Thursday, June 30, 2005

On the train this morning thinking about cats and dogs and scribbling ideas for internet banners on my pad, finishing The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and thinking about how I can make something of a raw blurt of a poem I added to this site last year after my last visit to Dick and Joan's farm in Ontario with Toby and Romy. The morning train ride is excellent for thinking. It is the fact of sitting quietly for an hour with no distractions when my meagre brain is at its best.

At work had interminable conversations about the TV ad, where everybody is saying the same thing... but nobody is listening. Tiresome. Presented banners of cats and dogs, wrote stuff about computers, and went for another swim at lunchtime and returned home (blamelessly) and talked to Mum and MJ who will shortly meet, an event about which MJ is naturally apprehensive.

MJ is rushing about in a frenzy and her foot is bad and she thinks she may have tetanus, so is seeing the doctor tomorrow. Meanwhile Kate has to be taken to the doctor today. She was not having a good day as she got the idea into her head that her best pal along the street is having a birthday party without her.

Have been awarded honorary Pie status by Johanna for sending her catalogue of the Guys and Dolls exhibition here in Brighton. A great and humbling honour.

As I was on one of my periodical checks of Anton and Anna's place this evening and ended up going for a walk down by the sea feeling rather cheery, if a little tired.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Find myself reading the children's book The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis again. Noticed this time how the younger boy is seduced by the Witch with addictive turkish delight. A temptation which when placed in the context of the chief enemy of Narnia, The Calormenes (worshipers of false god Tash) in The Last Battle having Islamic characteristics, becomes more significant.

Apart from that went to work, went for a manly swim at lunchtime and headed home for a blameless evening of eating a Chinese takeaway and speaking to the exquisite MJ who was made me laugh by describing Louisiana as "an alien planet -- with alligators".

Monday, June 27, 2005

Marginally sadder and wiser this morning after combined excesses of volleyball and wine. Bumped into Max and the FB on the way into the dark place.

Lots of work to do first thing, and set about it. Mike being increasingly comedic these days. Explaining about my manly weekend and he went into long monolgue about what was really manly was drinking clotting blood from a bowl like the man in a recent UK TV programme called Tribe, and that going to a Gentleman's hairdressers didn't really count.

Went for a walk in Glamoursmith at lunch and it was making me think about the "frights" in Bath as mentioned in Persuasion.... Lots of unorthadox faces about. Lots of bad temper too in the heat.

Quietly working on a poem this morning, when I heard a anguished grief-stricken shrieking coming from one of the houses behind mine. As if somebody had heard about a death. Went outside ineffectually but somewhat alarmed. Nothing I could do I think.

Noticed that someone had torn off the flower of the big lily in my front garden in the night, for the second time this summer, which was a bit infuriating seeing as I had been in all night.

Spoke to Janet on Saturday who said that my roses needed deadheading. Which I had done that morning. Made me laugh that Janet is keeping a critical eye on my flora.

However today was the day of Matty boy's surprise party. Lurked briefly in the market before hand trying to buy another cushion cover but the man was no longer there. Spooner was however with Alison and the two bairns. The eldest straining willfully at his reins and covered in chicken pox.

Off to Ealing for the surprise party. Although I was late I was still in time to participate in the surprise! Matty being fenced into the North Star with Jeff and Craig apparently unawares. Nice party, with loads of good food, plenty of grog, and jolly good company. Had hours of playing volleyball too which I really enjoyed, me springing into the air like a large gazelle. Max insisting on playing volleyball too despite being pregnant. Nice to see Eva again, the FB and Matty boy's saintly German flatmate and lots of chats with folks including Robbie and Vicky from the dark place.

Matt on very good form, and very cheered by the party. The FB said he had been sulking the evening before as everyone had forgotten. To cheer himself up he bought a piano keyboard. Matt demonstrated this (switching to its organ function, eh-hem, after a bit) and he is a very accomplished player. Matt is generally very good at things.

Call of the seagull faint but insistent. Hoofed it and made it back very late after burbling on the tube to MJ. Slept like a hot labrador on the Brighton train.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

A day of manly acts. First manly act was to build bunk beds for when Jack and Kate come. Felt like the incredible hulk lifting one on top of the other. Actually not too difficult to build and the instructions didn't include a "swear violently now section". Now have to decide what to do with all the stuff I have taken out of my spare room. There is a law of physics that states that however much space you have, there will never be enough room.

