The title says it all
As they used to say on Sunday Night at the London Palladium…
Can you come back next week?
The title says it all
As they used to say on Sunday Night at the London Palladium…
Can you come back next week?
Well, it isn’t but I had a tooth out yesterday and don’t feel like blogging today so this is by way of a sick note from me mam, with a random photo of her parents…
Come back next week
“Let’s stop romanticising the misguided, possibly dangerous actions of spurned men.
On Saturday, the Bristol Post reported the story of how a 34-year-old man was intending to play one of the city’s public pianos in order to “win” back his ex girlfriend. Calling the woman who he’d been dating for four months “Rapunzel”, the stunt was intended to show off how much he loved her.
As is fairly typical in these kinds of stories, the Post branded the stunt as romantic, calling Luke Howard “heartbroken”, tagging his efforts as “dedication” in their tweet. However, in refusing to accept his ex girlfriend’s “no”, and by making a huge public statement demanding that she recognises his “love” for her, Howard’s behaviour is not romantic. It’s entitled – and it’s symptomatic of a wider problem of men’s harassment of their exes.
This is not the first time that women have been told to accept men not taking no for an answer as a romantic gesture. From John Cusack’s ghetto blaster in Say Anything… to the best man’s creepy filming of his friend’s bride in Love Actually, the ideal of a heartbroken man harassing the object of his affection has been sold to us as true love over and over again.
But there’s nothing romantic about refusing to accept that a woman has a right to leave you. It’s not a love story when a woman tells a man “no” and he demands she change it to a “yes”.”
[various posts, originating on a site called The Pool, I think]
I find the reactions in some quarters to this poor, suffering sod most upsetting, What mean-minded miserable buggers there are in this world. HAve they never been dumped? Or even loved?
On what basis are people extrapolating shit about ‘entitlement’, and his not accepting her ‘right’ to leave him? It’s a dumbass gesture born of wretchedness, and I’ll agree the guy seems a bit of a wet twerp, but at most it’s a case of pleading, not ‘demanding’. I see no evidence in article or interview of him not ‘accepting her right’, but he seems to be trying to exercise his own right of appeal (not very appealingly, it must be said). And unless the poor lass lives near the piano or he’s lugging around wherever she goes, he’s hardly ‘harrassing’ her.
Personally, I would support a policy of summary execution for anyone who dumps their partner without good demonstrable cause (though not after such a short relationship as his with ‘Rapunzel’, and with the proviso that the dumpee has to agree to it — and that after a cooling-off period). If I stabbed someone I could cause them extreme pain and some possible impairment, and I would quite rightly be castigated and punished for it, but the wounds would heal in short order, and life continue much as it was. Dumping someone who loves you can cause at least as much anguish, physical pain, and even seriously increase their risk of heart failure, leaving internal scars that time does little more than stick plasters over, and which make successive relationships harder to hold down; but the law doesn’t even get involved unless the sufferer acts unreasonably and illegally. Even then the victim gets all the blame and deprecation, rather than any support or help.
Theologists used to say (maybe still do) that the greatest sin is to break a vow. If free will is the main gift of the deity, we take a great step by surrendering it to a promise. So the greatest insult to said deity is to throw the gift back in Her face by breaking our word. And the same people who demand (and they are demanding) that guys simply accept the pain of being dumped are usually those who bemoan the lack of commitment shown by so many blokes these days. I have heard someone say that their vow to stay for better for worse, ‘didn’t include if it made me miserable’. For fuck’s sake, it’s no vow if you’re only saying ‘I promise to stay as long as it makes me happy’! And anyway, statistics show that a great many dumpers come to regret it later, by which times. I’d be the last to say ‘suck it up’ about any misery it does cause, but to cause even more misery to get out of it is morally no better than stealing to solve your cash flow problems.
But like I say, the guy seems to be making a prize pranny of himself. Stephen Pinker suggested that the irrational actions of the rejected have evolved to make the rejectee scared and more likely to stay around out of physical fear. I rather think they’re there to ensure the separation. Grand romantic gestures, and all the other things that a man or woman will do when scrabbling with bleeding fingertips to cling onto a crumbling cliff, do little more than make us look complete twats that no one could possibly love. That will kill any tendency to guilt feelings in the dumper, so they can go off and mate with some fresh supplier of eggs or sperm. Life, eh?
crippling headache and photophobia
going back to bed
service may resume next week, if i’m still alive
here’s some tall ships in Cádiz harbour
Must to my club just now. Picture on display in the new group show. May be back late. This post just a placeholder. Something may replace it soon.
Or not. Can’t show the picture for rather silly personal reasons.
Addendumb: I’m trying to set up a form at my website to do a questionnaire for a chum. It’s quite a learning curve. What you see there is not yet in the form of a form. The answers are dummies (as I think is rather obvious from the content). It’s taking up my spare time so blogging is on hold.
I was gonna write summat wuzn’t I?
Maybe I should just copy and paste some of the bonehead spam mail I get on here, but any wordpresser will no doubt get the same.
