Friday, March 31, 2006

The Demographic Shift - 96

My sister was round at my house recently and was kind of shocked with what I had done with the place. Not all of it. Just a bit of it.

"Gordon what on earth were you thinking?"

I scratched my head. Really I can't tell you. I have no idea where it came from. I kind of like it, but it looks like I might be on my own.

"You have painted every other room in the house, bar none, white, yet you've gone all rouge and boudoir like in your bedroom? What on earth were you thinking?"

It's true, kind of. I have indeed painted every other room in the house white other than my bedroom, which is now, according to Dulux –rooster red.

"Do you know any French whores? I think they would be pretty happy here."

My sister is such a wise arse. But I can kind of see her point and I'm not sure what came over me. I'm not really all that big on interior design. I like bright colours and wooden floors, you know, mostly. I need professional help, but some how a reporter's salary doesn't quite stretch to employing interior designers.

In my defence I should say that, while the walls are pretty dark red I didn't paint a rather thick white border that connects to the ceiling. So the red is separated from the ceiling by white and I think balanced by the wooden floors and the wooden blinds (beach). Surely all this wood must be good. Okay, so I'm stretching, what can I say.

"I think its kind of cosy," I told my sister.
"Yes its definitely cosy, if only you knew some hookers."

There was worse to come.

"Gordon its not just boudoir look, red is a disaster colour in the bedroom in terms of Feng Shui. It completely explains your lack of success with women."

Oh come on that can't possibly be true. Besides, complete lack of success is somewhat harsh.

"Are you sure?"
"Of course it is, it’s a big no no, you might as well get yourself a habit."
"I've got a habit, I still play PS2 games."
"No you fool – a habit, a monk's habit."
"Hey enough with the fool talk."
"Well, anyway, red in the bedroom is like sexual death."
"Sexual death? I'm not liking the sound of that at all. Death and sex a the same time, please."
"Well you'd better get painting. You seem to be sitting on the world's supply of white."

Please god, no more painting. I seem to have been at it for weeks, you know, stretched over the last two years. Besides when I paint I tend to get I everywhere even when I'm really really careful. The message seems to be that really I shouldn't paint.

I was telling Susan about the whole Feng Shui thing when she did a double take and was suddenly convinced that that bad Feng Shui in the bedroom had to be her problem also.

"It makes perfect sense," Susan said with the conviction of a person who really believes.
"It does?"
"Yes, I've suspected for ages that my whole Yoko Ono minimalism thing was the reason for my disastrous love life."
"But Suze, you don't believe in any of this Feng Shui stuff, you take the piss out of it as you do with most stuff."
"I know, but I think I'm at the stage in my life when I'm willing to clutch at straws. I might take up religion. I feel that deep down I could be a religious person."
"What about the whole not believing in a supreme being thing?"
"Mmm, maybe one of those less than monotheistic religions would better suit me."
"But Feng Shui?"
"It perfectly explains my situation."
"Suze you don't have a situation."
"Gord we have a situation. Yours is clearly down to your new desire for boudoir living and mine is done to Yoko Ono. It makes perfect sense. Look what happened to the Beatles!"

I'm sure there is some logic there, but like most things in life it is best not to examine it too closely. I'll get my brush.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Demographic Shift - 95

I've just been reading Jay McInerney's new novel, The Good Life (a sequel to his earlier book Brightness Falls), while the novel doesn't quite rise to the occasion of its post 9/11 subject matter, it got me thinking about music.

Music comes up a couple of times in the book. In one instance a female character smiles inwardly when she realises her lover shares her musical taste (you can tell instantly that the author was a man) and at another point McInerney muses as to whether music should have a sell by date.

I'd been think this a little recently and then I read a post by Harry over at Harry's place who was blogging about a piece in the Guardian on those who are obsessed with their iPods.

I was about to write that I am not obsessed with mine…but then I am on my second one (not including the iPod Shuffle I got as a freebie, which promptly broke), I take it with me everywhere and plug it into my ears during every spare moment when I'm out and about. So maybe I'm a little attached to it.

Anyway, Harry was writing about how the iPod had led him to rediscover old music again. In his case…Squeeze. He's on his own there, but it got me back to thinking about musical sell by dates.

When I first joined the whole iPod bandwagon about two years ago I ripped just about every CD I ever owned onto it and then started to listen to stuff that I hadn't heard in years.

Two things happened. I started to listen to my iPod mostly on shuffle, which is often a weird musical voyage, and I also realised that I really couldn't listen to some songs that I'd bought years ago.

