A PROPER BLOG
I said to myself, Titchmarsh, you fucking prat, for he had landed on the mat with his neatly swept back hair and complacent smile, arms folded, with words from SunLife we are meant to imagine him saying: “live for today plan for tomorrow, with the UK’s most affordable Guaranteed Funeral Plan.” What, they guarantee that they will actually bury you, not feed you to the dogs instead?
I don’t know what titchmarsh means. It’s obviously a concept, not a person, even though the concept comes with pink striped shirt, fleece with half zip. the hair, etc.
Listened to Melvyn Bragg on R4 doing poor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A talk by one person would I suppose be terribly boring and old fashioned so Melvyn gets a gender balanced group of experts and academics and asks them questions. But these days Melvyn sounds like that Scottish tennis player, he’s scarcely awake, he mumbles, it’s obvious that he’s not the least bit interested in the structure of the Lutheran church in Germany during the Weimar Republic. What was supposed to be an engaging radio format has become about as exciting as the meeting of patient and receptionist at a health centre. Pain, boredom, that feeling of being stuck in a glue-fog.
Bugger off Melvyn. And take with you Sean Rafferty from Radio3. Rafferty is another sleep walker, slipping along over smarm and cliched hyperbole, thankyou very much indeed, thankyou very much indeed, marvellous! wonderful! marvellous! thankyou so much! ha ha ha ha ha!! And John Humphries. The thing is, as you grow older you become stuck, a caricature of yourself, slow-witted, boringly predictable. And you don’t want to turn on the radio or pick up the post and encounter journalists and celebrities doing the same thing and getting paid for it.
Yesterday my foot, the one I had nearly all my weight on, slipped on a rung of the ladder and though I held on successfully my ankle was cut and bruised. I forgot about it until I woke up this morning. Pain is memory. A couple of weeks ago I got drunk for the first time in years and years at Graham’s riverboat restaurant party , which was a brilliant affair, and on the way home, luckily in the company of John, an old friend of Graham’s (I think the use of the word ‘old’ in that context is what’s the word? tautologous?) I fell full length on a Piccadilly line train but luckily both embarrassment and pain were cloaked in alcohol until the following morning when again I woke with an unfamiliar stabbing feeling in my foot and remembered. A couple of days ago I hit my head on a tree which overhangs a path at Gladsmuir – Jamie had been thinking of taking it out – and though my head was ok – a forehead strike, I think they might be the best – one lens of my glasses shot out, propelled forward by the impact and I heard a tinkle. I thought a tinkle was good; it didn’t sound like breaking, more like bouncing glass. Luckily I was wearing my new hearing aids which clarify and magnify tinkles and birdsong as well as giving full expression in surround sound to diesel symphonies. But it took three of us about half an hour of patient study among the leaf litter and ivy and yellow archangel to find it. Thankyou boys. Actually there’s another lesson in the manner of its discovery. Crouching by the path, after we’d covered quite a few square metres of the right hand side, I moved over to the left hand side where I thought I’d developed quite a good method. Sifting through and drawing towards me the concealing debris on the surface of the soil I made a little pile. Then, when I’d raked as far as I| could from one position squatting on the edge of the path, I picked up all the twigs and leaves and fragments and dropped the on the path, pending sweeping and binning, because as everybody knows, I always tidy up after myself. Then Aaron glanced over at me and cried out, ‘What’s that!’ He had seen the glimmer of dull glass among the the rubbish. And I had been about to condemn my lens to the compost heap. (I imagine a cartoon of a compost heap in which me and Titchmarsh and Melvyn Bragg and Humphries all lie disintegrating but still mumbling, still grinning, still talking shit.) Later at home I found that with the point of a sharp knife, and wearing my spare reading glasses, I could loosen the tiny screw and put the lens back in, which is my only successful DIY intervention for the past few years.
You won’t have noticed but when I used the word ‘impact’ in that last paragraph I meant ‘impact’. I could even have said that my head was impacted by the tree, although that would sound daft. What I’m trying to say is that I have a great deal of affection for the word ‘affect’, and I will always mourn its virtual extinction by ‘impact’ and I will always wonder why and how. And why do people keep saying ‘absolutely’ when they could say yes, or I agree, or you’re right, or mmm, or true, or I think so too, or yeah I know? But footballers never say absolutely, they prefer ‘without a doubt’. And why do they say for example ‘please use the handrail provided?’ If the handrail wasn’t provided it wouldn’t be there would it? The effect of ‘provided’ is to make us feel ungrateful and anti-social if we don’t use it, I suppose.
ps In case you don’t know Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and dissident who was finally executed just a month before the end of the war.
pps Then yesterday one of my hearing aids fell out of my ear while I was gardening. I didn’t even realise until it was dark. This morning I found it straight away. I’d trodden on it and broken it.
Jonathan, I hope none of your injuries was too painful. Your writing has brightened up my day!
Impacted is v useful for dyslexics – not sure if you are effected or affected? No worries, you’re impacted for sure.