I still smile when a post congratulates me on the ‘useful info’ in my posts on ‘this subject’, when the post is a pome, a pic or a short story with about as much info as a Microsoft User Guide.
I don’t even care what the ones in Japanese say.
But it’s been a busy ol’ day, still cataloguing the SPA portrait entries and I’ve bought a wee desk to turn my bedroom into an office/sleeping quarters for my wee Chinese houseguest in August.
And that, said John, for now, is that.
I can’t do it.
I had planned to present you, dear reader, with a more serious and carefully argued essay on the question of democracy, as it has been shown up and misused in the sadly post-Brexit and hopefully not pre-Trump window. Its tag line was going to be the idea that ‘democratic’ seems to be defined as ‘the result I wanted’.
Notes had been scribbled and juggled and some progress made on pulling the themes into a brief and coherent piece.
But a week and a half ago I feared I was possibly terminally ill (or at least terminally hypochondriac and in fear, as was Sharon in Kath & Kim, of being put on a broad-spectrum placebo), then the tests came back and I got a stay of liberation and now, just as I’m ready to be creative and even argumentative again, I get the second rhinovirus in as many months.
My nose is full of runny snot, my eyes of achy pain and my brane of sludgy soup; my knees are achy-wibbly and my left buttock has gone off for a holiday in the Bahamas, despite or perhaps because of the rest of me not having a passeportout. And the sneezing has got the pain under the rib which may have been the stones of gall niggling again. And the fambly comes to visit at the weekend.
So next week, then. Democracy. Or something else.
Bed and generic lemon-flavoured paracetemol drink.
It’s taken half a century, but I finally woke up and smelled the coffee. Or, perhaps more accurately, I admitted to having been lying, half-awake, with the smell of coffee going stewed in my nostrils for bloody ages. Not that I’ve risen; certainly not shone.
Looking back along my life at my lack of success, it occurred to me that I have been successful in only one thing: I have managed to bring hitherto unknown depths of meaning to the phrase, ‘abject failure’.
At this point, I must point something out. Even though it will look very much like it, what follows is not an exercise in self-pity; even less is it about self-loathing. This will all be explained in its proper place, towards the end. Indeed, it shouldn’t be said here, but the beast is growing into one tiresomely long read (despite the scintillating prose). And, if what I have to say below is remotely correct, there will only be about six people who commence reading it and few if any who stay with it to the end. Low Life, Jeffrey Bernard’s legendary Spectator column, was once described as ‘a suicide note, written in instalments’; despite the reference in the title, this is not intended to be read as such. It’s a dispassionate analysis of my astounding failures, written from a standpoint of benign indifference to self, borrowed from Buddhist thought and strained through the sieve of Zen Nihilism. And I, for one, find it all rather amusing.
So those who do read on should bear that in mind and let themselves be amused by my sardonic wit, without worrying about whether sympathy or contempt are relevant. As you were …
Not only have I lived over sixty years without learning to swim, skate, ski or dance — my shoulder reminds me that even walking without falling over is far from fully mastered — but more complex, though extremely commonplace skills, like driving or playing more than a few coherent notes on a musical instrument, have also eluded me (as for singing, you’d be advised against asking for a sample). It’s true that my efforts in these areas have, for various excuses, been half-hearted — when I’ve had the nerve to try in the first place — but discouragement comes easily, and the first hurdle always appears like a very high wall. With spikes on.
On top of (or perhaps underlying) all that, my basic interpersonal skills have never been great. I have few people I’d really call friends; friends to the extent that I’d have the confidence to ring them up and suggest going for a drink. Throughout my existence, the few who have come close have been, like myself, drawn from the (scattered) ranks of the outsiders, and I fear we all share a tendency to latch on to other hopeless, lonesome cases, as least likely to bugger off at the slightest excuse. The three intimate relationships I have managed to hold down for any length of time have shown themselves to be hollow shams, each time my drained victim summons up the energy and determination to escape. To nick a line from Ken Dodd, a relationship with me is at least an educational experience: I know, because, as they stagger away, I can hear them saying, Well, that taught me a lesson!
Perhaps I have the misfortune to be that rare creature, a convivial geek, with just a few criant hues from the autistic spectrum disturbing the pastel harmony of the bigger picture. Unlike many with similar personality issues, I enjoy and seek out the company of my fellow humans. This is rarely reciprocated. I probably come across too eager, and maybe even too eloquent or confident (hah!), even arrogant, as I talk too much, too elaborately and too fast, as a result of crushing nerves and insecurity. My fear of leaving a silence in which people have time to think what a prat I am, just leads to me providing more evidence for that conclusion. This is of course self-reinforcing. The more I fail, the more I fear, the more I reinforce the causes of my failure.
Any initial fascination and delight at my elegantly witty discourse is soon replaced by the oppressive tedium of my repetitive rodomontade (he said, by way of demonstration). My anecdotes may (or may not) be amusing and relevant, but they are few and oft-repeated.
I know. It’s easy to say Don’t do it, then; I know that as I sit and type this, I even know it while I’m prattling on and my victim’s eyes are glazing over. I lack the tools with which to fix it on the fly.
