IE Audio 26 : The Sea, The Sea

Murdoch spouts poppycock. As per…

Idle Eye 184 : The Sea, The Sea

One of the nicer things about blogging is that you can snatch content out of the ether, sometimes even from the canon of others, in order to add value to your own efforts. This has the knock-on effect of making you appear well-read and approaching intelligent, the beauty of which is that you’re probably not going to be hauled over the coals for plagiarism. If, like me, you have about five hundred regular readers who can’t even be arsed to leave a comment, let alone set up a complex litigation process, you’re almost certainly in the clear. So, when I needed to come up with a header that hinted at an imminent move to the coast, I delved deep into the net and came up with the above.

Now, I’ll be straight with you: I’ve never read anything by Iris Murdoch, not one jot. But I liked the cut of her jib, and made a stab at what counts as research in this neck of the woods (family-sized wine box/Wikipedia/online Oxford English Dictionary/12.5g snout). There, as I was scrolling through endless, worthy literary appraisals of her oeuvre, I discovered that The Sea, The Sea concerns a middle-aged, male DFL (down from London), who is pompous, deluded, paranoid, and using a location shift to put into some kind of context and write about the lunacy of his own existence. To boot, there are a couple of ladies he needs to get his head around, and he’s not much cop at the cookery either.

I mean, really! Clearly, this Murdoch woman was a fantasist of the highest order, trapped inside and by the treacly brown caricatures of her own epoch. The very thought that such a wretch could make it through to the end of a day unscathed, not to mention be taken seriously enough to have his witterings read by anyone other than himself, is absolute nonsense, and both he and his creator should be judged as harshly as hindsight allows. Perhaps back in 1978, this kind of poppycock had its place, but not today, lady, not today. Besides, every man and his dog now has a signature dish, right?

I know what you’re thinking. What about this new lot, with their 140-character Twitters, the Instagramming of whatever grub they happen to be eating, and the showing of bottoms and worse on self-destructing media platforms? Well, let me tell you something: these people will not be troubling Random House any time too soon. They know their place, and we should applaud our youngsters for ‘letting off steam’ in plain view, freeing up the marketplace for those with, how shall we say, a little more gravitas.

Enough now, I’ve got a flat to paint and flog; these things don’t take care of themselves. And then I’ll be off. All this mediocrity is getting me down, and the sea air will do me good. Can’t wait…

IE Audio 22 : The Tic

Nightmares, agitation, global confusion, sweating, fast heart rate. You looking at me?

Idle Eye 176 : The Feast of Stephen

It’s Boxing Day (or the Feast of Stephen in parlance of yore). For reasons completely beyond me, I once again find myself in Sainsbury’s and it’s packed. Because it’s not like there’s been enough food and drink doing the rounds over the last week or so, has there? Anyone with half a cell knows that those gargantuan, seasonal sherry cask snack buckets are cynically filled with enough compressed air to have us queueing outside the sliding doors at opening time the minute the Big Day is over. And of course we’ll throw in a few bottles of your astonishingly half-priced Prosecco. You bastards.

In much the same way that our Dickensian antecedents enjoyed a sneaky day out to the asylums to work off the figgy pudding and feel better about themselves, there is a certain schadenfreude to be had from inspecting the baskets of others. I mean, hello? Do you actually need a ‘four cheese feast maxi-pizza’ when you’ve only just got back from A&E? And excuse me, you’re only kidding yourselves with them reduced Absolut festive tubes (branded shot glass included) for your dismal commutes on Monday. I despair, I really do.

Actually, I’ve come here for a new bathing sponge; my existing one has corroded to the point where it self-abrades on contact with human flesh, and unattractively dries down to a burnt sienna/raw sewage patina. I did briefly consider a trip to Oxford Street to take advantage of the pre-January sales and snap myself up a once-in-a-lifetime bargain. However, the crippling expense of getting there on public transport considerably outweighed any projected savings and besides, I prefer to spend my hard-earned cash locally. Also, the fact that said sponge has no discount whatsoever and comes in a pre-wetted bag with a decorative font saying something about luxury on it, somehow makes it all rather sexy:

Let them eat pizza as I wash away my cares. Ka-ching!!!

I’ll let you into a secret: whilst I was on a consumer high, flashing my cash as if I was Pouffe Daddy or something, I went onto that eBay and spent a bit more. My electric toothbrush, now a veteran of the game, has been losing power of late, and it occurred to me that I could raise the thumb (like for one of those ugly turkeys, spared the knife by benevolent opportunists) if I simply replaced the non-replaceable lithium Li-Ion battery. It will require some rudimentary soldering skills and a willing army of Facebook friends, but I know it’s possible. Ionic Industries (‘helping you fight built in obsolescence’) have now mailed a £10.50 landfill alternative to my home address and by Jiminy, do I feel like a million dollars! And that, in a nutshell, is my Christmas message:

Be kind to others but make sure your arse is covered. Because you’re bloody worth it.

See you in 2016 x

Idle Eye 60 : The Programme

OK. I promise I won’t bang on about the grog-free month because it makes insufferable reading for those who haven’t chosen this particular path. The self-righteous whingeing of anyone who waves a sabre at their darkest demons is almost certain to leave them out in the cold from normal, decent people such as yourselves, and that’s as it should be. Why should you be subject to the dire documentation of denial, resentment, self-loathing and its ultimate salvation or worse, catastrophic failure that sucks the hapless victim into a vortex of misery and despair? It’s not like you haven’t had your own crosses to bear, is it? And look at you now, with your perfect lives and your perfect families, cruising through the years without a care in the world, enjoying every nuance as if they were delicious, home-cooked meals. Good on you. Fair play to you. You fought the good fight and now you’re reaping the rewards. Well done.

Anyway, it’s all going pretty nicely. Thanks for asking. It’s funny, you do hear these horror stories of people falling into a well of self-obsession and fury as they dry out, but I reckon you’re probably already a bit of a basket case to get that bad. To be honest, I really can’t see what all the fuss is about. I just get up, get on with my day and go to bed when it’s done. And if Nibs rings up and shouts at me for not making the posts more relevant to the Idle Hour, I just tend to laugh it off. It’s all part of the Programme. Highs and lows. Punishment/reward. So what’s the reward, I hear you asking? Well, it’s not what you think. I don’t do that stuff any more. Not this month, anyway. I don’t need to poison my body temple like you people. What you don’t realise is that every smug glug you throw down your necks after a long day knocks at least a week off at the other end. But you don’t care about that, do you? Of course you don’t.

Sorry, went a bit off-topic there. Where were we? Ah yes, the reward. Well, it turns out that by not drinking I’m not only becoming a better person, but I’m also saving quite a bit. And what better way is there to congratulate myself than to get a lovely gift? So I bought a new kettle from off of the internet. It’s practical, you see, because I can use it to make steaming hot drinks that don’t have any alcohol in them. And it looks good around the kitchen (I spent just that little bit extra) as well. I suppose you think that’s a bit boring, don’t you? Well, I knew you’d think that. How? Because it’s all part of the Programme. You think you’re so smart when actually you’re just totally predictable. It’s sad, really. Sad.