Thursday, April 29, 2004

In The Summer Time 

In the summer time we dance all night, make love all day, pay no heed to what others say, we laugh and we play. We run down corridors, race down lanes, we know that life won’t always be this way.

In the summer time we talk and we sing and we jump and we swim. We know that Autumn will be closing in - we face it and grin. The sun is shining, we’re making hay, we know that life won’t always be this way.

Thank you for everything.

And if you want to listen to me singing that - yes by golly - singing! - in a weblog goes all multimedia style, come gather round the virtual campfire and click here.

Copyright owned by me, Tim, usual terms and conditions apply, your home is at risk if you don’t ask an adult before using the phone, etc.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Papa’s Got A Brand New Nut Bag 

Email to Girlfriend:
28/04/04 10:16

Two tits!

Reply from Girlfriend:
28/04/04 10:34

You love saying that don’t you?

Reply to Girlfriend:
28/04/04 10:47

Two tits!
There were two tits. One on the nut bag and one on the coconut thing. The one on the coconut was trying to eat the husk instead of the yummy fatty interior. But it will learn eventually, in it’s own good time. I know it will.

Reply from Girlfriend:
28/04/04 11:01

Just so that we’re clear about this. You’re talking about the blue tits in the garden, right?

Reply to Girlfriend:
28/04/04 11:12

Some sort of birds. Might have been chaffinches.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


She goes for the tuna salad and a carton of orange juice. I plump for a cheese and pickle sandwich and some fizzy water that comes out of your nose if you drink it too soon after opening the bottle.

“So what do you like about jogging?” Diana asks.
“I just really like the way it makes you feel when you’ve done it. The running itself is, at best, sort of OK. It helps clear out the crap that’s been accumulating in your head.”
“It must be treacherous running behind you then.”
“Don’t interrupt when I’m bullshitting. About half an hour after you’ve stopped, that’s the best bit. Actually, I read a good quote in the Guardian the other week that sums it up well.” I remove a scuffed up piece of paper from my trouser pocket and put on my best reading voice.
“It’s about the London Marathon but I think it applies equally well to…”
“Just read the bloody thing.”

“Ahem… The real star of the London Marathon is an Everyman struggling to win “a pointless but wonderful victory over mental doubt and bodily frailty.””
“And you identify with the pointless bit? I can see why you wrote it down. A description of jogging as a metaphore for blogging. Neat.”
“Oh yeah, something else I made a note of. Fastest time for a pantomime horse - 4 hours 37 minutes.”
At which point orange juice comes out of her nose.

This is what is known as “a result”.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Dead Ringer For Love 

It’s Dead Ringer For Love. The woman in the blue Ford Fiesta has been singing Dead Ringer For Love, off and on, for the past three months or so, and it’s taken me this long to work it out. The hairbrush microphone technique, the rock chick head nodding routine, the puckering and pouting. Pretty obvious, really.

In the film adaptation of the hit West End musical “A Free Man In Preston“, John Cusack (coolly intellectual, handsome, self confident with an appealing hint of boyish vulnerability) is the natural choice to play me. Kirstie Allsopp (wild child sex kitten smouldering passionately beneath pearls and woollen twin set) plays the part of the woman in the Ford Fiesta.
The title music is a remake of Charlene’s 1980-something hit “I’ve Been To Paradise But I’ve Never Been To Me.” The producers have had the words changed to “I’ve Been To Widnes But I’ve Never Been To Leigh.”

I catch Kirstie’s eye in my rear view mirror and look away quickly. But when I look again a moment later, she is winking at me and giving me the come hither treatment. Kirstie Allsopp! Giving me the come on! Oh boy! Chances like this don’t come your way everyday.

I spring out of my car, jump onto the roof of her Ford Fiesta (you’re damn right it’s impressive - I fall off on the first four takes) and pick up the Meatloaf role to Kirstie’s Cher.
I don’t know anything about you baby, but you’re everything I’m dreaming of. I don’t know who you are but you’re A REAL DEAD RINGER FOR LOVE!!!

