Sunday, 18 January 2009

Just one more thing...

Listening to: Pavement - 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain'

Dialect word of the day: Coupon (Face)

Much excitement in this little corner of the world (by which I mean the tenement block in the Leith/Edinburgh hinterland in which I reside) A brave member of the Lothian and Borders Dibble turned up at 9am to be greeted by Jess on the very cusp of drunkenness and a stinking hangover. One of our neighbours has been subject to a sustained spate of graffiti on his front door and had called the Feds in to investigate. Quite why this gentleman who seems an inoffensive sort, should be prolonged to a such a sustained campaign puzzles me. Given that the communal door is on a dead lock, it's a fair bet that the culprit also lives in one of the other seven flats.

The graffiti is fairly amateurish daubing of genitalia, and if the representation of the male organs is an anatomically accurate, I would suggest that the perpetrator should arrange a consultation with a urologist tout suite, although credit where credit's due, his depiction of a woman's most private of places displays a certain elan and given the chosen medium (marker pen) a remarkable attention to detail.

Given that there are a limited number of people who could have done this, any unusual bangs or noises has me rushing to the door or window to investigate. I am tempted to launch my own inquiry in the style of TV's Columbo. I'd be perfect for it; I already have the trench coat, shambolic appearance and battered French car, with the twist that I deal with low-level nuisance crime rather than homicides and whereas Columbo's bumbling absent mindedness is a device to lull suspects into a false sense of security, my incompetence is utterly genuine.

Although I had the novel experience of being praised for an aspect of my work today. My knowledge of two rooms on the tourist route was described as "awesome." I apologise for this burst of brazen immodesty and I realize that in the overall scheme of things, my ability to retain, snippets of historical trivia and regurgitating them at will, is nothing to shout about. However as the majority of my working life up to this point has been characterised by low level uselessness, punctuated with occasional bouts of mind boggling buffoonery, so any praise coming my way I am almost pathetically grateful for.

Hopefully such kind words will sustain me as I spend the week at my other job, bungling my way about the Scottish Youth justice system, where, rest assured, it will be very much business as usual.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Darts of Pleasure

Listening to: Young Marble Giants - Collosal Youth

Dialect word of the day - Vennel (an alleyway)

I find myself restless and distracted, unable to settle to anything, even the voyeuristic pleasures of 50 stone son on Channel 4 cannot hold my attention. One might attribute this to tiredness, post Christmas torpor or the fiscal woes January inevitably brings, but not a bit of it.

The cause is the end of the darts at the Lakeside, which had me glued to the box for nearly all of last week and has left a yawning void in my life. I love darts and have done from the moment my father, in a state of despair at my mathematical ineptitude, casually suggested I watch it in order to improve my mental arithmetic ahead of my GCSEs. Whilst it was of negligible value in improving my maths; amazingly the Midland Examining Group's GCSE syllabus didn't feature any questions on how to hit a 138 checkout (Treble top, treble 18, double 12, if you're interested) or Steve Beaton's three dart averages, I was hooked.

I love darts in a simple uncomplicated wholehearted manner and it has rewarded me with some wonderful moments of unalloyed joy and nerve jangling tension. I can't abide that awful, sniggering ironic tone the broadsheets adopt when covering it - ' oh look, at the plebs at play, they're all fat, drink booze (despite the fact alcohol at the oche has been banned for about 15 years) and wear too much cheap jewellery' It all smacks of thinly veiled class prejudice to me.

It's a pity because as a sport it has everything; immense skill, it involves repeatedly hitting a target not much wider that your little fingernail with metronomic regularity, startling mental agility and most tellingly, punishing psychological pressures which lead to missed doubles, and players wracked with self doubt wilting in front of your very eyes; like watching Hamlet in polyester shirts.

The players themselves are, by and large, free from ego, entertaining utterly gracious in defeat and there is a genuine warmth between them. This was encapsulated when Tony O' Shea beat his best friend Daryl Fitton in the semi-final, Fitton had six darts to hit a double twenty, yet inexplicably fluffed every single one. O'Shea eventually took the match with an outstanding checkout, yet seemingly heartbroken that in the process he'd crushed his best friend's hopes of a world title in the process. It was one of the most compelling pieces of drama and raw human emotion, you'll see on TV.

If you've made it this far without losing the will to live well done, thus endeth today's bout of darts evangelism. I will endeavour not to mention the subject this side of the Winmau World Masters, where my sermon will be 'Why darts should be an Olympic Sport'

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Perverted by language

Listening to: This Gift by Sons & Daughters

Dialect word of the day: Jings (an expression of surprise)

Happy New Ears to you all!

Well goodbye to 2008, a year roughly divided between the mundane and the horrible, although things picked up a bit towards the end. In my teens/early 20s I would religiously compile lists of my favourite records, books and films. However inertia, limited money and general haziness on when stuff was released has made me less likely to do this, although I would say I've enjoyed This Gift by Sons & Daughters very much, so by default is my album of the year. I would have also mentioned Fleet Foxes but all and sundry seem to be raving about that, so it would hardly be an original pick. Biggest disappointment was the re-issue of Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue, which is soft rock stoner nonsense, not the lost classic it's purported to be.

2009 has been exhausting so far, I have eventually started my job with the badass street punks at the council, whilst still donning my lovely cape at the weekend. I am permanently tired and bewildered by the effort of maintaining one job and getting my head around the complexities of a new one. The basic problem is that my ability in interviews far exceeds my actual ability to perform the job in question, perhaps I should give them fair warning and tell them that I am basically a buffoon with a talent for flanneling my way through interviews, get the disappointment out of the way early. Nevertheless it is very odd being back in a social services office again, I'd forgotten how as a species, social workers are extremely foul mouthed. In every social services office the f-word has been the building block of most sentences, perhaps Social Workers en masse are attempting to play down their image as sandal wearing, yogurt knitting do-gooders, by using the kind of language that would make a sailor blush.

Give it a few weeks and I'll probably be effing and jeffing with the best of them. Well I say that, but I am actually a rubbish swearer, it always sounds slightly forced and if I'm trying too hard to shock, impress or be 'one of the lads.' I blame my parents for bringing me up too well, despite years of illicit practice I still can't swear convincingly or spit properly - no one knows how the children of the aspirant lower middle class suffer.