Don’t Think Twice

 

Here’s what I think is a great recent cover of my favourite Bob Dylan song, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright. It was already the ultimate singalong song for me- the lyrics flow so smoothly, rhymes everywhere, and it’s a great wish-fulfillment character- some world-weary cowboy type guy whose ‘precious time’ has been wasted in this relationship. Life has just done gone and disappointed him once again and he has a whole song’s worth of excellent withering shit to say to this imaginary nogoodnik woman, before he’s ‘a’ travellin’ on’. The Bob Dylan version already flowed beautifully but this take adds an airy nostalgic guitar sound that fits really well and also more of a driving quality to the chorus bit, which is exciting.

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Spontaneous Human Combustion

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Bedtime Stories.”

What was your favorite book as a child?

Anything macabre was good with me, I’m remembering. Yes, macabre. I like that word and I’m sticking with it. Macabre covers ‘scary’ but also the likes of Roald Dahl’s collection of otherworldly tales, such as the one about the poker player who goes to India to train with a reclusive yogi to see through cards and ultimately also levitate, which I loved. He fears his wayward use of the clairvoyant power will result in his death, which indeed it may have, you discover at the end. ‘The Book of the Unexplained’ was another- it was a big encyclopedia-sized hardcover thing, hundreds of pages thick, crammed with text and black and white photos. How it got to be in the house was a mystery to me. It was just there, downstairs in the little study room. There was no telling where it had come from as far as I was concerned. That made for a great experience reading it. One image in particular really spooked me- a small, grainy photo of a living room. You had to hold your face close to the book to make out the detail- but there on the carpet, in front of an electric fire, lay a pair of stocking-ed human lower legs- all that remained of an isolated pensioner who had spontaneously combusted.


Not an Adult

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Isn’t Your Face Red.”

When was the last time you were embarrassed? How do you react to embarrassment?

I’m embarrassed by myself a lot. It’s something I’d like to get under control. It’s often when I’m trying to avoid potential embarrassment that I really embarrass myself. For instance refusing to turn and face my friend head-on in the open plan showers after squash, week after week, unmentioned by both of us, for a whole year in 2010. I’d either get undressed quickly and duck round a merciful corner in the shower room before anyone else could get to that one, or shower with my arse to the room then hurry back to my towel. I’m fine, Joe Average, in that department- if what I read on the internet and what I’ve been told is correct. But Goddamn if I’m not a grower at times. I suppose that was pathetic though. I failed that test of my mettle that men, but not women for some reason, have to deal with in terms of how changing rooms are laid out. Failed it big time. Not an adult, for all to see. That friend is back visiting just now and he’s not so ready with the text messages any more, despite us being the closest of friends back in the day. The memory of that changing-room debacle has stopped me in my tracks several times today, where all I can do is just gasp ‘Oh God’.

Viva Forever

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”

I can’t recall ever having a pleasant dream. My dreams are always fraught these days. I would guess the reason for this is the fact that I’m missing important shit from my life, like fulfilling work, love and sex. Any one of those sorted and I’d probably sleep well again. The hour before my alarm goes off is the worst for demented dreaming. This morning it was a woman and me exchanging videos of her having sex. Only she was visible in the videos, looming over a low angle camera pointing upwards. I’d send her one and say ‘you’, then she’d send me one back saying ‘me’. But overshadowing it all was this terrible feeling that she was in fact a transexual man. (I’ve had transexuality on the brain lately. I think it’s having a moment) Then the alarm on my phone kicked in. It couldn’t tune radio 4 this morning so it went to its second option, some European pop station I had decided on at random, to broaden my horizons. Viva Forever by the Spice Girls was playing. What a tune, with sporty spice echoing back each line of the chorus in her silly Liverpool accent. I lay there listening, in that adrenaline pumping yet physically exhausted state of discomfort that I’m always waking to lately.

Rested and ready for the day

Rested and ready for the day

 

 

 

Kitchen Cupboard

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I thought for a bit of fun I’d do a post on the contents of my kitchen cupboard. Pretty pathetic, but I never claimed to be Ernest fucking Hemingway.

