Monday, 25 July 2011
Found it difficult to concentrate in the library today, too many distractions. There was a moment when it appeared there was a child bouncing on a trampoline but on closer examination it was a hairy Spanish student perched on the edge of a swivel chair, nursing a nervous muscle disorder in both calves. To his right sat a 70 year old, signed into someone’s Facebook account (could have been his own I suppose), but the details were masked with hunched shoulders, effectively smothering the monitor.
I had earlier left the cinema having been exposed to yet another Harry Potter and the first question I ask is am I the only person that hasn’t been taken in by this hype? There are many things that piss me off about Harry Potter, for a start there’s the whole twig-waving thing. If these wands were used to cast an incidental spell, then I could live with that, but they are used to create vast nuclear blasts. At least with The Lord of the Rings you get to see swords, bows, crossbows and arm to arm combat with believable villains and heroes who are not obsessed with their looks and their passage through puberty.
Then there’s the name itself, Harry Potter, there, it happened again, I cringed, every time there’s a need to type out those 11 letters I involuntarily cringe and why the long titles? They are annoying. Movie titles should be 2 to 3 words long, so you can bring them into conversation, like I went to see The Godfather last night, and yeah it was amazing, the thought of bringing the whole title of HP7 into conversation makes me want to vomit.
There’s also something quite irritating about Daniel Ratcliffe, it’s probably just the face, it’s the kind of face that attracts playground bullies with some ease; it’s the smugness, the goodness and the stiffness. It’s partly due also to Rowling’s plodding style of writing, yes I have read extracts in Waterstone’s, half-tempted to buy one of her earlier novels, just to see what all the hype was about, but it never got to the purchase stage. This plodding style is also evident in the Grint and Watson characters, which are nearly as irritating as Ratcliffe’s. I suppose I’m really trying to say that Harry Potter makes me sick.
The masses have been duped by the hype. I’m good at playing the hype game, I have an Iphone and a MacBook Pro and provide unpaid publicity for the Apple Corporation whenever the opportunity presents. You could scribble ‘fuck off wankers’ on the big screen and adult Harry Potter fans would still lap it up. Anyway why are we so obsessed with self-pitying children? We are being dummed down by dross. I’ll say it again because it feels good and it neutralises the cringe feeling, Harry Potter is shit. But Harry Potter (see, I just cringed again) is typical of the trend towards our culture of regressing adults back into children, and in doing so exploiting their purchasing potential. I’ve also heard adults at work talking about finishing a whole Harry Potter novel in a weekend, well so what? It’s a fucking children’s novel you morons!
Sunday, 24 July 2011
Felt inspired today, uplifted almost, swum a brisk 14 lengths in the local pool earlier before marching to the library. On the way picked up a cheese scone, prawn sandwich and some unsalted nuts, and I had an idea for a novel I wanted to flesh out. When I arrived I was disappointed to find most of the study desks were taken so I had to settle for a spot opposite the public toilet, munching into a prawn sandwich was not going to be an option, for a while at least. Vagrants use the public library toilet as well as toddlers and airport passengers stranded overnight. The toilet also boasts a permanently soggy towel and the toilet tissue is clamped so tight in its dispenser you struggle to extract one sheet unscathed at a time. Today Josef sat opposite me, to the right, he waved but I chose to ignore him, I need to start making it clear to him, and to me, that we are not friends. Besides, he was engrossed in a Japanese samurai slasher movie with plenty of gore and subtitles, whilst still playing backgammon and decimating a packet of stale, party size sausage rolls, stolen no doubt from the local Sainsbury’s.
