to determine the minimum necessary amount of Stuff with which I can live in reasonable comfort. It forced me to discard Stuff that I might otherwise have insisted on retaining as a keepsake. I had to pack all my Stuff into a single 1950s Admiralty-pattern kitbag and, as a result, it forced me to learn self-reliance at a point in my life when that's exactly what I needed.
Give me a sandwich toaster, a device with mobile internet, a change of underwear, and Kilkerran sherry wood, and I shall move the Earth.
I'm also fortunate that I could leave the rest of the crap in the flat and trust my staff to throw it out for me. The company billed me for it afterwards and they way they went about it was kind of dickish, but it helped a lot to have someone else deal with that for me. I could focus on the moving on.
And then there are things like this ink cartridge. The ink cartridge is a metaphor. We must have swapped pouches years ago: we bought two identical ones in the outdoor supplies shop in Aviemore, 2012 or so. I've been carrying her ink cartridge around for ages without realizing it. Yesterday I was able to dispose of it. A little bit more moving on was achieved.
Things like this are going to keep happening, piece by piece, with no end in sight, but each one is a step in the right direction, although it often doesn't feel like it at the time.
At some point, when I'm back in Edinburgh, I'm going to have to deal with the storage container, 80% of which is still filled with her Stuff (and which I'm still paying for). Does anyone have a need for several boxes of ladies' size 12 underwear?
(Isn't there a womens' shelter in Edinburgh? Is this the sort of thing they might want?)
I added pajh's Rule for Life #40 to the list last week, while I was down in That London, drinking in the pub with some friends. It is this: Never let someone else define who you are.
An obvious corollary is not to let yourself be defined by their Stuff, either. In fact, never let Stuff define you.
Today is my birthday. I am now older than my father was when I was born.
I'm still not interested in breeding—it's cruel enough to bring a new human into this dystopian nightmare world, worse yet to saddle one with my defective genetic legacy.
Welcome to the world. The climate's fucked, the government is entirely composed of plutocratic psychopaths, and somehow we're all still racists. Oh, by the way, you have short hamstrings, chronic migraines, and a selection of interesting brain weasels. And stay away from red wine if you know what's good for you. Not going to inflict that on someone.
I do, however, regret the missed opportunity to have a convenient target for dad jokes. I would make the best dad jokes. Or perhaps I mean the worst.
Bloody hell, it's just occurred to me—if I had spawned, I would be a single parent now.
Quite happy staying as uncle pajh. Although I'm considering getting a dog. Or maybe a snake.
How did Kirk know he had to steal the Enterprise? Last thing he knew, Spock and his tube were burning up into their component atoms in the upper atmosphere of the Genesis Planet, to the tune of Amazing Grace. As far as Kirk knows, there's no body for him to rescue.
In the novelization, Saavik secretly adjusts the torpedo's orbital parameters to give Spock a soft landing. That's not the case in the movie, since David and the crew of the Grissom are surprised to find the tube on the surface.
The gravitational fields were in flux, David says. That's remarkably fortunate, because otherwise it would have made for an incredibly awkward conversation with Spock's dad.
Of course none of this would have happened in the first place if Chekov knew how to count to six.
Oh folks, hello folks. Tell me your personal canons. What's 100% true for you that isn't supported by the evidence?
Here are mine:
- Season 6B.
- The Romulans' backstory from the Rihannsu novels.
- Elliot Pope is an unreliable narrator, and The Deadly Assassin didn't happen.
- Sito Jaxa survived the events of Lower Decks. She was either on a super-secret mission that even Picard didn't know about, or she was captured by the Cardassians and released after the war.
- John and Nancy totally got together when they grew up. I hope they survived the war.
- The Daleks deployed the [or a] Time Destructor during the early stages of the Time War, which explains why the Doctor lost fifty years off his stated age somewhere between Sylvester McCoy and David Tennant.
- Edward II wasn't killed at Berkeley Castle. He lived afterwards as a hermit in Europe.
- John Harrison was merely the first of the Augments to be woken from cryofreeze when Admiral Marcus found the Botany Bay. With his genetically engineered intellect, he was smart enough to claim to be Khan.
- Fall Out was another drug-induced hallucination, just like Living In Harmony or A, B, & C. Shattered Visage is personal soft canon.
Those are mine. What are yours?
