Friday, June 26, 2009


I’m not a very demonstrative person.


Some months ago.

I am trying to figure out how to effectively market a client.

Said client has all the answers to chronic fatigue syndome, ME, depression, insomnia and anxiety attacks. There is a brand new method she is bringing to the market. Involving magnets or crystals or something. Whatever. It could be an enormous solution to these woes.

I’m puzzling over this. Some sort of online campaign methinks. The 'internet people' love this shit.

Grotbags glances at my screen.

Two years ago Grotbags nursed her mother through terminal stomach cancer. At home. Whilst maintaining her job and raising her two biological children and one child from her husband’s previous marriage. She changed her mother’s bandages daily and personally swabbed her intestines when it finally ate through the walls of her stomach. She died at home in Grotbags’ front room.

We argue daily. She's right about everything and so am I. Neither of us ever win but have massively entertaining blazing rows.

Grotbags: What’s this then?

I don’t have much to say on the subject. It sort of speaks for itself.

Grotbags: [Reading my client’s amazing talents] Fuck ME? She can actually cure things that DON’T EVEN EXIST?? She must be fucking amazing! What would happen if she turned her hand to REAL illnesses? Anyway, you out tonight?

I don’t hug her, although I have in the past. Drunk and that.

I shoot her a sidelong glance and a grin. That’s all.

She winks at me.

That’s all.

I’d always thought that was quite enough.

We both know.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Things I Must Never Forget #!1

The shiny apple.

I take it out of the shopping basket. It’s not something important. We don’t need it right now.

The evening has been difficult. Due to a badly-scheduled (by me) Parent’s Evening myself, Tired Mam, Favourite Son and Favourite Daughter are in a supermarket way past bedtime purchasing ingredients for a very quick very late meal.

The soles of my feet are riddled with pins-and-needles. They are wonderful children and this has just been impartially verified. My daughter has demonstrated amazing story-telling abilities and has shamed me. I resolve to start my silly blog again. My son is not the push-over I was beginning to fear he was, but is merely a little man who knows how to keep his own counsel.

My nerves are jangling. The little chairs don’t help, the physical closeness to Tired Mam is not ideal. The brief sensation of shared unconditional love is a bit intoxicating. The whole talk of ‘we’ and ‘us’ when we speak of our parenting. It feels like a charade. As if we would leave the premises and cackle to ourselves. ‘We FOOLED them! For another year! They think we’re happy with this!’

Me: We don’t need that tonight sweetheart. Let’s just put it back.

I’ve just pulled-off a first-class impression of a caring, involved father. I almost convinced myself. I am both but not actively; circumstances are against me. Tired Mam and I have spoken to teachers as if we both daily make a huge effort with their education. When only she does. But it was kind of her to pretend.

Favourite Daughter: But Daddy…

I’m not having this. She’s six now. She knows that you can’t have things purely because you feel like it that moment. Life isn’t that simple.

Tired Mam glances at the contents of the basket.

Tired Mam: It’s two-for-one on ALL the Covent Garden Soups.

A wave of irritation washes over me, familiar and care-worn like an old friend. I wordlessly double-up the soup quota.

There is some debate about bread that is resolved with minimal difficulty.

Their teachers had been talking about the next academic year with total confidence. As if they were sure. That our children would even reside in the same part of the world as they do now in a few months time.

Favourite Daughter: It’s REALLY shiny.

We’re all together but the air is crackling with unsaid things between Tired Mam and I. And I’m doing my best ‘everything is ok’ impression. I couldn't care less how shiny it is. I have other things on my mind. I want to get through this in one piece.

At the check-out I pay for the supplies and also call a taxi for Tired Mam and our offspring. It’s dark and cold now.

As they leave, I think about this:

I have taken the apple out of Favourite Daughter’s hand. It’s not a ‘right now’ thing and this is a ‘right now’ moment. Something hot, quick and nutritious is required.

As I place it back in the weird molded-cardboard that it came from I actually look at it.

I know that Snow White herself would have been taken by this fucker. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It appears to be made of lovingly-polished glass of the deepest deepest loveliest red ever. It is perfectly shaped; think of the word ‘apple’ and this thing will pop into your head. In short. It is gorgeous.

It’s too late though. It fits snuggly back in its cardboard womb and I inform Tired Mam that the two-for-one only applies to the Wild Mushroom variety that isn’t actually very nice.

I should have bought her the shiny apple.

Monday, June 08, 2009


People have to really be Something to impress me. I am not easily won over. But Grant From Work is my new personal hero.

I digress.

It’s strange how a business meeting can bend the space-time continuum.

You’re in there for three days, but when you leave the meeting room a mere thirty minutes have passed.

I have a new boss. She is all about the meetings. Every morning. Each identical.

Each so stultifyingly tedious I would gladly eat a tramps cock to get out.