“Oh Kirstie, you’re a wonderful dancer!”
“Thanks Tim. You’re fabulous!”

By the time we arrive at the second chorus, everybody is joining in, dancing and whooping with delight. This is incredible. It’s a mad Monday morning Technicolor carnival of laughter and joy. The choreography is spectacular and the costumes are to die for.
“I can’t believe this is happening. Can you?” strangers ask each other.

And before long, the magic has cast it’s spell all over Preston and the immediately surrounding vicinity. Builders and dentists, hairdressers and lawyers, teachers, bakers and office workers, bingo callers on their way home from the night shift and students and unemployed people on their way to interviews, the happy and those in need of a little happiness are all having a great, great morning, a Monday morning they’ll never forget, and it’s all thanks to Kirstie in the Ford Fiesta.

When they get into work they tell their colleagues “You’ll never believe this but the most amazing thing happened on the way in,” and of course nobody does believe them.
“Sure it did, Ginger. Now put the kettle on. Fetch us a brew.”

Friday, April 23, 2004

He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot 

Its not some throwaway decision you take lightly, like choosing between cornflakes and toast, or joining a political party. Previous personal gurus have included John Peel, Stephen Fry and Kirstie Allsopp, but today I am very pleased, nay delighted, to announce that my new person-with-whom-I-agree-on-just-about-everything-they-ever-say is none other than Norfolk’s very own Jonny Billericay. Congratulations.

I felt a bit crappy this morning. I was a smidge crappy about this, and a tad crappy about that. Crappy that I seem to have been sleeping at the wheel a bit lately. Whatever.

So to pick myself up, I gave my happy glands a booster injection by reading I Don’t Believe It, start to finish, during my lunch hour. Woo, get me, speed reading! Jonny B is a very very funny man (if he really is a man - he could be a girl from Ipanema for all I know), full of reason and common sense, and I’ve decided that if anything untoward ever happens to me, I want him to take custody of my comedy hat collection.
By the time I’d finished, I couldn’t have felt more uplifted if I’d been wearing a wonder bra. And I’ll discuss man bras with you some other time, but not today.

The afternoon was peppered with emails from Girlfriend telling me she was a geek, something she was clearly a little excited about. “I’m a geek! La la la! I’m a geek!” She’d surprised herself by scoring highly in a “How Geeky Are You?” test in this month’s Focus magazine.
In the evening she ran a few questions by me:

Did you enjoy these films?
Star Wars - No. Don’t appeal to me. Sorry.
The Matrix - No. Watched first one. Didn’t understand. Or care.
Tron - Never heard of it. Sorry.
Dark Star - Ditto.

Have you ever played…? Tetris. Yes. Doom. No. Elite; Everquest - these last two could be trick questions for all I know.

Have you ever worn…?
Retro clothes or trainers - Only in the seventies. Ha ha ha.
An anorak in summer. - Obviously. What if it rains? Who’s laughing then?
All black - Quite a lot. Very sexy and hides food stains.
T-shirt with computer company logo - Only when I’m jogging and my skimpy vest is in the wash.

Do you own any of these albums? Now you’re talking. Bring it on baby.
OK Computer - Radiohead. Does the Pope wear a funny hat?
The Sophtware Slump - Grandaddy. I own their albums, they own my soul.
Metal Machine Music - Lou Reed. Fuck off.
Zaireeka - The Flaming Lips. Never heard of it, but will probably purchase tonight if I have trouble sleeping again.

Do You Own A…?
Web site. Two. One for my music. Domain name now expired. One for photography. Probably still around, haven’t checked for years.
Domain name. No.