I don't think I need to go into too much detail. This year has sucked giant cheesy gorilla dongs. I'd hope for better things from 2016, but frankly, that's setting a fairly low bar.( I gots plans for the new year )
Half way out of the dark.
Spare a thought please, this Yuletide season, for Jehane's family. I know them and I know that they're putting a brave face on it. But a table has four sides: and there's no way to set a table for christmas dinner without a big, glaring, empty gap where your daughter should be.
I wonder if I should phone them, polite friendly call to wish them well, or whether I'm too close to the problem and I'd make it worse.
Roastin a ham just now, and once that's out of the oven the pheasant is goin in. The brine this year is ginger, orange juice (oranges left over from sazeracs), and rum. And too much bicarbonate of soda. Usually I use bicarb to wash my hair, so I have a giant jar of it with a huge spoon, and hence my quantities were off. Or perhaps not. I'll know in a couple of hours.
I also have sausagemeat stuffing, sossinges with bacon wrapped round, potatoes, and parsnips and sweet potatoes that I'mma roast with a maple glaze. I am fully aware that I live on my own, but circumstances should never stifle genius. Fortunately, I'm fond of sandwiches.
Also, it's cold enough in this flat that I don't need to keep any of the leftovers in the fridge. The counter will be just fine.
Merry christmas all. Now get back to work or I'll belt your nut in.
Last night's post was a touch on the melodramatic side, I'll grant you, but it matched how I was feeling. Gettin it all out onto paper, or pixel-stained post-millennial equivalent, helped a lot.
Wanna know how I know I'm over it? Good, because I'm about to tell you.
Cee Lo Green's seminal ‘Fuck You’ came on the radio while I was settin up the breakfast room for tomorrow. (Minster FM are actually pretty good. They were playin TMBG earlier on.) It was the bowdlerized radio version, natch, but I fixed that while dancin around the tables, arrangin cruet sets, and generally thinking that my life is pretty okay.
Such a deep and meaningful song, too.
And this time I didn't even need the Shatner to help.
Had to go and pick up a package today from the industrial estate out at Seafield. I've not been to the sea since the day I broke it off with her. (Rivers don't count. Tidal estuaries do.) I was supposed to walk out to the Pentland Firth that day. Got there, looked at some waves. Quickly decided that all of Poseidon's fury couldn't compete with the turmoil in my brain just then. Had a cup of tea and walked back again. Sent some tweets.
Today, since I'd expensed a taxi out to Seafield, I took a few minutes for myself. I like watching the sea. Makes me feel small. None of my problems matter when you apply the appropriate perspective.
Considered taking a leaf out of Reggie Perrin's book, but only for a second.
Walked around the perimeter of the sewage treatment plant, waves crashing in my ears. Really filthy day for it, too: lowering charcoal sky, no distinction between the water and the air at the horizon, spots of rain, gusts threatening to knock me off the seawall.
Just the kind of day I like best.
Just the kind of day you don't get in Saudi Arabia.
It turns out that I went a bit mad, there, for a while. In fact I think I went quite a lot mad. I'm still working out the details. There was other stuff going on that you didn't know about, and it might even have justified my massive overreaction, but it turns out that it was all in my head.
A couple of good friends have given me a good stern talking-to over the last 24 hours, and now I'm feeling a wee bit better. A wee bit. You know who you are. I love my friends.
I was absolutely convinced that Jehane had suffered a psychotic break and had been preyed upon in her vulnerable state. I was worried sick about her, and usually that's just a turn of phrase.
Turns out that I was the one having the psychotic break. It's like ray-hee-ain on your wedding day.
In my defence, she was showing all of the classic symptoms of psychosis. The tunnel vision. The obsession. The unwillingness to discuss it. The paranoia. The shiftiness.
The single problem with my otherwise flawless line of deduction was this: those are exactly the same symptoms as are exhibited by someone who's fallen for some other bloke and is planning to elope with him. This only occurred to me this morning, after those friends (you know who you are, and I love you) had, very patiently, talked me down.
(I'm going to credit myself with just a wee bit of self-awareness, though. It's not much, but it's not bad for a madman.)
So, we're back to the dead-girl narrative. The woman I love has changed, she's gone, and isn't coming back. The relationship had been toxic for a while and I will feel better about this one day. And I hope gerbil-chops makes her happy.
I wasn't the one who came up with that name for him, so it's okay.
