Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Out in the sticks where 50% of women are inside Range Rovers.



Out in the sticks where 50% of women are inside Range Rovers, I followed the deer down the gravel driveway to the barn conversion where the new faux-modernist chrome-plated garden sculpture is ‘something a bit different’ and ‘absolutely beautiful to look at’ according to the woman with the ‘glass of something lovely’ in her hand. I lost a fiver around here yesterday, I retraced my steps for about ten minutes but there was no sign of it.

Later, a police dog pissed on my van and a bright red man inside a bright red BMW nearly took my wing mirror as he swerved to avoid some horse shit.

In the village, the grown-up paper-girl in distressed denim passed me in the street. She tucked her phone under her chin and folded a copy of The Sun for her next drop without pausing her conversation, ‘She’s having another baby,’ she said, ‘Royal twats!’ She pushed open the gate with her hip, ‘… Yes, well, if I had a decent job I wouldn’t be doing a paper round, would I?’

I parked my van at the end of another long driveway — in the same place I have every day this week. I opened the door and there, screwed up on the pavement was my fiver.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Kyle’s Always Grabbing My Tits.



“Kyle’s always grabbing my tits,” said the young woman in the too-tight playsuit whose young son had just grabbed her tits.
“I know! Mine too, it really hurts,” said the older woman in the noteworthy trainers, gathering her low maintenance hair into a scrunchie.
And it’s embarrassing,” added the younger one, pushing her unfashionable specs up the bridge of her nose.

The butcher was recommending a cut of pork loin to the thin-lipped elderly woman with the frown and the large black canvas shopping bag. She was wearing a heavy overcoat and a headscarf in spite of the fine weather. He waved a large knife over the display counter, “Those’ll be lovely; tender as a woman’s heart!“ he said.
“I’ll have the sausages,” said the woman.

A boy of about six or seven years old stopped me in the street.
“Do you want to buy this for a pound?” he said, opening his palm to reveal the pebble I’d just seen him pick up from Mr Beever’s driveway.
“What is it?” I asked.
“A pebble” said the boy, rubbing it on his sleeve, “It’s shiny”.
“A pound for a pebble?” I said.
“It’s magic,” said the boy.

I was watching a nuthatch in Hangingstone Road when a thin man in washed-out black passed at dangerously high speed. He was riding a pushbike and trailer with GAY written across the back in large plastic letters. He looked up at me as he shot through the narrow gap between the double parked cars. “Hiya!” he yelled at the top of his voice. The nuthatch flew away.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

I Chased the Cloud Shadows up Over the Moor...



I chased the cloud shadows up over the moor and onto the estate where the men still drive Rovers and wear their hair in elaborate comb-overs that flip up in the wind like busy, beige peddle-bin lids. Wind-assisted lapwings flocked in the field behind the abandoned Renault camper — £500 ono — and the pretend duck by the bin-store ‘quacked’ as I passed. A replica of a basset-hound peered out from the large stone handbag in Mrs Hinchliffe’s alpine rockery, its head bobbing on a spring. People in comfy shoes were restraining small terriers, frying liver and onions, smoking cigs, and scraping fluvial sediment from a storm drain with a butter knife. A man with a bit of dinner on his face was sitting on a collapsible chair outside his conservatory door. He was surrounded by marigolds, begonias, gladioli, Sport For All stickers, a faded Basil Ede print of some ducks, a pile of VHS video cassettes, a dozen or so pretend meerkats, and a miniature wooden wheelbarrow stuffed with pansies and snapdragons. Next door, a ten year old dusty-pink Kia Picanto pulled up and a grey haired man with thick, plastic rimmed reactolite glasses and a three-quarter length beige anorak climbed out. He slammed the door, opened the boot, and unloaded three heavy looking Lidl bags-for-life. He pulled out a small packet of dog biscuits and held it up high to show the man with the dinner on his face who shouted, ’Thanks, Derek!’ and pointed towards the open door of his green plastic shed, ‘Wob us it in there, can you?’

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Under the Overgrown Brambles, Through the Spider’s Webs...



Under the overgrown brambles, through the spider’s webs, past the tethered cat asleep on the lawn at the limit of its chain, to Mr Briggs’ front door.
“Good weekend?” he asked.
“Not so bad, thanks. You?”
“It were all right. We went down The Railway. I said to Robert, ‘Have you any food on?’ He said ‘Yes, we’re doing bacon sandwiches for a pound.’ I said, ‘I’ll have two’. So we had a bacon sandwich each”.
“Very nice” I said.
“Aye, but when I got up to go for a piss they had a bloke on the toilet door trying to charge me 50p because of the Tour de France! The robbing bastards! I said to Robert, ‘You’re not charging me 50p for a piss, I’ve been coming in here thirty-five year.’”
Did he charge you?” I said.
“Did he fuck. Robbing bastard.”

The roofers were listening to Tracey Chapman on their bright yellow, heavy-duty radio while they discussed what a great night-out Brighouse is.
“Aye, I went-out there last weekend. It wasn’t a bad night but I didn’t go out to get rat-arsed” said the younger one, rolling a cigarette.
“Fuck me!” said the older one, “I did! I got absolutely fucking bladdered.”

