... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

George Clarke's Amazing Spaces is my favourite 'non-scripted' TV show now that Inside Nature's Giants isn't on any more. ING's excursions into the anatomy and environments of some of the wonderful creatures that evolution has thrown up. Advances and mistakes. The most beautiful illustration of evolutionary errors comes when we open up the giraffe's neck and see the pointless 15 foot detour of the recurrent laryngeal nerve.

GCAS's ingenious appropriations of knackered buses, milk floats, canal barges, treetops, caravans and garden sheds. In S01E01 the young architect who has turned an underground Victorian public convenience into a beautiful home for herself. All the creatives who have built wonderful little money spinners, or home studios in their gardens, or tiny holiday homes on wheels, how I envy them, their skill and hard work. I want to be like them.

A beached whale. Let Mark Evans and Joy Reidenberg have their ways with it, wielding dissection blades and TV cameras, pulling out entrails and laying them out on the grass, mouth to anus, slitting open the stomach and the guts to inspect and weigh the contents. Hollow out the torso. Break open the head to view and manipulate the vocal apparatus. Turn over the redundant cetacean space to me and my friend Thompson, the adept handyman, to convert to a stunning compact seaside residence.

Enter the mouth into a surprisingly bright and airy living space. The side folds down and the flipper can be utilised as a balcony/decking area, perfect for picnicking on the beach with the need to step down into the sand. A wood burning stove keeps the place warm on cold nights, the whales blow-hole makes the perfect exit point for the flue. And of course at the back end, the shower room and toilet. The whales own watertight sphincter is repurposed to let gas and water in, via pipes leading from storage tanks concealed outside.

As yet undecided, to let out the converted whale to paying customers or to move into the space myself and lead a basic idyll of a life, digging for razor clams and jogging barefoot on the sand.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A little bit of over time in my day job and all of a sudden all I can think about in my free time is what needs doing tomorrow. At work. I hate that. Creative thinking disappears and writing goes with it and, and yeah. That's what happens, and yeah.

Marinating pork chops in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, pepper and thyme. Watching a Spencer Tunick art documentary, Naked States. Drinking whiskey and water. That's what I'm doing, and yeah.

Almost finished reading Making Sense of the Troubles, by Davids McKittrick and McVea. Mind blown by the complexity of Northern Ireland in the second half of the 20th Century. Upset by man's capacity of being fatally, murderously stubborn. Unable to formulate thoughts or opinions on the subject. And yeah.

That's it.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Here's a thing I started writing at the weekend and saved in draft. A lot of things seem to be getting saved in draft at the moment and remaining unpublished:

In the shower, thinking about the inconsistencies and nonsense surrounding the Jesus myth, when I joke struck me: The story of Jesus has got more holes in it than His hands and feet did. Woah-ho, hilarious. The shower, where I have all my most wonderful thoughts, philosophical witticisms, revolutionary hilarities, all sorts of intellectual ideas that risk overthrowing the status quo, influencing the youth and the old guard alike to throw down their treasured traditions and take up non-sanctified left-field oddities - if an idea becomes your home it becomes your tomb, and Christianity and religion as a whole has become a hole for so many.

It's like I am a thirteen year old having these ideas for the first time, the fact I feel I must express them in such a (semi-) public forum. Anyone with a brain has these anti-religious enlightenments at a young age and remains free from the chains of faith, some people stick with it in a state of perpetual childhood, praying to the heavenly father, the eternal dictator, and poor piteous them. Poor pitiful them. Boohoo jesus forgive them/me.

The shower is where I have all of my ideas, be they good, bad or entirely spectacularly monumentally normally uninteresting. This is one of them. The toilet is where I have all my shittest ideas. Doing the dishes is where I stare out of the window at the neighbour's cat.

Friday, November 15, 2013

I support Everton.

I don't care whether they win or lose. I despise football, the boring game, the bilious banterers boasting about their supported teams achievements, anyone who talks about it ever for any reason (even to say they hate it), and all the rich racists and rapists who play it.

But still I support Everton.

Not in any active way. I don't watch their matches, know the names of any of the players or the current manager, know how they are doing this season or the last, I don't have their shield tattooed on my arm, and I don't follow them on twitter.

But I do support Everton.

