27/01/2010 Extreme Prejudice

I left the flat for Starbucks, on Street Lane, but I had to leave very shortly after only a solitary grande mug of their Café Estima Blend® and a brownie. Suffering from no internet I walked back to the flat through what I have decided to call ‘dogshit alley’ on the Roman’s Estate. It is called The Romans locally, but its actually turn of the 20th century suburbia which becomes a 1950’s council estate in the north end before trailing off into a mucky park known locally as The Bumps where there is more of the sporadic dog shit; I live on the otherside. I don’t think calling it the Roman’s does it any justice as it feels foetid and dirty, unusually for Roundhay it is more Gypsy than Ravenna. Personally I have no issues with using parks perimeters/edges as dumping grounds for dog faeces, but I hate having to hop along a path between steaming piles, from gap to gap, hoping I haven’t missed one that will lead to a comical end (back in 1985 I remember falling flat into dog shit – Oh, the smell! Oh, the disgust! Luckily I don’t think anyone saw me do that). There is a lake or is it a pond in The Bumps, it is cordoned off until some long awaited landscaping happens to bring it out of its current malaise, it is little more than a brown puddle with an overturned Presto’s trolley sticking out of one point. It is roughly ribbon shaped, at half a metre by seven, but it isn’t a ribbon lake!

On the previous evening we became suitably mechanically regular and promptly found ourselves in a erstwhile public house, downed a few beers and tried to win yet more beer during this merry encounter with The Adelphi’s quiz-master  We answered a string of tricky questions from which I recall something about the original Zork trilogy, which monster is eating Cadbury’s right now and the usual selection of paparazzi photos depicting so-called celebrities from 1968! Good night really! As usual we get some right and I argue with my flatmate over those we’re not sure about. During the event Caroline, Paul and I had discussed at length then new somewhat healthier us, ‘look I needed to put another hole in my belt’, ‘I need a belt!’

Today I realised I still haven’t slept properly since we moved in at the start of the month so I mustn’t drink either coffee or tea 3pm and now it’s 1409 and I am back in Starbucks in central Leeds drinking a Tazo® Zen™ Full Leaf Tea. Being on Briggate this Starbucks feels a little less ethnic.

Last night we ate a lot of beans, which is part of our healthy diet, with Quorn in a chilli with rice. There was a little bit of tension between us because I managed to spend £24 on nothing again,

Rather than argue again we caught the No. 12 down to The Adelphi for their Tuesday night pub quiz. If I am honest don’t like pub quizzes, but it gives us an excuse to get out of 40 West Park Drive, East for a couple of hours! Pub quizzes are one of the final nails in the coffin of pub culture; but because the people I am with are great I’ll manage!

In the 1990’s the question was asked how to make a pub the popular hub again and, now you can’t smoke there, this is proving impossible to remedy. By Introducing karaoke, pub quizzes, race nights, curry club nights and 2-4-1 offers on food those that went for solace, a smoke and a chat have left in droves. What makes this bad situation worse is the mass produced crap coming out of the taps; blandly indifferent blond lager and warm brown sterile ale. What was once something to be proud to call British is now coorslitecocacolapepsimcdonaldsbudweisernikestarbucksappleproctorandgamble.

I’m only 38 and I am already a grumpy old man! I’ve read the book recently and I can see aspects of me in that; lots of aspects

Still sat in the Starbucks on Briggate, but once again the internet is down, so I won’t know if I have won or lost at Scrabble until I get back to No. 40 later. I don’t like the way you can be forced to forfeit a game which counts as a loss. However I am so far behind one girl who plucked a really good 7 letter word out of the air that it doesn’t matter either way.

Now I am in the city centre considering returning for this corporate photo shoot, but first I need to be bad to myself after the good work I’d down with Paul so far on our diet: mcdonaldsmealchickenburgerandfrenchfrieswithwaterasatokengesture! Now all I have is a Problem loading page. I feel a restart coming. Off back to the flat.

I volunteer at Help the Aged (help the beigeist or Be the Ageist or B’Agist) and yesterday I was looking in the cellar and came across some excellent ones from the early 1970’s – suffering from the usual garage decline of foisty dampness and lingering cobwebs.The smell of ancient books is a triumph and one of the books was an absolute gem.

Data Processing Made Simple by Susan Wooldridge

The future of IT from the POV of 1976 – photos and all – perfect representations. Clean and utilitarian offices with washing machine sized mainframes and a bespectacled bearded weird geek of a technician inserting colossal hard drives in stacks of 6 or 7 into the washing machine

 and ‘A frame’ skirted sexy models inserting punched cards in rows thousands long into a processing unit which also looks like a washing machine and an office with perspex balloons around consoles and IBM machines – look inside and its not as clean as the façade.

I also picked up a vintage 1980’s perspex Adidas belt for 49 pence. It took me back to something I once saw on a break-dancer from a sugar hill gang or grand master flash era music video.

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