Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Flowing to deletion

Last day in London. Infuriating start to the day. A poem I have been slightly toying with suddenly clicked into place. The train and the journey disappeared as I typed my laptop in a rapturous flow state for one hour and ten minutes. Read it through and was delighted, convinced it was the best thing I have written in ages. I went to save it into my dropbox and by a bizarre and couldn't-do-it-again-if-you-tried kind of manoeuvre managed to delete the bastard thing irrevocably. I felt like crying.

The morning's work was fairly sparse, so I managed to reassemble something like the final version once I had calmed down. It isn't the same though.

Lunch with Slug and Karam, then a busier afternoon before being released back into the wild. Karam and Slug keen for an after work drink, however, and so I was happy to accompany them to the pub. Their respective other halves joined us there, and we had a jolly time.

Eventually, the call of the seagull grew strong in me, and after an interminable seeming train ride I was home at 11. Lorraine and Claudia had driven to London to help the sick Betty pack up her things prior to moving student digs. We arrived home at the same time and I had cheese on toast for supper, and chats with Lorraine and Claudia before a really welcome bedtime.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Claudia arrives

Continuing a little wan after a poor night's sleep. Moused around getting breakfast quietly as Betty was sleeping on the gold sofa having been gripped by tonsillitis. Into the rain and onto the train, where I caught up with some more correspondence. Toby left this morning too, but after me.

Work fine despite a patience-draining teleconference. I really have to work at the client is always right thing these days, which used to come naturally. Slipped back out into the rain to score a salad, and then a fairly quiet afternoon, before I came back home, listening again to Brighton Rock. Enjoying this as a novel, if only for its description of 1930s Brighton.

Grateful to be home, and needing an early night. The house full of women. As well as my Lorraine, there was Betty still looking pale on the sofa, and Lorraine's niece Claudia on holiday from Finland. I am fond of Claudia. Looking up from researching unfeasibly high heels on L's iPad, she asked us what there was to do in Brighton. I gave her the usual list of restaurants, pubs, clubs, concerts and so on, but Claudia was after trampolining, which made me smile.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Off the pop

Somewhat tired and wan this morning. Wrote to Richard on the train, and had a full day of writing about things that were complex but uninteresting. Got tetchy with a suit this morning in the office. Had a fairly successful teleconference, bought small amounts of food and longed for home.

Talking to a fellow freelancer this morning, who had just burned himself really badly on the steam coming out of the kettle. Turned out that he had broken his back in three places five years ago by coming off a bicycle. There are parts of his body he cannot feel, such as his wrist and feet. He showed me the blister. Nasty.

Home listening to Greene's Brighton Rock. Really beginning to enjoy it, and one of the houses Pinky the young villain visits is almost under the shadow of the viaduct.

Lorraine had cooked a coconut and fish dish for us this evening, which was delicious. But she got a call from Betty who was sick, and drove off in a mercy dash to collect her from London.

Meanwhile Toby and I walked down to the sea, and stood at the edge of the sea, waves crunching into the pebbles. The pier lights looking pretty. Good to have a walk after supper, and another long chat. Toby bought some maltesers on the way home. Good to to have a day off the pop (not drinking) too.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gassing in the pub

Up curiously early possessed by the idea that going to the gym at 8:30 was deeply sensible. En route met Reuben and Clare and the four boys at the bus stop as they were catching a coach to Gatwick. Had a long chat and joking about having been nominated by the City of Brighton to see them off. Instead of going to the gym, however, I came home and went back to bed having discovered the effort of standing up and talking more than enough.

Two hours later L and I got up for a second time, and Lorraine cooked breakfast, which Toby slid down for. I had also to dispose of the body of a large dragonfly one of the cats had brought in. Then I went back to the gym, walking there with Toby who went off to lurk in the North Laine and find a place for coffee. I started gingerly, but soon felt quite good.

Home again, and had a shower.  While getting ready to go out again, Sam sent me a touching note about L and my marriage. As I was finishing my reply, I happened to be sitting next to Lorraine on the bed, and Brian the cat entered making a strange noise and carrying a rat. Lorraine screeched into my ear really very loudly, and it was then I discovered rat wrangling is my department.

Then a walk in Preston Park, through the wildflower plantings, and took Toby to look at the walled garden.

Then it was time to eat. We made off to The Eagle, where we had a fine Sunday roast. L and I had pork belly and it was fab. As we  forked this down we were joined by Matt and John, and Irish Tom. Spent a leisurely late afternoon and early evening in the pub. Anton came to see Toby too, and hang out for a chat after a marathon stint of looking after the kids. A really enjoyable few hours. Good for Anton and Toby to see each other again. Drinks sensibly interspersed with food and soft drinks, but left me looking forward to a bout of teetotalism.