Gulp. Sweaty palms. Palpitations. Discomfort in the trouser regions. Say something, idiot. Say something smart or funny, something to throw her off guard. Or just say something stupid, that would be less suspicious. Come on, say anything.
“Hey look! Its just past seven. Time for The Archers.”
Everything stops in our house for The Archers. Time itself has to stand still and wait while David shoots badgers or Ruth burns convenience food, cheesy Helen dumps grumpy Grogg, or Ed and Jazzer grow dope in Tony’s barn, and perhaps Adam and Ian make out behind the kitchens. It all goes on.

And then we went swimming. Phew! I think the coast is clear.

Incidentally, a creepy shrine is not a creepy shrine without a few photos, so come on Jonny B, my email address is on the left.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Everything Beautiful Is Far Away 

Imagine for a moment that you are a girl in your mid-twenties. Perhaps you don’t need to imagine. You are smartly dressed and work in a nearby office. You are independent, self-possessed, successful without being showy about it. All of your friends consider you attractive.

What on Earth must be running through your mind, for you to be standing in a crowded high street newsagents on a Thursday lunchtime, quietly tearing page after page out of a copy of Bride magazine?
Paper gathers at your feet like confetti, or rising floodwater.

What happened? How did it come to this?
Is this a pivotal moment where your life takes a turn for the worse, or a turn for the better?

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Lost Property 

Email from Charlotte to whole company:
21/04/04 9:51


Rex has asked me to tell you that a mind has been found in the car park. If anybody has recently lost their mind, please report to reception.

He has also asked me to remind you that the will to live handed in last week has still not been claimed.


Tuesday, April 20, 2004

OK Computer 

vmstat Command


Reports virtual memory statistics.


vmstat [ -f ] [ -i ] [ -s ] [ PhysicalVolume ... ] [ Interval [ Count ] ]


The vmstat command reports statistics about kernel threads, virtual memory, disks, traps and CPU activity. Reports generated by the vmstat command can be used to balance system load activity. These system-wide statistics (among all processors) are calculated as averages for values expressed as percentages, and as sums otherwise. Bloody hell, I'm starving.

If the vmstat command is invoked without flags, the report contains a summary of the virtual memory activity since system startup. If the -f flag is specified, the vmstat command reports the number of forks since system startup. What time is it? The PhysicalVolume parameter specifies the name of the physical volume. It must be dinner time soon.

The Interval parameter specifies the amount of time in seconds between each report. The first report contains statistics for the time since system startup. Subsequent reports contain statistics collected during the interval since the previous report. I think I'll skip going for a run today. Can't be arsed.
If the Interval parameter is not specified, the vmstat command generates a single report and then exits. The Count parameter can only be specified with the Interval parameter. Sweet baby Jesus, she looks awesome with ponytails. If the Count parameter is specified, its value determines the number of reports generated and the number of seconds apart. If the Interval parameter is specified without the Count parameter, reports are continuously generated. A Count parameter of 0 is not allowed. Bugger. I've left my sandwiches at home.

Monday, April 19, 2004

My Aim Is True 

I was having a quick chat with Diana in her office before we got down to business. Work business, that is. Obviously. Honestly, what are you like?

“I was sorry to read about Dave.”
“What about him?”
“Well, you know. Him being imaginary and everything. I sort of liked him.”
She liked him? I hope he doesn’t read this.
“Good grief, you don’t need to worry about that. We’re like that all the time. He’s a great geezer, really.”
She still looked worried though, like she had troubled thoughts on her mind that she wasn’t sure she could talk about.
“There is another thing,” she said, biting her lip. “Is anything else in your blog made up? A lot of it seems very, you know, far fetched.”
“Oh God yeah,” I replied, wondering how come I’d suddenly started to speak like Jamie Oliver. “It’s about 50:50 I guess.”
“Right,” she said in a long drawn out riiiiiiight kind of way. “Do go on.”