The occupants of the little Fiat 500 ahead of me at the lights were engaged in some kind of gobbing-out-of-the-window contest. The big man with the moustache in the near-side passenger seat appeared to be winning; he’d landed a large greeny halfway across the pavement outside the doctor's surgery. Two of the beige pensioners in the long line of mainly-beige-with-accents-of-navy pensioners at the bus stop looked on disapprovingly. They started to remonstrate but the wind blew something heavy by Yves St Laurent into the van and I wound-up my window so I didn't hear what they said.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Most Difficult Thing Ever audio extract / new stockists



Two new Manchester stockists of The Most Difficult Thing Ever book/CD:

Magma
22 Oldham Street
Manchester 
M1 1JN

Trouble at Mill
50 Beech Road
Chorlton-cum-Hardy
Manchester
M21 9EG

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Just Down From The Sun Pub Where Elvis Performed Last Night...



Just down from the Sun pub where 'Elvis' performed last night, the man who still has his Christmas decorations up was singing Everly Brothers songs at the top of his voice while he did his ironing with the window open.

Two fifteen year old Vauxhall coupés driven by slack-jawed snapback wearers sped past. The silver metallic one in front hit the speed-bump by the bus stop too quickly and its wide-arch body-kit came off in one piece. The second coupé, a red one, ran over the body kit and smashed it to pieces dragging it up the road for a few hundred yards. The elderly man with the Scottish accent and a spaniel asleep in the basket attached to his walking-frame said, ‘There are some right fucking idiots about’.

On the terrace with more plants in the guttering than in the gardens — next door to the house with the Twix wrapper, the AAA battery, the ear-buds, and the dustpan and brush in the concreted-over yard — a man of about 60, wearing a sweatshirt, jeans, and slippers was sitting on his front step listening to The Eurythmics at very high volume. He occasionally joined in with the chorus between drags on his roll-up.

Out in the sticks, Builders of all ages listen to 80s chart hits all day long and chubby young white men with no socks, beards, tattoos and flat caps say, ‘Thanks, boss’ to the Asian shopkeepers or do some cycling. A man of about 60 with a grey crew-cut-and-rat-tail discusses his Mercedes with another younger Mercedes owner. They both refer to their cars using the pronouns ‘She’ or 'Her'.

Friday, 6 June 2014

I was talking to Mrs Kaur in the shop...



I was talking to Mrs Kaur in the shop, “You know her from number 14?” she said, “Well, every time she comes in here she’s different; one day she’s a goth, one day she’s like, normal, like, white, normal, and then yesterday she came in and she was a bloody muslim!”

In Union Terrace, Mr Coldwell was in his yard trying to spray an old push-bike yellow in the rain. He told me it was for the window display of the florist’s shop on the route of the Tour de France. He was well into his second can of paint but the rain was washing it off as fast as he could spray it on. “I should have waited for a finer day, it looks crap,” he explained. At the house next door, they have finished laying their new plastic lawn and have now embellished it; in one corner stands a plastic statuette of mole wearing a little miner’s helmet and, in the other, a shiny fake plastic dog turd.

In the road, the magpie was squawking hysterically and dive-bombing the fat black cat which eventually hid underneath a Suzuki Vitara for cover. 
Two cars down from the Vitara, the young mum was struggling to load baby equipment around the large custom built speaker system in the boot of the new VW Polo.
A bit further down again, next to the children's playground that the children never play on, a man with a good two-thirds of his arse showing was mending his old Transit Connect. "Can I borrow your drill, Trevor?" he shouted to the man drinking beer in his front garden, "You cheeky bastard!" the man shouted back.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

In Town: On my way into work at 6am, the lank-haired transvestite in the flared capri pants...



In Town:
On my way into work at 6am, the lank-haired transvestite in the flared capri pants and anorak was rolling a cigarette by the bins near the open market, she glanced up as I passed, “It’s a bit wet, pet” she said, sneering up at the weather.

Later, in the suburbs:
Four women in their thirties passed me near the junction box that has been vandalised with the slogan WALTER SCOTT IS A BATTY BOY. They walked two abreast with arms folded tight, the hoods of their bath robes pulled over their heads against the driving rain. The old man whose garden smells of chives was putting out his bins. He saw the women pass and rolled his eyes, blood from a nose bleed congealing thickly on his top lip.
On the corner of the main road out of town, the man with the ear defenders and jackhammer paused to stare at the young Asian woman in the dark glasses and the brand new Porsche Panamera.

Out in the sticks:
The sun has come out and there are dog walkers with ski poles, gaiters and fleece jackets. Only the pony’s head is visible above the sea of yellow in the buttercup field. There are rhododendrons, stripy lawns, BMWs (summer), Range Rovers (winter), and those panelled front doors that look like massive chocolate bars. Queues of men in shorts and T-shirts stand outside the Sandwich Barn, all pumped up torsos and skinny legs, and the old man in full motorcycle racing leathers pulls off his helmet to reveal a somehow immaculate and astonishing 1970s hairdo.

Right out in the sticks:
The sun is out but the cow-parsley lined roads are still littered with leaves and twigs after all the wind and rain; crows scatter as I approach. There are broken Zafiras, Vitaras, ancient Land Rovers, and mucky trainers. There are midges too, and I think I saw a lone oystercatcher down by the reservoir. Puffs of pollen explode from the pine trees and I definitely heard a cuckoo.

Monday, 12 May 2014

On Tuesday, 20th May, I will be reading from The Most Difficult Thing Ever at the Marble Beerhouse.



On Tuesday, 20th May I will be reading from The Most Difficult Thing Ever at the Marble Beerhouse in Chorlton, Manchester as part of the Chorlton Arts Festival. It's a free event and it starts at 7pm.
          There's a Facebook page dedicated to the event here. If you use Facebook or Twitter etc and could spread the details around it would be fantastic — especially if you have Manchester connections. As far as I'm aware, the only person currently intending to come along is the woman in the video above. She's only just set off and she's got to go via the chemist so I'm concerned she won't make it in time.