Archive for the 'health, or lack thereof' Category


n a v e l g a z i n g a n d s t o c k t a k e

so, it happened.

i am a 40 year old man.

i m p o s s i b l e .

impossible not in a literal way of course, and not in the way of suggesting that it’s so highly improbable. it’s not like i’ve lived the life of an unremitting daredevil, nor have i submerged myself in excess, whether of the flesh or of the chemical. in fact, comparably, i have been really quite chaste (though more due to disinterest than disapproval of any opposing stance). no, it feels impossible to be 40 because of the great myth of the aging process: that one day you’ll feel like an adult.

i have spent the vast majority of my adult life without gainful employment, and the minority engaged in what would be a stretch to refer to as a ‘proper job’. this choice of mine to remain ‘apart’ in this way has certainly cost me, certainly financially, and has probably left me somewhat socially retarded. now this could, i suppose, be seen as evidence of a single-minded iconoclast and fearless social adventurer, or indeed the reader might be forgiven for thinking that this is the role i am casting myself in by telling you this; but it isn’t. the truth is that many people pursue the things i have pursued and still hold down regular jobjobs. i think my refusal might have more to do with my inability to do things by halves, or in fact sensibly. but there you are.

despite what might be discernedi suppose, as successes, success on my terms and with regard to things i would wish it for, has thus far, to a greater extent, eluded me.

i am proud of several things i have achieved/created, none of which has earned me any money 
a t   a l l , not that pride and payment have anything to do with one another.

things of which i am proud (acknowledging that pride is supposedly a ‘sin‘, whatever that means, and enjoying this list all the more because of this):

# i have written three novels, all of which remain unpublished (unpublishable?); and yet i’m half way through my fourth. it seems to have become what i do.
# many years ago i wrote and performed a one-man show, which, while it gained good reviews ate money like a fat man in a cake shop.
# despite my  u t t e r  lack of  a n y  musical skill, i have made ‘musics’ of which i am proud.
# though (thankfully) childless, i have had a vasectomy.
# as a (not socially) mature student i completed a degree in creative writing, receiving a first, finishing in the top 50 students of the university.
# i co-created rective, a club which never failed to make a loss, and yet we kept going for an amazingly blinkered 5 years, enjoying (almost) every second.
# i co-created the double r club, which bizarrely has been an unprecedented success.

in my years on the planet i have broken an arm and a foot, the former in youthful misadventure and the latter in ill-conceived anger. since i was born i have not been hospitalised. i have my tonsils. i have my appendix. i’ve had kidney stones (arguably the worst pain i’ve ever experienced) and i have a “tight lateral-band”, which gives me a dicky knee.

i have lovely parents, a fact which shows its value more and more the older i get.

i have a girlfriend who is so much better than it could be reasonably argued i deserve. though i did a very good job of nearly fucking it up early on, she makes me laugh and amazes me on a regular basis. she’s stronger than me,  
f a r better organised and more focussed. at times i am, against her, not unlike a cardboard cutout.

while unwilling to call myself a ‘lucky’ person i think that, on balance, mostly good things have happened to me during my time on the planet. which is nice.

despite this i have spent a great deal of time angry.

the best lesson i’ve learned, though sometimes it appears i’ve retained this knowledge less than others, is to pick my battles. “mellowing with age” seems like a kind way of saying acquiescence; of being cowed. which i don’t think i have been, i believe i have merely refocused my ire. but then perhaps this is merely self-delusion.

i am often selfish. i am a self-adsorbed individual though, i think, rather than a self-centered one. empathy can be a struggle but it’s there, i just think i’ve done a good job of keeping it in its place.

“are you good or bad you ask yourself…” goes the the the song, but i’m not sure i ever have. not sure its even an interesting or meaningful question. i once sat around drinking with colleagues who both admitted they had done very bad things to certain people that they were ashamed of, and not only wouldn’t they reveal the name of the person they did it to, they wouldn’t even detail what they’d done. they asked me if i too had such a story to contribute but the fact is, i said, i don’t judge myself that way. why bother? as with empathy, guilt is there but if you can’t keep it in its place where does that leave you?

whether that’s any way for a 40-year-old man to think i have no idea, but there you are. or, in fact, here i am.


p e b b l e s o n t h e r o a d t o d a m a s c u s

“in reality, genuine epiphanies are extremely rare. in contemporary adult life, maturation and acquiescence to reality are a gradual process, incremental and often imperceptible, not unlike the formation of renal calculus.”