“Quite a lot really is factual. Sort of. The thing where I shouted out What The Fuck really did happen, but it was someone else who did it, and at a different company from this one. Rex the security guard really does spend an awful lot of time on the internet, you must have noticed. And there was a time when I knew people who traded shares all day on the internet while at work. That was before the dotcom thing went arse over tit. So I combined the two things for the sake of a bit of a joke. It’s that sort of thing.”
“But why bother? A lot of people who write real blogs must think you’re taking the piss. Why bother with fiction?”
“Half fiction, or whatever the term is. A foggy mixture of the surreal and the humdrum, that was what I set out to try and do. Just for my own amusement really. I thought if anybody ever did discover my blog, they’d have fun trying to pick out one from the other, fact and fiction. It never crossed my mind that some people might get upset about it. And it was never my intention to mock other people and their blogs. Never. Did I? God, listen to the Idiot Boy squirming. I feel like John Lennon apologising for the Bigger Than Jesus thing.”

At that point Neil, my team leader, walked into the room fully kitted out in combat gear and playing a banjo. Then he walked out again.

“You painted yourself into a bit of a corner.”
“Yes, I think you‘re right. But when I come into work, sometimes I need something to cheer me up before I can face the day. Blog-lite. I like the idea of that. This was meant to be my contribution.”

Today’s lunchtime run : minus fifteen minutes. (Got abducted by aliens on the footpath up Sodding Hill and was transported back to Earth before I’d actually set off.)

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Saturday Boy 

Yesterday I thought it would be nice to spend a bit of quality time in my Attic Studio Complex. It’s what I like to do to when I‘m not at B&Q. Hey, that’s catchy. I booted up my PC, switched on the banks of whizzy equipment which I don‘t fully understand, and strummed a few chords while I waited. So did I get any music done? Did I heck.
Instead, I spent the best part of a perfectly good morning searching for and downloading mashups.
If, like me, you are besotted with music in a manner bordering on the unhealthy, may I humbly suggest that you put your baseball cap on backwards, say a few cuss words, and hitch a ride downtown to the strangely exciting underground happening that is mashup. I’m completely new to this, so have no idea how long these links might be good for. Barking mad genius to my mind.

Abba - Dancing Queen vs. Electric Six - Gay Bar
Paintin' Paintin' - Rolling Stones - Paint It Black vs. Destiny's Child - Jumpin‘ Jumpin‘ (apparently)
Gay Paranoia - Black Sabbath - Paranoid vs. Electric Six - Gay Bar (again. Seems very popular.)
Beastie Bop - Ramones - Blitzkrieg Pop vs. Beastie Boys - Alive

If you’re in more reflective mood, then consider watching this haunting and mesmerising video (well I think so anyway, some might say morose) by Sigur Ros, one of the bands the Teenage Goths In Love were discussing on April 5th.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Through A Long & Sleepless Night 

I had a bad night. I couldn’t get to sleep for thinking about stuff. Then to make matters worse, Dave my music publisher rang at three o‘clock.
“Babe, I can’t talk for long, I’m at a really wild party.”
There was the usual sound of laughter and clinking glasses in the background.
“For fuck’s sake Dave, do you know what time it is?”
“Mm nyyul agdad nngr and she was pissed as a fart.”
“Dave, I can’t hear you for all the cocktail party merriment.”
“Sorry Tim mate. I’ll just turn it down a bit.”
There was a moment’s pause, followed by the sound of a hi-fi being kicked.
“I can’t switch the fucking thing… hang on, that’s got it. Can you hear me now?”
“Loud and clear.”

Silence, for at least a minute. I examined the holes in my dressing gown.
“So. Have you managed to get any of my masterpieces published lately?”
“It’s always a quiet month, August. Everyone‘s on holiday.”
I took a deep breath.