I have ground my teeth until I am merely mashing gums. When we have the chance – because normally we are stuck in dreadful meetings – all any of us have the time to do is complain about the number of tiresome meetings we have to attend before we are called into another one, the subject of which is usually to do with lack of productivity due to meeting-related activity.

Tedious Boss: We know things are really hard at the minute, what with the current economical climate…

Yes. We do know that. Thanks for reinforcing it though. And it’s ‘economic’ not ‘economical’.

Tedious Boss:
But we’ve just got to get out there and do our best…

As opposed to what? Staying at home, doing nothing and getting fired? Genius.

And so it goes. For half an hour each morning.

This Friday morning, twenty of us endure another daily identical meeting with Tedious Boss. Grant From Work has been up late the previous night, or at least looks it.

The following is 100% true.

Grant From Work yawns. In the middle of the meeting.

Not a little yawn. But a Bagpuss yawn. The sort of yawn you would imagine Henry the Eighth performing after eating 10 wild boar, drinking a gallon of mead and fucking fifteen wenches. It was a big old yawn right there is my point.

Flies stop in mid-air. All is silent.

A minute passes. Grant From Work does not appear concerned. All eyes are on him.

Tedious Boss: Oh. I’m sorry Grant From Work. Am I boring you?

Another minute passes. Literally. Grant From Work gazes expressionless at Tedious Boss. Some more time passes. Nineteen people are clenching everything they have.

Grant From Work: [Deadpan] Yes.

Another minute.

Tedious Boss: Well. Ok. Do you have any suggestions as to how we generate new revenue in this economical –

Grant From Work: Actually, I’ve got a client I need to call and a deadline so –

Grant From Work leaves the meeting room. Eighteen other people make grumbling noises and follow him.

I instantly forgive him the fact that he looks like a boogly-eyed daddy-long-legs when he dances and repels every woman I do not accidently assualt.

Tedious Boss is left alone with a flip-chart.

It actually happened.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


This is a new one. Something I hadn’t noticed when last it started happening.

Thing is, I can put up with all of it except the fucking ants.

I doubt you can imagine it.

The incessant buzzing noise in the back of your skull is bearable compared with the sensation of their crawling.

The thick tongue is tolerable. As is the constant taste of metal in the mouth.

The slow-moving glaciers of your exhausted sluggish thoughts that occasionally crash into each other and shatter into splinters of nonsense.

The uneasy feeling that you are also making other people uneasy when they speak to you. Because you have to stare at them blankly for a few minutes whilst your brain grindingly processes the noises that have come from their mouths.

The short- to medium-term memory loss.

The sensation that your eyeballs are filled with sand.

The less-than-uplifting sensation when friends of several years who have not seen you like this, who don’t know about it, take one look at your eyes and say ‘Fuck, what is wrong with you?’

Bluffing your way through work, speaking to clients when you can’t remember a meeting from a day ago let alone what they said thirty seconds ago. And coming out of it ok, but only just.

Using the traffic lights. It’s a big city, you’re a big boy. But you just don’t trust your reaction- time. Not now. Best to be safe. Wait for the lights with the blind and the old.

The short temper. You say things. Things you would normally quell for the sake of an easy life. The astounding thing is that when you drop any social etiquette toward people you dislike they are so befuddled by it and by the dead look in your unblinking eyes that it actually makes life easier for a little while. But not in the long term. And you’re so detached you feel no sense of satisfaction or victory anyway. You just ARE. You exist. Because you have to. And if you stop, the momentum may just disappear forever.

And so you eat. Not because you are hungry but because you have to.

You laugh and socialize. Not because you want to. But because you don’t want people to think you hate them. Which they would, if all you did was stare, which is almost all you can do.

Four days now. Either asleep by twelve (late for me) and awake by three or wide-eyed-awake until three and awake again at five-thirty. It’s a new pattern I do not understand.

All of it would be tolerable but for the ants under the skin of my forearms. Crawling.

My lower back too.

That would be fine were it not for the fuckers under the skin of my cheeks and the back of my neck.

The worst thing is that it makes you feel like yourself again. A self that you worked hard to get rid of.

Monday, June 01, 2009


A lot of my working time is spent in meetings.

More so now that my boss has returned from her holidays.

I shan't go on about it. I'm sure the world is awash with 'hey! Aren't meetings a bit pointless!' stories and mine'll probably not be as good.

This morning's theatre of foolishness was not one of my best however. I can normally disrupt these things with earnest-looking absurdity but have not the heart due to an unpleasant sleep problem I had thought long-since conquered.

I drift through.

I hear one salient point that I vaguely think may be of relevance and absent-mindedly make a note of it on my pad without really listening.

Two hours later in a fug of sleep-deprivation I check my one-and-only note from the morning's meeting. It reads thus:

'Lesbians all have different names.'

I gaze blankly at this astonishing piece of information. I resolve to try and sleep now and then and pay more attention.
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