I've had a very strange evening. I met up with the Art Dealer as the plan was to stay in her spare room while the Hitchcock Blonde off going to some painfully cool event in Cambridge.
The art dealer has been flirting outrageously with my chum H online so they decided to combine their first meeting (I'm not allowed to call it a date) with me staying over so the three of us went to the pub. It was slightly awkward, and it was pretty obvious that neither one fancied the other but once that was out of the way we had an excellent time.
While we were in the pub it snowed, so after a few more drinks we went and got some food at the nearest restaurant we could stumble too. We ate snails, mussels and other silly French things while drinking cheap red wine. Afterwards we went back to the art dealers house and drank more wine, so I have clown mouth thanks to the red.
I retired to the spare room and H ended up sharing a bed with the Art Dealer, although it was in an innocent sleep over sort of way. The Art Dealer's new place is lovely, and bizarrely Angelina Jolie used to live here before she was ultra famous. Some of her influence is still visible, like the fact downstairs there is a huge dungeon with red walls.
The photograph is of one corner, because I had to take it on the sly. Right, I'm off to eat some toast, I bet Angelina ate toast there too.
Today has been sort of productive, meetings have been arranged and plans have been put in motion but in terms of writing the day peaked at about 8am and then went rapidly down hill.
I had to wake up early to do some writing homework, which was fine but and after a rather ill-advised lunch I've spent the rest of the afternoon desperately trying to fight off sleep instead of tearing through my tasks to the theme of Murder She Wrote.
The ill-advised lunch was a chance thing, my old chum the Art Dealer happened to be nearby trying to pick out a costume for a party on Thursday so we met up for a coffee which turned out to be lunch and then I dragged her across Soho to meet the Hitchcock Blonde. This slightly surprised meeting went well, especially after the art dealer chum revealed she shared a mutual interest with the Hitchcock Blonde. So that is lovely. I suspected they would get on as they both have a rather silly streak and work in vaguely the same area.
Speaking of work, I'm on the prowl for a job. Some sort of regular, reliable work would be just the ticket. Now, where does one find such a thing?
Birthdays are marvellous, especially when you have got a lovely girlfriend. The picture is of the present diorama that awaited me on my arrival in London. Yes, there were enough gifts to be turned into a display. I thought the stars and balloons were an especially nice touch.
The presents were excellent too because they were all incredibly thoughtful. Almost every one related to some private joke or secret and as such they were perfect gifts. The giant fake diamond is especially good and I shall be treasuring it in the way that one should with perspex gems the size of your fist. I should probably rig up some sort of lasers to protect it. I'm also currently wearing my WW2 style biker goggles because they are just too cool to not wear.
The birthday event, involved an marvellous candle-lit meal at a lovely restaurant and then on to a house party in East London. The trip to East London was a bit fraught, buses kept changing their route after we had got on them and then locating the party was a bit tricky. Luckily a naked man leaning out of a window directed us to the right door and we found the bash. The party was in full swing and everyone was in fine fettle, but at about 3am we were starting to fade so we made our way home. The trip back was remarkably easy in comparison and thus the birthday celebrations ended.
It was a brilliant birthday and now I'm lounging in a bed trying to do some work while eating Chunky Monkey ice cream. Yes being 28 is marvellous.
It looks like I've managed to get another piece in a magazine I really like. it's a good magazine to have stuff in as it's very well respected, impishly British and great it's fun sticking it to the man.
It's also fun because this involved proper journalism, in that I while wafting through life with a slightly pained expression on my face something caught my eye. I then started poking about in that area and finally did some quite serious investigation. I had sources and everything.
This investigation revealed some facts that made me almost incredulous with shock, so I pitched it out. An editor was mildly interested but said it might be a bit complicated so I had to boil the facts down to a pithy feature that anyone could read and share my rage. I did it, the editor made it even more pithy and it will be appearing next week.
This has been an excellent thing to do on my birthday as I love this sort of thing and it hopefully it is a portent of what the rest of the year will be like. Full of commissions and pith.
It's very been a very different birthday compared to my last one which was a damp squib. Either way I think it might be time to invest in a hat with a bit of card in it saying press and possibly a long coat.
Right, I'm moving back to London. I don't have anywhere to live, or the means to support that lifestyle but for me the countryside is over. I've come to realise why I left in the first place.