Home and Lorraine Toby and I watched the final episode of the first series of The Returned, before sloping off to bed.

Below wild flowers, and gassing in the pub, left to right Matt, Toby, Lorraine, John and me.



Saturday, July 27, 2013

Toby, Pints and Peridots

Up early to buy some fixin's for breakfast as the Tobster was here. Had a leisurely breakfast, coffees and so on, and some discussion about what to do while Toby and Lorraine toyed with their iPads.

In the afternoon Lorraine drove us off to Steyning, where she had seen some little glass vases for our wedding.

Toby, L and I wandered about this lovely little town rubbernecking in the sun like tourists at the house WB Yeats stayed at for example, or popping into the local museum, which had many treats including a dried rats carcass riddled by woodworm, a skeleton, and all kinds of artefacts dug up in fields, plus two women who were a fund of local knowledge.

Emerging from the museum the weather had changed and after some wandering about, we repaired to a little café for scones and tea as the rain fell briefly but heavily on the people outside.

Then to a jewellers where Lorraine had been recently to look at peridots, which are a semi precious stone with a lovely green colour somewhere between olive and a new leaf green. There was a bargain silver necklace covered in them so I bought it on impulse for Lorraine, who was a pleased.

Then we dropped Toby home, and L and I did a hurried Sainsbury's before a chicken and salad repast which lined our stomachs before we sauntered off to The Basketmakers. Here we met Matt and Adam Bushell, percussionist extraordinaire (who had played on Clameur) and who I’d not seen for some time as he is now living (appropriately enough) in the sticks with his pregnant partner, who is also a musician and was working on a cruise for a couple of weeks.

A cheery, if rather boozy evening, with the Tobster enjoying himself and giving us the benefit of his opinions on Google dashboard, and so on. He scored a doner kebab on the way home too, which I am pleased to say that I narrowly avoided buying one myself, but I had a corner of Toby's one, and I’m pleased I didn’t go the whole hog.




Friday, July 26, 2013

The Tobster arrives

Friday, thank goodness. Feeling exceedingly cheerful this morning, as I was reading back over my book and daring to believe it is rather good. Even better I have agreed a price on my house with the nice people who are renting it and, barring any slips twixt cup and lip, will sell.

Work fine, although enthusiasm was hard to locate as I brooded on mucus and coughs. A healthy salad based lunch, then home early as the permanent people were off to their summer party. Listening to Brighton Rock by Graham Greene on my iPhone in the cramped, crowded and hot train.

Fab to be home, and found Toby had arrived shortly before me and was talking to Lorraine. Really good to have him here, and after a lovely healthy salmon and roast vegetable supper we crept out to Circus Circus for some cold lagers, and a massive catch up. Toby is steadily talking about Japan at Christmas. He also brought some absolutely delicious Turkish delight from Turkey where he and Romy had been on holiday, which L and I gorged on like Edmund in Narnia.

A nice end to a slightly tiring week.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A model of manhood

A pleasant day at work, going to Waitrose with Slug at lunch and buying low calorie foods together, for I have been infected by the rage for dieting  avoiding the evening drinks (bar a very small glass of wine). Now have an account at myfitnesspal.com which appears to be well worth joining (if you happen to be built on generous lines) and is free too.

Heroically returned home in the evening and went straight to the gym as Lorraine was at Dawn's place. Had a really good workout, followed by a virtuous supper when I got home. A model of healthy modern manhood.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Beach life

Up to the smoke again, another hot day, worked diligently and fairly cheerily. At lunchtime off to Waterstones bookshop on Gower Street and drifted happily about the several floors, and buying a collection of essays by Susan Sontag.

Home on the sweaty hot train, and then down to the beach to meet Lorraine, Beth and Rosie. Beautiful evening and we ate fish and chips on the pebbles, looking at the sea which was as far out as I'd ever seen it. The sunset was lovely, colouring the white clouds that looked like they had been painted on the blue sky with a brush. It got quite cool afterwards, and we ambled off the beach.

Crossing the road into Hove we experienced a traumatic attack from a weird insect. First it flew into Rosie's mouth and was expelled with a screech by her, then it crouched dazed on the floor and we examined it. I think it was some sort of small cicada, Rosie began speaking to it in French, whereupon it became enraged again and flew into Betty's hair and hung on tenaciously. Cue much more screeching. I wrestled it from Beth's hair whereupon it gripped my finger surprisingly hard until I managed to get rid of it in the grass.  We hurried away and the insect, clearly furious, followed us across the street and into the park, until we managed to lose it somehow.

Traumatised we went to The Farm pub for a refreshing drink, where I was accosted by a man at the bar, who said he hated the music that was playing in the pub, and had requested the music that had been stored on the Voyager spacecraft instead. This man skilfully evaded, we bumped into L's pal Lorraine Miles. Then to Rosie's house where Lorraine drove us home.