Second manly act was to go to the barbers. I have been going to Nicki for about 11 years but, goaded by MJ who thinks my attachment to Nicki is unnatural (now I have buffoon's hair and Nicki is on holiday) I went to regular barbers in Brighton.

Hair dresser (to back of my head): God you've got enough of it there. (accusingly) You've had a go at it yourself! (aside to mate) Got my work cut out here. He's only had a go at it himself...
Mate: He what?
HD: Had a go at himself... No wonder we're going out of business... etc.

Had my head sprayed with a giant diffuser designed for yucca plants but emerged with a servicable haircut.

Also did shopping and spoke to Estate agents who sold me my house about the prospect of selling it again and getting something a bit larger. Naturally they were capering with glee and fondly remembering the torments of the damned I went through with them until a mere six months ago.

Lots of longing conversations with MJ today. Only one week till we see one another!

Have been listening repeatedly to a exceptional CD I heard playing in a Rounder Records shop in the Lanes last week. Bought it on the spot and it is by Amadou and Mariam, with guest star Manu Chao and is called Dimanche a Bamako. Never heard of these people before but it is utterly fab.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Been reading a collection of Attila Jozsef's poetry in a translation done in the US by Peter Hargitai in the eighties called Perched on nothing's branch. Some interesting work, but impossible for me to know how well he has been served by his translator.

Making me think however of last year dodging the rain on St Margaret's island in Budapest with my mum. Took a photo of her beside one of several writers: the boy Attila himself. (picture below). I wrote a couple of lines about these melancholy dripping busts:

Postcard from St Margaret's Island, Budapest

Near the ruined abbey
The stone souls of Hungary.

Writers unknown to us
Faces runnelled with rain.

The truth is a day in the rain.

But infinitely more mysterious and interesting is this example from the Attila Jozsef himself...

Rain

it rains rains
dust curdles on bodies

thunder-ring
can you hear them pounding
on our hearts?

naked
to run to run
towards the forest with open arms

rain rain
you hold out your tiny finger
for the blasting ring

the wind had brought it
the wind
from laughing girls
who let their hair down long

over the dry leaves
heartlessly
through the spaces between the trees

Not sure what this is all about but the repetitionn seems to be doing the job of a heartbeat which the thunder and rain is threatening to disrupt. The last image of rain filling up all the space is an image of being overwhelmed. Poor sod killed himself after several breakdowns and a tormentingly failed love affair at the age of 32.

Back in the real world... Buffoonish hair this morning. However felt much better today and went back to work. Note from Kate requesting I send photo of comedy hair which I did. Talked to MJ at lunch which transported me away from the constant politics, and the writing about dogs and cats and computers.

Heatwave surrendered to thunder today. Various small deluges in England, much reported. Photos circulating of people swimming to retrieve their belongings from tents at the Glastonbury festival. Meanwhile the two million made homeless due to flooding in China largely unreported.

Home early and focused on talking to MJ and pottering about at home a bit.

My mum posing next to the bust of Attila Jozsef in Budapest in early spring 2004.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Pooterish day.

Germy Anton entirely to blame for 48hour bug. Which gripped me on Wednesday afternoon and forced me to take Thursday off work and slept heavily. Woken by Anton calling around feeling much better and unspeakably bouncy, taking advantage of my grogginess by ridiculing my hair, which has turned into risible comedy hair due to Nicki being on holiday for two weeks.

Felt a little better by the evening and applied scissors to hair.

A community woman police officer called round to collect the credit cards which were thrown over my fence on Saturday night. I had to put them in a bag so that she didn't put her dabs on them. I meanwhile had covered them in mine, so I will probably be arrested in five years. Noticed one of the cards had the woman's d.o.b on it, and it was the day they were stolen.

Organising poems on my computer as they are in loads of places. Discovered some letters Tim wrote to me shortly before he died, which made me very sad. He was pretty much on his deathbed but he still found time to write to me encouragingly about my work.

Massively cheered up by lovely MJ however, and retired early to my bed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Saw Shaila on Monday evening. Walked along the river to the Dove for a cold glass of wine and fortifying plates of roasted vegetables and goats cheese. She attribes her manifest health and vitality to a weekly one day fast and a strict vegetarian diet, but I suspect she has a wizened Dorian Gray style portrait in an attic. Really nice to talk to her about school days and so on, and how, thirty years ago, our teenage friendship was a bridge that helped each other understand one other's cultures.

Swimming again on Monday and Tuesday. Lost my locker key in the deep end, lots of sumoesque padding about trying to organise the retrieval of clothes etc.