Because my cousins do, my father and uncle, and most importantly my grandfather who was born in Everton 80-odd years ago and who remembers standing on a milk crate watching the legendary Dixie Dean play. For me supporting Everton has nothing to do with football, it's a connection to family, and a living connection to the past, to history.

To a decent working class movement from a time before corporations took over, to a time when sportsmanship was more important than gamesmanship, to a time when players just got up and got on with it, even if they were losing blood, instead of rolling on the ground trantruming for a penalty at the slightest whiff of physical contact.

To a halcyon day that I never experienced and may never really have existed outside of popular conscience and received opinion.

But I suppose I still support Everton.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Eee-ahr, ah-ahk-aht-ee

These oscillating strings of apparently meaningless sounds, when drawled from a slack jaw, comprise two vital calls of a certain type of Manchester denizen, uttered when shopping for clothes. Ah-ohnt-ahk-aht with a disdainfully curled top lip is a statement of displeasure with the approximate meaning of I don't like that. The opposite - affirmation that a piece of clothing or pair of shoes is desirable and worthy of purchase - is conveyed by the second set of syllables. Eee-ahr is a general call to draw attention, sort of an excuse me, but a more literal translation may be here you are. The rest of the sentence, ah-ahk-aht-ee, is the statement I like that, me. The seemingly pointless addition of me at the end is actually an important affirmation of truth, feeling and the individual. Also sprach Mancunia.

I'm aware all that accent-snobbery makes me sound like a right cunt, but that's something I'm just going to have to live with, isn't it. As annoying as I find those noise-sentences every time I hear them, they don't compare to how much I hate the sound of my own voice on a recording. My luscious deep baritone becomes a nasal whine mixing Lancashire bits with affectations taken consciously/unconsciously from whatever book I happen to be reading at the time. But that's something I'm just going too have to live with. Isn't it. I don't know. Maybe.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My telekinesis will be used to take control of people's arms on the bus and make them press the 'bus stopping' bell when it's not even their stop. It'll be absolute chaos. Drivers stopping when no one wants to get on or off, confused, embarrassed and maybe even scared passengers wondering what just happened to them, annoyed commuters having their journeys pointlessly drawn out because of a selfish mischievous minority, eventually angry bus drivers yelping 'can you stop ringing that bloody bell, whoever you are', absolute chaos I tell you.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I couldn't remember what teabags we normally get. I like Yorkshire Tea, it's obviously the best, but I'm not that fussed so we get the one my wife prefers. I got confused and scared trying to chose between Tetley or PG Tips. One of them is very nice, the other has a thin, weedy metallic taste. Which is which, that was my dilemma. Anyway, it turns out I made the wrong decision. Now we have 200 pyramidal PG Tips which is going to take longer to get through than that box of 200 Twinings Earl Grey I got half a lifetime ago during the throws of a short burst of craving for that particular aromatic blend of leaves. And what with all the white tea, two types of green, and a load of different fruity and minty infusions the cupboard is bursting at the hinges. And we still need to get real coffee, instant coffee, and that old family favourite Barleycup (powder, not the fucking granules, what the fuck is that about). The weight will bring the walls down. The lid on the plastic pot we keep the sugar in isn't very secure. The dustpan and brush is in the cupboard under the sink, behind the caddy for food waste, just so you know.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Thunder rumbled and hail fell and I watched comfortably from the window, wrapped in a dressing gown and nursing a hot cuppa in my octopus mug. Sounds like the perfect Sunday afternoon, but it's only Saturday baby. The dark draws in, an overcast sky makes mid-afternoon look like dusk, and all this calls for hot toddies. Hot toddies made the easy and delicious way, with boiled lemonade poured over whiskey and honey, and served... just normally, in a mug or something. Nothing fancy.

The storm has passed which is a shame because I would have enjoyed that feeling of ensconcement one gets when seeing vicious rain hit that watertight window above the blazing heat of a radiator on full blast. I want a real torrent, turning roads into rivers and wearing tarmacadam down so smoothing out the potholes. The park at the back, with its grass torn up by tire tracks of inconsiderate teenage twats on motorised scooter-mobiles, liquefied and swampificated, deluged, so those little shits must complement their ghastly over-priced tracksuits with sturdy full-length anglers' waders.

