Tomorrow evening, here. Because the earth has gone round the sun 33 times since I was delivered unto it. Or something. I'm old anyway. I grow old I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled*. Yes I know it's a Wetherspoons. You try and think of somewhere reasonably central that won't be heaving on a Friday night.
Eightish, flight from St Helier etc permitting. NB that text messaging me doesn't work, calls only.
* Oh Lord. "And indeed there will be time/ To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”/ Time to turn back and descend the stair,/ With a bald spot in the middle of my hair-/ [They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]". Sad but so true.
For various reasons it became necessary this evening to look for something in the folder I stuff all the paperwork for my Blackwell's bookshop account this evening. And then, you see, the original reason -looking for an invoice for the purposes of my VAT return due next week- was swept away in the urgent need to organise that file (from which I actually need something about once every other year). And now that urge too has been swept away by two successive and horrible realisations, viz and to wit: I have had a Blackwell's account for almost 10 years (I became quite emotional* at the discovery of a batch of bills addressed to 142 Walton St).
During that time I have spent a quite disgusting amount of money there, in Broad St and latterly CharingXRd. And I buy books in other places quite often. No. I'm not going to say how much. Well, what do you expect when you give me an account somewhere like Blackwell's on, effectively "pay us sometime, when you've got a bit of cash" terms. (At least, that's what it was in the old days. No longer.)
The first is an oddly depressing realisation. Particularly when I come across invoices for books I could have sworn I bought, oh around this time last year, and discover that, no, it was around this time in 2000.
(I did find the invoice I was looking for in the end. For anyone astute enough to be wondering, it was something with a CD in the back and hence a VAT element.)
Had a fairly blue weekend. Found the order of service for Dad's funeral in the general clearup that preceded (and was necessitated by) doing the VAT return. Hence*. I was sure I had significantly more whisky at the start of the weekend...
*I have of quite a lot of strong drink taken.
With Christmas behind me and that nightmare date for those not on PAYE, 31st January, looming ahead, January really ought to be the cheapest month. Unfortunately, I seem unable to pass a bookshop or a cd shop at present without wandering in and finding something I really can't do without. (Incidentally, for those who follow such things, Joan Aiken's very last novel is now out as is the second of John Dickinson's incredibly dark children's fantasy series, The Widow and the King, as are a variety of other things.)
In the meantime, my desk has, by dint of me being the only junior tenant around this week, piled high with lots and lots of briefs and sets of instructions, all of them fast approaching Really Final Extended Deadlines, plus I really need to start making inroads on a major Thing I'm supposed to be doing involving A.N.Other jurisdiction. Plus I'm working on something non-professional and new, which may or may not come to anything.
I should be relatively cheerful, but I feel as though I'm waiting for something. I just don't know what yet. Either that or I'm just bored.
January in my 33rd year. Hmm. W.A.Mozart, Alexander of Macedon, F.Baggins, J.H, Christ. Oh buggerit.
Oh and my shoulder hurts like hell, as it has for weeks now.
This has been a post for the sake of it.
Actually, that isn't remotely true. I own one Now album*, 12 or 13 I think (it isn't in London, all I remember about it is that it has Hey Hey Matthew on it and is a cassette). Coffee spoons, or at least coffee measures, have actually been a far more important marker.
Nevertheless, the regular phenomenon of noticing a new Now album in the supermarket and thinking "Now 5
69! What the fuck happened to my life?" is depressingly familiar. It doesn't help that right at the moment I have had it up to the putative top of the London Bridge Shard of Glass (to be the tallest building in Europe if and when completed, and a more appropriate metaphor than might at first appear) with my life and want to be here instead.
No, not right now, obvs. Even Mediterranean beaches aren't particularly pleasant in late November, particularly not at 9PM. Still, I'm sure you take the point.
Perhaps Duke Humphrey's Library would be a more appropriate home from home for the time of year. Or not, as the case may be. A friend of mine was once nearly killed by a lump of wood falling from the roof in there, incidentally. There he was, looking at Anglo-Saxon charters when a bloody great chunk of beam crashed into the desk beside him. On closer examination it transpired that the efforts several years before, at great expense, to preserve the roof from death watch beetle (or whatever) had been, err, rubbish and the place had to close down for a year.
I'm not sure why I'm telling you this, unless it's a work-avoidance measure. That would seem plausible, yes.
*ETA: I'm not sure if this requires explanation for non-UK readers. Now That's What I Call Music is a semi-annual# compilation of the "best" of the British charts.
#Semi-annual? Well, biannual isn't right, that means every two years, no? Half yearly, anyway.