Tuesday went out with Anton in Brighton. Good news is that it looks like he will be able to secure work. He was ill though, and we had a restrained Chinese meal and a fairly early night. Today feeling very underpowered and drained myself, which I blame entirely on Anton, and left work early to return home.

Working on poems on the train lately and reading interesting books. Read an essay by Theodore W Adorno called The stars down to earth, about an astrology column in a Los Angeles newspaper in the 1950s and how irrationality is connected to perversions of power such as fascism. Quite interesting and absolutely barking mad by turns. Like this: "Indulgence in astrology may provide those who fall for it with a substitute for sexual pleasure of a passive nature."

However the major flaw in it, was the usual one: that the column he was critiquing was clearly not based on astrological method at all. I would be happy to read something dismissing astrology if the writer had made even the remotest attempt to understand it in the first place. It's just lazy and tautological thinking. You state your prejudice that astrology is nonsense, and then attack it for being nonsense. What has been proved?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Another heatwave. Went early to look at the market behind the station and bumped into Anna and Anton at one of the food stalls. Sat down and had a thick piece of cheese on toast with them. Baby Klauds sporting shades (below) and looking cool.

Impulse bought two Indian cushion covers and wondered, momentarily, what is becoming of me. They suit my room excellently however.

Plunged into the sea for a swim late this afternoon which, once the sound of your own screaming abates, is fine. Brighton heaving with people smelling of sunblock and sweat. Today's moment of magic... Walking along by the sea and being passed by a man on a penny farthing bicycle.

Had long chats with MJ. She really is the Platonic ideal of a woman. Talking to her on Brighton Pier looking at the sunset thanks to the miracle of mobile phone technology. Almost like we were there together. After popped into a bar on the way home and listened to a guy with a guitar sing standards, which I quite enjoyed.

Also spoke to Mum this afternoon before she and Mase set off to a party. Also had a long chat with Toby yesterday, to wish him a belated happy birthday, and to hear about how he is conquering the teaching mountain. Also spoke briefly to a cheery-sounding Romy. Hoping to get over to T'rono soon to see them and the new abode. Relieved this time because I was definitely talking to Toby and not some sinister replacement talking about bricks.

Klaudia sporting her shades, a small herald of the sun.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Rather lively afternoon yesterday, culminating in sitting outside the Dove by the river with the French Bloke, Matty Boy, Paul, Craig, Bei Li, and Taranjit. Then sleeping all the way home on the train, returning home with Chinese food and chattering to MJ.

Today was a fabulous day with a deep blue sky. And the Twitten looked gleaming and full of flowers. Sent some poems to a publisher, drank coffee and played guitar in my tiny garden before setting out into the world.

Shaila called me this morning and we've arranged to meet up next week.

Very cheerful as I wandered around the thronging lanes. Just such a buzz about the place, with people crowding the streets outside cafes and pubs. Brighton is a fantastic place on a day like today.

Went to the Pavilion and bought a copy of the doll's exhibition catalogue for Johanna Pie. Walking through the little park came across a guy called Paul Harrison playing a harp-like instrument of his own invention called the xpiano, which he has built from salvaged pianos, and which he plays percussively with a pair of hammers in each hand. The sound stopped me in my tracks, he was just playing a repetitive slightly jazzy riff and improvising around it. Just amazing. (Photo below). Then heading down towards the pier through the lanes a full Jazz band. In fact there was music everywhere today. Down by the sea there was a band playing Baggy Trousers by Madness, an African guy playing one of those thumb piano things, a guy with a saxophone. And music from the bars and whirling from the merry-go-round.

Absolutely thronging with people in the heat, basking on the pebbles or sitting in the sun outside the bars. Went down and had a paddle to cool my feet off walking past people with bubble blowing machines... Suddenly feeling that the world was quite magical today, and confident too that when Jack and Kate come in July they will find enough to divert them.

Phoned MJ down by the waves and talked about poetry and the fabulousness of things in general and MJ in particular.

Listening now to Another Day On Earth by Brian Eno... His new record on which he sings for the first time in years.

All is well.

The XPIANO and its player in the Pavilion.

My front garden.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Up with the seagulls at six thirty and dabbed a bit of paint and pottered about generally doing things. Despite early start I still managed to miss my stupid train. Finished reading The Magician's Nephew. Feel like a bit of an idiot reading children's books on the train, people looking at you thinking poor thing.

Client told the suits that she could feel the hairs go up on the back of her neck when we were presenting the TV concepts yesterday. Which makes Mike and Me big and clever for a bit.