Sincere apologies to anyone I've offended. (Except gerbil-chops obviously.) I'm not usually nearly this unpleasant. I've learned a few lessons.
A reminder: I am a Scot, who just happens to have the gold-standard RP English accent.
SCENE: INT. PUB. YORK. EVENING
YR. CORRESP. is talking to a TERRIBLY WELL-SPOKEN BARMAN about LOCAL BREWERIES.
This one's from the Brahss Cahstle brewery, they're in Malton. Oh sorry, must pronounce it right. "Brass Cassel".
Ay. 'Appen. Brass Cassel. Oh yes, of course, I hadn't noticed. You're not from round 'ere, are ya?
I am originally from round 'ere, but I moved away.
Oh I see. Did you move to the civilized end of the country?
(Opportunities like this don't come up too often)
Why yes I did. Edinburgh.
...Well, I suppose that's south of somewhere.
Sittin in the same pub, typin this (FUCK YOU, Android phone keyboard), listenin to the same barman patiently discuss with multiple different customers:
Okay, so you want the main meal but with it you don't want pie OR mash, you want... a salad?...
There's hope for 'im yet, 'appen.
(Android autocorrect keeps tryin to make me say
I am a fucking genius.
The downsides of living in at work are many and multifarious. For a start, I don't get a day off unless I unplug the phone and refuse to leave the flat—when I will invariably be faced by staff on the way out who have questions. Most recently I spent 42 days at work without a break, and while there were technically one or two days in there when I was not on the rota, I don't count it as a day off if I get eight phone calls within three hours. Just now I had a longish weekend that I took seriously, and today it was back into the fray.
(That worked well. Rocked up all refreshed and ready to go at 9am—okay, 09:20, but I was aiming for 09:30 so I STILL WIN—and relieved
$DM so she could get her breakfast. She'd been at work since 3pm the preceding day. (When I take a weekend seriously, I take it seriously.)
I'll take the phone, said I,
no need to fear, daddy's back. I may or may not have said the last bit out loud. Within thirty seconds I took a phone call from guests who'd just checked in, which went thuswise:
Hello, we booked a Yes. We do. But you didn't book one of those. Welcome back to work, pajh.)
small double room online, and we've just arrived and are surprised to find that it's quite small. We were told that you had big rooms.
On the other hand, the benefits of living at work include, but are not limited to—actually no wait, they are pretty much limited to—that between the hours of 7am and 11pm I have a captive audience upstairs (also known as "my direct employees") for whatever I choose to rant about, or, once or twice a week, as guineapigs.
I may or may not be a good hotel manager. But I'm the kind of hotel manager who will (frequently) run up to his staff with a glass of booze in each hand, and cry:
QUICK, TASTE THIS—WHICH ONE IS BETTER?
Anyway, I pulled this on
$DM last week with the experimental jehane, and it must have gone pretty well, since I let her organize the staff social for this coming Friday, and she wants to bring everybody back to my bar so I can make them cocktails. We don't even serve most of this stuff in my bar, and I'm damned if I'm bringing everyone down to my kitchen.
Anyway. I invented the jehane, and I have since (not because of peer pressure or anything) perfected it. A post like this really deserves pictures, so I apologize for there not being any, but this can be remedied if there is sufficient demand. This is how you make a jehane:( Recipe, with occasional digressions )
It is marvellous and I am a genius.
I'm calling it the jehane because it's sweet, it's refreshing, it involves a little bit of fire up top, and it's never bloody available inna bar when you want one.
We did what we set out to do: punish the Lib-Dems and Scottish Labour for siding with the enemy. Democratically, of course. And we got exactly the worst possible outcome as a result: trounced Labour and handed a majority to the bloody Tories.
It's a pretty slim majority, and I understand that the Tories have a long tradition of backbench rebellion, so a coalition of the Left still has a chance to keep the bastards on their toes. For that to happen, the Lib Dems and Labour need to demonstrate that they've learned their lessons from last night.
I suppose we got exactly what we deserved: more work! It's the SNP's job just now to speak truth to power, as the largest effective voting block of human beings currently in Parliament. Labour have more seats than the SNP, but they'll be a complete waste of space until they decide what the point of them is—and that's assuming they even decide to be on the left. They certainly haven't been for the last twenty years. And the Lib Dems are dead for a generation.
