Thursday, 11 September 2014

Thursday evening

I'm at home after a phenomenally exhausting day. Watching a documentary about Ebola might not be the best idea. Last night I watched one about Mark Rothko - someone I've never really thought about - but I really enjoyed it, very engaging and made we want to learn more about him. I also watched something about Barbara Hepworth but I was too tired to focus.

I have spent almost the whole day trying to persuade printers to work with me on an urgent and very difficult packaging job - have someone in Mmaidstone now - I'm paying through the nose. Searching the country to find a particular kind of paper in a specific sheet size delivered by Monday is frankly - beyond frustrating. I think we are 90% of the way there. I am double booked tomorrow - actually, treble book - two of the jobs are unpaid (erhem... goodwill) and all very stressful. Today I went into work early - realised I'd forgotten both my wallet and laptop - and had to cycle back home again. Yesterday I forgot my cycle helmet - only realised half way down the hill, at great speed. I'm not complaining, at least I don't have Ebola.

I watched 'Grey gardens' again the other night - the first time I saw this I was about 19 and living in Peckham - it was a revelation. It's still astonishing and I see something new every time. One thing that really struck me, Little Edie addresses the camera early on and explains 'it's so difficult, sometimes, to draw the line between the past and the present, so difficult" - probably the truest and most profound thing I've ever heard.

For some reason, senile greyhound has started to smell exactly the way he did when he was a puppy - it's a lovely, buttery, suede smell, a bit like a horse - I have no idea what that means.

My friends mum is in an experimental clinic in Mexico getting some cutting edge cancer treatment that isn't available in Europe - she's sold her house to pay for it (it's a lot, seriously - if she lives, she'll be destitute), It's astonishing what you can achieve when you really have to - I don't know how they do it.

The couple across the road who split up recently seem to have got their marriage back on track - they are celebrating by having their huge concrete driveway replaced with block paving. There was a lot of noise from the jack hammers. Didn't seem to bother the dogs.

I haven't really been engaged with the world this week - but did catch a report about the Pestorious trial - I found it vaguely patronising and a bit racist that every news report seemed to express mild surprise that the presiding judge ( a highly respected black woman) seemed to come across as intelligent, thoughtful, measured and just. The verdicts on day one were exactly what I expected - there was never any evidence he intentionally murdered his wife, tomorrow may be different.

The dark grey paint on my front door looks really patchy - I'm livid - even though I'm certainly the only person to notice - I need trivial things to take my mind off the big things.

13 years since 9/11. Amazing how much clarity I have in my memories of that day, I can remember even the most minute details. I think that one of the strangest things about it, was that so much of that day was taken up with things being repeated and shown on a loop, over and over. Greater Horrors.


Long, difficult and very busy week - there is a man with a drill outside the studio window - and jackhammers outside my house digging up my neighbours concrete dive - it seems to be about 10 feet thick.

In the absence of anything to say - here is my take on the future of the United Kingdom. Cut this out, keep it, and confront me with it in two years. (My mum used to cut the predictions out of the New Years papers and cross reference them after 12 months)

Scotland will get a very small yes, there will be a big party and lots of posturing and hangovers, and about 6 months of legal wrangling about the validity of the outcome. Cameron will try and postpone the general election and fail - his career is over, because of the change in the political landscape - labour are guaranteed a win, but will have to spend all their time dealing with the fallout of this and struggling to make sense of the new social order. The tories will panic and bring in Boris, who will almost certainly win the next election, probably only after about 2 years, assume huge powers and his ego and self belief will make him think it’s because he’s popular and ‘right’ - leading to massive, Thatcher like fuck ups and hordes of scared tory voters waving flags and crying a lot. There will be a giant airport somewhere on the coast that will cost billions and only ever be half built, finally sinking into the sea with most of out reserves.

In Scotland - loss of key investment and a hastily cobbled together currency will see industry struggle - unemployment rise rapidly (fuelled by large numbers of people ‘going home’ through misplaced nostalgia and because so many idiots think independence legitimises racism towards the Scots). Scotland will have no place on the world stage - making it vulnerable to sharks like Russia, China, India and Donald Trump who just want to strip it's assets and turn it into a theme park full of servile serfs who need the work - mostly it will be golf courses and tea shops. Property prices will tumble outside clusters of beauty spots - rather like Ireland, not helped by the strange and absurd property laws up there. Whatever passes as a Scottish Government will be forced to accept humiliating but nicely packaged trade deals because, well... they won't have any choice. There will be lots of announcements like 'isn't it great that Putin wants to invest millions into strip mining and fracking the highlands, he's our bestest friend!"

England will lose it’s position on the world stage and just become a nonentity - unless we get involved in a small and very grubby war - a bit like the Falklands but with someone else in charge - probably America, who will pull the strings for decades to come, we will become to them what Cuba was to the USSR. Nobody will ever ask our opinion on anything ever again - we won’t matter. Boris will just become increasingly mad, resort to extreme patriotism and jingoism to keep what’s left of his popularity and there will be constant border scuffles and resentment towards the Scots - in the same way that there were towards the Irish in London and Birmingham during the 1970s.

It will kill the Queen (nobody’s thought of that, have they!!!) and Charles will almost certainly defer to to William because Brand Windsor is probably the only thing keeping the country going and it needs a better ‘face’. That poor girl will be forced to have a child every year to keep our spirits up.

Everything will be shit. Thanks Cameron. You really fucked this one up. Political careers are supposed to end in failure - you really didn’t need to put in any practice.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Saturday PM

It's been hot, muggy and close all day. I hated it - not helped by being really tired. Most exciting thing I’ve done was to put the final coat onto the front door.

I had to spend most of yesterday in Brighton - similar weather, so I left one meeting early and walked all the way from the Palace Pier to Hove along the seafront, really enjoyed it.