Come the hell of high water, the stench of washed out drains, and the peril of floating debris and desperately paddling sewer rats. Come the fall of frozen water to smash windscreens and shatter skulls, fell trees and evict squirrels. Bring it all on and we shall watch through the impenetrable barriers of central heating and double-glazed windows. Move this autumn along into a premature winter, the one we sense approaching, that sets our teeth a-chatter.
Beyond Merely Assembling, far from any sign of a neighbouring gallery, popping-up upstairs in an abandoned Co-operative office block - a entrance on the corner of streets Federation and Balloon, up the arse end of Manchester's Northern Quarter largely untroubled by Google Maps, and cars, and passing footfall - the sophomore show from Mark Devereux Projects. To respond to the phrase, the title of the show, beyond merely assembling, the task set to participating artists, who obliged with urinal dividers, glitchy electronics rendering news-feeds and the human genome, photographs of photographs of architectural detail, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and an installation scene like The Great Wave off Kanagawa constructed from found office materials.

  * This blog-post's pretentious language was brought to you 
by a poor impersonation of the language used in 
Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon, which I am currently reading.

Aquarian-born sons of Gemini, Kevin & Brad Shaw, me & me, as dissimilar in temperament as they are similar in looks, did present themselves at said show, the first having arrived solo travelling by tram that did reek a pungency of sour orange, the second upon the firsts consumption of the necessary number of Aldi's lowest alcohol ale. The one or the other did talk and walk with artists, while the one or the other other did stand by darkened corners and creep up walls and look for the light. One wished only to be alone reading Pynchon's Mason & Dixon in a darkened room, and one to be supping grape and grain whilst talking at faces both familiar and foreign.

The drinker won over, imbibing artistic artefacts, many of a structural, almost-architectural influence, and conversing with creators of said, but not before a quiet moment spent sitting in a darkened office, perhaps once housing a manager of some description, but now featuring two rows of chairs and a projection onto a screen, the screen hanging down from fishing wire suspended from exposed ceiling pipes. On screen, The Other Kwai by Kit Mead, a thought on the construction of a bridge for a film, the largest cinema prop or set ever built, and its impact on the nearby people and environs. Shots of ants bustling over man-made bridges, and the in-out-in-out weave of a wicker chair in construction.

Natalie & Jack, both blessed with surnames unusual and intriguing enough to compliment their work, eponymously styling themselves as Zervou-Kerruish. A collaborative project to create a back-and-forth dialogue between photograph as object and photograph as image. A photographed ornamental cornice is printed, that image being shaped to follow the up-across-up-across pattern of stairs, which is in turn photographed and displayed in the gallery as a C-type image, Edifice/Artifact 02. In future exhibitions to see the artefacts themselves, along with the photographs, would interest me greatly.

Built like an indy pro-wrestler, and with the jolly enthusiasm of a science nerd, self-claimed artist & technologist Charles Gershom held forth with authority on DNA, binary numbers, the double-slit experiment, and circuit bending, as I listened intently and marvelled enviously at the ability to manipulate technology on the most fundamental levels. To build electronics and write code is a skill like real magic to me, with an Arduino in place of the white rabbit concealed in the top hat. His custom built electronic video LCD installation, Homo_sapiens.GRCh37.70.dna-Device, was my favourite piece of the show and would have a position of pride upon the wall of my writing room, if I had one.

Mark Houghton, lecturer resident in Wales, perpetrator of the crime of shattering my image of Stephen Fry, and dismantler and reassembler of chairs, table-tops and metallic shelving units, is a man who doesn't mind his work being touched or even stepped on by people who haven't noticed its presence. He'd been awed by the sight of a tall, curvaceous, 'sculptural' lady, standing upon the highest of heels beside his tall and curvaceous sculpture, Pointless Column. The visual similarity was striking, but in retrospect and considering the title, Pointless Column, it becomes rather insulting, an unfortunate and accidental comparison I don't imagine was meant, and only noticed at this exact moment of writing. Mark's work Divided We Stand, three ceramic urinal dividers positioned one above the other up a wall is amusing, objects familiar to half the human species, and, I assume fairly alien to the other half, when viewed from the side looks like giant Trebor Soft Mints jutting out from the wall as if flung with some force by a young Goliath.