Also—let's be honest—some of these new SNP MPs are going to suck, at least for the next while. Nearly all of them are brand new and most of them, when they were listed as candidates, were in seats where they didn't have a hope. That all changed and now they're in charge. Nicola will sort them out; I've met her and she's awesome.
Gotta say, I am amused at the huge amount of nothing that was eventually signified by all of Ukip's sound and fury. I am willing to put good money on the fact that not a single one of those 3,881,129 Kippers voted Yes in the AV referendum. One seat they managed under FPTP: no pasaran.
Yesterday was a 33-hour workday that started at 1pm on Wednesday and continued through until 10pm on the Thursday: the ninety minutes sleep I got in the middle doesn't really count. I finally got off to sleep at 3am and then the bloody taxi driver rang the doorbell at 03:30. Got back to sleep at about fiveish and then was up again for work at six. At some point on Thursday, I got to see Jehane for a whole ten minutes and I managed to make it around the corner to vote. During that 33 hours,
$CHEF had made me a bacon sandwich. It wasn't a good day.
I'm still not keen on the SNP. They're too authoritarian for my liking, too nanny-statish, and I disagree with a hell of a lot of their policies. I don't like the way they cosy up to people like Murdoch and Souter and especially—euch—Trump. (Maybe they'll stop doing that so much now.) Ideologically I appear to be a Green— but only a Scottish Green because the party in England and Wales is still stuffed full of anti-science nutjobs. Yesterday, the SNP were the only left-leaning party with a hope in hell, so my vote was obvious. Also I did it to piss off everyone in England. I'd had enough of all the hysterical pearl-clutching anti-Jock media coverage. You're welcome, England. You brought this on yourselves.
So, having cast my vote for the SNP and finally able to tear myself away from the desk at 10pm, it was off down the chippy for a haggis supper, salt an' sauce, anna boatil ay the Bru. I had no particular political motivations for my order—sometimes a man just needs salt an'sauce—but it seemed appropriate. I think I might have gone native.
Yesterday was the first time I've ever voted when the result has actually gone my way. I suspect I shouldn't get accustomed to it.
The next five years are going to be bleak. Look after your loved ones.
Funny. I don't recall being followed home by a hearse and gassed to sleep in my sitting room, but somehow I find myself in the Village.
What I do recall is an eleven-hour train journey with one (occasionally) functioning toilet and no wifi—although of course they only told me this after they'd allowed me to pay for it. Then a three-hour boat journey from Penzance during which I actually got seasick, which doesn't happen. We'd had to bolt breakfast and sprint for the ferry, and I found out later that I'd taken the wrong braindrugs the previous night, none of which can have helped... although I think the twelve-foot waves hitting the ship from random directions probably had something to do with it as well. Then there was a connecting ferry from the big island to one of the smaller ones, and now I'm on Tresco, the second-largest of the Scilly Isles.
It looks like this.( A set of photographs from ground-level of a holiday resort )
Actual photos of scenery and stuff will likely follow later on.
Back to the mainland tomorrow, weather permitting, and dependent on the performance of onmipresent surveillance and unorthodox security measures. Then, back and forth along the south coast for a few days. Lindsey Stirling has a concert in That London and with any luck we'll be getting in a pilgrimage to Maiden's Point.
So, there was a referendum. That happened. And we voted No. A trillion pounds' worth of international media descended on Scotland for a week—and the weather even stayed good while they were here!—and, as a nation, we had a chance to create a better world and we bottled it. I used to think that it would be embarrassing to be Canadian, but all the Canadians have as a national stereotype is that they are uniformly self-effacing and scrupulously polite. Since 19th September, on the world stage, Scots are craven directionless cowards. All of that William Wallace stuff that we've built up over the last eight hundred years, gone. We are lackeys.
I for one will not stand for it.
It takes time to build up a reputation like the Scots have—like the Scots had. Specifically, it takes eight hundred years. Down-to-earth pragmatists running the world with relentless efficiency in spite of their bewigged imperial masters. Hairy-arsed skirt-wearing maniacs perpetually game for a fight with ye, then a drink with ye, then another fight. The reason the claymore works as a weapon of war is that it's so damn big and heavy that, once you start running with it held out in front, you can't stop no matter how many English cavalrymen are in your way. We pissed all of that away in one night, and now, on the world stage, we are cowards.