Below a large gull snatching up a person into the sky, the evening beach, sunset over Hove with brushstroke skies, and Betty on the beach.







Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New mucus

A smidgeon cooler today, after London had experienced some thunder. None in Brighton however. Went out for lunch with Matty boy, and had various wide ranging discussions in a little Italian restaurant while eating a sausage and salad combo. It seems that he will be staying in Strand on the Green for the time being, and not moving to Brighton.

In the afternoon saw Pat, who had taken a couple of months off work, and worked on coughing again, learning a few things, such as the fact that there are people in this world who study mucus, and when Germans say 'new mucus' in English this can be very funny.

Back to Brighton and straight to the gym. Again the gym considerably hotter than the outside world, felt very good afterwards for having done it though. Back to my Lorraine, who had cooked a vegetable curry. We watched The Returned again, which was creepy as usual and is absolutely crammed with ideas. This episode people are finding that they cannot leave the town they are in.

Betty back tonight after babysitting Oskar for Anton. Oskar had been wonderfully behaved, and Betty had enjoyed watching Harry Potter on the new all singing and dancing TV.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pizzas with Toby and Mum

The train dragging itself late into St Pancras. Writing more of my book on my lap for a while, until I gave in and played a few rounds of the hugely addictive Candy Crush. London sweltering today, and the office little better.

At lunchtime off with Karam, Slug and Alan to a local pub where we sat in the sun on a cobbled area of a pub called The Lord John Russell. Drank a pint of Fosters shandy baking in the sun discussing among other things the resilience of Londoners in the war.

Working on cough medicines during the day. Work done I walked across town to The Salisbury to meet Toby and Mum. Very good to see Toby, who has tufty hair and a tiny new manbag, but otherwise seems in fine form. He and Mum had been walking about in Hampstead during the day. Caught up with some gossip and chatted generally before crossing the road to a Spaghetti House, which was on the borderline of annoying, but that may have been the heat. Ate pizza hungrily and had another good chat.

The call of the seagull was heard fairly early as Monday is the mother of all school nights. Bade farewell to them at Charing Cross and I made my way to Blackfriars where I caught the Brighton train. Blackfriars station now rebuilt and the platforms span the Thames, and you get a great view from them, with a full moon in the sky near the Shard.

My smartphone peeped with the information that the Royal family had spawned again, and a future King is born. Walked past The Blackfriars pub where I heard a man outside speculating if the new baby would be called Wayne. I think King Wayne has a ring. Homewards on the hot train and eventually home to Lorraine a little before 11.

Below poor, noisy smartphone snaps of the Shard and the moon, and a bit of the Thames through the glass with my reflection looming over it in a sinister way. Should have taken photos of Toby and Mum instead. D'oh.




Sunday, July 21, 2013

Feet in the sea

Much refreshed after the first decent night's sleep I'd had for some time. Off then first thing to the gym, where the pesky place was far hotter and steamier than the outside world. Managed to do a decent workout though. Loped back home and Pat and Maureen had arrived.

Spent the day hanging out with them and chatting about weddings (they are really looking forward to it) and eating chicken and salad. It was very hot today, and they have been watching The Open golf tournament for the last few days. I have not watched much golf, but got drawn into it. We drove Pat and Maureen off to the station at teatime, and Lorraine and I drove off to the beach at Hove. The tide was out and we had a paddle in the warm sea, which was rather wonderful and sat on the pebbles and walked about with wet trousers. Spoke there, with my feet in the water, to Toby who is now in back in Blighty.

Reprehensibly this all made me want to have a curry, as we'd not had one for few weeks. Had a chilli crammed curry, and more cold beer. Friendly place The Shahi, and a nice end to a recharging weekend.

Below a random phone snap of the sea in Hove.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

The World's End

Much needed slow, water sipping kind of day, and it was cooler too in Brighton. Spot of work first thing, followed by quite a bit of free-range lounging about and spending time simply chatting. Lorraine and I off in the evening to see The World's End movie at an early-evening showing at the Duke of York's.

Had a nice cup of tea and really enjoyed this comedy with a poignant undertone, and I think I preferred it to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz both of which were good fun too, had a few laugh out loud moments too, which is always a good thing in a comedy. Based around a bunch of middle aged guys attempting again a pub crawl they failed to complete when they were 18, and the evening going horribly wrong due to an alien invasion. Loved the sense of things getting completely out of hand which of course may happen during a pub crawl.