I mean it was completely painful to do so, it really was, this was definitely music that had slipped past its sell by date, which led me to start deleting hundreds of songs.

I found this really hard to do at first as I hoard stuff anyway and this seems to apply equally to the digital realm as well.

For instance I never had a lot of Beatles, but I found that most of what I did have I really couldn't listen to. Out went the Beatles. Billy Bragg was another. I used to be a major Bragg fan. I've seen him live numerous times over the years, but I really can't listen to much of him anymore. Bragg just hasn't aged well.

Springsteen is another, Kristen Hersh, the Smashing Pumpkins and bits of REM. I started to really get into it and deleted vast chunks. Mostly I found myself deleting whole albums sometimes sparing the odd song.

It was kind of therapeutic. The great thing was that once a lot of the crap had gone I started to rediscover a lot of other stuff as it made room for other songs to crop up on Shuffle and got me listening to the whole album again.

Things like Jesus & the Mary Chain, the House of Love, Pale Fountains, the Silver Jews, Pavement, the Breeders, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Joy Division.

Before I put Joy Division on my iPod, I couldn't remember the last time I'd listened to a song or an album (partly because I had got it into my head that while an important band they were really a bit tough and sometimes painful to listen to so why bother?), despite that if people asked me I would always list them as one of those bands that were significant to me growing up. You know, they were there as part of my musical route map that took me through New Order, the Happy Mondays, Stones Roses, Radio Head et cetera journey to the present with bands like The Editors who are twentynothings doing Joy Division impressions, but you know, in a good way.

I'm still discovering more stuff that has passed its sell by date, but other bits and pieces that haven't. It's a hit and miss kind of process. My iPod is now evenly balanced at 3596 songs.

Music that has shuffled by while writing this blog entry: Harvey Danger, Mojave 3, Jenny Lewis, The Pernice Brothers. Ed Harcourt, Ian Brown, Good Charlotte, Garbage, Spiritualized, Elvis Costello, Radio Head and Teenage Fanclub.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Demographic Shift - 94

Susan is having one of those bizarre moments of insecurity brought on by a piece in The Times this week about a woman who on the eve of her marriage found out that her husband to be regularly visited gay massage parlours.

I know shocker. Who has the time for a secret double life? Susan, of course, is convinced it will happen to her.

"That's bound to happen to me, I just know it."
"What that you're going to meet someone and they will turn out to be a Secretly Gay Man. A SGM?"
"Yes, exactly, I'm convinced that the only men left who are single and even slightly eligible are in fact SGM. Also I'm starting to worry about the significance of the letters SGM – they seem to contain their unfair share of TLA's."
"My thinking too. There's Stoner Media Girl."
"Single Media Grirls."
"I thought the stoners and the singles were all the same?"
"I think you're over reaching, I'm certainly single, work in the media, but do not smoke dope."
"Fair point, but back to SGM."
"I'm sure they're out there lurking. Waiting for a beard like me to come along and provide significant cover. It's the only thing that makes sense."

Susan as a beard? Just the thought of it has me in stitches.

I'm a big fan of giant leaps of logic myself, but even I was having trouble seeing where this one was going. I must admit after she'd sent me the link and I read the piece I'd always thought that men just lacked commitment rather than were of a complete different sexual orientation, which is just plain weird.

The guy in the piece had been going to gay massage parlours for years. Not only that he tended to go very early in the morning. On top of all of this he was planning to get married. It's weird or mixed up, possibly both. But you know what they say it takes all sorts. I like to play a little BFMC2 to unwind whereas it emerges some people prefer to get buggered.

"Suze I'm not that really makes sense, I'm sure that SGM are just a minority and your chances of hooking up with one looking for a legitimate straight relationship to supplement their illicit gay sex shenanigans are slim."
"But it could be anyone, this guy sounds like the perfect man in The Times, puh! He wasn't perfect he was secretly gay. So…"

I hate where the phrase "so" leads. And it is a phrase and not just a single word, it seems to have the ability to project itself far beyond its slim two letter composition.

"So what?"
"I was going to ask you."
"You were going to ask me?"

Oh boy, now I get it. Susan is about to go big with the crazy questions.

"Come on tell me, I have to know are you a SGM?"

If I was drinking coffee I would have been choking, which is why for safety reasons I don't drink coffee whilst on the phone to Susan. That's my top tip of the day, should she ever call you.

