Thursday, 1 March 2007


I've got a cold. Not a bad one; I'm still going to work, but it reminds me of an incident I've been meaning to write about, the first in my occasional relationship disaster series - don't worry, there'll be plenty more!

I met Steph in February 1988. Over a few weeks, we went out for a few dates, spent some time together, went shopping, but it was not a formal relationship, though I hoped it would become so. She seemed quite moody - I didn't know if it was because she was unsure about me, or was like that anyway. I also suspected she liked someone else that she had met previously.

So, one Tuesday night, I drove round to see her, but I wasn't feeling 100%. We had sex, after which I felt worse - I was rapidly going downhill, so I said I'd better leave, as I didn't want her to catch whatever I was coming down with, if she hadn't already. She didn't want me to go, kept cuddling me enthusiastically at the door. Ordinarily, I would have called her the next day to apologise, but I wasn't able to, as I came down with the worst case of 'flu I have ever had. And I mean real flu, the kind that really knocks you out. I was in bed with it until Friday, totally non compos mentis. In that time, I don't think I ate more than two or three times, when I stumbled out of bed and managed to make some porridge. From the Friday I was on the recovery path. But that was too late. Steph was a student, and had returned to her home town for the Easter break, which lasted three weeks. I didn't have her parents' phone number, which was ex-directory, so I couldn't otherwise obtain it. And no one had a mobile back then unless they were rich.

So all I could do was wait for her to return to college. I went round to see her - by now more than four weeks had passed since I'd seen her last. Her flatmate answered the door, but she wasn't in - she had gone round to see her boyfriend. What?!! I was crushed.

Now, here's the thing: She had blown hot and cold about me; I did suspect she liked someone else. And it cannot have looked good to her, my rushing off after sex, claiming to be ill, then not phoning again. Now, she might have gone off with this other bloke anyway, but who knows? We never got the chance to talk about it. I'll never know for sure what happened, but the 'flu must have been a factor.

I did see her again, a couple of years later, walking down the street with a couple of guys, one of whom I vaguely knew; I think he was the bloke she'd gone off with. The way she looked at me... I think perhaps she sometimes wondered about the missed opportunity too.

As for my 'flu - where did it come from? I don't recall if there was an epidemic that year, but none of my housemates or friends got it at that time, as far as I can remember. But it came at exactly the right time to ensure that I didn't have a proper relationship with this girl. My life is full of stuff like this. Funny that.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Thought for the Day

"Living well is the best revenge."

Who said that? I can't remember. Bitter quotient is low today. I started this blog because I spent most of January feeling pretty depressed. This weekend, it's like the cobwebs have all cleared away. The events of Friday night enabled me to reanalyse the situation in its true light (or as near to true as I'm likely to get). I could have tried to do that at any time, of course, but I needed the final piece of the puzzle first. For those who have read "Games People Play", she was playing an extended version of "Kiss-Off/Indignation/Rapo", probably consciously, judging by the little speech she gave me at the pay-off, and I was unconsciously playing Kick Me (again! I have got to learn better), though it nearly turned into a version of "Let's You and Him Fight" on Friday (luckily the other guy - not her boyfriend - he's never been seen, and may not exist - ran away, despite being bigger than me). The lady in question frequents the same places I do, so I'll have to put up with seeing her around. I don't actually object to being friends, though I expect she'll avoid me, at least for awhile.

Prediction: If we do make friends, she'll probably try and re-run the game again, but not until several months at least have passed. She'll probably have some story about having missed my friendship, or not getting on with her boyfriend. I intend to resist. Cynical? Jaded? Moi?

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Games People Play

Bitter setting is on high today. How can you spend four months getting to know someone, without finding out they have a boyfriend? Easy: You just don't ask. But why should I have needed to? She told me she was divorced, so I would have thought she would at least casually mention her boyfriend. But she didn't, not once. I feel like an idiot - I think I've been caught out by a version of this game: Kiss-off

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Valentine's Day tomorrow. I hate it, usually: It feels like a conspiracy against single people; most media comment seems to assume everyone is in a happy couple. Sorry, but many people are not, either willingly or unwillingly (the latter, in my case). And of course, many of the coupled are unhappy despite that state of affairs. Still, I did something I haven't done in some years - I sent a card (non-tacky, I might add) to a woman I met a few months ago, with hints enough she should figure it out, though I'm not really expecting a serious result (bitter mode is on tonight, though set to a lowish level - I've actually been fairly cheerful for most of the last couple of weeks, which is probably why I haven't written anything here in that time).

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Writer's Block

Why have I started this blog? Well, I can get pretty bitter at times, though hopefully not twisted. Now and again, I'll write up some entertaining little incidents from my history that will illustrate this, and explain why I sometimes believe God is out to get me (paranoid, moi? No, just a deduction from the observed facts - I'll explain sometime).

But actually, I've got writer's block. At this point, the astute reader (assuming s/he knows my name) will think something along the lines of: "But you've never had anything published!" Well yes, of course not, I've got writer's block, haven't I?

I've always wanted to write, and back when I was a teenager and in my twenties I did a fair bit of scribbling. I had a Smith-Corona manual portable typewriter for years. Boy, I hated that thing, with its keys that sometimes stuck together and its misaligned typebars (I must have been hitting it too hard). Though at least I could read the output - you should see my handwriting! I remember leaving it behind when I moved house in 1995. At that point, I hadn't used it in years - my urge to write had gotten lost - I no longer believed I could do it, at least not the sort of thing I wanted to write. Writing science fiction, at least good science fiction, ain't as easy as it looks, and after having all the short stories I wrote rejected by the magazine I submitted them to, I lost faith in my writing. And anyway, I had a parallel interest in playing guitar - I had and have much more faith in my skills there, rightly or not, so I concentrated more on that. A professional writer would say I gave up too easily - I should have kept writing, submitted my stories to more than one magazine, kept writing, kept writing. They would be absolutely right, of course.

Anyway, the typewriter era had come to an end, but in 1997 I got my first home PC. At that point I started thinking about writing again, and started plotting a novel titled "A Thousand Years Between" (spot the Led Zeppelin reference?). I still have the background notes, which may turn out to be relevant to the current project, and I wrote the prologue and part of the first chapter. Then I stopped and spent a year or more playing Civilisation II. Then I bought a home recording studio and started recording a bunch of songs I'd written - that occupied much of my spare time for a couple of years (another unfinished project). Then I spent six months imitating an alcoholic. Then I started up a part-time internet bookselling business (still running to this day). Now I'm in the middle of starting another band. It's amazing the lengths some people will go to, to avoid writing....

Still, I managed some writing in 2006. Back in 2005, I went out for drinks a couple of times with a girl named Sarah, who is a freelance writer and budding novelist. She encouraged me to write again, and in January 2006 I hit the ground running, writing four or five hundred words a day for the first few days. After that I slowed down, but over the course of 2006 I produced forty thousand words, more than I'd managed in the previous 20 years. Thirty thousand words of a novel, "Secret Histories", a few thousand words of a related short story, "Process", plus some background material. Then it all fizzled out in November, but I'm not sure why. And now I just can't seem to get started again.

So there it is - I've started this blog because it may get me in the habit of writing again. I might even have some interesting things to say occasionally.

Thought for the Day

"Time is your worst enemy". Not original with me, I heard this at a gig last night. Too true....