Thursday, 12 November 2015

Spines Out

The numbers people will want to see my research before they give me any of their numbers. I would like you to be part of my research, please (hello). The aim is to see if opening a book shop is possible. Or it's to see if it's possible to convince the numbers people that it's possible to open a book shop. I need your honest hands:

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Week Month All Time

I applied - this might take a while but you'll barely feel a thing - for a job and was interviewed in a glass-walled corner-booth in a small-town thousand-person office complex. I sat down and showed them my hands and asked them when I'd be starting and if I could have the first couple of Fridays off, whenever they are, for some crucial appointments. But they wanted me to answer their questions first. And I didn't get the job despite all the lies I gave in response, such as:
I can be relied upon to care about targets. I care about targets all day and all night, I think of them as a kind of powerful sauce that I can't get enough of, can't actually eat without.
I am subjectively, objectively, rationally, emotionally, historically, romantically, obviously, and chemically the strongest member of any team I'm in or on, whilst I maintain an alluring indifference to accolades and a robust but nuanced lack of smarm.
I can prioritise tasks in a unique manner that has caused more than one area manager to describe me as the auto-acknowledged yes-bulb of self-propelled co-operative procedurality.
I could go on, I'll not go on. It was remarkable, at the start, in the booth, that both my hands remained unshook. That was the verdict. We might've ended there.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Trounced Haddock, Gloomy Cod

The staff performed welcoming and efficient routines to an intriguingly non-confrontational soundtrack in Damien Hirst's cafe. One of the spot paintings ogled me from the opposite wall, bravely ignoring the butterfly wallpaper behind it, and echoing the thin cabinet of small fish in perspex coffins next to the entrance. A popular song minced from the speakers, in which an optimistic boy sings about a new pair of shoes, followed by several hundred thousand other songs of similar shapes and colours. There were no other customers. It was obvious: this playlist was an unannounced piece of never-stopping art, repelling locals and tourists alike, more baffling and visceral than any number of formaldehyded animals, and disappointingly audacious in its resemblance, like the spot painting, to a machine-generated array of squibs. I wrote that sentence across three packets of white sugar and used it to pay for another coffee. The barista smiled at me through her completely transparent motorbike helmet and said you're right, it's called The Joy of Not Giving A Shit.
I'd come to Ilfracombe to see the statue of the pregnant woman you could see the insides of, standing on some law books and thrusting a sword in the air. Later, in the very good chippy, the chip man described his first encounter with the statue. It was lying down, having a rest next to some concerned people, who said they were such big fans of Jesus that they found it nigh-on impossible to approve of anything that wasn't Jesus. And this statue wasn't Jesus at all, not even lying down, not even slightly, and how could he stand here not disapproving of it.
He boxed and bagged the fish and chips and said it's nice to have something to look at.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

In the Region as Predicted

The ear man phoned and said he'd have to cancel because he had an appointment at the doctors. I thought it was me who had the appointment, with him, so he couldn't have any appointments, he'd be at work, assessing all the local ears. Give me a number, I considered saying, and I'll explain to them that it's me who has the appointment, with you, at this time, and that therefore no other appointments involving not both of us are possible.
I agreed though, instead, that we postpone, and I stayed home, with my ears, unexamined.
At the rescheduled appointment he said it was his son who'd had the doctor's appointment, really, and I'd misheard, ha-ha, ha-ha, I don't have the kind of phone where you can tell what people are saying. It would encourage me to speak, and there's no telling where that might lead.
He dredged my canals and asked me how much Hawkwind I'd done. He measured my cranium and threw some twigs at my neck. He printed a graph and amplified the areas of concern with his most serious finger. It was a bit worse than I expected.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Sclatchy Rigmarole

- A lack of visibility.
- I've been tending to the ghouls.
- On a volunteer basis?
- It's not very clear.
- Under a powerful timetable?
- They keep long hours and set no deadlines.
- I expect the results will astonish and repulse?
- I'm not sure results are a decent expectation.
- The executive committee disagrees.
- They haven't got a constitution.
- They still have eyes.
- I agree.
- I trust you gather my berries, here.
- I smell a crumble full of meaning.
- There'll be a review period. A good long stare at your bollocks.
- I'm flattered.
- Followed by a focussed discussion.
- Absolutely.
- Topped off by a verdict, the weight of which will vary according to -
- I'm sure.
- Good luck.
- Yes.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Select From Popular Items

- You can mute the self-checkouts, my precious little battered sausage.
- I'm ecstatic.
- Civilisation has really gone up a notch.
- You never stopped striving for justice.
- I have decommissioned my ballistic vengeance.
- I am delighted beyond belief.
- I can process my bargains in beeping serenity.
- I am a ten-floor four-star hotel of satisfaction.
- And do you know what else?
- I have no knowledge of anything at all in this world.
- The security hawk has ended his campaign of unreasonable scrutiny.
- I am smashed by a joyful hammer.
- Our dreams have entered reality by the medium of triumph.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Peak Times

In the pond in the park the fountain stopped. Swans slid across to investigate. A van crawled towards the pond's edge and stopped next to the fisherman. Three men in overalls all different shades of orange exited the van and unloaded a cement mixer, a spade, a pneumatic scoop and four yellow plastic sections of fence. While one of them plugged the cement mixer in at the cafe and mixed the cement the other two fenced off a small area at the edge of the pond and attacked the pavement with the pneumatic scoop. Dust settled on ice creams. Dogs conferenced. Picnics succeeded. The scooping men returned the scoop to the van and took out a tarpaulin-covered box attached to a black pole. They carried it to the fenced off area and set the pole in the ground with the box on top. The scoopers held it upright while the cement man cemented the base. When this was done he used his spade to flick the rubble from the hole into the pond. All three stood and inspected the box on the pole, looked at each other, and removed the tarpaulin. Children screamed. The box had a coin slot at the top, a note slit in the middle, and a change tray at the bottom. They loaded the fence and the scoop and the mixer and the spade and themselves into the van and drove away slowly with the hazard lights blinking. A woman in a Nirvana t-shirt approached the box and put 50p in the slot. The fountain came back on.