On the train there, which was overheated and overcrowded, a girl insisted on taking up an entire seat with her suitcase - her meat head boyfriend opposite gave everyone filthy looks so nobody wanted to ask her to move - not even the guard. She was a stupid looking woman with a facial piercing and very hairy arms, she spent the journey reading one of those trashy magazines with ‘human interest' stories like ‘raped by my grandfather and his whippet’ etc. The train home was just as crowded and overheated.

Back in Hastings - went quickly to see another client and ended up going for a drink with them. There was a couple sitting opposite who were obviously on a first date. He was good looking, she talked constantly and ate with her mouth open, bit’s of food flying across the table - he looked increasingly uncomfortable and disappointed. On the way home I had chips and curry sauce - I’ve been trying to get the smell of my hands all day.

I watched a bit of something called ‘Tumble’ on the TV earlier - it was just awful. How thin can you possibly stretch the word ‘celebrity’ before it breaks.

There is a house on the lower of my road that sold at the start of the year to a builder - he’s done a reasonable job of the inside (it’s quite a bit smaller than mine, has no dining room, a downstairs bathroom, hardly any garden and two tiny box bedrooms at the back - the bathroom is a flat roofed extension. I don’t think they have done a very good job of the exterior painting and there was a structural issue that frankly - I thought wasn’t really addressed well. It’s made the road looked better now that it’s done, and its is a good location. I assumed it was being rented out - but it’s gone on the market this week at £170k - that’s £72K than they paid for it. It’s probably overpriced, but that’s actually what these houses were worth before the crash in 2007, so we have finally gone back to where we were all that time ago. I need to hurry up and paint the front of mine - I’m letting everyone down. Really pleased with the colour of the front door - looks great, considering I bought it for 20 quid from the junk market and restored it myself. Need to buy a new letterbox tomorrow.

I'm actually working tomorrow and next week looks really busy - not complaining, every penny counts at the moment.

Friday, 5 September 2014


I need to go to a meeting in Brighton later. I overslept and feel exhausted now - no real reason. I had an odd dream that it became winter and it stayed like that permanently - and eventually the government decided to reduce the population down to manageable levels by having a 'day off' from law and order - 24 hours when you could rape, pillage and kill at your leisure without fear of prosecution. I think I hid in the loft.

Last night I went to see the live stream of Medea at my local cinema - the final nights performance from the National Theatre. It was very good, really enjoyed it - not perfect, some annoying, twitchy, modern dancing got in the way - and I think it must be very difficult to cast around a 'star' performance like that - you can't actually be too good, or too bad. These live streaming events are great - but I would love to have actually been there myself.

I bought my ticket earlier in the day - as I'd anticipated it being a sell out. The bloke who sold me mine was nice to the point of flirting, which was alarming and flattering at the same time - and not what I'm used to. He was also clearly more intelligent than the usual staff, who are probably very nice but never seem that interested in anything. When I went back later for the performance, the same bloke sold me a coffee, I was so unnerved by this - I took my change and left the coffee - later retrieving it (he'd kept it to one side for me) - thus making sure I come across as both weird and a bit stupid.

The Cinema was - as I anticipated, almost at capacity - mostly old people who can't really cope with the dark, or social manners. I sat on an empty row - one from the front, as usual - nobody wanted to sit next to me - even when the usherettes tried to guide the late comers to the empty row - including an elderly woman who used a frame and could barely walk - absolutely nobody would sit near me and insisted in finding somewhere in the back, in the dark - which usually meant a whole row standing up to accommodate them. There are some benefits to being a broad, 6'3" man with stubble, a shaved head and a face like an old potato. The fat bloke and his wife in front of me had a bag of boiled sweets in cellophane wrappers - as soon as the lights went out they were them like a pack of hyenas - repeatedly 'shusshed' by all around - they eventually made an effort and the man only unwrapped a sweet when someone on the stage was screaming.

There was no intermission and it's not a very long play so I was home by 9pm.

When I arrived back at the house - I read on-line that Joan Rivers had died. Testing the water a bit - I wrote the following on Facebook.

"I'll be honest with you - and I'm sure I'll get a trashing for this - I used to think Joan Rivers was funny - but then I started thinking that actually she was phenomenally cruel and just hid that behind a veil of self depreciating humour and easy targets - and everyone let her get away with it because she was camp, old and a 'living treasure' or something - but being bitchy and being a bitch are two different things. She's made a living by humiliating people for years, and her comments last week about the people of Palestine were unforgivable - for anyone, regardless of who they were. Karma is also a bitch."

To my surprise, most of my friends roundly agreed. I don't doubt that she was talented, clever, motivated, determined woman who had worked hard all her life and was probably loved by her friends - but I thought she was a bully, and there is nothing to applaud in that.

Front door update. I decided that enough was enough and I went out and tracked down exterior gloss paint in the exact shade I wanted. Looks much better now - first coat on - may need to sand the door frame slightly - 2nd coat due over the weekend. Looks very good.

I had my 3rd flat tyre in a week yesterday. There is almost no point in a dedicated it cycle track if it's a death trap. As I was at work I bought a couple of new inner tubes, but after examining the damage to the tyre I decided to replace that as well - another trip to the cycle shop - only to return and find that the inner tube valves were too big to fit through the aperture on the wheel rim, I gave up at this point and have a half assembled bike in the studio.

Face blindness update. I think I mentioned that I struggle with the partner of a friend and someone else I know because I honestly can't tell them apart - both having the same hair, glasses, beard, dress sense and general build. One of them has now decided to totally change their appearance, grow their hair and go for a different 'look'. That's a relief.

It's hot, muggy and overcast. Really horrible weather, no wonder I feel so flat and listless.