... but I stopped. Now I'm blogging occasionally and writing a novel. It's going pretty well, thank you very much.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

George Clarke's Amazing Spaces is my favourite 'non-scripted' TV show now that Inside Nature's Giants isn't on any more. ING's excursions into the anatomy and environments of some of the wonderful creatures that evolution has thrown up. Advances and mistakes. The most beautiful illustration of evolutionary errors comes when we open up the giraffe's neck and see the pointless 15 foot detour of the recurrent laryngeal nerve.

GCAS's ingenious appropriations of knackered buses, milk floats, canal barges, treetops, caravans and garden sheds. In S01E01 the young architect who has turned an underground Victorian public convenience into a beautiful home for herself. All the creatives who have built wonderful little money spinners, or home studios in their gardens, or tiny holiday homes on wheels, how I envy them, their skill and hard work. I want to be like them.

A beached whale. Let Mark Evans and Joy Reidenberg have their ways with it, wielding dissection blades and TV cameras, pulling out entrails and laying them out on the grass, mouth to anus, slitting open the stomach and the guts to inspect and weigh the contents. Hollow out the torso. Break open the head to view and manipulate the vocal apparatus. Turn over the redundant cetacean space to me and my friend Thompson, the adept handyman, to convert to a stunning compact seaside residence.

Enter the mouth into a surprisingly bright and airy living space. The side folds down and the flipper can be utilised as a balcony/decking area, perfect for picnicking on the beach with the need to step down into the sand. A wood burning stove keeps the place warm on cold nights, the whales blow-hole makes the perfect exit point for the flue. And of course at the back end, the shower room and toilet. The whales own watertight sphincter is repurposed to let gas and water in, via pipes leading from storage tanks concealed outside.

As yet undecided, to let out the converted whale to paying customers or to move into the space myself and lead a basic idyll of a life, digging for razor clams and jogging barefoot on the sand.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A little bit of over time in my day job and all of a sudden all I can think about in my free time is what needs doing tomorrow. At work. I hate that. Creative thinking disappears and writing goes with it and, and yeah. That's what happens, and yeah.

Marinating pork chops in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, pepper and thyme. Watching a Spencer Tunick art documentary, Naked States. Drinking whiskey and water. That's what I'm doing, and yeah.

Almost finished reading Making Sense of the Troubles, by Davids McKittrick and McVea. Mind blown by the complexity of Northern Ireland in the second half of the 20th Century. Upset by man's capacity of being fatally, murderously stubborn. Unable to formulate thoughts or opinions on the subject. And yeah.

That's it.

Yeah.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Here's a thing I started writing at the weekend and saved in draft. A lot of things seem to be getting saved in draft at the moment and remaining unpublished:

In the shower, thinking about the inconsistencies and nonsense surrounding the Jesus myth, when I joke struck me: The story of Jesus has got more holes in it than His hands and feet did. Woah-ho, hilarious. The shower, where I have all my most wonderful thoughts, philosophical witticisms, revolutionary hilarities, all sorts of intellectual ideas that risk overthrowing the status quo, influencing the youth and the old guard alike to throw down their treasured traditions and take up non-sanctified left-field oddities - if an idea becomes your home it becomes your tomb, and Christianity and religion as a whole has become a hole for so many.

It's like I am a thirteen year old having these ideas for the first time, the fact I feel I must express them in such a (semi-) public forum. Anyone with a brain has these anti-religious enlightenments at a young age and remains free from the chains of faith, some people stick with it in a state of perpetual childhood, praying to the heavenly father, the eternal dictator, and poor piteous them. Poor pitiful them. Boohoo jesus forgive them/me.

The shower is where I have all of my ideas, be they good, bad or entirely spectacularly monumentally normally uninteresting. This is one of them. The toilet is where I have all my shittest ideas. Doing the dishes is where I stare out of the window at the neighbour's cat.

Friday, November 15, 2013

I support Everton.

I don't care whether they win or lose. I despise football, the boring game, the bilious banterers boasting about their supported teams achievements, anyone who talks about it ever for any reason (even to say they hate it), and all the rich racists and rapists who play it.

But still I support Everton.

Not in any active way. I don't watch their matches, know the names of any of the players or the current manager, know how they are doing this season or the last, I don't have their shield tattooed on my arm, and I don't follow them on twitter.

But I do support Everton.

Because my cousins do, my father and uncle, and most importantly my grandfather who was born in Everton 80-odd years ago and who remembers standing on a milk crate watching the legendary Dixie Dean play. For me supporting Everton has nothing to do with football, it's a connection to family, and a living connection to the past, to history.

To a decent working class movement from a time before corporations took over, to a time when sportsmanship was more important than gamesmanship, to a time when players just got up and got on with it, even if they were losing blood, instead of rolling on the ground trantruming for a penalty at the slightest whiff of physical contact.

To a halcyon day that I never experienced and may never really have existed outside of popular conscience and received opinion.

But I suppose I still support Everton.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ah-ohnt-ahk-aht

Eee-ahr, ah-ahk-aht-ee

These oscillating strings of apparently meaningless sounds, when drawled from a slack jaw, comprise two vital calls of a certain type of Manchester denizen, uttered when shopping for clothes. Ah-ohnt-ahk-aht with a disdainfully curled top lip is a statement of displeasure with the approximate meaning of I don't like that. The opposite - affirmation that a piece of clothing or pair of shoes is desirable and worthy of purchase - is conveyed by the second set of syllables. Eee-ahr is a general call to draw attention, sort of an excuse me, but a more literal translation may be here you are. The rest of the sentence, ah-ahk-aht-ee, is the statement I like that, me. The seemingly pointless addition of me at the end is actually an important affirmation of truth, feeling and the individual. Also sprach Mancunia.

I'm aware all that accent-snobbery makes me sound like a right cunt, but that's something I'm just going to have to live with, isn't it. As annoying as I find those noise-sentences every time I hear them, they don't compare to how much I hate the sound of my own voice on a recording. My luscious deep baritone becomes a nasal whine mixing Lancashire bits with affectations taken consciously/unconsciously from whatever book I happen to be reading at the time. But that's something I'm just going too have to live with. Isn't it. I don't know. Maybe.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My telekinesis will be used to take control of people's arms on the bus and make them press the 'bus stopping' bell when it's not even their stop. It'll be absolute chaos. Drivers stopping when no one wants to get on or off, confused, embarrassed and maybe even scared passengers wondering what just happened to them, annoyed commuters having their journeys pointlessly drawn out because of a selfish mischievous minority, eventually angry bus drivers yelping 'can you stop ringing that bloody bell, whoever you are', absolute chaos I tell you.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I couldn't remember what teabags we normally get. I like Yorkshire Tea, it's obviously the best, but I'm not that fussed so we get the one my wife prefers. I got confused and scared trying to chose between Tetley or PG Tips. One of them is very nice, the other has a thin, weedy metallic taste. Which is which, that was my dilemma. Anyway, it turns out I made the wrong decision. Now we have 200 pyramidal PG Tips which is going to take longer to get through than that box of 200 Twinings Earl Grey I got half a lifetime ago during the throws of a short burst of craving for that particular aromatic blend of leaves. And what with all the white tea, two types of green, and a load of different fruity and minty infusions the cupboard is bursting at the hinges. And we still need to get real coffee, instant coffee, and that old family favourite Barleycup (powder, not the fucking granules, what the fuck is that about). The weight will bring the walls down. The lid on the plastic pot we keep the sugar in isn't very secure. The dustpan and brush is in the cupboard under the sink, behind the caddy for food waste, just so you know.