I felt inspiration draining away as I stared at blank paper. My desperation was complete when I felt an earth tremor. Something had landed onto the chair and desk next to me. Hesitantly, I ripped out The Smashing Pumpkins from my ears and slowly twisted to take my first look at this monstrosity. I started from the feet, hobbit feet, without the hair, they were certainly flat and bloated, probably due to a water retention-related illness, then worked up. It’s knee, the one nearest to me, was scared, evidence of a recent operation and the thighs were designed to double up as shock absorbers. The thighs also resembled cured Parma ham joints, covered in a pair of yellow shorts. A grey T-shirt, stretched to capacity, failed to contain breasts and a stomach from spilling out. Perspiring heavily it snapped open a miniature notebook with sausage-like fingers and proceeded to settle. It was evident that he had recently enrolled on a distance-learning course, the end result being a Certificate in Rugby Coaching Level 3. His physique also suggested that he had a history of nestling his head and trunk between the buttocks of other rugby players. I then made the fatal mistake of assuming he was taking out his textbook, notebook, pen, pencil and calculator to study rugby coaching but I was mistaken. Within minutes he was logged onto Facebook and chatting to someone called Scarlett Princess, to discover the content of the chat I needed to have got a lot closer, this would have attracted unwanted attention. The Supremes’ ‘Baby Love’ shattered my concentration by breaking through onto the Fat Rugby Coach’s mobile, he fumbled around for a while, eventually locating the mobile, secreted between folds of fat somewhere between thigh and belly. He began to convince his ‘darling’ not to bother meeting him in the library because he ‘still had loads to do’, advised her to do the shopping, then pick up the kids from Gemma’s before picking him up at 4, it was barely 1 o’clock now, but she fell for it. Satisfied with a job well done, he left his Blackberry out, by his notebook, this time prepared for any further intrusions from Diana Ross and carried on chatting to Scarlett Princess. If only I could have got through to ‘darling’, maybe I could have encouraged her to sneak into the library, yep, that would certainly have made for an entertaining interaction.
Some people have no inhibitions, especially in public spaces like a library, a place for quiet study and personal reflection. Right now there is a demented mother attempting to teach her six year old child the 3 times table, I kid you not. This child has lots of potential. He rebels against the banality of the 3 times table, taking the mother on at her own game (I discover that the child’s name is Oscar! Oscar for fuck’s sake!), and starts to count confidently, from 1 to 10, only missing out on 6, 8 and 9.
With Oscar and mother safely away from the library a psychopathic lunatic takes centre stage. Mr Matthew Carlton approaches the information desk where he announces that he has lost his library card. It soon transpires that he lost this card whilst living and working in Swansea, and then, after some confusion, it is established that the card, if ever found, could only be used again in the Swansea library, it is clear enough for me, but not so for Matthew Carlton who still wanted the card replaced, immediately. The Library Assistant, demonstrating incredible patience, for I would have spat at Matthew Carlton by now, managed to sit him down, calming him slightly. Matthew Carlton was happy enough to chat about his work as a Credit Controller for a factory in Swansea and about his brother who was recovering from a recent knee operation in Addenbrookes Hospital, but panicked when asked about his current address, what did this man have to hide? Or was he just extremely paranoid or was he indeed his own brother? Unlikely. Carlton continued in this vein, haranguing the Library Assistant and insisting that a phone call be put through to the Swansea library, to verify his details, it would not have surprised me in the least if the library in Swansea were able to verify that it was indeed the same Mr Carlton. Fifteen minutes later Matthew Carlton had managed to negotiate thirty minutes of free Internet time on one of the computers. I suppose everyone’s likely to give in to the demands of a Lecter-type psychopath, eventually.
My writing has stalled due to a bizarre conversation currently taking place behind the dividing wall that separates a row of computers and the study area in the library. Two women, I’m guessing well into their sixties were both witnesses to a particularly grizzly road accident in the town centre several days ago. They seemed to be both scoring points off each other, one having a better view because she was closer to the kerb whilst the other had an even better view of the blood from were she was standing. The conversation was miraculously halted by the Library Assistant who asked them to quieten down but was unaware that they had broken the key rule of library stewardship and will certainly be dismissed tomorrow morning. This is a library for fuck’s sake, you are allowed to make as much noise as you wish, unless you are me and happen to be playing loud music through headphones and then you are submitted to an embarrassing assault from a platoon of Library Assistants, all intent on reminding me this is a library, and that I had ten seconds to shut the fuck up or else.
For those of you who are remotely interested, the road accident did indeed take place. I witnessed it, I was walking by after returning from Caffe Nero, and I could see two feet from under a blanket, and yes there appeared to be lots of blood on the tarmac, but unlike the two old women, I had a shit view.