Why you may ask? Because of a phone conversation I had yesterday. I was talking to the president of an event that I was thinking of writing about. Now my old classmates are still involved in this event, and I think about a dozen of the people I went to school with have tried it at one time or another.
I grew up in the countryside, in a small village outside this town, but if anything I spent more time in this town than at home. I had my first pint in a pub there (Worthington for £1!), my first snog with a girl (called Melody, came from South Africa, tasted of cigarettes), my first driving lesson (in an ancient Ford escort with my dad in the car park), my first proper job (teaching disadvantaged kids how to use the interspaz) I even did my first bad thing there (it involved bangers that I'd brought back from France and a dog poo).
In this tiny town almost every street has a memory for me, of being in the Scouts, walking over to girls houses to play spin the bottle or eating hot chips on a cold night.
Yet with all of this, I discovered while talking to the president of the event that I'm not local enough to get involved. Yup, I'm not quite local enough, and with that all the reasons why I was so desperate to get out of the countrside in the first place came rushing back.
I got paid today, HURRAH. It's only 39 days late, which I think is a record but I got paid and that's what counts. So full of vim and vigor I drove off to the bank to pay in the cheque and get the wheels of Louche Inc turning again.
But on the way tragedy struck, while driving along I caught one of the wheels on a rock and felt it go flat. This was a bit bad so I engaged in some light swearing, especially when I realised I couldn't call for aid due to not paying my phone bill (see above statement relating to late pay). Then I had a bit of an a-ha moment and checked for a spare wheel. There was one!
The original wheel was slightly tricky to get off because a plastic cover had been attached using cable ties and I had no knife but through a bit of cunning that would have impressed Ray Mears I used a pen and the mighty power of torque to break the ties. With them out of the way it was a simple matter of using the jack and other bits and bobs to swap the wheels over.
'No problem' I thought, while feeling pretty manly 'I'll just drive slowly and then pick up a wheel on the way home.'
That didn't happen as about a mile out of town the car suddenly felt funny and I realised the rear wheel was broken too. I walked into town to find a rescue and to pay the cheque in. The bank was having issues and so they couldn't actually pay the bank in and the branch was full of furious old people who couldn't take any money out. This bank provides a free AA rescue service to it's members which is an excellent idea but after calling the AA I realised that the definition of 'free' and 'rescue service' were not quite what I thought they were.
Thankfully a local garage could sort it out so I went and got the car and then drove it very slowly, and noisily to the garage and dropped it off. I was then left in town with no transport options so I had to walk home.
My feet hurt now, but at least I am home, I think it's about seven miles which would be fine but for some entirely mad reason I decided to wear some snazzy brogues today rather then sensible ones and so well I think I'll be limping around on my birthday.
So to summise, I didn't manage to actually pay the money in and now I'll be shelling out to fix the car. Blast.
The ol' birthday is fast looming and so here are the ages of man as I see them. I'd do more but you'll have to wait a few more years for those.
1 to 5 : The age of noses This is when you should spend most of your time trying to push things up your nose, ideally wearing dungarees. This is the only time it is acceptable for a chap to wear them. People are fleshy blobs and so you can't really notice the difference between the sexes although you do notice that some of the chaps with longer hair are rubbish at making gun noises.
6 to 12 : The age of conkers This time should be spent with a small dog, ideally a super intelligent mongrel that smells funny. Summers go on for ever and finding the perfect conker is all that fills your mind. Fashion involves wearing a T-shirt with a robot on it and girls are disgusting creatures with an unhealthy interest in ponies.
13 - 16 : The age of Lynx (or Axe if you are in America) People start to smell, you think that deodorant can cover all sins and for the next few years your bedroom becomes a toxic wasteland. Girls replace conkers as your key area of interest, although rather annoyingly the ones your age spend the whole time dating men who are older. You later come to realise that the chaps they date are sad types, the ones who can't get women of their own age but by then it's too late. You are probably in a band and no-one understands you.
Drinking becomes a past-time and going into nightclubs is thrillingly exciting as you may not make it in. When you can go into clubs legally half the charm is gone and you realise they are a bit crap. Some people decided to take angry music very seriously and you may find yourself drawing pictures of cannabis leaves all over your geography books even though the closest you have ever come to one is listening to Bob Marley at a friend's house.