I’m sure I have improved a bit from the gawky, geeky teen and awkward student. I was never by any means the living proof that you can tell an outgoing computer guy because he stares at your shoes while he’s talking to you. What I seem to be is a demonstration that not socialising with the more withdrawn ones is no great loss. I often think the reclusive are just too scared to seek the company they so long for; it’s nice that my life can act as a proof that they were right not to risk it. Add to that my innate suspicion of the virtues of ‘refinement’, which leads me to make deliberate but ill-considered interjections of a crass nature during polite conversation, and the recipe for disaster is almost fully assembled.
I often muse what might have been if someone back in the day had taken me aside and given me some hints as to where I was going wrong. As it is, no doubt, they were all too busy taking each other aside and saying, Just ignore him, he’s a twat who never stops blethering.
I’ve often envisaged my life as being a rather dull or irritating party, at which I feel totally left out by those who are enjoying it. But, much as I’d like to leave, to trudge home for a good sob over a late night slice of toast, I know that as soon as I leave it will get interesting. I have been to so many of those, no imagination is required. As a student, I lost count of the number of bashes where, bored of putting the world to rights in the kitchen, I sloped off before the night bus turned into a pumpkin, only to hear subsequent tales of folks who’d stripped off and hung out the window, or the rock or footie star who’d turned up at three. So I have this anxiety that I’ll leave life just as it gets interesting — or even as people start appreciating me, a bit like Mr van Gogh.
Maybe it ties into never learning to swim. Which may in turn be down to the sunken chest (or pectus excavatum, to give it a name less prone to pirate jokes). My memories of childhood visits to the swimming baths are the stuff of which ptsd is made. I try in vain to avoid the pun, but kids are cruel and (yes, here it comes) ribbed me mercilessly over it. But they also jeered and kicked out at me when attempts to slide along an icy path or stay upright on roller skates inevitably led to me shooting along flat on my back.
But I have often felt, at any gathering, like I did on rare visits to pools with contemporaries from school or office. Making some lame excuse, I go and sit in the spectators’ area, feeling far more alone than if I’d been alone, at the bottom of a deep pit, with a sign on the wall telling me there was no one around for thirty-four miles. On the rare occasion that someone looks across at me, maybe even mouthing, ‘are you OK?’, I attempt a convincing smile. Looking back through sardonic-romantic spectacles, it seems that ‘convincing’ is a less appropriate word than ‘wan’.
On the other hand, I have never been shut in a glass case in a darkened funfair. So that metaphor, the one in which I’m one of those old fashioned mechanical clowns — who rotates, clutching his belly and howling with laughter, when anyone puts an old penny piece in his waiting slot, but then is left alone in the dark when all the real humans have gone home — is just an example of a rather excessive and perhaps unhealthy level of empathy (I see on ebay that for a mere five grand I could own a laughing policeman; maybe I should collect them — at least I’d have someone to talk to: someone who’d always laugh, too). It’s more pathetic than empathic — I always found playing Monopoly painful, because I couldn’t place a plush red hotel on a street without agonising about all the little green householders I’d just made homeless.
But there I am, as I make my way home after a gathering at which I have managed to bring laughter or interesting ideas to the lives of others, with my poems or thoughts on life, love and art. I’m ignored and forgotten, just like the robotic clown, but lonely and tearful, which I have to keep reminding myself the machine probably isn’t. Something about me says to people, that was fun, but let’s leave it at that; after all, when we stop perceiving him, he stops existing.
Yes, that could just be lack of self-confidence. A self-fulfilling trait. So sure that no one would really want my company, I never make the first move, always wait to be invited. And sometimes this does happen. And perhaps, just perhaps, sometimes they are disappointed that I haven’t reciprocated, mistaking for indifference or simple rudery my insecurity, which borders on terror of annoying or embarrassing them with unwanted invitations.
But, if you consider what the evidence seems to be from here, it may be an understandable stance (can a stance be stood under?). Not only were invitations to parties rare, but attendance at any I held was all but non-existent. From my first days in a job and a house of my own, until the mid Eighties, I gave a number of parties to which many colleagues said they ‘might’ or ‘would probably’ come, and to which none turned up. I tell a lie, one person did arrive, very late one evening, and, despite the evidence of a table still groaning with food and unopened bottles of booze, asked, Oh – has everyone gone already?
Did I give up? No. I get knocked down, but I try again, from a supine position.
I suppose I could have blamed the wife (yes, somehow I had one for a while), but evidence either side of my married life suggested I was the main cause. However, I did find that if I invited people to a ‘Guy Fawkes’ or a ‘Burns Night’ party, it was as if they didn’t realise it was also a ‘Dai Lowe’ party. I didn’t even spot anyone leaving when they realised the eponymous host wasn’t actually alive, much less in attendance. So that was some small improvement in my social life, if not my ego.
Let’s take a break now, for a good cry, and return to battering the remains of that ego in the next instalment. Don’t worry about reading it; nobody else will be.