Below still from The World's End.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Road block

A spot of variety working with Sophie on some PR material for a Channel 4 series called Top Boy, which had in its first series music by Brian Eno, and when I watched some of it was struck right away by the beautiful camera work and freshness of the acting. I had a thick head this morning, and I spent all day feeling very hot up in the home office. I was overcomplicating things a little, I think, however it was interesting to be working on something entirely different.

In the evening collected by Lorriane where we did some emergency shopping, and then went straight away off to The Basketmakers where we met Matt, Ruth, Anton and Irish Tom. Incredibly crowded with lots of non-regulars blocking the streets between The Basketmakers and The Eagle and having the bar staff muttering somewhat as they dropped glasses in the street and pulled pub stools out to sit on.

Everyone a bit shattered at the end of this hot week, although it was suprisingly good fun to sluice down yet more cold beer. Fond farewells with Ruth who is back up to Edinburgh after her mini-break in Brighton. L and I really like her spontaneity and friendliness.

Home and very gratefully boofing into bed.

Below a shot Ruth took of me and Matt using Matt's smart new smartphone.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wilting flowers and tiger faces

Up in the morning and off to the smoke to work in Tavistock Square. Noticed yesterday the pile of wilting sunbaked flowers left on the pavement in remembrance of those people killed travelling on a bus there on 7th July 2005.

Another hot day, and despite being handed over five jobs none of them actually materialised so I spent much of the day kicking my heels and researching things for my own work. At the end of the day asked to take Friday off and return on Monday.

Sensibly availed myself of the free Thursday agency bar, however, and talked at length with German Lisa and Slug, arriving home rather late and with my top hat slightly askew.

Below walking along the office I sneaked this photo of a solitary man sitting in his own office with a painted tiger face.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Some are sullen in the sunshine

A busy day. Off to the gym first thing today and it was hotter inside the gym than outside. Had to stop lumbering on the cross trainer after 20 minutes as I was getting really warm. Moved on to weights as it was cooler among these onanistic strainers, then rowing which was cooler as it was closer to the ground. Home, changed and then off to London. Working on the train, and despite there being lots of free spaces a man sat opposite me and later produced a laptop and was asking me to make room for him, despite me using only half the space. Bizarre, almost as if he were trying to pick a fight. I think the heatwave is making people a bit crazy.

A lunchtime business meeting with First Matie, who gave me a handover of her work before zooming off to the forest to be with her mother tomorrow for her postponed hip operation (after Mrs Nasty the cat had scratched the operation site). News that Kate's mother now had an insect bite, caused tremors throughout the family but the operation will go ahead. We were soon joined by others from work. It was such a hot day everyone seems to want a cold drink, and I had some cold beer too as I didn't have to work in the afternoon.

Home after this, my diary covered in briefing notes, and home. Cooked for my lovely, and then off out again to a poetry event iOpen in Hove Market, the venue where few speak. Last night it was doubling as the single least friendly place I have been to in Brighton. Walked in and said hello to a person I have seen three times, who completely ignored me. Spoke to a couple of others who gave bare minimum replies. Few talk to each other. I dusted off some old work and read Someone-else's Patch and some other bits which went down extremely well but I left vowing to return, but it is good performing practice, as I am so rusty, so never say never.

Caught a bus home to my lovely, who was watching the detectives when I got home. It is the end of term, and Lorraine needs a break.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Inappropriately holidayish

Not really in the mood for writing about marketing today. I decided it was too hot for it and I felt inappropriately holidayish. Instead reworked a poem based on the workshop last night. Also heard from Antony Mair, the writer I enjoyed meeting yesterday inviting me to contribute to their anthology.


Contacted completely randomly by Celia, who is currently staying in Icart Road Guernsey, and who lives in Brighton some of the year. She'd seen one of my photos of a strange door to nowhere on Icart Road and asked me about it. A quick exchange of emails. I told her about proposing to Lorraine on Icart Point just a few weeks ago.

Then a summons from my amigos in Tavistock Square to take a handover briefing from First Matie tomorrow: good news as the doubloons are sorely needed. 

After Lorraine got home, we walked up the hill to sit outside the Open House pub to meet Matt and his oldest pal Ruth down from Scotland for a few days basking in the sun and reading books outside cafes. Both Lorraine and I really like her, and we had a bite to eat and some cold lager and lots of chats. 


Monday, July 15, 2013

Returned giraffes and workshops

Perhaps due to the heat but finding it very hard to focus today. Kept thinking about all the things I should be doing, rather than simply doing any of them. Just as I was about to leave for the gym, I received a phone call from young Elijah, the son of Max and the French Bloke, who was delighted to receive his long lost giraffe which was found behind a wardrobe. Lorraine and I enclosed an account from Skidaddle of what he had been up to in Brighton in the interim, which Elijah read back to me with some incredulity. Very sweet. Also spoke to Max afterwards too.