"Suze, no, be reassured. I just totally lack commitment. Rather than any inclination to bat for the other side."
"Oh that's a relief, I'm not sure I could take another disappointment."
"Another? What are you talking about? You make it sound like you're Miss Disappointed 2006."
"Oh I'm talking generally and to be honest its more of a feeling than anything else."
"You just need to stop dating people called Robin and Jeremy. Seriously, I'm sure that's at the root of your problem. Oh and people called Johnny."
"Oh don't say that I've had great success with people called Robin and Jeremy besides I'm sure my mother thinks I'll end up with someone like that."
"Actually I thought your mother thinks you'll end up with someone who wears braces, pinstriped shirts and likes to be spanked, you know, the general poster boy for the a generation of city types."
"That's what she hopes, but I think disappointment runs in the family."
"Glad to hear it."

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Demographic Shift - 93

I've been stealth dating. You know, dating but really not telling anyone about it…okay so right now not so much with the stealthy part, but to be honest. I was never the most stealthy kid in school.

This has been an odd week. I started it with three potential second dates having been out once with each girl over the last few weeks, but ended it by Friday afternoon with zero dates. It was like date evaporation. Like stealth dating that should definitely be in the dating lexicon.

I drag Susan out to discuss my vanishing romantic life and, well, as it was Friday to drink alcohol. Besides as Susan is going through this resolute non-dating period or as she puts it – "I'm just not looking" – I feel its only fair to share.

"Gord, I can't believe it. You've been holding out on me. This means you have had three first dates and not told me. I'm really disappointed in you."
"Suze to be fair you're not the only. My advice, join the queue. Anyway, I've actually been on four, but the fourth did not warrant any progression what with her being loud and comedy Scottish."
"Four? Where do you find the time?"
"You know, to be honest, I'm not really sure, but you know people are always saying I should get more hobbies."

I guess it's true, I have been industrial dating, you know doing it on a large scale, but true to form I have also been doing it unsuccessfully. It seems to be my thing and everyone needs one of those.

So I explain to Susan what happen. To be strictly truthful, I actually nixed two of the second dates myself. I sort of self sabotaged them. No, I'm not sure what that's about either.

It was sort of like this: we went out and I kind of liked them, but wasn't exactly falling over myself to go out again so I sort of agreed to go out with them again. To be honest I would have probably gone out with the loud Scottish girl again if she hadn't talked about her cat so much. Robert the rascal. No I am not kidding that's what he was called.

Anyway, of course, what I mean is that I sort of agreed to go out with them again by saying to them in quite uncertain terms something along the lines of this:

"Good to meet you last night, we should do it again sometime or something."

See? The key words here are the non-committal sometime or something. Pretty useless, agreed. Anyway in both cases we emailed a bit and made plans. In the first I just left it longer between replying, which she then reciprocated, and it sort of fizzled. In the second we agreed to go out on Thursday, but I left it to her to contact me on the day knowing that this was a complete no no and would lead inexorably to her cancelling with vague arrangements to rearrange. This is exactly what happened.

Pretty bad, I know.

"You're a total nightmare," Susan says.

I nod, of course, she's right, I am.

"But in my defence…"
"You have no defence."
"I know, but if I had a defence it would be that I thought it was kind of polite to vaguely suggest we should go out again. Women like that," I say confidently.

Susan is shaking her head in disbelief.

"Like I said, YOU HAVE NO DEFENCE. Women don't want you to be asked out as a matter of politeness, but out of an honest conviction. Do you have any?"
"Good question, I'm sure I did, you know, at one stage or other."
"You didn't really fancy either of them, why didn't you just say so?"

It's a really good question that requires a really good answer and I have no idea where you would get one of those from.

"Okay, surprise me what about number 3?"
"Oh I was definitely keen, we were going to go out tonight, we had been emailing and texting all week. I thought it would be a good night."
"And?"
"Oh she cancelled on me at like four o'clock. Three hours before we were going to meet."
"Oh that's payback."
"Payback? What are you talking about? She cancelled."
"It's payback, for messing the other two around. You won't get to see number three again."
"We're going to rearrange."
"Oh, I'm sure you'll try to rearrange, but somehow it just won't happen, payback. Anyway, serves you right."
"Hey, that's harsh."
"Gord that isn't harsh, that's dating justice."
"Dating justice? Who implements that? The dating police?"
"A good idea in your case I would say, besides Gord as you very well know everything costs more."

You know, now that Susan mentions it, that does sound kind of familiar.