“That’s what life is. Just a bunch of moments. Most of them are lousy, but once in a while you get a good one.”
- Molly (Lesley Ann Warren), Life Stinks
The second quarter of 2009 has not been so maniacally twisted as the first. However it has still been punctuated by some moments of excellence and absurdity.
The writing has been flowing as of late, and ideas have come to me in abundance. Flash Fire 500, who previously published my story Dead Chinese Girls, also accepted The Hit from me. Check it out, along with a host of other flash fiction pieces, at flashfire500.blogspot.com. After this acceptance I then uploaded the cringeworthy tale Most Embarrassing Moment to Badhap.com, a site dedicated to the reciting of the most uncomfortable moments of life. It was the longest story they had ever accepted, and the administrators had to reconfigure their site to fit the whole thing on. After this, I sent a piece to writers-bloc.net, a website featuring writing about writing. The article- How Not to Win a Writing Competition- was accepted but, for some reason, has not been uploaded yet… Following this, I wrote Human Nature- my first foray into political blogging- in an insomnia-laiden frenzy, and it was very quickly accepted into the Manchester Evening News letters page. The blog, about how the Government could take inspiration from the Catholic Church, went down a treat- although they for some reason cut out the part where I compared PM Gordon Brown to the sex-crazed lunatic ancient emperor, Caligula. But I can’t complain.
2) Wisdom Teeth
I now don’t have any. During the first extraction, my dentist made an incision into the gum at the base of the tooth and levered it straight out. It was two-thirds the diameter of a fifty-pence coin. It’s in a bank bag in my drawer. I would advise you to get the operation as soon as you feel discomfort, before the tooth grows. Then the rest of your teeth don’t get slammed together over time, as mine seem to have. The second tooth was not as easy to remove, and the dentist had to drill the shit out of the tooth and the back of the jawbone in order to extract it. I didn’t get a souvenir that time.
3) Beer Walk
The Saddleworth Round Table Beer Walk is held annually in Oldham in early summer. The walk is a fundraising event where punters can sample beer from all over the world, supplied by a variety of pubs all over Saddleworth. On this, my third Beer Walk, I joined 4 other mates in dressing as soldiers and Toby came down from Salford as Robin Hood.
Whilst steadily drinking our way round the route we bumped into various nurses, female airline pilots (although they could have been flight attendants- their outfits were a bit vague) plus policewomen, Pinhead from Hellraiser, two people dressed as giant ears raising money for Deaf Awareness, pretty much the entire cast of the Mr. Men, various cross dressers, Indiana Jones, a gang of Scousers in tracksuits and outrageous afros, a woman dressed a giant bell (who was just asking to have penis jokes hurled at her) and- while absolutely steaming- I bumped into some of my colleagues impersonating pirates. I have no recollection of what I said to them, but they seemed kind of bemused by my prattle. The Matt Tuckey Award for Best Outfit, however, went to the two men dressed in padded fat-suits with tweed jackets, constantly munching on a seemingly endless supply of cakes from their rucksacks. One man, his combover shedding immense amounts of fake dandruff, carried a doll under his arm. Ontop of a hill I found him shaving the plastic off the doll’s head with a cutthroat razor.
Later on during the walk I realised that the giant plastic machine gun I’d bought- complete with vibration and firing sound effects- came with a laser sighting. I found something so (now inexplicably) funny about all this that I laughed until I vomited all over a nearby wall.
I would advise that people do not drink alcohol to the extent that I did. A drink in each of the many pubs along the way didn’t help, and I would have been more out of it if I hadn’t dropped a half-empty bottle of brandy, smashing it all over a footbridge. The more I drank, the less accessible I found the pockets to be. This much alcohol is particularly ill-advised if, like me, you are still recovering from two dental operations resulting in a gaping wound at the back of your mouth. This will only result in pain.
4) Whisky tasting
My first experience of a whisky-tasting event was in Lees Labour club in Oldham. Sponsored by Stanley Ogden Butchers, who supplied some damned good steak sandwiches, the night was an opportunity to sample six fine whiskies from the world-famous distillery regions of Scotland. Headed up by a very knowledgeable old geezer in a kilt, the event began with a single malt called Dufton. During the drinking, Geezer described the history of whisky- starting with how the Irish discovered the techniques for distilling alcohol (or ‘alco-wol’, as Geezer pronounced it, causing us to stifle a laughing fit). The Scottish bagpipes, he said, was also an originally Irish invention.
On the comment card supplied by the organisers, I described Dufton as ‘nice’ and ‘warm’. Geezer described it as a ‘singleton’. Following it was Auckentoshan (which I considered ‘delicate’), Laphroig (Geezer’s assumption: ‘unpopular’, mine: ‘fierce’), The Glenlivet (‘rich, sharp and oaken’ came to my mind), Glen Farclas (Geezer described this as a ‘session malt’- the night certainly ended up as a session) and the night came to a close with something called ‘Mortglag’, or something. I must have spelled this wrong as Google doesn’t recognise it as a whisky- it only offered me the Roman Economic Journal, which was all in Latin. It gets weirder still. On the comment card, next to this unpronounceable and seemingly untraceable whisky, I wrote: ‘Duff town. Strong as piss.’ As to what any of this means, your guess is as good as mine.
5) Manic Scribbling
Anyone who has got on my bus recently and looked over my shoulder may have had an unnerving bus ride. There has been a flurry of ideas running through my mind, resulting in a lot of scrawling into a blank 2008 diary in a form of block caps that only I can read, followed by some fiction and a lot of time sat at this Goddamn desk. So this summary will be short. Did I even need to include this point? Regardless, I often find that my brain works a lot faster than my hand and as a result, everything I write looks like a spider has ran through a puddle of ink and sprinted haphazardly across my notebook. These scrawlings eventually emerge in HTML form right here. I have also recently dug up a few ideas I concocted when I was sixteen.
To conclude, let’s look back at the last Quarterly Summary blog . At the end of the last quarter I set myself the following tasks:
Find a decent woman (I know a few…)
Go to more house music clubs (I saw Robin S perform Show Me Love live in Tokyo Project, if that counts…)
Get published again (tick)
Become a more skilled martial artist (getting there, so yes I have)
Take over (I’m not Tony Montana just yet, but I am moving to the Civic Centre, Oldham Council’s headquarters building. So who knows what possibilities lie ahead.)
Here’s to more of life’s moments. I’m planning on making most of them decent, and avoiding- as best I can- the lousy ones.