To the gym but little gas in the tank, returned via Sainsburys and faffed about generally. Lorriane home early though. After work, and the consumption of fish and salad, I went up to Anton's house where I helped Anton lift his new high powered enormous TV onto a stand we had to construct. The TV came with 3D glasses and everything. Rather amazing. I left Anton toying happily with this new gadget.

Then to The Caxton where I went to the poetry workshop meeting in a dingy damp room that managed to be cold despite the heat. Had a far better experience this time, there were six writers there and they were all good and had thoughtful things to say. I put in a poem I wasn't sure about and definitely had this improved, which was worth the visit alone. Chatted afterwards to Antony, an intelligent considerate man who I liked a good deal, and Alan who was very knowledgeable about music and had travelled down from London to be there. A nice evening, then I drifted back home from here to my Lorraine, who I discovered sipping an end-of-termish red wine.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Beer garden

Phew! Another scorcher! Lorraine and Betty off after breakfast to try on the dress Lorraine is going to wear when we get married. They met up with Dawn and Ellie and apparently the other ladies cried when they saw Lorraine. I am fairly certain my wallet gave a sympathetic yelp too.

I slipped off a little later to find Matt listening tensely to the last few overs before lunch of the first Ashes test match, which was finely poised, with England winning a little after lunch. Meanwhile Matt and I mooched up to the Batty to talk about his business idea for teaching singers before we were joined by John, happily now with excellent vision after having his two cataracts done but mysteriously drinking soda water. Lorraine and Betty soon arrived too, and we all had a happy time sitting in the sunny beer garden before Betty had to return to London.

After a minor Basketmakers diversion, Lorraine and I floated home where we wasted the evening dozing contentedly on the gold sofa.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer Idyll

A pleasant start to the day, drifting off to Arkwrights to buy some bread for Quorn sausage sandwiches. Went off for another massage with Jewell at noon. Strange how I feel fleeting anxiety as the knots in my back and shoulders are released. I am a firm believer in this muscle memory thing.  Had the hot stones again. Drank water afterwards downstairs at Sundial as I was paying my bill, which was so cold it gave me an ice cream headache. Chatting to the receptionist and watching the invasion of  London hundreds swarm along Queens Road to the seaside to bask in another scorching day. Made me feel like a proper Brightonian.

Home and Lorraine and I decided to go to Parham House, which is stately home on one of Lorraine's regular drives. Beautiful day, which kept putting me in mind of the start of world war two. First there was a scout band who were playing things like Long Way To Tipperary, then there was the long hot summer's day, a Spitfire blue shy and the timeless country house setting. Nearby is a gliding airstrip, and every now and then a small prop aircraft towed gliders into the sky, which on release slid noiselessly into the thermals high above us.

We just drifted happily about in some exquisite gardens, ate some excellent ice-cream and bought a few meagre plants for our tiny back yard. Both of us yearning for a proper garden these days.

Home and Betty home too, and we ate a Thai supper together watching Wreck it Ralph, an enjoyable animation with a strong concept. We also ate the big bar of chocolate that Lorraine and Betty had regrettably bought last time they went to a supermarket together.

Below the beautiful gardens at Parham House.










Friday, July 12, 2013

Shakespeare in the Eddy

Slightly unfocused this morning, and spent some time working on the wrong file. However, eventually made some progress on the book during the day. Lorraine working at home this morning too before heading off to a meeting. I made off to the gym, then to Starbucks where I worked for another couple of hours, despite the attentions of an infernal hell-child banging the back of my chair.

Also wrote to Helen in Germany. She and her daughter Katy have translated my Heidegger poem, to be exhibited at the Heidegger Archive to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of the great man's birth. Amazingly kind.

Another gorgeous day however. Home for a light salad supper, before Lorraine and I went off to The Eddy, which has now reverting to an earlier name of The Edinburgh (it will always be the Eddy to me), to watch the latest incarnation of The Shakespeare Trio: The Shakespeare Heptet. This evening's configuration included Richard of course, plus Steve Cartwright plucking a banjo, Claudius on flute, and a nice woman called Sam on vocals. The big news was that Dipak was playing with them again, and Lorraine and I had a good chat with him. The Eddy has no tradition of staging music, and the locals were not interested, and the band were poked away in an unlit area to the side of the bar. It was a game of two halves with the first half being much better than the second where they had to compete against a noisy bar. Although this new configuration has its moments, it lacks the clarity of the Richard and Dipak version.

Still really good for Lorraine and I to talk to the boys again, and meet Sam the singer. Talking to Steve about shooting clay pigeons, and both Lorraine and I enjoyed ourselves there before creeping home to eat some toast.

The Shakespeare Heptet warm up. Dipak (who is obscuring Steve in the corner), Sam, Richard and Claudius.