There’s some Uncle Ben’s boil in the bag rice at the top left. Uncle Ben is operating at the very top of his game right now. This stuff is amazing, much better than the own-brand alternative. Easily worth the extra pound.

Lots of tuna next to that. Lovely tuna, chicken of the sea. For lunch mostly.

Noodles, penne and linguine packs next. About the only proper meal I cook at the minute involves the noodles. Noodles with prawns and ginger and chilli’s. I used to use a lot of those stir in sauce tubs sitting in front of the pasta. Less so these days. What even is it? They just sit there at room temperature and don’t go off for a year. I’m suspicious of them now.

Below is a box of some ‘light’ popcorn, because I’m a complete woman. I’ve actually struggled with popcorn a bit since the scene in Arachnophobia where the big ignoramus couple sit down in their dressing gowns with a bowl of popcorn to watch Jeopardy, and as the guy dunks his hand in the bowl, with his eyes glued to the tv, a little black spider emerges from below the top layer to deliver it’s lethal bite. It’s just the spider being about the same weight and shape as a bit of popcorn that’s so shudder inducing to me.

Going left there’s some more tuna, then beans and some bargain tinned dinners for when I really can’t be bothered. Chicken Jalfrize and tinned meatballs. Pretty shameful. I have some chickpeas back there too. I got excited about chickpeas a couple of years ago but I’m over it.

On the bottom shelf there’s some bread sitting on top of some own-brand fruit and fiber cereal. The cereal has no fruit in it whatsoever! It’s just bran flakes. I put my hand in and scooped right to the bottom and all. I’m tempted to write a letter of complaint. I’ll have to get Kellogg’s next time, but that shit is seriously expensive. The bread sitting on top is this Northern Ireland’s own thing. It’s extremely doughy, like 200 calories a slice. It’s a real treat but as with the pasta sauce I’m wary.

The box with the green side is sea salt. Huge great shards of it. It’s great. You can almost eat it by itself. Then some vinegar next to that. I originally bought that vinegar to add to the bucket to mop my floor. The whole flat stank of vinegar for several days, so I’ve reverted to classic vinegar use- strictly food.

There are some spices and stuff next, renaissance man that I am. I’d very much recommend the coffee there- Nescafe Azera. It’s rich and creamy ‘barista style’ instant coffee. It’s fantastic. Who cares about coffee machines and what have you. Instant coffee would have blown your mind a few centuries ago. I’m happy enough with it. The white containers are some supplements for my joints- fish oil and ‘glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin’. Absolute bullshit. Do nothing in all likelihood. Rarely remember to take them. I sometimes leave them on the worktop to remind myself but if anyone is coming they go back in the cupboard, so it doesn’t look like a convalescent home.

 

Needs Fixin

gut

This is me and a survey of my weird gut across five photos. I think the endless amount of squat I’ve been doing this year has given me a stronger stomach, as squat does (because it calls on the stomach), but it’s also made it protrude. I’ve looked it up and big time weightlifters call this a turtle-shell stomach. As a skinny kind of guy I really can’t be dealing with the combo of thin shoulders and a big gut poking out. So I may have to quit squat, which is heartbreaking, because my legs need it and because it’s the only thing I really liked doing anymore in the gym, and I was making good progress with the weight.

In the first photo I’m standing in my normal posture, hunched. I should straighten up, I look better when I do. My damn abdomen feels like it’s sitting about five foot in front of me when I pull my shoulders back though. Plus, although that posture looks normal in the photos, it felt ridiculous pulling it. Even in my hunched posture the stomach is there a bit. Sometimes it’s not there, like in the second photo, depending on when the air is in me I think. But then the third photo shows what can begin to happen, and the fourth photo across is gut armageddon. That just won’t do, even if it happens only now and then. The fifth photo is at the end of exhaling all the air out of me and relaxing completely. It shows I have some fat around there which I was thinking might have been contributing to the whole thing. I’m still not 100% sure what the deal is. The fourth photo suggests there’s some development that happened that isn’t too nice. My plan is to eat really well for a while, do lower ab work and stretching in the gym, and, frustratingly, cut out the squat and abandon my progress there. I’ll try that for three weeks starting today and see how I feel.