Featured Blog, I: Aftermath
On the Death of a Friend
Pete /Naked Blog, March 29, 2006
Of course it hasn't sunk in yet. Will take days. So sad that because of circumstances we think Al died alone. But he'd have been very drugged. And maybe hospitals have people who do that kind of thing. Hold your hand till there's no more point in holding your hand. Sad that a man who gave so much should slip away - missed by half an hour.
Blaming myself badly, of course. I think we all thought we'd visit during the next day - say our fond farewells and go. Or mebbe stay. I don't think anyone expected him to leave us in the night. One thirty a.m. The dying time. And the birthing time.
The Port was understandably sombre. Babs was there, and Pam the barmaid - huddled in the doorway sooking on fags with two strange men. This smoke-ban is going to throw up all sorts of new relationships. Can't keep away from people in a two foot square space, now can you? Oh - it was pissing down all day. Forgot that bit. Didn't take my brolly because the BBC 24 hour Forecast (Press Red) was showing sun for 6pm. Mebbe. In Australia mebbe, but damn well not here.
Various pubs have installed canvas awnings over their frontages, to protect the smokers from some of the weather, but as far as I'm concerned they just damn well keep the precious light away. "Non-smokers never satisfied, eh?" I joked with Chris, the barman in the Isobar, and another ex-smoker. We're impossibly smug these days, ex-smokers. (I was in the Isobar getting some Dutch courage before facing the Port crew.)
Babs had to leave the Port to meet her son after school, and Scott, Andy and Pam went off to Al's house with his uncle who'd turned up. We all agreed we'd have been in visiting him the next day. We talked about who needed to be informed. Maggie McQuaid, Jimmy McKinsley... faces and graces from the past. SMS "Send To Many" has become the telegram of the age. It is a fearsome communication in its power and simplicity.
Just me and Jill the barmaid then, for a while. Stevie Sticks the drummer came in. He's looking forward to his six months in rehab shortly. Get his brain together, he reckons. Rock and Roll survivor. Then Little Alex, all the way up from Peebles. Me, I had to leave, as by now I'd had about five pints in an hour it seemed like, on a near-empty stomach. Just one Co-op Caulifower Cheese (Three for three pounds.) I sensed Alex was disappointed, but I was beyond speech. If you can't be a help, don't be a drunkard.
Walked in that pissing rain - hides the tears bigtime - walked along to the Ocean Terminal. Wanted to smell what the Ocean Bar was like now it's smoke free. Nice. Quite nice. Looked at some specs in Vision Express. Smart pair for about 130 quid. Gant. Must check them out at Boots who're doing buy one pair get one free. We shall see. We shall clearly see, thanks to sphere, cyl and axis.
Went to get a bus home, and remembered they were on strike. National strike of public service workers, in protest at being told to work to 65 like everybody else, rather than the present system of full pension at 60. Wish that was me. I'm sixty in nine months. Ah well - at least I'll get my pensioner bus pass. For the days there's some buses. Read the rest at Naked Blog...
|Alan Rankin (Big Al), 1953 - 2006
Featured Blog, II: Trainspotting
Random Burblings/ April 3, 2006
I am not a member of the mile-high club. Whilst the idea of creating the beast with two backs whilst hurtling along at incredible speeds several miles above the ground is not anathema to me, there are certain obstacles which stand in the way. Including, but not limited to, the fact that Ryanair barely give you enough room to squeeze you knees in behind the seat in front. Even the most rudimentary of sexual positions would therefore require a feat of gymnastics the like of which would undoubtedly score straight sixes from all the judges, even the ones from the former Soviet countries.
Of course, one is really not supposed to be “doing the doo with betty boo” in full view of the other passengers. Tradition dictates that the toilet is the preferred location for sexual liaisons of an aviatory nature. But this is even worse. Airplane lavatories are, in general, singularly ill-designed for the purpose for which they were intended let alone any others, and even trying to manoeuvre onesself into the correct position to release a few mud bunnies into the wild is well beyond the capability of all but the most agile.
Besides, airplane toilets scare me. It’s that whooshing suction noise you get when you press the flush button. I am always convinced that the cabin will depressurise and that if I were to accidentally activate the flush whilst still enthroned, that my internal organs will be sucked out of my wee botty hole and deposited into space.
There is, however, a certain tradition among the readers letters pages of certain fine upstanding literary magazines whereby the loyal readership will recount their tale of being led by the hand by a good looking stranger, usually a slightly older woman of the world, into the lavatorial facilities of various modes of transport where acts of the most ecstatic passion will proceed to occur.
This does not only occur on aeroplanes. Trains are another frequent venue for such stories. This is, of course equally unlikely. Not only does the traditional train toilet contain no more room than its airborne counterpart, but it generally possesses the added disadvantage of smelling strongly of three week old stale urine, a stench which does nothing for a gentleman’s ability to maintain a healthy erection.
However, I digress. In fact, I began by digressing. This entire post so far has just been one long digression. Because the tale I was intending to tell, while set within the confines of a rapidly moving lavatorial compartment, does not in fact involve sexual activity of any kind. I was merely using this as a device to highlight the less desirable qualities of these venues themselves. This story, in fact, involves my mother.
It also involves one of those new toilets, the kind you find on the modern Virgin trains. Read the rest at Random Burblings...