Thursday, July 11, 2013

Quiet application

Another day of quiet application. Worked all day on the book, making steady progress and pausing to head out to the cafe to work and have a change of scene later in the day. Lorraine out a governors' shindig tonight. I couldn't summon the enthusiasm for going out, so simply stayed at home, and watched episodes of my new favourite comedy, PhoneShop, on YouTube. Traditional sitcom setup: a workplace with lots of characters. But the characters are fresh, and the acting and dialogue make me laugh out loud.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Salad and my struggle

Another phew what a scorcher kind of day in Brighton. I sauntered off to the gym late this morning after a fairly robust writing start to the day. A hot and sweaty business, but any feelings of virtue swiftly erased by glimpsing myself waddling out in sumoesque glory from the showers afterwards. Bah.

Thence to Starbucks to drink tea, where I wrote for a while longer despite the presence of a young American woman with the one of the most window-rattlingly loud speaking voices I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. Even several tables away, with my earphones in, I could barely hear myself think. If you were on a sinking ship, however, she would be exactly the sort of person you would want alongside you on the tilting deck as the lifeboat approaches in the dark.

Thence to Sainsburys where I met Lorraine and we sped home armed with salady bits. Some of which we ate when we got home.

More work in the afternoon, a brief chat with Mum and then I prepared more salad-based repasts in the evening as Lorraine was bogged down with work. We went for a nice walk in the park afterwards, and discussed house business, and looked at flowers. Home again and I settled down to read Mein Kampf as I'd read something by Hannah Arendt in my researches who said that Hitler had mentioned soap advertising while in the course of banging on about propaganda.

Interesting to read bits of this book I had only read about.  I obtained a free pdf from a link on the wikipedia page.  I have to say not the worst written book of all time, and if it hadn't lead to such appalling outcomes it would seem quite comic. I was reminded of the pompous character of Augustus Carp Esq. How did this absurd, laughable little egoist manage to become such a monster?

I learned that in Nazi Germany copies of Mein Kampf were given as free wedding presents to marrying Germans. Poor sods.

And so to bed.

Below the immortal Augustus Carp as a young man.




Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Steadily working

Dreaming about food all night, having gone to bed hungry. I've never done that before. Was really hungry at about four thirty in the morning and barged past optimistic cats to drink some beetroot juice by way of food.

Lorraine, angelically enough, brought me some muesli in bed at seven and I was revived. Spent all day working on the book, which although enjoyable makes for boring blog fodder. Another viewing of this house tomorrow so charging about tidying in the evening and then discussing what I am writing with Lorraine, which proved decidedly useful. A long discussion about losers, and what makes people losers, for the chapter about losers in marketing. Another much-needed, blameless and early-to-bed night.

Monday, July 08, 2013

I discuss the estate

Up early feeling curiously determined. I had a dream that I had at last been given a brief for a long delayed job, and felt relieved that at last I could get on with it.  Lorraine, up even earlier, bringing me the Godsend of a cup of tea in bed before I sprang into action.

Worked on the book for an hour or so, then into the outside world in the beautiful weather to the Twitten where I met a series of three estate agents to let them pitch to me and discuss the value of the property. All rather good salesmen too. One fell down the stairs and was rather shaken, but apart from this quite pleased to have got the ball rolling. All somewhat time consuming. From there, off to the gym, for another workout. I am feeling determined to get in shape. Something about this hot weather just makes me want to drink lager, however and I managed not to. Instead I was pleased to sweat off some of the inordinate amount of food and booze I'd had at the weekend.

Thence to Starbucks where I did some work in the cafe with a large cup of tea and a skinny blueberry muffin, which still has more than 300 calories, before returning home to carry on. Making progress, and have now started on a new section of the book all about endorsement.

Worked till early evening, and served up virtuous rice, fish and veggies when Lorraine got in from work, and we had a blameless night on the water. I went to bed feeling hungry.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Sun on Sunday

A much-needed slow start to the day. Up gradually and stiff from carrying things yesterday. L and I drawn to the seaside as it was the hottest day of the year. The big Paddle Around the Pier event was on, and Beth was working in the VIP tent. After ambling through the crowds, passing the stalls and fairground bits, the ukelele stage, where various uke bands were playing, the dance teacher's stage, we sloped into the VIP tent, and sipped a cold drink looking out at the sunny activity and the sea beyond. I like being a VIP, and am resentful of being a NotIP. Smiley lady mayoress came in looking hot in all in her finery, who Beth said ended up doing some dancing in the adjacent area.