Went to the boozer at lunchtime with Pat and the French Bloke, being mildly rebuked by the barmaid for not having been in there for ages. Pat, the FB and me talked of many and diverse matters so deeply that we were compelled to remain there all afternoon.

Home and talked to MJ for ages too, between scarfing a Chinese takeaway and dozing happily on my gold-coloured sofa.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Much improved day today. Managed to travel on train, without wanting to stab people, reading The Magician's Nephew by CS Lewis. Particularly attentive to the chapter The Wood between the Worlds which describes a wood full of puddles where the children magically appear. The description of the wood, which is green and limbo-like with puddles that are portals into other worlds was something that has remained with me ever since I read it as a child. Like the detail of the children finding a guinea pig that the boy's evil uncle had previously sent there.

Presented the concepts for the TV ad to our charity client today and these went down very well. I need a boost and, with any luck, this could be it. Fun talking about shoots etc, rather than writing copy about bad backs. They are seeming to favour one where I nicked the idea from Wings of Desire... Being able to hear the thoughts of parents while they are sitting with their sick children. Fingers crossed.

Spoke to MJ before I set off for the meeting. This long distance relationship thing cannot go on. Looking forward to her being here in July more than I can decently say on a blog.

Home early straight from the presentation and, in a rather manly way and employing the toolbox I bought with Anton at the weekend, finally put up bathroom cabinet, towel rail and painted a few more bits white.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Called by Anton this morning from the London train but I failed to find him. Squinted at Hopkins poems on the train having no glasses with me. Then bumped into Spoons briefly at Victoria and had a conversation about diamonds.

Wrote all day and left feeling angry and cross, despite doing some good work. Horrid commute home, getting into a minor altercation with a jostling man boarding the train.

Blessedly at home. But while speaking to lovely MJ I managed to say something ratty sounding just to round the day off nicely.

However, on a more edifying note... The Pies are quoted as the authorities they are in this article in the independent the other day, which MJ sent me this morning.

Tomorrow Mike and I present our TV concepts to the client. Noticed today that I have comedy hair again. Perhaps I should use it as a prop.

Woke up early this morning, with the sun bright in my window with Gerard Manley Hopkins opening to the Windhover running through my head.

I caught this morning morning's minion,king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding...


Sprung, (rhythmically) from bed and am setting about the business of Monday feeling cheerful. And loving the idea of being morning's minion myself.

Busy and productive weekend. Saturday working on Anton and Anna's house in Southsea to get it ready for it being rented. Christian also came too and we had a laugh together as we painted the upstairs, while Anton, the little corporal, got busy downstairs. Ate pies for lunch in what was a beautiful day, and then after the ghastly business was all over back to Anton's for a takeaway curry and beer.

On the way back spoke to MJ and Anton reported conversation to Anna later as a sickening "I love you baby" fest.

Klauds being adorable this weekend. She was sitting on my lap for an hour and I was pressing the end of her nose and making a tweeting noise. Next day when I saw her and pressed her nose she did the baby signing for bird. She may be in a TV programme about baby signing soon, as Anna's taking her off to be filmed next week.

Yesterday Anton drove me and loads of throwable stuff off to the city dump. Amazing hellish main dump where you throw general rubbish into a stench-filled huge concrete cavern with two big mechanical diggers growling about in the gloom and dust. Like a vision of hell.

Also bought paint and finished -- finally -- painting my bathroom, cleared out stuff from my garden and made a new windowbox which has previously been full of dead sticks. Reorganised house, put things into the loft, moved bookcases around the place, bought beds, and generally began to get my act together.

Felt tired at the end of the day but slept like a large baby on Sunday night.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Happily at home after a what ended up being a good week at work. Working hard on the TV concepts, and this seems to have paid off with two or three strong ideas. Spent lots of time today watching footage the agency had previously shot in the hospital of desperately ill children. It's a cliche... But the work the hospital does is amazing, and so are its staff.

Sloped off to the Riverside Studios with Tracey for a liquid lunch of mineral water and coffee. Lurked in a dark corner talking about relationships, psychology and so on for an hour.

Phoned the delectable MJ this evening and both of us excitable about her coming over to Blighty with Jack and Kate in the first week of July. I can't wait.

First ever Brighton CSR tonight.

