Sunday, September 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

High-five Jesus – the Gallaries shopping centre in Bristol now has a shop completely dedicated to your birthday. You can buy all sorts in there, as long as what you want to buy is sparkly and aggresively soul-destroying. You might want to accelerate your second coming Christ - get in there and change all that shiny shit into something more worthy. Something that'll make us reflect on the virgin birth and 'love' and why the sea looks so angry these days.

But I'm going to take the next exit off this lazy cynicism motorway. For one of my favourite hobbies (listed on my CV) is to listen to people become exasperated by the premature appearance of Christmas related high-jinx. A great place for this is just outside this new Christmas shop.

“Re-dic-you-lous,” says the woman with eyes lost behind Dierdre Barlow's spare pair of 'sexy time' glasses; she throws her the palm of her hand downwards in reflex disgust.

“It's just so unnecessary,” her friend replies, more measured, more calm; a sadness and sense loss of the times when the signs of Christmas were limited to the Queen's fifteen minute speech and September was a month dedicated to deciciding whether it was cold enough to turn the heating on.

The only thing that can rile the middle-classes more is Easter Eggs in February. You would have to microwave Fern Britton's gastric or band to illicit more disgust than selling Easter Eggs in February.

And so it will continue until December, when the cries of 'not yet, it's too early' will subside and solemn serious looking elderly men with confused hair and bibles, will pick up the baton with their bemoaning of the loss of the 'true meaning of Christmas'. Unforgivable when we've had since September to think about it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bags under the eyes

I had nothing to offer the world today. These days happen about once every couple of months. However much I try to muster enthusiasm, intelligence or even just effort, it doesn't come. I sit at my desk, tapping 'page-up', 'page down' – hoping one of them will bring me back into the game, but the hours throw themselves away. Nothing is really getting done.

“Do you want a bag?” the girl in Sommerfield asked. I didn't know. I had bought a carton of orange, chicken breasts and two tubes(?) of shower gel. I could of balanced it all without a bag and done my part to save the worldy thing that we live on, on the other hand...

I realised I didn't have it within me to make a decision and that it had now been a good few seconds since she'd asked the question. My only option was to just choose one of the two words 'yes' or 'no'. I could spin a coin – but that would be so damningly odd I'd probably have to move flat and grow a beard. I get ginger facial hair so that wasn't an option. I decided to say the word that was the shortest and hope for the best.

"No," I said rather too loudly. She pulled back a bag I hadn't noticed she was preparing. Shit, I am such an ungrateful bastard.

"Yes – actually yes," I quickly improvised, "I have got two bottles of shower gel." This justification has just been confirmed as the most unnecessary since records of justifications people make in supermarkets began. She handed the bag over to me with a hesitancy and precision of a woman who was being held up by an armed bag robber. I stuffed my goods in there, looked around cautiously, and got the fuck out of there.

I'm home and safe now and there's football is on the television. I can't remember the name of the commentator – he's the one who shouts a single word very loudly every time someone has an attempt at goal. "HEADER", "JONES!" and less impressively: "OOOOOH!" Dwight Yorke is the co-commentator. I'm not sure whether he's actually seen a football match before. He might say that about me and bags.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New term.

It will soon be time to start the next module on my OU course. I'm doing an English Literature degree backwards. The harder courses such as 'Twentieth Century Literature' looked more interesting than 'Approaching Literature' and thus I did the more interesting ones first. Trouble is 'Twentieth Century Literature' kind of assumed you'd done 'Approaching Literature' first and thus was a little ridiculously difficult. This is yet another disadvantage to not being what people call 'sensible'. 'Sensible' can be 'washing up as you go along' or parking your car in the garage. I don't have a garage, and washing-up as I go along makes me cry tears that were meant for standing on a cliff-edge staring into the middle-distance.

Anyway this new module is the one you're supposed to do first. 'The Arts Past and Present' is its name, or TAPAP as I confidently predict people will become irritated with me saying. It looks to involve reading lots and lots a massive text books. I guess I should get started, but to be fair to me, I have Sky Sports - so that isn't possible right now. Rupert fucking Murdoch.

Couple on the next table

The woman on the next table is angry about stuff. All stuff. Everything that constitutes stuff has anger aimed at it from this woman. Her husband, also in his sixties, rests back into his chair content to tiredly utter well worn mumbles of agreement.

The subject of the day is benefits. Her running through of categories of people that 'shouldn't get a penny' quickly disqualifies anyone who's not white, middle-class and over sixty.

“They've all got tattoos of course,” she takes a second to let her whore of an observation parade itself proudly around the pub draping itself all over men with beards and hate, “how can they afford tattoos if they don't have a job?”

“We're paying for 'em,” her husband says .

“We're paying for 'em,” she says before moving onto fingers, “and they've all got nice nails.” The tone in her voice is now so incredulous, I want to record it; make it a lasting exhibit of 'incredulous'; play it back to anyone who asks me what 'incredulous' is. I don't – that would have been an 'odd' apparently. Stupid social conventions stopping me from recording people's conversations in pubs. Go away conventions, leave me alone. I want to be free of you, dig a hole in a field and live in it.

Now she moves on to immigration. “You can't blame people for voting BNP,” she concludes, her husband coughs uncomfortably. Her argument boils down to that though the BNP are 'of course abhorrent', another more mainstream party should adopt all of their policies.

But she hasn't said 'political correctness gone mad yet.' What a disappointing odious bitch she is. At least play the game woman. My bigotry bingo card is incomplete and your lazy racism is not covering all the bases it should.

'Come on, we've got to get back,' her husband says, drinking the last mouthful of beer in a way that is some how self-congratulatory. They've got stuff to do. Probably watch Britain's Got Talent or chase Asians in their people carrier.