I was there
at the dawn of the third age of mankind at the vote count for the Edinburgh region. It was a long day. The day before had been full of joyous, jubilant, exuberant marches in the Meadows, of hope and excitement, of impromptu mass choruses of Flower of Scotland. The tang of change was in the air. I could taste it. And then, on the great day itself, with history hanging in the balance, I had weighty duties to which I must attend. I'd set an alarm for six a.m. but was up at 5:30. One doesn't get to create a brand new nation every day. Out at 7 a.m. to witness the ballot boxen being sealed. Touring polling stations all day—technically in my organizational capacity as a polling agent for the Scottish Socialist Party, which is something that still confuses me. I'm not part of the Scottish Socialist Party. I only know one socialist and I'm on nodding terms with two or maybe three others. I'm still not quite sure how this happened, but I had an
ACCESS ALL POLLING PLACES pass and I wasn't afraid to use it. I may have spent slightly more of my day than would have been decorous waving the pass at people like Wayne and Garth at the Alice Cooper concert.
In the evening, it was off to the Highland Centre to observe the vote count. History was being made. At one stage, I was on the news. During a coffee break (I was on tea because I needed a sustained burn rather than the quick hit you get from coffee) I got to have a lovely conversation with Andrew Marr: I dislike his politics and I disapprove of his philandering but I bloody love his historical documentaries. I forgot to mention that my girlfriend's mother taught him English at Loretto.
The Yes and No campaign activists were given lounge areas on opposite sides of a big room, separated by a sort of concourse where there was a nice lady selling tea and coffee from a counter. I bought a bottle of water for £2.
Bloody hell, said I, aloud,
they told me the price of a pint might go up. The BBC and ITN news crews, on the other hand, were separated by fenced-off enclosures with scaffolding and big scary signage. I found this amusing: a physical paean to the civilized nature of the entire debate. Ultimately, we are all residents of these great British islands. Who needs barricades when there is a tea lady?
My role—still, apparently, on behalf of the SSP for reasons I still can't quite fathom—was to observe the count and ensure that no foul play was taking place. I can confirm that, as far as I can tell, the vote was scrupulously fair and above board. It was just that every bastard had put the cross in the wrong box for reasons that remain utterly incomprehensible to me.
It was obvious from early on that the Yes side were losing. As the postal ballots first came out, while I was still skittering around looking for a table to attend, one of my Yes colleagues turned to me and murmured:
we're gettin' hammered. Surely not, I said. It's early days. We were always going to lose on the postal votes. It's the regular ballots that will vindicate us. Half an hour later, it was obvious even to me. Tally marks on the clipboard in front of me, sampling a ballot box from somewhere in the southside: 202 No to 75 Yes. You bastards. You sold us out, because some fucker lied to you about your pensions to guarantee his own. Fuck the fucking southside, man.
Later: we were always going to lose in Edinburgh. It's the rest of Scotland that will vindicate us. Then Clackmannanshire voted No. Then Shetland voted No (fucking Shetland, of all places). Then Dundee voted Yes, but only by a baw-hair, where all of our polling had indicated a good seventy or eighty per cent. At that point, we knew all was lost. Facial expressions changed. The evening became a slog. I had been up since 5:30 and it was now 4am and everything left was a foregone conclusion.
I'd got chatting to a fairly well-known professor of events management with whom I'd already done some networking for work, and plan to do more in the future. He's also a stunningly nice bloke, and a Yes voter obvs. By the point it was clear that we'd lost, self-preservation took precedence over solidarity. This is the country we live in now, the country that Scotland has chosen: every man for himself. So in the immediate short term, I opted to promote my own career and come back to making the world a better place later, and when Professor Joe offered to chum me back in his taxi at 5am, I agreed.
So I was there—just getting ready to leave—when the announcement came through that Glasgow, fairly overwhelmingly, had voted Yes. It was a brief moment of levity in the midst of a long night of otherwise unmitigated despair. A chant started up in the campaigners' lounge area: Glas-gow, Glas-gow, Glas-gow. Someone shouted:
ya dancer! Someone else:
Ye cannae fool a weegie!, and then it was time to go. It was a glorious moment. It was the only one. It wasn't enough.