17 - 21 : The age of shots For some reason the moment you have mastered drinking a manly pint you are filled with a strange urge to drink disgusting and strong liquors in the form of shots. This only lasts for a while as soon you will automatically vomit if people even mention Tequila. This is the period at which a chap gets all those great stories that start 'I was smashed and woke up in Berlin with an Ewok'.
Girls are still a bit weird but for some reason if you act like an arse and ignore them they find you terribly attractive. This causes issues as everyone you fancy 'thinks of you as more of a friend' and all the girls you have no interest in spend all their free time writing your name of their pencil cases. You sleep with some people you shouldn't and at least once you will turn down someone you really wish you hadn't.
You'll probably do some very silly things in cars at this point, but if you survive them without dying you'll never do them again.
21 - 27 : The age of seriousness People stop having fun at this age, or some people do. Jobs become careers and apparently normal types will suddenly only want to talk about mortgages and what happened to their kitchen. You will be invited to dinner parties, once will be enough, and then never vow to go again. A dinner party is an event where a whole load of people sit around a table and only the most boring is allowed to talk.
Fortunately by this age most women have realised that berks aren't worth dating and so now will like you if you are nice to them which makes attracting the ones you really like a bit more logical. Girls will start decide that hanging around and having a lovely time isn't enough and will want to know 'where things are going' and make vague comments relating to children. Some of your best male friends will all but cease to exist due to having kids, you probably won't seem them for at least ten years. On the plus side weddings are excellent fun (provided it's not your one), it costs less to insure cars and tailors start to take you seriously.
To be continued (in about ten years time I reckon)
I've spent a whole weekend in London. The trip that wasn't supposed to happen, turned into a day which turned into a weekend which has turned into 'a few days'. It's Monday and I'm still here.
It seems that the lure of London is too strong for me, I really should be attending more social engagements but instead I have to slope off back to Devon because I'm rapidly running out of clothes. It's been a funny jolly back to London with the Hitchcock Blonde, we went to a gig (the band were awful, but the venue was amazing) ate dim-sum, looked at art and went for walks in the park and kicked leaves while trying to push each other into trees.
Well that last bit makes a bit more sense if you were there.
I'm in London today, I didn't plan to be but well I'm here. I'm only supposed to be here for a single day but I've brought clothes for a few days, and some semi-formal shoes. You know, a chap should be prepared for any sort of emergency especially one that requires brogues.
I'm trying to finish off one of the projects I've been working on, if I can do that it would be spiffing. So with that in mind I'm going to go back to working on it.
I'm a big fan of vintage stuff. Modern fashion leaves me rather cold, or at least I feel it's got a bit tired. The thing is clothes get interesting when something non-fashion related gets chucked into the mix like new material that lets you do things you couldn't do before or if something that requires specialist clothes catches a designers eye.
If you think about it most clothes, especially for chaps, have a route somewhere in a sport or failing that war, jackets tend to have echos of something else. The humble leather jacket comes from motorbikes which in turn was born out of pilots in world war 2. It's all like a clothing evolution.
When there isn't this injection of something new to freshen up the mix we are battered with a tired combination of 'tartan is back' and 'bright colours in the summer' and so on. Which is what we are in now. Boring boring boring.
Where am I going with this? I'm not sure really. I think I had a point, but it was lost in the second cup of coffee when I got distracted by a goose.
Isn't the seaside lovely eh? Bracing fresh air, all the rocks you can throw and lots of lovely salty water. We went for a Sunday trip to the beach for a walk, it was delightful and actually rather warm. I didn't go swimming as that would be silly, but the amble along the shore was jolly pleasant.
We played the now almost traditional game of silly questions. I asked my little brother if a talking fish dragged itself out of the water and said 'kill me' would he do it?
Debate raged for ages, to only be usurped by a even fiercer battle over which was the best flavour of ice-cream which in turn was replaced by a slightly more bizarre debate over which colour of ice cream was the best indicator of a pleasant taste. Yellow seemed to do well, but brown gave a strong showing and so did purple. By the end of the walk the matter still wasn't settled.
I was going to apologise about the slightly ranty outburst yesterday but after finding out more about what this evil woman has done I feel it was entirely justified. Let me just say that yet again, I was shocked by how unpleasant that woman is. Anyway, I shall never have to deal with her again so that is the end of the matter.
In other news I'm waiting on cheques, very over due cheques. Massively overdue cheques. It's a good deal I'm home at the moment because otherwise I'd be surviving on a diet of crickets and my own body hair.