After chatting with Beth, Lorraine and I went to sit on the pebbles of the beach by Hove, enjoyably chatting about weddings and life in general. People leaping into the water and children hobbling over the pebbles to screech at the waters edge. The water looked pretty cold, but the sea was crammed with swimmers, boats, a big orange lifeboat, people standing on surfboards and paddling and so on. In the sky a lone pilot was doing loop-the-loops in the sky.

Basking like this had created something of a thirst, so we drifted inland through the Pavilion Gardens drawn there by the sound of a brass band, thence to The Basketmakers with the clear and distinct idea of a cold lager. On the benches outside we found Matt, John, Irish Tom, and Anne and Dave Matt's parents. Joined these for a hour or so chatting happily and absorbing cold beer before heading home.

Loraine quite excited about Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, and we watched the highlights of it later. Found myself won over by Murray grit and determination he showed. First British men's competition winner for 77 years. Weasel politicians at centre court trying to leech themselves to success by association.

Lorraine cooked another lemon chicken tagine tonight. Delicious.

Below a great many ukelele players, a glimpse of the crowded beach with L in the bottom left, and a brass band playing in the Pavilion Gardens.





Saturday, July 06, 2013

In which Anton is exemplary

A potentially difficult and upsetting day for Anton and Anna, as Anna moved out of their home today, to a lovely place about two minutes away. Any concerns about the children, my Godchildren, were allayed by the enormous care Anna and Anton took to ensure that the children would only have happy memories of the day. Indeed they were excited by the move, and seemed entirely okay with what was happening. Anton and Anna are sharing custody equally. Anton helping to set things up in the new home, and having a family meal in the evening and generally did everything right.

For my part I helped do lots of heavy lifting, and be driven about in a van (with Klaudia and Oskar taking it in turns to squish between me and Anton) collecting a large wardrobe Anna had bought from the street in Hove, and driving up and down the short distance with several transit van loads of stuff and loading and unloading up and down flights of stairs. Really hot day and all this very sweaty and tiring work, especially with a corking hangover from the night before. I think I added to the normalcy of the day for the kids. And I got lots of hugs from Oskar and Klaudia during the day so all well.

Starving, Anton and I paused near Staines to eat some junk food. I opted for a KFC, while Anton had a MuckyDs. Still managed to be very hungry and tired when a I arrived home a few hours later. I was very pleased to be able to help carry things, and add to the normalcy of the day for the kids. And I got lots of hugs from Oskar and Klaudia during the day so all well.

After a greatly needed shower I lay on the sofa recovering from all the physical work, and ate a restorative curry. Lorraine has a new haircut, and more importantly thinks she has found a dress for the wedding.

Friday, July 05, 2013

John, I'm only dancing

A lovely day which I spent almost entirely at home writing like a mad thing up in the top of the house. Untroubled by cats too as both of them wussy with the heat.

Making really good progress on the book however, which is pleasing and also wedding and house stuff to do and think about. Started listening briefly to an audiobook called The Ascent of Money, which Anton told me about. It discusses the history of money, which is interesting only because I've never troubled to learn how banks got started. Perhaps this is the much delayed start of a career as a bloated plutocrat.

Off in the evening with Lorraine and Betty to John's party held at the Preston Park Hotel. Walked along with the ladies in long dresses through Preston Park and beyond to the hotel. Lots of friends in the party, John, obviously, and Matt, and Matt's parents Anne and Dave,  Tanya and Catherine, Guy and Tim and others I'd met once or twice. Nice chatting to these, and helping John to celebrate. He made a speech and seemed to be enjoying himself. He is one of those people who are unable to enjoy things like his party until he is looking back on it in retrospect. I handed him a sheet of paper during the evening on which I'd written John's Permission to Enjoy Himself. 

Evening ended as usual with Lorraine, Betty and a few other hardies dancing like mad fools. Particularly enjoyed dancing to the local-lads-made-good Rizzle Kicks, complete with strange arm dancing.

Below Brighton's Rizzle Kicks video which, frankly, is very Brighton.

 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Narcissism and virtue

Luckily, after last night's revelry Lorraine did not have to leave at the crack of dawn today.

Once up, another great morning's work for me. Later in the morning I went off to the gym and had another challenging workout. I am so happy that after months of antibiotics and illness that I can push myself and feel okay. Enjoyed seeing a fatter man than me in the changing room, and became fascinated by a young Chinese man who was looking at himself in several mirrors like a complete Narcissus. Eventually he left as I was finishing getting dressed and so on. Five minutes later I found he had become transfixed again by the mirror by the door into the gym. Left wondering if he had a mirror at home. People do a lot of gazing at themselves in the gym. In the weight area the walls are mirrored and people watch themselves lifting the weights all the time, and when I lifted some weedy weights I found that I did it too.

