Installed our super-duper new cordless digital phone (Panasonic, John Lewis), which we bought to replace the crap so-called “digital” phone with the constant buzzing noise and the hopeless sound quality (BT, Dixons, half an hour of wrangling to get a refund).
(Hmm, maybe we don’t need to go to quite this level of detail. Otherwise we’ll be here all week. They’ve got all my mother’s stuff to wade through as well, remember?)
Met an old friend for a meal at the Kean’s Head pub in the Lace Market. Catering to a polite, well-heeled older crowd (as evidenced by the music: The Stranglers’ greatest hits at a discreet volume level, oh how times change), the Kean’s Head was Nottingham’s first ever non-smoking pub.
For the benefit of certain establishments on St James’ Street who are currently making grandiose claims to the contrary (blackboards on the street, the full works), I’ll repeat that: the Kean’s Head was Nottingham’s first ever non-smoking pub. (And just round the corner on High Pavement, the Cock & Hoop was the second.)
Until last night, we hadn’t seen our old friend for nearly two years. We’re seeing her again this evening (early evening pint at The Gate in Brassington), and again on Sunday (picturesque autumnal hike twixt the mellowing and ripening hues of the Peak District National Language, hem-hem descriptive language that should go down well at the la-di-da “writers’ conference” next Thursday I’ll have that book deal now please). With us, it’s famine or feast. ‘Twas ever thus.
Now, I’m OK with political comedy so long as a) it reflects my own particular prejudices back at me and b) it actually remembers to be, you know, funny. The first is easily achieved, as there are in fact no successful right wing (or even Blair-ite) comedians that I can think of this side of Jim Davidson (or even Ben Elton), thus PROVING that MY LOT ARE BETTER CHEERS CHEERS HOORAY THE ANGELS ARE ON OUR SIDE. The second can be more of a hurdle, as evidenced by the dreary box-ticking orthodoxy of your Mark Steels and (sorry to say this) your Jeremy Hardys.
(We saw Hardy perform a particularly hang-dog, lugubrious set last year, which mostly consisted of him moping on about how depressed he was about the war in Iraq. Fine, but YOU’RE A COMEDIAN, that’s what it SAYS ON THE TIN, and we’ve come out to HAVE A GOOD LAUGH AND CHEER OURSELVES UP, blinkered dupes of the system that we are.)
Thomas and Newman succeeded on both scores, with Thomas (despite his best efforts) only managing to offend me twice: by making a cheap crack about the size of Charlotte Church’s arse, and by DARING to slag off, for NO VALID REASON WHATSOEVER, the daytime television GODDESS that is Auntie Lorraine “Hooray for Eurovision! I love The Gays!” Kelly. Scratch his right-on surface, and you’ll find that he’s really quite the unreconstructed Geezah underneath.
(My much-valued readers from overseas, are you following all of this OK? I’d provide explanatory links, but time is tight.)
Newman, on the other hand, was impeccable. Having chosen a diametrically opposite career path from his erstwhile comedy partner David Baddiel, he has turned his back on stadium-filling mega-stardom, and is now to be found delivering eloquent, erudite, well researched, factually rich salvos of brain-spinning polemic, as filtered through an arch, dandified, deceptively insouciant persona which charms as it impresses as it provokes. (Precis: European foreign policy towards the Middle East has consistently been all about controlling the oil supply, ever since the start of the First World War; but when the oil runs out, we’re all going to be seriously f**ked. Boom! Boom!)
Our fifth anniversary of moving into the cottage (and thus also of my last ever wild night down at Trade). Five years ago, I could never have predicted that what was intended merely as a weekend bolt-hole would eventually come to feel more like home than our place in central Nottingham. This is a massively welcome development, and all credit to the village itself for facilitating it; for there’s no doubt that we live in a special place. If this is middle age, then God knows what I was worrying about, as I careered recklessly (and frequently shirtlessly) through the extended mid-life crisis that chewed up most of my thirties.
To the cinema, to watch Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit. Wholly delightful, but you don’t need me to tell you that. So disarmingly charming and inventive, that not even the distinctly ragged, under-developed plot denouement could shift the big grins off our faces.
Absolutely sod all of interest happened on Monday. Work, telly, bed. Yes, let’s stop there.
(Oh, but I did call up my mother, in order to read her all of your lovely kind comments, which both stunned and delighted her. So thank you for that.)