Today is one year of writing the blog every day and because it was a leap year it was 366 days not 365, which reminded me of all those beautiful ruined faces standing at the bus stop in the rain in Stockport ravaged by rain and work, awful food, cigarettes, and alcohol. The back arched, the head buried in the shoulders and the prospects of another winter only allayed by the thought of a stout in the taproom. When the young people come in bouncing with energy and noise I just stare at the ceiling and try and ignore the laughter and joy. For me all that ceased a long time ago but only because no one wants to talk to me, no one wants to listen, no one sees me, just Doreen behind the bar who has my drink on the bar before I reach it. I always pay her with coins, she doesn’t mind, sometimes she takes less than the actual cost of the bottle which leaves just enough for another one. After two I always go home, camped in one warm room, the rest of the house is too cold to sit in and too expensive to heat, it’s almost pointless to have a dining room because no one ever comes to dine and it’s a big cold empty space. Even the kitchen is a struggle to get warm, heating up some leftovers or opening a new tin. By the time it’s ready, it’s still cold in there, so you never stay long outside the lounge.
Upstairs a narrow steep climb to a deserted bedroom on this side of the landing with my room on the opposite side. It’s cold in there too, in the morning when I wake up I see my breath above the eiderdown. I shuffle inside around 11 PM, sometimes midnight, if it’s Match Of The Day or City are playing and I’ve recorded it to watch after the other menu of programmes I like to see. The fact you can record things these days means that I don’t have to make difficult decisions to see programmes that air simultaneously. Sometimes there’s a bit of a backlog and I might know a result before I actually see the game or find myself four episodes behind in a series. Still, I usually catch up at the weekend because I don’t like to go out on Saturdays, too busy in the day, too rowdy at night and on Sundays, the shops are closed and the pubs are only open from 12-2 in the day and 7-10 at night so I don’t bother.
The bathroom is the biggest challenge, there’s a leak somewhere in the bathtub so I can’t leave the water in there too long because it stains the kitchen ceiling. This is a positive thing because it’s so cold in there that you want to be in and out as quickly as possible and consequently bathing once a week is about as much as you can take. I feel lucky, at least I have a roof over my head, the Tele, and Monday to Thursday my couple of hours in the pub by the hearth (Friday is also out for the same reason as Saturday). Food shopping is a bit of a challenge because the supermarket is so big. If you’re not too steady on your feet it’s a struggle to get around there but I have a little wheelie shopping basket that supports me on the way home. I don’t buy much, a little cheese and some sliced bread. I usually buy two loaves so I don’t have to make two trips to the shop and if I don’t make it through to the end of the second loaf I feed it to the birds on the square of grass in the back.
The other day there was a knock at the door and a nice man told me about some house insurance but he soon realised that I wasn’t well and he wasn’t going to sell me anything, I didn’t have the savings anyway and he was quick to want to leave when the creature that lives under the stairs came into the front room, salivating and growling. The funny thing was that as he tried to run, he left his briefcase behind on the settee, not that it mattered he wouldn’t have any use for it anymore anyway. I wonder when the next election is I’m sure there’ll be different party representatives knocking on the door like there always is, always handy when it’s the feeding cycle.
Music today has been me finding my iPod and scrolling and what did I find? – Black Sabbath, so I listened to the first four albums in a row – Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), Master Of Reality (1971), and Vol. 4 (1972). I saw them live at the Liverpool Stadium on what I thought was their Vol. 4 tour but looking at the years I guess it might have been the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath tour which was released in 1973. I remember I bought a great big poster that had the bands on the bill emblazoned across it in big bold letters – Black Sabbath, Badger, and Necromandus. My family threw all my beautiful posters, programmes, artefacts, and memories away when I left home, never giving me the chance to retrieve all those treasured jewels from my childhood and from my music discovering teen years. You can’t shake off the music that grabbed you as a teen but my problem has always been that when I found a band I liked I bought all their records, even as they started to wane in popularity and quality haha. I also bought all the records by the bands that were like them too and that’s how I ended up with millions of albums, some duff but ultimately it led to discovering things that you never would have if you hadn’t stayed enthusiastic and that’s how I accumulated such a massive collection. It was only later that you realised that the record that someone told you wasn’t as good as another was actually just as good and sometimes better but equally, sometimes they were right. Then there’s fashion, Sabbath couldn’t get arrested in the Punk era, and then Nirvana came along and name-checked them and suddenly they were hip again.