To Starbucks, just down the road from the gym for a non-ideologically-sound cup of tea and a blueberry muffin. Bumped into Ellie Blackshaw outside, who was the original violinist for This Concert Will Fall In Love With You. Another good hour or so writing in the cafe, thinking about time and heritage in marketing. Then home to a quorn sausage sandwich and to Lorraine who was working from home this afternoon.

A much needed quiet night with Lorraine, eating fish and steamed veggies, feeling the virtuous tiredness that comes from exercise and hard work.

Below received notes from Richard and Jane, with a photo of the adorable Holly. Fifteen today.


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

John's first birthday party

An excellent day's work, and relieved to be able to get back on with the book, and picking up fairly rapidly where I left off. Didn't leave the house until the evening. Spoke to mum and Mas returned from a trip across the channel which seemed mostly to involve high speed driving through the countryside with Tanya and Robert.

Lorraine and I out on a school night to The Basketmakers to meet John and Matt to celebrate John's birthday. John, who is sixty today, completely transformed since we last saw him a few weeks ago. He looks ten years younger, sporting a cool shirt, having lost weight, grown a beard, had a cataract operation. John's official party is Friday, and we are going to that too, but tonight a quick drink in The Basketmakers Arms, where we sat with Irish Tom before pushing off to a little local Italian place called Si Signore. This was a bring your own, and I popped by to a local off licence. Here became embroiled in a conversation with the owner and a cheerful and mature lady of ill repute, who was going on about having had a sunbed because she was so vain. After she left I paid for some sparkling wine and the normally taciturn man behind the counter told me that she had recently came in and showed him her enormously long nipples in the hope of getting two free cans of beer.

Back to the restaurant, trying to shake this image out of my head. John very cheerful and we had fairly decent Italian grub although the owner clearly not Italian. We drank sparkling wine and were joined again by Irish Tom and then repaired for an absolute final beer in the recently refurbished Eagle.

Luckily we left to float home as Lorraine needed to be tidied away after this midweek revelry. We paused only to look in the windows of Eaton Nott which are truly remarkable, especially late at night after a few drinks.

Below the weird and beautiful windows of Eaton Nott.






Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Small heads

Poor night's sleep. After limited success writing, I went to speak to three estate agents to arrange valuations of my house in the Twitten. This appeared to be some sort of mental barrier it was good to have broken through. An interesting experience asking the same thing of three outfits. One, Austin Gray, seemed far more professional than the others.

This done, off to the gym where I had, for me, a lengthy workout. Then to the sinister Starbucks for a large cup of tea and a blueberry muffin and a far more successful writing session for a couple of hours. Then home via some shops where I bought John a card with a wearable Einstein mustache for his birthday.

In the evening, after cooking supper and eating it with Lorraine, off to see Anton in the Shakespeare's Head for a chat and to watch him eat some sausages. Anna is moving out this weekend, and Anton asked me to help move boxes and try to make the process as 'normal' as possible for the children.

Despite this a good night, with wide-ranging discussions over some beer. I asked Anton to do the signing duties as my witness when I get married. We talked about books and things with all the Elizabethan reproductions in the pub looking down on us with their disproportionately small heads.

Home, and my Lorraine listening to Mumford & Sons on the gold sofa.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Monday in a Square

Terrible night's sleep, compounded by Calliope persistently tormenting me before I got up at seven, seemingly immune to furious batting off. Consequently rather tired today as I trained off to work in Tavistock Square. Main highlight of the day a teleconference to Switzerland at lunchtime where I presented the deeply creative and strategic thinking I'd been working on for several days in answer to the brief. What the client mainly wanted was five posters. So it goes.

Nice young lad sitting opposite me was on a work experience week from school. He was the son of an old boss and, dismissing the goading of Evil Paul Kenny, was nice to him.

More good chats with Slug, who being an old prog rock head had gone to see the surviving members of Van der Graaf Generator last night. He said they looked like an ancient Butlins show tunes band, but sounded terrifying.

Finished Roland Barthes The Pleasure of the Text. This is an amazing book, and if only I'd read it with such diligence while at University.

Bought a SF novel called Embassytown, by China Miéville on the way home and started it on the train, I learned about it while working on my book as it features a race of people who have no understanding of metaphor. Call me old fashioned, but I like SF with aliens that the author attempts to make as alien as they can.

Released back into the wild this evening, but may be called on to return to London later in the week. Home and cooked fish, vegetables and rice for Lorraine who was detained by yet another ofstead inspection. I rather spoiled this healthiness by eating apple crumble with lashings of custard afterwards.

L and I sat rather tiredly watching The Returned/Les Reveneants which was fantasmagorique fun. And so to bed at a decent time - and for the first time in days not having drunk anything. I could never be an alcoholic, I just stop enjoying drink after a few days. But there is nothing like a cold beer after a week's abstinence.