Sunday, September 28, 2008


I saw a ghost.

Invited to a football match, I drove over to Redders' house - from where we would walk to the stadium. Indicating right, to turn up Very Steep Hill, I noticed a couple of people crossing the road – chatting, laughing, entrusting this Peugeot driver to be in not much of a hurry. Slowing down, I noticed that the one on the right was Her.

'Calm', I said to myself.

They – She - passed. I drove on.

At the house of Redders, I left the car and we headed off. At my mention of the ghost, he speculated that perhaps She would be at the football match. This, I ignored.

At the football, Redders introduced me to a colleague of his, who remarked:

'Your accent, it’s a bit like you’re from the north east… but posher.'

Amused, our attentions turned to the football, though Redders had been right. Thinking about it – about Her, she would be at the football.

I thought about sending a friendly text message, 'Hello. Spotted you earlier near Very Steep Hill. What are you making of the match?' kind of thing. But I didn’t. After all, apart from that series of calls and messages that came my way when She went through that Tough Time not so long ago, the last time we exchanged words, I was 'a cunt' - a perspective that is not so easy to raise, challenge or even maintain, when the labeller is going through a Tough Time.

For much of the rest of the day, a hint of sadness scratched at my proper day off.

How different could things have really been.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


There are times when a particular word or phrase will jump out of a speech, a story or a poster display, and it will stick in the mind for some moments.

On Wednesday morning, for example, I listen to a discussion regarding the kind of learning that should have emerged from these times of credit crunchiness. A person who understood The Issues spoke about people having to simply live within their means. An especially lucid volley of criticism was reserved for ‘Loyalty Card’ schemes. For much of Wednesday afternoon, that term – Loyalty Card – sat just beneath my consciousness. That would have had something to do with only having heard the term for the first time about, say, five years ago.

Early evening, Wednesday, and the Boy Wonder and I are sitting in the vet’s reception with a rather forlorn Jim (cat, nothing too serious). As Alex is taking an interest in other people’s sick creatures – I can hear him chatting to some other cat-keepers, my eyes wander. And they land – abruptly - upon the kind of phrase that will cause a man to experience sleep disturbance.

‘Worming Loyalty Card’

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quashed (Overheard #6)

Writing up notes from meetings and project work, I sat in a local coffee-shop-cum-garden-furniture-store (it works - just about).

Male Brummie: (unclear) (reading) (transcribed with accent) '-they absorb sow-lar loight enerjay during the daiy, and will e-mit a sowthing grayn glaw at noight' - sounds good, that does.

Female Brummie: (with accent) Floies!

Smiling, I focused on my notes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quick (Overheard #5)

Awaiting the arrival of the artist, Anna Francis, I idled in the lounge of the North Stafford Hotel. Just within earshot, I recognised an accent - a friendly accent - that recalled home.

Female, 50: What we’re working towards is a situation in which we’re not creating clones, but we are working with the same technique to get the information as quickly as possible, then we end the call.

Female, 35: Yeah. (pause). There’s been situations in which I’ve had to deal with all kinds of profanities and I’ve, well, I’ve not known what to do.

Female, 50: We have guidelines about dealing with that. There is no way in which you should have to listen to profanities – get the information, end the call.

Though I didn't know the exact nature of their business, it didn't really seem to matter. With hardened phrases, the accent had lost its appeal.

Anna walked in, and so I stopped staring daggers at the mangler of the cherished lilt.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Last week, my young friend mentioned that he and his classmates had had dance practice. In terms of physical education, some teachers prefer to deliver dancing lessons as opposed to potentially competitive sports. At the moment of my hearing that the routine was being choreographed to Michael Jackson's Thriller, it's fair to say that the teacher's star rose.

I spent the tail-end of Friday evening watching the final moments of this year's Big Brother series. A young woman, Rachel Rice, won. From what I've seen and heard of this year's series, it was a win for niceness and moderation and the merits of self-control. As the programme closed, a montage of clips was played, the backing track to which was gorgeous. It's highly unusual that a first-hearing of a song or piece of music really grabs me, but this did. From a search based on the lyrical extract 'Throw those curtains wide', I learned that it was 'One Day Like This', by Elbow:

As you may infer from this post, I've been on YouTube. The next, final piece of music is a hugely uplifting oldish favourite, David McAlmont and Bernard Butler's 'Yes':

Tum-te-tum-te-too, a very good week to you.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Once upon a long ago, a friend suggested that we 'Go to that church on the hill, just to see what it's like', and so we did. Not being au fait with the church, I sat there, interested, but ultimately removed from what I heard. During some kind of communion thing, an old man walked amongst the audience, the congregation. 'Come on', he cajoled, 'Come on and join in - it'll make you feel good!' To me, this seemed a simple game. About to step forward to play along, my friend - formerly familiar with churchly fare - pulled me back. 'Freaks', she whispered.

A Post Box is reopened, restarted, recharged. Now a weekly thing.