“I’m starting to lose my patience here buddy. Do you even know your own name, Dave?”
“Course I do, Babe. It’s… No, hang on, my name is… Not fucking Michael Caine, that’s for sure. Ack, ack ack!”
“You’re a shit publisher, Dave.”
“And you’re a shit songwriter, but you don’t hear me Russell Crowing about it.”
“Yeah, well at least I‘m real, Dave.”
“Oh here we go again. You always have to come back to this, don‘t you?”
“Dave, you’re just a literary device. You didn’t even exist six weeks ago.”
“A literary what? You’ve taken on a few airs and graces lately, haven’t you Tim?”
“You were supposed to be some… Oh I don’t know, some shitty way for me to… Bloody hell, you know, some fucking great whatever.”
“Am I supposed to be the mechanism by means of which you finally receive the validation that you so desperately crave? Is that what I am to you, Tim?”
As I looked through the window I could see my own reflection twice. Once in my own window, and then a much smaller reflection, more difficult to make out, in the window of the house across the road. The ghostly blue light of a television flickered behind the curtains.
“Oh crap. You don‘t have to be so brutal about it. Or wordy.”
“Not my problem. You created me, ass-hole.”
I didn’t have an answer for that.

More silence. It seemed to last forever. When I looked at my watch it was still three o’clock.

“And anyway, what is your problem? Your job’s OK. Your girlfriend‘s great. Blog’s doing alright. Too fucking weird for my tastes, but it’s passable. Ack, ack, ack! When you’re not messing with words, you’re messing with music. Life has been worse. Enough with the bleating.”
“You’re a tosser, Dave.”
“And you’re a knob. Now look Tim, you’re really knackered and clearly a bit emotional. I’m completely out of my tree. Must have been those cocktails. Crazy party. Go back to bed and I’ll call you later on, yeah?”
“Yeah. I’ll speak to you later, Dave. Just don‘t leave it so long next time, alright?”
“I’ll try not to. Goodnight Tim.”
“Yeah. Goodnight. We had some good times though, didn’t we, Dave? Me and you, you big imaginary tosser.”
“Imaginary my arse. I’m not going to take this lying down.”
“Yeah. Goodnight Dave. And thanks.”

Thursday, April 15, 2004

The Dangling Conversation 

We discuss it over lunch. Not in the office restaurant, good grief, no. We’re dining in the sophisticated elegance of the furthest away supermarket café I can think of. Much more discreet.
Diana is wearing a black sweater. Lambs wool, probably. Full length skirt, olive green, canvassy sort of material, generous cut. Black suede shoes.
No - Girlfriend doesn’t read the blog. At least I don’t think so. I’m sure she would have mentioned it if she did.
How would she re-act if she found out? I don’t know.
Do I really have a music publisher called Dave? Yes, his name really is Dave.

I ask about her voluntary work. To be honest, I can’t remember a lot of the things she tells me - the names of places she’s been, projects she’s worked on, the people she’s helped. They swim around my head. No shit, it’s an impressive roll call of worthwhile doings.

By the time the conversation lulls, it’s quarter past two. We’ve talked for ninety minutes and lunch hour finished fifteen minutes ago.

“I described you as a Love Goddess,” I say, sheepishly.
“And a Category A Babe. Whatever the hell that means.”
“Yes. I’m feeling a bit foolish about that now. I can go back and change it if you like. I had no right to, you know…”
“Embroil me? Nah, don’t worry about it,” she says. And then she laughs. “It’s funny, ‘cos I’ve always imagined my life as a performance being played out for the entertainment of others.”

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Step Into My Office Baby 

I’m first in the office, looking through some old support calls when Diana Head Of Marketing strides purposefully into the room, sits on my desk, looks me straight in the eye and says “It’s you.”
She’s wearing a silk crimson blouse, the top two buttons of which are undone. And a three quarter length skirt, black. She sits faced towards me.
“What? Mr. Love Pants? Hello, but didn’t we have this conversation last week?”
“Yes, I know that, Dummy. But it’s you, isn’t it?”

