Saturday, 15 November 2014

Less To Go Wrong

I went to Liverpool to learn more about how to help people respond to failures in managerial procedure. Fleetwood Mac were playing as I wrote notes in a modern wood/pork boozer on the following. [Jesus, you write notes for these things -  yes - and then type them up, later - yes - that's a lot of effort - not really - for not very much - yes]. If I had to introduce a fictional musical accompaniment that embodied the concept of error, I thought, it would be them, but luckily, unhappily, there they already were. One of the two other customers loudly asked me and the bar staff if we thought he gave a shit. About anything. My no was lost beneath that song about going your own way's insufferably well-recorded slop. The other of the two other customers was saying vacate, vacate. Vacate, vacate. It was possible that both these people were finally taking a stand against the cultural atrocities regularly delivered by this band, who I feel've lately, and also my whole life, been lurking amongst almost every public playlist, like hairs in a sandwich, which people tell you you're overreacting to when you spit them out, either through a lack of good judgement, or the wish to appear different, and both of these are things you will outgrow eventually, until, like the rest of everybody, you will admit that before this group came along, the entirety of human musical endeavour was undeniably lacking a pinnacle, and you will then start ordering sandwiches that consist entirely of hair, for delivery, nightly, to your plateau of refinement, for you to enjoy with a straight face and the usual vague but persistent thoughts about getting something done someday, so it's no use insisting that the thought of this band induces panic, the sight of them induces nausea, and the sound of them induces terminal emphysema, because you'll be like all the rest of us soon enough, us for whom not a hint of insincerity could come anywhere near our professions of love for these gutsy and melodic leviathans, and [you should've stopped at emphysema, we think - alright - there's a distinct negative bias to this whimsical bile that seems quite unwarranted - that's all I've got - right, but, please, onward, to more pressing matters].
I did a radio show the other week you can listen to here. There's nothing wrong with it.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Manual Handling

Would you mind, I said, at all, if I have a listen to your conversation so if it's any good I can reproduce it when I sit down later and try to think of something interesting to write about, which is certainly not the best way to proceed, I know, if proceeding's what you want to do, in that particular realm, but bad habits do drown thrashing, as they say, don't they, or something, almost, or I've failed once again to seize clarity by the arse, and to turn this lack to my advantage, which, I'm led to believe, is a trick I ought to be able to dazzle myself with, regularly, by now, much like I dazzle myself whenever I discover I've left the house in clothing appropriate to the season, and carrying all the items I might want or be required to produce, to boot, which is about sixty percent of the time, I'd say, if pressed, under oath, or exactly one hundred percent, if asked by an online form to list the behaviours and preferences that might help my application, for the position of vacillating supplicant, to the virile and delicious institution of whoever's offering me a bit more money or sanity, they don't half corkscrew deep these days, these application forms, you know, it's no longer enough just to say you own an alarm clock and your carpal tunnels are peachy keen, they want to know what kind of thoughts you're trying to avoid and how successful you've been in doing that, though I don't spose you need to hear that from me.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Fine, I'll Tell Him

Some people don't use the underpass on the way to work. They don't save any time by doing this. It's large and arena-like, with indirect paths, but on the roads above they have to wait for a gap in 40mph traffic, and get through it without the help of stop signs or pedestrian pomp. There's a story going round I haven't heard.

A man rapped his head off right in front of us. It tumbled to the front of the stage and was picked up and passed, rhyming the whole time, between three hundred pairs of hands raised high in disbelief. His body stayed onstage in a floor-length black gown, shimmying and jerking with a microphone held to its neck.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


I requested and paid for a piping hot sandwich and the man said I'll bring it to you and I sat down. I read the paper given away on raining morning corners by the evangelical ponchos who've lately begun unzipping my coat and tucking it under my armpit while saying paper, paper, paper, you will not live without this news. And you get it indoors and it's three-quarter page adverts for slightly larger phones and pictures of professional disgraces with incomprehensible teeth.
The sandwich didn't appear. I put the paper back on the shelf and tilted my head at the man. He asked if I was the man with the sandwich and I wanted to say no, I'm the man without the sandwich, my popping up here with an angled head ought to make that fairly clear, wouldn't you say, but I just said yes. He said he looked everywhere for me. I told him I was starving to death, and he threw four pound coins one by one at my face, screaming well here's your bastard money back you filthy haddock. I couldn't help thinking his response was disproportionate, and was reassured by the next day's free paper, which contained news of his protracted and gloopy end-of-shift kidnapping, opposite a full-page advert for a better kind of water.

Saturday, 4 October 2014


I get emails from Honda. They're glad I bought one, and eager to know if I'm also glad I didn't spend the money on something else, like a degree I might actually use, or a small holiday on an unmapped island, or enough sardines and gas masks to last through what's coming. I haven't read any of these emails, only guessed what they want from their titles and first lines. I don't need to get any more involved in the life of the person they're intended for, who isn't me, who lives a few thousand miles away under a similar name and nearly identical email address. I've been sent his friend or business associate's vacation snaps, featuring a baseball stadium in China with directions and a let me know what you think when you get there. I responded saying I keep telling you people I'm not him, though Google has a little pop-up flag that insists I'm in the intended recipient. I've been invited to urgent-sounding seminars and asked what I thought of the synagogue last week. Now it's a needy car dealer and a Chinese baseball nerd. And I don't want to tell Google it's lying when it says all my messages are for me, in case this either triggers a global knowledge crisis or it says it just doesn't care, try telling someone and see if they believe we could ever make a mistake. I wonder what deluge of astonishing treats intended for me the other guy might be enjoying, while he remarks to his rabbi that his recent Honda purchase has been remarkably hassle-free.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Our Thinking Equally

The advertising-enhancers have been quiet lately. I hope they're planning something gigantic. For a good month I've not seen a single thudding obscenity scrawled across an immaculate chin, no happy genitalia slapped across a logo, and no oh for fuck's sake smeared over a slogan.
For the summer, the billboard by the roundabout showed a blue sky with popcorn clouds behind six towers of silver squares that spelled out HATE.
Somebody used to tear down the new posters on the billboard on the corner as soon as they went up, a knack for disfigurement that gladdened the spleen and made questions grow: do they climb up there somehow or use a thing on a long stick or what? Are they one person or a few? Are they afraid of getting caught? Have I met them and not known?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Took Me Ages

Concerns have hatched: Your last entry fell into some kind of hole shortly after its appearance. Could you bother us with an explanation?
It was a durational text not designed to be viewable for any longer than five minutes.
You could perhaps have announced this.
I didn't realise that that was what it was until I realised it was over.
We brim with suspicion.
Also there was a particularly bad comma. And two phrases that seemed to demand a semi-colon be inserted between them. But when the semi-colon was inserted, it looked completely unnecessary. I was signed off work for two weeks with acute perplexity while I added it, looked away from it, looked back at it, removed it, looked away from its absence, tried to think about something else, looked back at its absence, then re-added it, over and over again.
We detect a lack of commitment.
Fortunately a film was made of this interlude, a sort of tedious crescendo which is lapping up the plaudits in niche cinemas nowherewide.
Had you considered either releasing the thing in both versions or choosing to care less about piffling trinkets?
We believe the content of the thing contained regrettable details.
Not true.
And that there was never a semi-colon or (or nor) the glaring absence of one.
Could you then enlighten us on the subject matter of the thing?