Thursday, October 19, 2006

Me, Next Door, And A Cow

If you want short, stilted conversations which stop with an awkward silence, I'm your perfect neighbour.

Our noisy neighbour left a few months ago. Whether it was under a cloud, I don't know, but I'm more than happy he didn't make good on his promise to let me try out his rusty old Mini which he was going to soup up. The Mini disappeared then he did.

So in move a nice quiet couple - the woman keeps herself to herself which is how I like it. The man, however, is more sociable and attempts to bond with me.

So here I am, performing the annual vacuum of the inside of the car, and he appears from behind me and says would I mind if he puts in a flower border between our two miniature lawns. Of course I don't mind.

We ask each other how we're getting on. I ask him whether he hears much noise from us. He says "no". He asks me if we hear much noise from them. I say "no".

He says, "Because I like my music."

I spot a chance to make more than idle chit chat. Music is an interest we have in common. Experience tells me I shouldn't ask the next question but I jump in with both feet.

"What sort of music do you like, then?"

I HATE it when people ask me that question. Because I always know we'll have nothing in common. So why am I being a prick and asking him the same question?

"I like all sorts. I like Pink Floyd."

He is a young looking sixty, or "I'm sixty but I don't look it, do I?" as he told us the first time we met him. And if he's sixty, he must like the Floyd from way back.

"Do you like the stuff with Syd Barrett?"

Shit. The name doesn't register. I don't think he's ever heard of Syd Barrett.

"I bought one of Pink Floyd's CDs the other day. What was it called? Had a cow on the front."

Shit, I don't remember either. I've got the CD myself. Which one is it?

"Animals?" I say.

"No, that's the one I wanted. This one's disappointing. It's really miserable....I like newer stuff as well. I like Stone Roses."

Well at least he's trying to connect. But I can't tell him I think Stone Roses are the most overrated band of all time. Why the fuck doesn't he just say "THE QUO" and get it over and done with?

"I like Coldplay too."

Bollocks, this is desperate. I can't tell him I think Coldplay are the biggest load of wank-masquerading-as-deep going. If he thinks the Floyd album with the cow on it is miserable then what the fuck are Coldplay?

"I've just bought an album they're on. It's called Festival."

This draws a complete blank with me. I presume it's an album of bands who play festivals. Oh Jesus, I'm lost. I should be the sixty year old. He should be the forty-four year old.

We're on my favourite subject, popular music, and once again I have nothing in common with anybody in the whole world.

Oh. Thank Christ. Here come a couple of lads giving out leaflets. 'CAR VALETING SERVICE'. Quick, change the subject.

"Typical. Here I am cleaning out the car, and what do I get?"

So this week I am listening to Atom Heart Mother, the Pink Floyd album with the cow.

It is a lovely album.


  1. He never heard of Syd Barrett!!! You should have said no to the flower bed right there and terminated the conversation.

  2. Jamesee - Cheers. Did you like the way I got the essence of Festival? The puke and the shit?

    DH - I can't make enemies with my neighbours. You never know what might end up in your garden.

  3. You could have introduced him to your vacuum cleaner. "Have you met my little friend Henry?" would have got him on the back foot.

    I went to see "More" in London many years ago just because I liked the Floyd soundtrack. It was the worst film in the history of the universe.

  4. Sorry Geoff. Bloody dog didn't go and see "More" of course.. it was me!

  5. I like the picture of the cow. I can't remember if I like the music contained therein though.

  6. Mr P - That happens to me all the time. I compose a comment then realise all too late I'm logged in as 'Betty'. More - heroin addiction on Ibiza - how times have changed.

    Billy - Did they record it inside the cow? I bet they milked the applause.

  7. "logged in as Betty".


    Does that mean you ARE Betty, Geoff?

    (You can see I do the stilted conversations as well, can't you)

  8. "logged in as 'Betty'"

    That happens here too. Ah the perils of sharing computers.

  9. Yes, Billy, but your log-in glitch is the avatar of a shrinkwrapped temptress.

    Pink Floyd disbanded in 1968, by the way. What came after was, I dunno, the Waters-Gilmour Experience.

  10. Mr P - Me and Betty have never been seen together in the same room. That doesn't mean we're one and the same, it just means we're extremely antisocial.

    Billy - Imagine the quiz night we had. A battle to the keyboard.

    Tim - I am currently listening to all the Floyd albums we own so I can tell the world the definitive moment where it all went wrong. Definitely after Atom Heart Mother though.

    wv - xcdoey - stars of us punk band x

  11. Clearly this man cares little for music but must have thought you may have been interested in it? Do you or Betty look like Tommy Saxondale, Geofff?

  12. Why does everyone think I've got a beard? And Betty's a 100 year old dragon?


  13. Speak for yourself, dear.

    It's me that has the beard, by the way.

  14. I think it was a fair assumption considering there was "brown rice" in Betty's Shopping Bag.

    Damn... bloody dog's been on the Computer again!

  15. Brown rice in Betty's shopping bag, I missed that. The picture is building.
    But yes, I think the Betty and Geoff being one person idea is well worth running with. I mean for a start they both seem to know far too much about music, and they both have similar outlooks on life. Geoff is a tad softer of course, but maybe that is why he has Betty - to give himself an outlet for his hidden harder side. Or is it perhaps Betty who has Geoff to fulfil her need to exhibit her slightly less cynical side.
    Mmmmm interesting. I shall continue to look for more clues.
    And the modelling job - were those hands Betty's or was Geoff putting together an elaborate hoax to throw us off the scent.
    And one computer - nah, not if there are two such productive writers - it just wouldn't work.

  16. We can't be the same, Tom.

    One of us is a natural writer, the other does his best to appear natural.