Suddenly I realise how Stan in South Park must feel whenever he talks to Wendy. My stomach knots up and I think I’m going to be sick. She called me Dummy.
Neil, my team leader, walks into the room. He’s carrying a bunch of bright orange helium filled balloons.
“Have a balloon Tim. Would you like a balloon as well Diana? Oh go on, there’s plenty of them.”
Diana stands up quickly, straightens her skirt, accepts her balloon and says “So anyway Tim. Thanks for the input. If you’ve got any other questions, you know where to find me,” and then she’s gone.
“She seems very keen,” Neil says and winks at me. I’m surprised I haven’t passed out.
Two minutes later my phone rings. “I’m up in my office. Have you got a moment? Quick, before anyone comes.” Holy cow.

It’s right there on her screen. She’s got A Fucking Stupid Free Man In Preston displayed on her PC.
Hendrix Cat gave you a nice write up. I always read her stuff.”
“Yeah, I saw what she said. It was really kind.”
My mouth is dry. Fuck. I’m caught off guard. I never, ever anticipated that anyone at work would find out about the blog. I’m rattled.
“I recognised you straight away,” she says, swivelling in her swivel seat, looking a little too pleased.
“Like, big duh, Buffy,” I reply, mouth before brain. I'm ashamed to say it was virtually a snarl. “That must have been super really difficult for you.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The Outdoor Type 

Email from CEO to whole office:
13/04/2004 07:28

Good morning,
I trust you all had an enjoyable Easter break and I find you refreshed and invigorated.

This year’s Team Building Seminars will be taking place over the following dates:
April 29th & 30th Team Red
May 6th & 7th Team Blue
May 13th & 14th Team Green
May 20th & 21st Team Taupe.

Check the attached document to find out which team you belong to.
You may change teams with colleagues if you wish, but all changes must first be approved by Charlotte who has now been trained.
I trust that this will give staff with child care responsibilities sufficient time to make suitable arrangements. Attendance is compulsory.

The Seminars will take place as usual at Peatstack Hill Conference Centre.
You will need to provide your own sleeping bags.
Staff preferring to bring their own tents may do so.

Bill Surname,
Chief Executive Officer

These are quite good fun actually. I’m in Team Blue.
Today’s run : 49 minutes 21 seconds. Lost a good 5 minutes stuck in milking time traffic.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

You’d Better Pray To The Lord When You See Those Flying Saucers, It May Be The Coming Of The Judgement Day 

It’s a year since we bought our house, so yesterday Girlfriend and I held a small party to celebrate. I removed my barbecue tongs from their velvet lined box, adopted the barbecue stance (“legs apart, knees slightly bent, beer in one hand and tongs, slightly raised and at the ready, in the other,” according to my textbook) and then watched helplessly as everybody shot straight back into the house as soon as I‘d fed them.

Midway through the proceedings, I took a phone call from Dave, my music publisher.
“Hey Tim, I can’t talk for long. I’m at a really wild party.”
I hadn’t invited Dave to our own party because he always disgraces himself, tries to cop off with everyone and anyone, and then vomits in the flowerbeds. It’s embarrassing.
“Where have you been Dave? I’ve been trying to get hold of you for weeks. About the song you wanted, remember?”
“What song?”
“The Pulp-a-like one. You’d met somebody…”
“Babe, I’m always meeting somebody. Are you sure you’re not imagining it?”
“So you don’t want it then?”
“Want what?”
“The Pulp-a-like song.”
“Good, because I didn’t write it. So why did you ring me?”
“Why did I ring you? You rang me didn’t you? What do you want? I can get you anything Tim, anything you like, mate.”
“Look Dave, I’ve got to go.” I hesitated to tell him that I was at a really wild party. “I’ll speak to you later, alright Dave?”

Later on, when everyone had left, Girlfriend and I lay wrapped in blankets on the lawn and gazed at the stars.
“Look, there’s a UFO!”
“No Tim, that’s the Northern Star.”
“Well what about that one then?”
“That’s still the Northern Star. Who was that on the phone earlier?”
“Oh, nobody.”