CSRs have been going on for about seven years and they are Copy Shop Reunions, where Kate, Reuben and me get together for beers. The excuse is that we all worked in something we called the Copy Shop in IBM. For both Reuben and Kate it was their first writing jobs, and I hired them. Previously Reuben had worked with trucks and Kate (often barefoot) sold lucky lavender near Waterloo station. What they both seem to overlook -- and logic dictates this of course -- is that any subsequent success they have had in any field of endeavor is directly attributable to me, and is somehow my idea.

Kate and I met the Reubster in The Great Eastern, a pub inches away from the all you can eat Chinese restaurant where Kate and I had chop sticked steadily in preparation. Having given blood Kate applied herself to replacing it with Guinness.

As usual, generous amount of laughs to be had, and later as Kate had to head back to the smoke, we drifted up the road to the Camdenish noisy bar, which is a full of studenty types and white gentlemen with dreadlocks. After another beer I found myself able to tell the joke that Mike and I were crafting today:

MV1: I was walking along Oxford Street and you'll never guess who I bumped into?
MV2: No... Who?
MV1: Only Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.
MV2: Nighthawks... By Edward Hopper?
MV1: Yes. And you know what Nighthawks by Edward Hopper said to me?
MV2: What?
MV1: It said f*ck you Peter Kenny!
MV2: Curt. Very curt. Didn't you mind?
MV1: No I enjoy being challenged by art...

After First Matie returned to the smoke we were joined by three artistic outlaw acquaintances of Reuben's, who were connected with the OutsideIn show. This all interesting... Then up the hill to my twitten and later, after talking to the divine Tenerelli, I took gratefully and blamelessly to my bed.

Two thirds of the CSR...in low light conditions, a mercy if you ask me.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Not long home after visiting the Summer Art Fair in Chelsea with Mum and Mase. I found the show itself rather disappointing. Loads of accomplished work but I kept wandering about thinking so what? Made me think of Weezer. Her work has such an original use of colour and unusual subject matter that it would have had some genuine standout here.

However as we walked in we bumped into an old family friend Mark Lewis, who I'd not seen for years. Had a quick drink with him to catch up. He is now working as a principal lecturer in goldsmithing and jewellery, and is approaching his 50th birthday. When he was at the bar Mum reminiscing about pulling him out of her hedge.

And then wandered about the show for an hour and a half. Mason happily engaged in cornering people who were displaying the art. Mum and I drifting about looking for inspiration and finding little.

Then we went to some cheap and cheerful restaurant called the Chelsea Kitchen for some late bites before I left them at Sloane Square and set off for Brighton again.

Was emailed today by Tim Gallagher's brother, who had read my appreciation of Tim and from that had learned that he was dead. Emailed him right back but the address he sent the email from no longer works. Feel bad about this.

Have almost finished Persuasion now, having picked it up again. In the final analysis I like it a lot less than Pride and Prejudice. Despite it being less mannered somehow I found I cared less about the protagonists.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Saw my pal Al yesterday who has been off on maternity leave, and brought in baby Mya for general squeezing.

After work had a brainstorm in the Blue Anchor with Matty boy, Kate and the French Bloke. Discussing a clever business idea that Matt has had, before heading up to the Dove. There I ate some species of pie amid much cheery banter before we dispersed fairly early, me returning in time to speak to MJ.

Tired today, and having ideas at work like pulling hen's teeth.

Al, and vertical-haired baby Mya, with Sarah in the background.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Main focus of today on being as idle as possible. Got up early, wrote a little first thing, on a poem and my Thor piece. Then lurking about doing some shopping in Brighton, and doing some work about the house and then snoozing.

After talking to MJ today, I looked at some old photos, including this one below, of my Grandfather's first wife Ella, who he married in India. My Grandfather Alex was born in India of a French and British background. His wife was older than him, and was of an important -- and evidently westernised -- Indian family. They met in a TB sanatorium, in the early 1930s and she died of the disease.

Ella my Grandfather's first wife who died of TB.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Working on Thor stuff quite early, and was making myself laugh reading it aloud in my room. It keeps me out of the crack dens I supposed.

Then, after protracted conversations with lovely MJ and my Mum, out and about in Brighton today.

Went to an exhibition in the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery today called Guys n’dolls subtitled, Art, Science, Fashion & Relationships. Which Mrs Pie was interested in.

I ducked into the exhibition after learning the catalogue would arrive at the gallery the day after the exhibition closes. Found it surprisingly interesting, however. It touched on the sexuality of dolls, including one life size furry lady built to the exact measurements supplied by a jilted lover. Also their medical uses as anatomical examples, learned that the model for the face of the Rescusci-Anne simulator used by medics to practice on, was of a female suicide drowned in the Seine in 1900.