– from brief interviews with hideous men, by david foster wallace


w a l k i n g a g a i n s t t h e w i n d

jesus, been a   l o n g   time with no posts i know. been terminally distracted by other things.

somehow i’ve managed to keep up with the running, albeit intermitently, and have the mile down to 8:04. my plan is to extend the distance when i break the 8 minute mark but this is proving somewhat problematic. perhaps i’ve hit my time, who knows…

as the weather cools i’ve discovered that right up there with twisted ankles, drivers not indicating, pedestrians thinking that they own the fucking pavment and so can take up as much of it as they fucking well want, that wind is not a friend to the runner. slows you down, steals your breath. wind is a cunt.

if only i were a “mega-mime”…

also, i’ve begun to make a list of music that is the best to run to, and that which, while great, seems only to hamper the enterprise.

the cutthroats 9 / unsane good

the eighties matchbox b-line disaster – bad

todd – bad

fudge tunnelgood

the knifegood


whitehouse – bad

zeni gevagood

the pattern seems to be: too much which is unexpected or jarring = bad, whereas repetitive, plodding (preferably heavy) rhythm = good. hardly surprising really.

haven’t tried it with muffpunch yet. think i might give it a miss.


h o t f o o t t o w a r d s t h e c o l d g r a v e

joggerand so, despite my devilish knee, vague plans for me to “maybe take up running” have taken their first faltering step.

to kit me out i have a pair of ratty old black trainers that i somehow managed to acquire from some job or other, my swimming trunks (yeah i know, but they actually just look like shorts anyway, and i have no other shorts; if you’d seen my legs you’d know why), and an old stooges t-shirt. the trunks in particular are quite good, having as they do a net-like ‘underpant lining’, a kind of genital hammock that i think should cut down on possible chaffing on possible future longer distances; plus the trunks have three pockets, handy for ipod and the house keys, the latter of which i have to keep in one hostess elisabeth’s socks to stop the keys poking through the aforementioned underpant lining. ahem.

o i’m all kitted out alright. i think i may need to visit some kind of sporting shop in the near future. at present i probably look like the running equivalent of a bring and buy sale.

i thought that to start with i should maybe just run around the block to see how i get on, whether i pass out, void my bowels uncontrollably etc. but because of where we are, the canal etc. it turns out that ‘around the block’ constitutes a distance of roughly 1 mile. but sod it, i thought, in for a penny an all that. i had a go.

anyhoo, off i went, my only mantra being don’t stop, you can go as slowly as you like but just don’t stop. surprisingly i managed it, though i can’t say it wasn’t toughgoing. since then i’ve done it twice more (once my legs had stopped screaming at me) and it’s definitely getting easier. in fact the last time i was about a third of the way through before it was even slightly difficult, so it seems to be working. if my calculations are correct i currently cover the distance in something like 10 minutes. no idea what that represents, but roger bannister needn’t worry.

hostess elisabeth, no doubt in between bouts of uncontrollable mirth, sent me a link to 100 beginner running tips.

have to say number 26 is a bit of a blow:

“running is not an excuse to triple your intake of doughnuts because runners gain weight too.”


the venerable gude, who’s been running for a few years now, had some other sage advice:

“i also have an “if found, please return to” label in my running shoes,
as I have a fear of being found face-down chewing the tarmac, halfway up
that climb past the cemetery early one saturday morning, having been
gnawed by foxes and pecked by crows.”



w a r n i n g : d o n o t e x c e e d s t a t e d d o s e

no asprins in the junglemarlboro certainly seem to have got craftier with their marketing ideas…


m y d e v i l i s h k n e e

devilishknee1so, after finally getting my appointment with the podiatrist, my troublesome knee of many years standing is in hand. so to speak. she laid me out, pulled and twisted my bits and drew what looked like inverted crucifixes on my knees. it was all very dennis wheatley.

the physio had already told me i had a tight ‘lateral band’ which was pulling my kneecap every which way when bending and causing pain.

it turns out that in addition to this i have not so much flat feet as pronated feet, likewise causing painage in the ol’ patella region. insoles for my shoes have been duly presented and installed

somewhere down the line this may facilitate my vague plans to maybe start running.

it should be pointed out that “my vague plans to maybe start running” constitute just about the funniest thing that hostess elisabeth has ever heard. in her whole life.