I've finally got my inheritance from the second wife, I also managed to get my little brothers inheritance collected at the same time. Which now means the evil witch of a women who had such a negative affect on my life can now completely and utterly bugger off.
The Hitchcock Blonde and I have been stepping out together quite a lot. My chums has suspected as much for a while but it was officially confirmed a week or so go.
I expected my chums to be pleased but what caught me slightly off guard was the rave reviews the Hitchcock Blonde got. I've never been out with someone so approved of, perhaps I should try and get the Hitchcock Blonde to run for office? Or maybe my friends are just taken back by me seeing someone who is just lovely.
Either way I'm going to have to change my stand-up routine, hmm.
Well the toe is dewonking on it's own so that is good. I've been going for gentle walks with it protesting mildly but it is starting to relent. I think that the wonkeons disperse as I walk along through a process known as Wonkmosis*.
It's still a bit wonky but far more manageable which is excellent as a wonky toe would reduce the amount of fun I can have. I'm always amazed how little I wonk myself up while doing dangerous things for work and yet manage to build up dangerous levels of wonk to the point of injury during normal life. By the way the process of increasing your wonk levels is now known as Wonkosynthesis.
I'm working on a piece about cars today, classic cars. Hurrah for writing about subjects you don't know really quite enough about. Luckily I used to be quite into aged cars, so I've had to dig out some old books and re-read them, it's amazing the things you forget, isn't it?
Aside from that I've not got much else to report, my wonky toe is still wonky but perhaps slightly less wonky than yesterday. I'm not sure how one scientifically measures wonk? With a Wonkometer I assume, or perhaps a wonkoscope? What are the units of wonk? Does one talk about wonkograms? Wonkatude Or Kilowonks?
It is amazing how often I pick up injuries. For example, just yesterday I managed to do something awful to my toe (it might be broken, how does one tell?) and mildly injure my knee. I also have a mark on my head, although that seems mostly cosmic. The cause of these injuries, well lets just say that I lost consciousness for a while and leave it at that.
As side from the injuries it was an excellent weekend, The Hitchcock Blonde was down in the West Country for a few days and so we went for walks, ate far too much and sat in front of log fires with books. We also played billiards, a sport which I am terrible at. Actually it's beyond that I'm absolutely awful but during an evening of furious drinking I seem to have got pretty good suddenly. I'm not sure if it was the slightly out of date banana beer or the blow to my head but now I'm not bad.
Perhaps I should inform the Olympic committee so they can introduce head injuries and out of date novelty drinks into their training regimes?
Well my birthday is rattling around again. I'm not quite sure what to do for it. It's a vaguely significant birthday because, well to put it bluntly the last year has been a pretty rubbish one. Oh there were some good bits, don't get me wrong but in balance I think it was one to skip - I think all the fun bits can be condensed into a week that would mostly involve motorbikes, spiderman costumes and Hitchcock Blondes.
So yes, hopefully this age will be over. I think I should have known that it was going to be slighty iffy when my birthday came around.
I'd not had a birthday with a girlfriend, well for a terribly long time so I had no idea what to expect. Actually, thinking about it before then I'd always been single for birthdays. If you are a regular reader you will know that I was in quite a serious relationship at the time, we were living together and everything.
For my birthday I got a kebab. Yes a kebab, a chicken kebab to be exact. Now I wasn't expecting anything huge but something a bit more significant that a meat-based snack would have been, well nice. It wasn't even a sit down meal, we went to a kebab shop.
Days or so later that my girlfriend returned from shopping absolutely laden with presents. I mean she could barely hold them all, and I got a little bit excited. No mention was made of the gifts, and after what seemed like hours I politely enquired who they were for and she said she had decided to get some presents for her Aunts just because.
I didn't even get a card until a few days after that and the reason given was 'Well you seemed all grumpy so you didn't deserve it.'
It's not that I wanted a diamond waistcoat or golden pants, I just wanted something with a bit of thought in it that didn't come with a risk of food poisoning.
Still I suppose that at least I won't have to try hard to improve on it. I mean the bar has been set very low.
Tall, slightly too well dressed and in command of some excellent brogues.
I'm a fop, a dandy, a cad and a rake. Often tempted, rarely accused, never caught.
When faced with trouble I always ask myself 'What would Flashman do?'