Discovered that Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, also apparently pioneered the use of anatomically correct dolls in therapy with sexually abused children. This interesting because they are the client Mike and I are doing TV concepts for at the moment.

Enjoyed the work of an outsider artist called Michel Nedjar -- dolls made from rags and found objects, very powerful and looking like fetish objects.

After this bracing bout of culture, I floated about looking at the jewels in the windows of jewellers, looked at bunk beds, went to Infinity foods to root about with organic stuff, while taking a call from an excitable MJ, and took a walk down to the seaside which was windy and the sea full white horses.

As a special treat also bought myself a small Global knife, which later I used to slice deeply into my thumb. Had to improvise quite a bit to keep the gouts of blood out of the curry I was cooking.

Good day for working today. Made big strides forward with Thor on the train this morning and, I am pleased to say, had a really enjoyable day at work.

Having had a demoralising six months, my partner Mike and me are getting on much better, and spent most of the day working on concepts for a TV fundraising ad, which made a very welcome change from the stuff we have been doing lately.

Punctuated this by sneaking off for Friday lunch with the French Bloke in the Blue Anchor. Met my ex-wife at Victoria for a pleasant chat this evening before sliding back to Brighton and the glories of the weekend.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Back to work today. The nausea and unspeakable guts departing as quickly as they appeared. Working a lot on the train on my Thor monologue which is suddenly taking shape. Cutting is key -- Ezra Pound's call to murder your babies.

After paying a small fortune for No Sun In Venice yesterday, Anton helpfully sent me links to eBay pages where the same album could be had for £1.

In the evening Anton came by with special hi fi equipment, and let out a soul-wrenching gasp of horror. The record deck he lent me was at an angle and his spirit level revealed a terrible lapse on my part, and this led to much assiduous (and faintly accusatory) adjusting of legs. Then (see photo) he got out a small and sophisticated scales (probably invented to weigh drugs with)to correct the weight the arm was exerting on the two or three records I own.

We had an enjoyable cheeky beer shortly before closing time in the Eddy where the two barmaids were dancing behind the bar just for the sheer fun of it. Friendly pub. Home again and Anton and I msging MJ.

Anton weighs offending needle

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Bad guts and nausea, so remained at home sleeping fitfully and feeling rough. The amount of minor ailments I have experienced lately is becoming comical.

The very pleasant old gent from The Record Album, an eclectic vinyl shop about a 100 yards from where I live, called me to say that he had found an immaculate copy of No Sun in Venice by the Modern Jazz quartet -- which is a very hard to find record. There is one track called One Never Knows which is particularly exquisite and I have listened to it several times today.

It was the favourite record of my stepfather and it was quite odd thinking about him from this distance in time.

Talking to MJ the best part of the day as usual.

To London with Anton on the 7:47 from Brighton. Me more cheerful today, and after moaning at Anton all the way to Clapham Junction felt almost entirely cleansed and rejuvenated. Poor Anton.

Struck by a poem in the middle of the morning, while writing something about bad backs. I was listening to some tunes on my earphones while I typed, and Amelia by Joni Mitchell came on randomly and it made me think of my first flight to New York and MJ -- and blurted something out in ten minutes. Rather pleased with it as a start but I have reversed my policy of slapping everything on this blog on the day of its writing because of variable quality. Time is the best editor.

Went for a swim at lunchtime which was relaxing and nice. After work I met Paul and talked of many and diverse matters. Went to the Blue Anchor with him, where they filmed a bit of the Sliding Doors film. Took photo below. Paul should be in the movies I think.

MJ phoned while we were there and Paul had a chat with her, which was fun. I enjoy seeing how the interactions go, and everyone is certain that after talking to her that she is lovely.

After this, declined Paul’s offer to get “rat-arsed” and we went instead to a Twin Peaks style Polish restaurant called The Spitfire on the Fulham Palace Road, which having worked near it for five years I had never been in. Reminded me a little of food in Budapest. I had a starter of hearty apple pancake and smoked salmon which was enormous and.. Er.. Unusual.

Big models of a Spitfire, a Mosquito and a Lancaster hanging from the ceiling -- and many photographs of proud servicemen recalling the days of the second world war when many Polish pilots escaped to Britain to continue the fight in the Royal Air Force. The place was empty and melancholy, despite the pleasantness of the staff

Snatches of sleep on the train.

Paul looking charismatic