Friday, April 09, 2004

Lost In The Supermarket 

Other fruit of your choosing
P/p tomatoes (x4)
B/beans (x4)
I love you
Tuna (large x3, small x3)
Pesto sauce (x2)
Pasta sauce (x4)
Chilli sauce (x2)
You’re the best thing that ever happened to me
Naan bread
Coffee (instant)
Coffee (posh)
Squirty cream for later
Lager (80? bottles)
Wine (10 x white, 10 x red)
Plastic cups (pint and small size)

Will it ever be acceptable for a grown man to stand in a supermarket aisle gently weeping?

Thursday, April 08, 2004

The Stars Of Track and Field 

One of the benefits of working for an ex-army health and fitness fanatic is that my workplace has a gym and shower facilities. So now that the weather is getting a bit warmer, I’ve dug out my training shoes, skimpy running vest and Lynford Christie style Lycra shorts, and have pledged myself to GETTING FIT. And this time, I won’t quit until I AM fit, honest.
It’s surprising how you only need to run for about seven minutes (7 minutes 56 seconds actually) away from the grime of the industrial estate, and you’re suddenly in open country. I’m flying past cosy cottages with daffodils waving gaily as I zip by. I glide past a bucolic farmhouse where a farmer sits on his doorstep polishing his 12-bore, his dogs barking menacingly on the end of rusty chains. His wife hangs rabbit skins out to dry on the washing line. The sun on my face, the wind at my back. It’s heavenly.
But April being what it is, it’s not long before the skies darken and I’m drenched in gallons of Lancashire’s finest. It completely precipitates on me.
I eventually wobble back into the office (43 minutes 15 seconds) gasping desperately, bright red, soaked to the skin, and lightly splattered with cow pat.
Diana, Love Goddess of Marketing passes me in the foyer. She smiles and says “You look like a really bad advert for jogging.”
“You should see me when I’ve just had sex.”
She stops in her tracks.
“I’m really sorry. I can’t believe I just said that. I’m really very sorry,” I gasp. She laughs and I thinks it’s OK.
“You’re that guy aren’t you? Mr. Love Pants?” She’s a good looking girl. I look at my feet, shyly. Wearing Lycra shorts now seems to have been a bad idea.
“Yeah, I suppose I am.”

I learned today that if you spray Deep Heat on your shoulders, you can set off the smoke alarms in the changing rooms.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Private Investigations 

It’s a mystery to me. I’m struggling to get to grips with Mulholland Drive. Someone says David Lynch films are like crime investigations. Shit coming down all around you. Clues everywhere. You’ve got a lot of evidence to work through. Not all of it is going to be relevant.

Cue gospel choir. A soft hum.

There’s a server that keeps locking users out. You take witness statements. Lots of tall stories. Half-information. What to make of it all? So you log on. Snoop around the filesystems. Watch every move. Your client has Big Toni breathing down her neck, she needs results and now. She stands real close to you, red lip gloss, tight dress, low cut, sweat on her brow, anxious moments. There it is. Kernel parameters. The maximum number of processes per user is set too low. Oracle’s going to need more than that. But with AIX you can increase it dynamically. No downtime. No system outage. Thank you IT Support bloke. How can I ever repay you? Big Toni crushes your hand with gratitude.

Gospel choir swells. There’s an occasional wooo-yeah.

Friday evenings in - they’ll be different without you. I’ll stare. Cook. But the radio just loops round, repeating the old shows. Its eerie, too creepy. You did your best to cut through the crap, find meaning in the hiss and hum of the world. Now you’ve upped sticks. Gone and done one. We’ll have to find our own way home now.

Shake your tambourine like there's no tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Out Of Our Idiot 

Email from Girlfriend:
05/04/2004 9:57

How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

Reply to Girlfriend:
05/04/2004 10:12

Ha! Like I’m going to fall for that. I’ll just say something and you’ll ignore me.

