If things had gone to plan, instead of what you're about to read, there would have been something interesting in this post. The idea was that last night I was supposed to go and see Todd Blogney's band Grand Union (I think that's what they're called) showcasing material from their forthcoming LP "Aloha from Isleworth" at one of West London's finest Real Ale Specialist Emporia. I was looking forward to it too, you know, rubbing shoulders with the great and the good whilst trying in vain to interest a bunch of suited cocaine sniffing wide boys of the merits of reviving some of the great lost works from the Bob Swipe Songbook using the tried and tested vehicle of a bunch of scantily clad strumpets gyrating provocatively as they lip-synch to a varispeeded demo tape sung by me - well, it worked for The Sex Pussy Kittens (I think that's what they're called...) I'd even collated a handful of copies of The Very Best of the Robert Swipe Show to handout to the various worthies and movers and shakers - the idea being that it would make the girl group with the varispeed thing sound like a good idea in comparison - as well as a good luck gift for Mr. Blogney himself in the form of a 1st ed. paperback copy of Time's Arrow. So good intentions were present in abundance. It's just that...
.......well, as the time for me to get freshened up and head off drew nearer, S. started looking at me with those big doe eyes of hers....and, well, to cut a long story short, one thing lead to another and before I could put up any resistance.....I was promptly despatched to the Offy to purloin a crate of 'Buie B's and a packet of Thai Sensations for her to consume in my absence. Now, as you'll no doubt be aware, I'm firmly of the opinion that a drink drunk alone is the height of bad etiquette. Just one to whet the whistle, surely could harm no one and would be the perfect accompaniment to my reading Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree* before heading out to do the cheerleading thing for me mate's group. Picture the scene, gentle reader - Elvis is playing in the background as S. drunkenly go-go dances in an equestrian manner, arranging various household items to form an extemporised gymkhana whilst I skim nonchalantly through Britain's finest's lit. crit., 'buie breezer cradled delicately in my palm, relaxed and secure before a roaring fireplace....
Well, it couldn't have gone any other way really....one 'buie leading inexorably to another....and before you know it, I'm halfway through the Hornby, only putting it down to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm....
A good job I didn't make it, probably, as you know what I'm like Todd - I'd have only got drunk and hacked off all your friends before barging on stage to pester you to perform an impromptu version of On Remand* But, I did try, honestly Todd. It's just that in the end, the lure of the cosy hearth and writing as funny and pertinent as this, won out I'm afraid..
If you write books — or a certain kind of book, anyway — you can’t resist a scan round the hotel swimming pool when you go on holiday. You just can’t help yourself, despite the odds: You need to know, straight off, whether anyone is reading one of yours. You imagine spending your days under a parasol watching, transfixed and humbled, as a beautiful and intelligent young man or woman, almost certainly a future best friend, maybe even spouse, weeps and guffaws through three hundred pages of your brilliant prose, too absorbed even to go for a swim, or take a sip of Evian. I was cured of this particular fantasy a couple of years ago, when I spent a week watching a woman on the other side of the pool reading my first novel, High Fidelity. Unfortunately, however, I was on holiday with my sister and brother-in-law, and my brother-in-law provided a gleeful and frankly unfraternal running commentary. “Look! Her lips are moving.” “Ha! She’s fallen asleep! Again!” “I talked to her in the bar last night. Not a bright woman, I’m afraid.” At one point, alarmingly, she dropped the book and ran off. “She’s gone to put out her eyes!” my brother-in-law yelled triumphantly. I was glad when she’d finished it and moved on to Harry Potter or Dr Seuss or whatever else it was she’d packed.
So, by way of an aplogy to you, me old mucker, here's a shameless plug for your new recorded work:
"Aloha from Isleworth" by Grand Union (I think that's what they're called...) is now available in the shops.
Please buy this record.
There, can I get up off my knees now?
* Back issues of the Believer containing extracts of Hornby's Stuff I'm Reading articles are avaliable here...
I'm on Remand
I'm on Remand
Her name was Jill
Thank goodness she
Was on the Dole.
© Blogney/Swipe, 1978
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