Friday, November 26, 2010

Brucey Bonus Tracks

I'm sitting here listening to Bruce Springsteen's The Promise, songs from the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions, thinking Bruce chose the right songs to release back then when he blew my teenage mind, man. There's an urgency, a passion, a spirit in that album that spoke to naive boys and made us think anything was possible, that even owning a car might be romantic. Of course cars and young relationships could never live up to Bruce's billing but I still get a rush of adrenaline whenever I hear that album. The Promise is OK but not essential, a bit like the reality of the motor car.


I'm sure you were all riveted by the Golden Twit Awards yesterday. So pleased for Stephen Fry and the Greater Manchester Police. Fry's childish strops and the Force's kettling puns have been essential reading. And they had the gall to have "Public" awards for certain categories, as if the general public actually give a shit about nonentities' egos. Twitter's a great source of news and good for pissing around on with like minds but awards and books and sitcoms based on of-the-moment Twitter accounts? Get a life!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Drinker's Tale

I walk into the pub. A big place with a stage where they put on entertainment. I go to the bar and the barman greets me.

"What can I get you, sir?"

There is an array of fine real ales. I can't choose, there is too much choice.

A bearded man appears to my left and says to the barman, "He's a newbie. He'll have what newbies have."

The barman pours me two halves of two different ales. Medium strength.

"You owe me 50p," says the bearded man.

Of course I don't.

I find a stool at the bar and sit alone with my two halves. Except there aren't two, there are three. Where did the other one come from and which are mine?

I spend the next hour drinking the beer. I compare and contrast, taking gulps from each of the three glasses in turn. Three glasses because I don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

I am feeling pleasantly relaxed. This is the pub I've been looking for all my life. Nobody is bothering me, nobody is annoying me.

"One two, one two."

Somebody's on stage. It's the man with the beard. He has an acoustic guitar. He starts to sing.

50p. That's all I ask,
To point you to the tastiest cask.
To cap it all you drink my half.
Do you see this fucker laugh?
When you leave you'll meet outside
Some friends of mine, you cannot hide.
They'll beat you to a bloody mess

And that's my story, more or less.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I keep preparing myself for change but change never comes. I don't want change so I should be grateful. But this is a very strange feeling, the most weird I have felt in my life.

I never used to think of the future, just took each day as it came. Good or bad, the present was where it was at, the future would take care of itself. Now my head's in the future and the past. The present is running on empty. The future's looking stressed and over-busy or it's looking relaxed and easy. The past? I had it good though I often had it pretty bad. But I never had this feeling of strangeness.

This week I thought it was shingles. The shingles never materialised. A soreness of the midriff which lasted four days. That's it, I said, it's shingles, it's the stress. But the shingles never came. I tried not to touch my eye as I knew someone whose sight was damaged by shingles. But I'm not a doctor and I really shouldn't be diagnosing myself. It wasn't shingles after all. It was just the stress. The stress that comes not from overwork but from a lack of control.

I don't want change, change is the unknown. Frying pan, fire. Fire, frying pan. Just like that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Whiskey in the Jar

It was my stepdad's 75th birthday last week. He was in hospital for some time earlier in the year and it was good to see him tucking into his Sunday roast. And his prawn cocktail. And his pudding. And half my mum's pudding.

My mum has a friend who has also been ill recently. But for her, living it up is not on the menu. Her doctor's told her in no uncertain terms that she must give up alcohol. Altogether.

Her favourite tipple is whiskey. It just so happened that her giving up drinking coincided with my stepdad's 75th birthday. What special gift would she give him to celebrate this landmark, considering he has driven her and her husband here there and everywhere for the past 15 years?

Three quarters of a bottle of whiskey.

He is a brandy drinker.