The next couple of days were numb and bleak. I've been clinically depressed before and I know exactly what was going on in my brain. I surfaced from bed every so often to read Twitter for five minutes or so before I couldn't take any more. And then on Monday it was back to work, to catch up on the paperwork I'd missed during the last week, in time to catch a train down south on Tuesday. The last place I wanted to go. As a deeply pathetic form of revenge, I made sure to take scotch whisky with me, and Irn Bru, and lots of Scottish fivers.
We had a chance and we bottled it. But it was a good fight, and it's not over.
And now I have a branded Yes clipboard, which I'm keeping. Spoils of war.
There is an epilogue to this post, but it's going under access lock.
I was amused to learn, now that it's all over, that Our Eck is a big ol' Star Trek fan, specifically of Wrath of Khan. I wish more had been made of this earlier in the campaign.
Full tax-raising power.
No, sir! You have devo-nano!
FULL POWERS, DAMN YOU!
Liking Eck more and more, now that it's all over. The last few days I've just wanted to give him a hug, because I think he needs one. Then there was his principled refusal of any seat in the Lords, and now I find he has impeccable taste in sci-fi. And he's right: if the promised powers are not delivered, we will chase Cameron 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before we give him up. Personally I'm particularly looking forward to the flames bit. I suspect Dishface is so greasy that he would self-ignite.
Back in the day, when I was a unionist, Star Trek featured heavily in what passed for my reasoning—although I didn't understand this about myself until significantly later, after a good deal of introspection. Obviously, went my thinking, the logical end goal of civilization is the United Federation of Planets, and we get there by heading towards global unity not away. For one thing, I later realized, adopting, as a genuine political model, a fictional utopia created by a somewhat mediocre cop-show screenwriter might be seen as impractical; and for another thing, I was goal-seeking using a naive hill-climbing algorithm. For shame, pajh.
A utopia is also an eutopia, of course, but it's telling that Roddenberry's vision is the one that took root inside my head as the default position to aim for. Naive it may be, but goddamn I wouldn't mind living there. I'm not sure if it's the proto-post-scarcity economy or the implicit communism that attracts me so much. Or the green alien babes. No, it's the skants. Definitely the skants.
I love Star Trek to bits, of course, naive as it may be, but these days my politics are much more in line with Babylon 5. I am prepared if necessary to go as far as Blake's 7, but I hope it won't come to that.
Thinking about this as I type, I should probably make a more detailed inspection of Malcolm Hulke's Doctor Who stories before I fasten my colours to any particular allegory, here.
Obviously I'm deeply disappointed with last Thursday's result, but I've decided we may have been foolish to think we could win against the combined forces of ignorance and cowardice, backed by the full might of the British state. We were not foolish to fight. And we will not be foolish to do it all again in a couple of years, with lessons learned and a new generation of engaged citizens on our side. The future is coming, whether it's got green-skinned babes in it or not. That better world we wanted to create?... independence didn't quite work out, but it's still waiting to be created. We'll do it some other way.
The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.
Those of you who grew up in the 90s will know already that perky elfin teen-pop princess and sometime Ozzie soap star, Natalie Imbruglia, in a dark and terrifying departure from her usual glittery milieu, once witnessed the terrifying Frankensteinian reanimation of a previously deceased human being. It's well-known that her popular song Torn is a postmodernist retelling of T'Pau's China in your Hand from the perspective of an affected observer descending into schizophrenia.
You all know what I'm talking about, but because I'm nice I shall provide the vid for context. Behold.( In which there are several embedded media )
Splains why I always liked the theme to Ski Sunday so much, but: how the FUCK did I not already know that about Ski Sunday? My musical recognition skills were hitherto frankly superhuman, but lately I've noticed that they've begun to diminish with age, or possibly with lack of practice. I'm now all out of faith in my own abilities. This is how I feel: I'm cold and I'm ashamed, but thankfully still fully dressed.
The 23rd century is going to suck, and this is why: all of those hot alien babes, green-skinned or otherwise, saying
what is this human emotion you call love, to which I am compelled to reply:
baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more.
Buwuh? [Or alien equivalent.]
Honey, you wouldn't understand. It's an Earth thing.
DAMN YOU HADDAWAY, COCKBLOCKED FROM FOUR CENTURIES IN THE PAST AGAIN
My wall planner indicates the phase of the Moon with little moon icons (moonicons). Down at the bottom of the planner, to splain the different moonicons used for the different phases of the Moon, there is a legend, or key. It is (and it says so at the bottom of the planner) a moon key.
