Monthly Archives: January 2010

Feeling a bit groggy now

I’m late into the library because I got Taken By The Songwriting at midnight last night and stayed up till 3 this morning hammering out a tune which I’m calling ‘OK, so that happened’. I’m really excited about it, but the lyrics need stewing time before I post them on here.

It’s interesting what can happen in three hours after weeks of dead ends and writer’s block. “Three hours” doesn’t quite convey the process of course – anyone who’s ever done any one thing for three hours knows that it’s longer than it sounds – but I wonder how much work is really done in that time, and how much this muse-attack-seredipity-moment depended on seeing Dear Landlord and Brimstone Moth at the cellar with banofffee digestives, or having Russian soup with another man called Will (Joe), or stock-checking the ‘Rehabilitation’ section at work, or whatever else. The problem with only being able to write when the stars are in alignment is that it’s so hard to tell when the stars are in alignment… but enough of this drivel, time for work. I’ll post the lyrics tomorrow if I don’t hate the tune by then.


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Sock Time

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned my formidable array of socks on this blog before. Clothes I give not a fig (leaf?) for, but every christmas my fabulous stepmother gets me some stupendous socks, and every year she escalates. Frankly I’m not sure what she’s going to do next year, because Christmas 2009 saw me possessed of some of the most giddying things I have ever placed my feet inside. I would post a photograph, but frankly I don’t think a normal computer screen can deal with these things. People feel queasy and need to sit down after I pass them in the street. It’s fabulous.

I mention this so that you can understand my pleasure that a former colleague of mine has moved into the sock industry. Marko John’s is a reputable British firm, so I am informed, with a small but select range of handcrafted finery. I am happy to report that Marko John is every bit the gentleman you would expect the purveyor of these gentleman’s socks to be. I have yet to sample a pair (they’re on order) but I feel it would be foolish of me not to give you a link to the website right now and give you a chance to be part of this sensation before it dominates the world.

I’m in the Bodleian doing very little work. You wonder why.


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Young Explorer

Well everyone, this reminds me of the good old Hoopern Street days where I’d go offline for a bit and then triumphantly return to report on the latest visit of the Jones. I swear I’ve said that before somewhere…

I was returning to Oxford from a lunch in Birmingham (!) on Saturday when I recieved a text from the Dapperest of them all. “I’m on Folly Bridge”, he said. “Where are you?” I immediately went into a large signal blackout area. But it all worked out well and there ensued just over twenty-four hours of brilliant things, including but not limited to a meander with oaty g&ds, tea with a selection of people who didn’t know each other, strolling with a pet dragster, max meeting his dad (who was a year younger than him), a spontaneous open mic performance (our guitars are brilliant), a storytelling session with a Russian emphasis, the tightest game of Othello I’ve ever played, the chefs of the athaeneum and some trousers from a shop everybody hated.

The Jones has pissed off again now, but as ever he leaves behind an aura of indefinable warmth and a certain reluctance to return to work. He got OTFSBW on this trip as well*, as did I on my last voyage to London, so despite the shit that gnaws around the edges of my life I have confidence we’re more or less on track.

* Oxford Tube, Front Seat, Both Ways


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Return from the Isolation

It turned out that the title of my last post was more prescient than I could have imagined! Those of you who remember Reginald De Winter from last year’s Birmingham snow fest will be happy to see evidence of his successor, William Ewart Gladsnow.

This is outside the Gladstone Library, also known as St. Deiniol’s, in the Welsh village of Hawarden. I was sequestered there for a week doing useless academic-y things, but having been snowed in there it would have been foolish to miss the opportunty to create Gladstone’s snow counterpart beneath his statue in the full view of passers-by:

But this tale has not the happy ending. When we went in for dinner, some passers by (possibly descendants of Disraeli) vaulted the gate (the impressions in the snow were quite unmistakable) and demolished Gladsnow! He was with us scarce two hours, but will live on always in our hearts.

Thanks to Paul Craddock for the pictures!

Edit: It would be totally self-indulgent for me to mention that FaceOmeter was recently mentioned on MTV, so I’m not going to.


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Gladstone: 17 Chill Points

Happy New Year! I write from Gladstone’s library in Wales, which I’ll tell you all about when I get back. I’m on a weird research retreat thingy which you can follow the academic side of on my other blog. Internet is very iffy so I won’t be posting here for at least a week! Suffice to say so far that 2010 is onnnnnnnnnnn


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