Sitting back comfortably I had earlier looked around the library thinking that, even with Josef playing backgammon with some random inmate from a Romanian labour camp, the atmosphere seemed calm and serene. There was a healthy blend of Ebaying, Facebooking and some good old-fashioned studying. Then Josef spoilt it all. From his holdall, which doubled up for a Tardis, he pulled out a popcorn bucket and proceeded to pour popcorn kernels into his Romanian gob. I was mildly surprised his infected gums and missing molars could cope with the incessant crunching. A Portuguese student sent me an alarming glare, but then had the good sense to wrap her headphones hurriedly around her face. The rattling in the bucket continued. At one stage the bucket had completely enveloped his head in his desperate search for the final few kernels. I know that he is skint, and there is no way he would pay to see a movie at Empire Cinemas, let alone purchase overpriced popcorn, how do I know? Well trust me, I know. I imagined that Josef, scavenging for food the previous night, found the bucket secreted beneath an assortment of shit in a bin outside the cinema. If only I could bundle Josef into a microwave oven, set to maximum nuclear blast and then watch, entirely satisfied, as those kernels started to blast out of his gob and arsehole!
Friday, 15 July 2011
Made a vow today (9 May) never to go on a National Express coach again, even if bargain bucket special offers continue to be thrown at me. My arse and back are so sore now I can barely sit on the lavatory and fart. A cheap 2 hour journey from London Victoria to Stansted Airport turned into almost a 4 hour journey with an accident in Golders Green then again, more serious this time, on the M25. If I could have slept then the inconvenience may have been bearable, but throughout the entire journey I was sandwiched between a peanut crunching monster and a manic photographer.
Behind me sat a fat German who worked his way through several sacks of dry roasted nuts and believe me there is no worse a stench than the breath of a German who has devoured countless dry roasted nuts, I should add that the coach was overflowing, there was nowhere to escape.
In front of me sat a plump and excitable Japanese woman in her mid-twenties who held in her hands a complex-looking camera with an enormous lens, the type you see behind the goals at football matches. The problem was not the camera as such, It was more to do with the woman’s obsession with snapping at anything that moved, in fact she snapped at anything a sane human being wouldn’t dream of snapping at. She was demented. She snapped several times at a row of terraced houses in Golders Green, had she never seen a house before? Her bouncing around must have annoyed her friend, who was motionless for the entire journey.
She snapped her hands, her face and at the inside of the coach. She snapped at M25 darkness, several times, she also snapped at pylons, and at anything and everything and with every snap came an irritating click that appeared to emanate from a micro loudspeaker, followed by an even more irritating whirring sound.
Every so often her friend groaned out something in Japanese, probably something like good god woman has someone let off a firecracker into your arsehole, or something similar. She ignored him of course, as she continued to photograph his features.
Arriving at Stansted Airport, thoroughly exhausted, the manic snapper stood, wobbled along the aisle, and I’m not kidding, carried on snapping along in front of her. If anything her frenzy heightened when she spotted the terminal and continued snapping at the building. As she disappeared behind the automatic doors of the Departures lounge I sparred a thought for the poor bastards who were about to share space in an aeroplane with this complete fruitcake.
Why do Library Assistants allow so much noise to go on without punishment? I mean the level of noise deserves to be challenged with a volley from an AK-47 assault rifle.
The worst offender today (10 May) is a trollop of a young mother with a screeching brat of a daughter. She hops from one computer to another, the mother that is, finding fault in everything. She lacks basic social skills and lacks any kind of IT skills. She is a heathen. Given the choice I would rather go out on a hot date with Josef rather then spend any time alone with this behemoth, but hang on that might be stretching it a bit. She soon manages to convince some poor sod in a yellow T-shirt quietly reading a book on malaria to give her a hand on logging onto Facebook, this man is in his 80s! Maybe she has learning difficulties and I’m being cruel, but right now I don’t care.
Oh Jesus, she has just crouched in front of me revealing the top part of a filthy purple thong. I think I’m going to vomit into an M&S plastic bag. As she stands I get the opportunity to inspect her gut at close quarters, which flops over the top of her jeans. This can only be the effect of recent childbirth, maybe the midwife shoved her afterbirth straight back in, what I do know is that she should have been slaughtered at birth.
She does, after a lot of confusion, manage to log onto Facebook and quickly informs her new friend in a yellow T-shirt that she is going out later and wants to find out where to meet up with her friends in Hertford. If her friends have any sense they will head to Swansea for the weekend and leave this behemoth to roam the back streets of Hertford until the early hours. As I said earlier, she should have been slaughtered at birth.