It is particularly good at the gibbers phase.
The security light outside my flat door has started strobing. This wouldn't be a major problem but that I'm now unable to pass it without throwing some shapes and singing
THE SYSTEM. IS DOWN.
We bought those security lights so that you could escape the building safely in the event of major power failure. Not so that you could throw light-switch raves.
I am in the process of developin a series of whisky-tasting evenings, themed, with narrative cohesion and everything. Partly this is for work use and partly so that I have something I can do if they ever fire me. The big practice session is tomorrow night. I bought all of the whiskies myself (and did so for the pre-practice session last week, and for the copious amount of targeted bar time it took to select the whiskies in the first place). Next time, I hope to be able to expense this shit.
Thinkin of a name for myself should I ever take the whisky-tastings freelance: I quite like
Six Nine Two Events, or possibly
692 Events, which is a tip of the hat to the 692 illicit distilleries closed down in 1834, eleven years after the Excise Act made it much easier to be a licit one. I like the idea of raisin a glass to those stubborn holdouts who kept to the old ways, as a tribute and a memento mori. Plus, it sounds trendy enough that nobody ever needs to know.
Other possible business name ideas included:
LASER SPLOSION WHISKIES,
DIAL-A-SPLOSION (because somebody needs to have a business called that and it's not my responsibility that dialling for splosions isn't exactly what I offer), and
Whiskypalooza, at which point I gave up.
I've been investigatin electropop lately, most of the current batch of which appears to be Canadian for some reason. I have no problem with this. At least it's not Canadian hip-hop. Movin on from the Canadian theme before I get myself into trouble, at this stage I feel I should mention CHVRCHES, who claim that their band name is pronounced
churches, but I know better. They are from Glasgow and they are awesome. Particularly the lead singer, Lauren Mayberry, who is cute and elfin and adorable and basically so much the complete opposite of Shirley Manson that she goes round the back of the spectrum and becomes exactly as amazing. Chvrches spell their name with a V so that you can google for them, which you should do immediately if you've not already done so.
I have this 160GB mp3 player to fill up, and it's an actual mp3 player this time, so I can't cheat by includin the complete Sylvester McCoy Doctor Who and all the seasons of Sherlock I haven't watched yet. It's got to be actual music, and even for me there's only so many versions of the Glorious Ninth I need to carry around with me in my pocket. (A post on which is forthcomin; suffice to say I renounce all former allegiances to Karajan.) Somebody on the Twitters recommended the New Order album Power, Corruption & Lies, which I've not actually listened to. When it was released in 1983, my listenin habits were more or less evenly split between Prokoviev and Pinky & Perky. (I was precocious, but I was also three years old.) That I have not got round to it since then is an omission I knew I must rectify forthwith—but, in my defence, do any of you realize how many different versions there are of the Glorious Ninth?
Listenin then, at last, to Power, Corruption & Lies, three or four tracks reminded me of That Goddamn American Express Advert that I remember seeing once. And then, finally, it arrived in my ears as some part of me knew it would: Blue Monday, the biggest-selling 12" single of all time.
Of course I knew it already. And, because I was cursèd to grow up in the nineties, I knew it already chiefly because of this:
Even back then I was aware that this was possibly the worst advert of all time. I envisioned a cadre of corpulent besuited bastards, cocaine-crazy and caffeinated, masturbatorily manifesting moronic muppetry, thuswise: it's time for an EMERGENCY MARKETING MEETING!
INT. DAY. The MID-NINETIES. Opulent CORPORATE BOARDROOM
(PROPS DEPARTMENT: please make sure there is a RED STAPLER somewhere in shot)
TWAT #ONE is agitatedly pointin a STICK at a FLIPCHART that has some damn GRAPH on it.
Okay, we're the wealthiest and most expensive credit card company on the planet, we own all the money in the world, and each of us has a secondary personal Learjet just so we can ship around the team of flunkies required to wax our primary Learjets, but but we need more. More... flirting?... sorry, that's a whole different advert that hasn't been made yet, with subtler humour than this scene. Anyway. I understand there's an entire new generation of suckers who have money. So: who knows anything about this "youth demographic"?
Well, from what I've read in the newspapers, the Youth Demographic really do like their "music with a repetitive beat".
Excellent. Let's have some of that. Anyone else?