... very depressed...
I just saw the top of my head in the offlicence's CCTV.
Bah. I shall never pull again and might as well put in my application to become a monk now.
Afternoon of drinking with Rob, Steph, Adele and David, followed by a reasonably good Greek dinner. Sadly they all buggered off home, and Anna is probably dancing to bleepy music in a field outside Winchester, so I'm morosely drinking on my own. Such is life.
I'm not sure whether Clanwilliam will be amused or irritated to know that Christopher Fildes in The Spectator has picked up on the slightly odd choice of new name Wentworth Rose went for in their rebranding exercise: Origen, and wondered whether the FSA will expect them to follow his sacrifice (bung it into google if you aren't following).
Oh, and via the self-same Speccie but originally from Waterstones Book Quarterly, a rather good exchange with Philip Pullman:
"What do you want a teenage readership to think and feel after reading His Dark Materials?"
"What I want people to feel most fervently after reading one of my books is "I must go out at once and buy his next one."
I find him an irritating man, if a brilliant writer, nonetheless I think he gets points for that.
Rather atypical racing note.... I don't usually weary you with this rubbish, but I'd like to note that in my view, when a major figure at Ladbrokes comes out with comments about "one race every day being fixed" and blames it on the internet betting exchanges, I find myself wondering just how much business said betting exchanges are taking from the high street bookies.
On the other hand... I still want to know what the fuck Kieran Fallon was up to.
New Lindsey Davis, looking pretty good so far, enough already.
There are barristers in this inn who are younger than I am but seem to make a point of looking about 45. And a boring 45 at that, none of Alan's air of having lived life to the full. Christ, while I agree it's important to look professional when dealing with clients or in court, and long hair and jewellery on men don't go down too well in the High Court, there's a difference between that and looking like a total dweeb every hour of every working day.
Just went to the bank to pick up some foreign currency I ordered yesterday for a forthcoming Adventure (for various reasons I shan't explain more until it's happened).
Turns out they had a Real Proper Heist this morning, security van taken at gunpoint an' all. One knows these things happen but I'm still slightly taken aback when they happen Here! In High Holborn! To My Money!
Sometimes, some places, Mondays are not so bad.
Not, however, now and here. The rain spits down with an air of half-hearted generalised misery, my mind and body are slow and complaining, the cases on my desk are lacking in interest, and even the half-million quid white elephant of a fountain out on the lawn looks depressed. Moreover I can't find a flight to New York for the dates I want below £370 (my dates are somewhat constrained as I have to be at one wedding on Easter Sunday and another the weekend after, but even broadening the dates I could fly to see what happened didn't give any better results).
The clock is tick ticking away my life, and far too much of it has already been wasted in not being somewhere hot with nothing to do save read, drink, eat, and talk to people. This is Just Wrong. Has the world not yet realised it Owes Me A Living? Why am I not rich, famous, and lusted after by hordes of women? Is there no justice? Surely I raised these questions a while ago, yet no response has been forthcoming.
On the other hand it may just be that I spent far too much of the weekend drunk, including an hour on Saturday night standing in drizzle on Caledonian Road while waiting for a nightbus at 3AM. Hardly conducive to good health and cheery spirits. It's partly as a result of this that I spent most of Sunday lying in bed watching the blossom be knocked off the tree by the rain and composing morbid haiku in the manner of a teenager going through puberty. The high point of the day was sorting my socks, until I managed to drag myself out of the flat to wander over to Rob and Steph's for dinner, along with Dan and Liz. Which did cheer me up, to be fair, and was very kind of them. It's just a shame I couldn't stay long enough to carry on being rude about the Mary Queen of Scots thing we ended up watching.
It's not a hangover. Hangover's are straightforward by comparison. Water, neurofen by the shitload, and there you are. It's an awful lassitude and emptiness, exacerbated by the frankly ridiculous -even by my standards- quantities of coffee and cigarettes I've had so far today, leaving my stomach queasy, my nerves strained, and my hands quivering like a sufferer from DTs so that I have to recheck every word I write to ensure I haven't double typed each and every letter. Oh, and there's a bloody T'Pau song running through and through my fucking head and I can't even remember which one it is.
The worst thing about being over thirty is that the question which occurred to you during your late 20s: "is this it?"; has been definitively answered. It, my friends, this is, always and forever. I may have said this before, but no one ever listens to me, least of all me. A prophet is not without honour save in his own country, &c.
Soddit. I'll have a double whisky, no ice, and none of your cooking scotch either, please.