2013 — 3 January: Thursday

The morning's deceptive mildness1 persuaded me to 'fling wide' my nice new ultra-smooth-gliding patio door for a few minutes (just because I can) but I can't really tolerate living room ambients below 20C for long. Still, fresh air is nice.

I don't know whether it was my natter with Iris, but I actually dreamt about 'work'. Thoroughly unpleasant it was, too. People telling me to do stuff and daring to criticise me. That won't do at all. She reckoned it took her two years of retirement before she got used to it. I reckon it took me about seven minutes...

[Pause] The book about Mary Whitehouse is strangely fascinating, much like staring into either the abyss or — more kindly — maybe the eye of a cobra. Personally, I responded viscerally to her and cordially loathed the woman, but her undeniably skilful manipulative political 'nous' was both alarming and astonishing. Either that, or (more likely, perhaps?) too many mandarins and politicians running things in the 'Untied Kingdom' had grown up permanently warped by early exposure to nannies and/or public school experiences with Matron...

I hated the school inspections because you had to strip down to your vest and knickers and the doctor — who was always male — would pull the front of your knickers away from you and peer down them, presumably to see if you had pubes. Quite why they needed to know this escapes me.

Date: 1999 — An unidentified entry in Alison Pressley's "Growing up in Britain in the 1950s"

Recall the wickedly accurate poster, cartoon, whatever that also showed up as a "Leeds Postcard" back in 1984. This is from my original set of the complete cards, and is attributed to Jo Morris of the NCCL though it carries no "copyright" symbol. You could find these postcards in Southampton's October Books.2


Memories, heh? [Pause] A coffee break gave me the chance to track down and expunge one of those maddening ear-worms. In this case, though I'd initially thought it was something by Baz Luhrman, it turned out to be the guitar riff sampled at the end of "Frontier Psychiatrist" by The Avalanches. Glorious nonsense. It does make me wonder exactly how music, and musical phrases, are stored (and, more to the point, indexed for retrieval) in that mysterious jelly that keeps my ears apart.

I have now scaled...

... the mountain that consists of the 4,389 MP3 files the names of whose performers begin (one way or another... best don't ask) with the letter "S". So I think I've earned myself a break for lunch.

Reading "Banter about Dildoes" by Mary Beard in her review of a book by Claire Holleran about — of all things — the experience of retail shopping in ancient Rome dredged up (out of that mysterious jelly) a line from a story called C is for Closet, Crevice and Colossus by Marianna Beck, in the Autumn 1993 issue of Libido magazine... "While she wasn't exactly what I'd call a lesbian, men to her were basically carbon-based life-forms with a dildo attachment."

A perfect description. Funny what sticks in your memory sometimes, isn't it?

There's lighter-weight stuff here:

Jolly old Armine writes from India hinting that he is tired of his job before he has started it, and rather thinks of branching out on his own as an advertising specialist — or, presumably, anything else that requires no work. One of the things that buoys me up when I am toiling away on these hot afternoons is the thought that I am putting by money for Armine to touch me for later on. I wonder when he will next have the hateful task of asking me for a thousand quid to buy a collar-stud.

PG Wodehouse, quoted by Ed Park in Bookforum

Enough of this procrastination. It's time to tackle the letter "T"... [Pause] Well, after a spot of supplies shopping. I've just bought my first bit of turkey — that's me, late but trad.

With both incest and Morris Dancing...

... off my 'bucket list' — for, I hope, obvious reasons — I thought I'd give this a whirl...

Quince paste

... when I spotted it lurking on the cheese section of the Deli counter. Report to follow, though my first visual impression (congealed thick gravy) was rather unenticing when I examined it in the cold light of my kitchen.

I'm not expecting...

... much further improvement...


... any time soon, but that won't stop me celebrating with another cuppa :-)

And now it's 22:42 already. Flippin' heck! I've just treated myself to a pair of BFI Blu-rays, 'cos I deserve them... Watch this space.



1  9C isn't really warm enough for a currently sedentary soul.
2  Still unvisited since January 2007 when I bought Christa the "Fair Trade" bag you can see her carrying here during our last trip together to Durlston and its cliff path.