They like... skydiving?
Brilliant. Throw that in there. What else?
I heard that they really like skin-tight black PVC trenchcoats.
Who doesn't? You're fired. Next!
[VO] prolonged nasal SNORTING noise
TWAT #FIVE looks up from the table, takes a moment to orient himself
They like... geishas pulling stupid faces?
Give that man some stock options.
~ FIN ~
I have always said that I hated the bloody Nineties: the decade of Westlife and the Vengaboys and Columbine and backwards jeans and Global Hypercolor and pastels and plaid and the Bosnian genocide and the Doctor Who Movie. But! (Even before you start: that was a preemptive
but.) To be fair to the nineties, we also had Dark Season (so much pastel! and Jacqueline Pearce!) and Knightmare and Animaniacs and Way Out West and Portishead and we had both Ren and Stimpy simultaneously.
I've made my peace with the nineties.
After all, if we're considrin solely the restricted subset of credit card advertizin, then it could be so very, very much worse.
Experienced my first anti-Scottish racism on Wednesday. I've lived in Scotland for fourteen years now and have experienced plenty of anti-English racism; usually from people in bars who were on my side while England were playing Germany but then, ninety seconds after the final whistle blows, decide to call me an English cunt. Oh how we laughed. Feels odd to be on the other side of it, but not entirely unexpected.
On the train down to That London, through That London, and out the other side Dorset-bound. I am pretty much a London expert now. The first time I went down there as an adult I spent the first day simply riding around the integrated transport system in awe. I thought that having a Lobster card would be creepy, RFID and all that, but it turns out to be fantastically useful—look at me, ma! I can go anywhere! They even have boats!
By now I just huff and glare at the other passengers and catch the Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square and then transfer onto the Northern Line to Waterloo without a care. I still find London itself a little creepy. There are no old people in London. There are no disabled people in London—although I did once see someone on crutches. Everyone is just slightly too well turned-out and glamorous. It's as if the entire place, all seven million of them, are one giant Potemkin village. But the integrated transport system: that's nifty, and I can commute with the best of them.
Through London, then, and out the other side. Found myself on the train out of Waterloo sitting at a table with three young urban professionals, all wearing amusing cufflinks on shirts that would cost a week's worth of my salary. From the conversation I judged that they were in the business of buying and selling yachts to other, wealthier, young urban professionals. I was becoming increasingly aware that I was in England and that these were not my people, never were. At this point I was listening to Capercaillie on the ipod and eating a deliberately, relentlessly, nay dare I say it vindictively pan-European sandwich that I'd prepared earlier (sopocka and Leerdammer on ciabatta, trivia-fans) in an attempt to stave off homesickness. It was partially successful and that is because, where sandwiches are concerned, I roll twenties. I had crossed the border five hours previously.
Of the ticket inspector I asked a question which, I thought, would be a perfectly reasonable example of the genre:
Is there wifi?
There was a Silence, the kind of silence you only get when the saloon doors flap and the honky-tonk piano player stops mid-arpeggio. Said silence continued for about two and a half seconds longer than was comfortable, although it felt a lot longer while the Inspector looked at me—inspected me, no less— with narrowed eyes, as if I'd asked him for a happy ending. Eons passed, the civilization of man rose and fell, the civilization of cockroaches rose and fell, the civilization of squid rose and fell. Galaxies collided, then crashed and flew off. Then spake the Inspector thus:
No. The company's owned by a Scotsman.
Funny, that, said I. I've just had free wifi all the way down on East Coast Rail. That one's owned by five million Scotsmen.
Okay, no I didn't, but I was thinking it pretty loud.
The training in Dorset was all about time management, so mostly consisted of
To-do lists are good and
Get a to-do-list. Then there was a section on assertiveness, because the fundamental yet unspoken rule of time management is 1] and an indeterminate number of beers,
$FINANCE_DIRECTOR asked of me my opinion on the possibilities of Scottish Independence. I am a good manager who pays attention to his training, and I seize opportunities as they arise. This was a chance to test my newfound assertiveness, so I told him.
scotm, you would have been proud of me, although I suspect some of my figures were off. And I don't think
$FINANCE_DIRECTOR was convinced.
Currently entrained at 113mph, somewhere between Newark-on-Trent and Worksop, on my way back to a civilized nation, where we have free wifi. And healthcare.