Email to Girlfriend:
05/04/2004 11:51

Well, I’m right, aren’t I?

Email to Girlfriend:
05/04/2004 16:24

So come on then, what is the answer?

Monday, April 05, 2004

ágætis byrjun

On the journey into work, there are a few familiar faces I’ve become accustomed to seeing. I like to make up little stories about their owners, try to imagine what’s on their minds, wonder about the last conversation they had before setting off from home, that sort of thing.

In the old blue Volvo, there is Stressed Out Yoga Man. I usually clock him at a particular set off traffic lights. He always looks flustered and when the lights take a long time to change you can see the veins in his neck pulsing. Everything about him yells “Shit! Shit! Shit! I’ve forgotten to pack my stuff for tonight’s yoga class. Now I’ll have to leave work early to fetch it, and I’m late as it is, and I really can’t be leaving early today, what with… Bloody shitting shit!”
His wife is carrying on with the decorator, but he'll be oblivious for months yet. Why does everywhere still smell of paint? They must have finished weeks ago?

There is Beautiful Sad Faced Girl in the silver hatchback. Her blonde hair is immaculately tied up in a French bun. Her make up is understated. She always wears a cream blouse. She is elegant, in an old fashioned kind of way. She likes European art house films.
The last words she heard were from her mother - “It wouldn’t do you any harm if you smiled just once in a while.”
There’s no way I could afford my own place, not on this crappy salary. Ella says we should club together, but I don’t know. I‘m not sure she still loves me the way she used to. It’s killing me.

This morning I saw the Goth Teenagers In Love, walking slowly to school. They talk animatedly, about last week’s Angel, or about this email some creepy guy sent her, or about how music means so much to them it’s untrue. They listen to bands no one else has even heard of. They are doe eyed and baby faced and completely devoted to each other. Their parents know they have slept together and are, you know, cool about it and everything, just be careful, we love you very much, take precautions, you’re still young.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Please Don't Go Crazy If I Tell You The Truth 

Email to Girlfriend:
02/04/2004 12:51

An appraisal is not the place to tell your boss that you find him or her “dysfunctional but oddly likeable”.

Reply from Girlfriend:
02/04/2004 13:02

We’ll talk about this when we get home.

Thursday, April 01, 2004


In the third rate made-for-TV-movie that is My Life, the part of my lawyer is played by George Clooney, chosen for his charm, poise and bums on seats appeal with the female and gay demographic. Bill Surname, the stiff upper lipped, stuffy authority figure is ably played by Timothy West, all upper class outrage and bluster. I am played by Norman Wisdom, the hapless, accident prone gump. In spite of excellent casting, my life is badly let down by an atrocious script, and one is left wondering how or why all three stars agreed to become involved in such rubbish.

Clooney: Oh come on, it’s not like anyone died, is it? The building has not crumbled to its foundations. Pick up any newspaper of your choice and nowhere will you read “Lancashire Computer Firm On The Brink Following Obscenity Blunder!”
West: No, you come on. The man is clearly an idiot. We should have sacked him years ago when we had the chance.
Wisdom: But…
Clooney: Quiet there please Tim, I’ll deal with this.
West: Everybody was under very clear orders to be on their best behaviour, and yet this complete fool chose to carry on like he was a monkey in a zoo.
Wisdom: But…
West: He knew very well that we had important clients visiting, and deliberately chose his moment to embarrass my guests with his contemptible outburst.
Clooney: Contemptible outburst? You were right. This is a terrible script. I’m leaving right now. Are you with me Westie?
West: Absolutely old chap. I’ll order a taxi. You coming as well, Norman?
Wisdom: I’ll just get my cap. Now where did I put it?
Clooney and West together: Its on your head Norman!!!
Wisdom: So it is! How silly of me!
Me: Excellent. That leaves all the bourbon creams for me! Care for another cup of tea Tim? Thanks very much Tim, don’t mind if I do.

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