The evening concluded with friendly discourse and a quick pint with Mark Devereux and Liz West, and then off home I went to provide my cold-stricken wife with a strong hot toddy. The evening, alas, is over, but the exhibition is not, which continues until Wednesday 20th November, with that in mind clicking the vicinity of here will present the reader with more relevant information.

One final message to the patient reader, I thank you for your indulgence as I temporarily adopt this ludicrous faux archaic turn of phrase, for I am aware it doesn't suit me and it makes me seem to all the world like a right clodpate, divvy or fuckwit of one singularly high order.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Would it be possible to write about a different aspect of a very specific topic every single day? I tried it before a couple of times with very unsatisfying results. One time I decided to write about bananas every day for a week. I think I managed two days. A poem and something else. Another time it was squirrels. Maybe it was three days, consecutive. Squirrels have popped up in this blog many other times. I have no specific obsession with squirrels, I just see them every day and have grown quite fond of them. The way they move is a testament to the beauty of nature, as if one were needed.

Someone said something like, the smaller the canvas the greater the art needs to be to fill it. I don't know who. And many others have remarked that rules and limitations, structure, can lead to greater creativity than absolute freedom does. How many fourteen-year olds wrote like Anne Frank. To my shame I've never read her diary. And as a fourteen-year old I did nothing of any worth. Just sulking, smoking and listening to loud music. I wasn't even reading The Outsider or The Catcher in the Rye like I should have been.

I've just finininininininished reading Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. Like everything else I've read by him it was amazing, and intimidating but also instructional. His article 'Not Chasing Amy' about minimalism and the short story writer Amy Hempel remains the single best piece of writing about writing I have ever read. Minimalism. Restraint. Using simplicity to wield extraordinary power. Quite the opposite, it seems to me, of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, which I have again faltered into. My place is marked so I can return to it, as though it is made up of particularly challenging episodes in a series I can't really get into, but want to because of its stature.

But now I am off to try Thomas Pynchon for the first time, starting with Mason & Dixon. The dust jacket promises a talking dog and a robot duck along with its Age of Reason-era American historical-fiction. I'm excited to get started, but the fact that it is a nearly-800 page hardback, weighty enough to crack skulls if swung just so, makes me concerned about my hands, wrists and forearms, and the punishment they will take just holding the bloody thing. Give me paperback any day.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

I like Iceland, I really do. The shop, not the country (although I suspect the country would elicit a sense of awe and wonder in me, as well as making me cold). It's more than just the chicken dinosaurs the London media elite would have you believe. It also sells prawn rings, pizzas and frozen pork pies. Aaaannnnd... frozen sandwiches! Frozen pork pies and frozen sandwiches. For the traditionalist you can also buy non-frozen varieties of fruit, veg, bread, tea bags, cheese and breakfast cereal. Just like a normal shop.

But the real draw is the party packs, Indian, Chinese, barbecue, Christmas, all the foods. Just don't buy anything with frozen ribs in because they will, will be hunks of inedible gristle. I recommend the mozzarella sticks and the breaded king prawns, it's like a world cruise of fast food. Visiting far flung ports of the Mediterranean, the Indian sub-continent and the Orient or whatever we're calling it now, without leaving the vicinity of your deep-freeze.

Iceland, Iceland, how I love thee, let me count the ways, one king prawns, two mozzarella sticks, three cheap pizzas, four it's where we buy decaffeinated tea from for when it's really late but we still need a brew, five the queues are shorter than at the Aldi next door. Five. That's five ways I love you Iceland. Six if you count the snobby snide chuckle I got to have at the frozen sandwiches and pork pies. See even those of us that like the Iceland still seem inclined to maintain a slight air of superiority. Pathetic, isn't it.

Winter has well and truly set in, and Iceland isn't even as cold as the fridge and freezer aisles in Asda. But Asda has a McDonald's for those of us that need to eat before, after and during doing a big food shop. See there's all different things you need to weigh up. Aldi's got those little Belgian beers, 10 bottles for £3-something, but it's fruit and veg is shit that goes bad in two days. Asda has a massive bakery section but it always seems to be empty. Quality Save is good for toilet paper, tissues, the occasional canvas, sun cream, toiletries, jars of bockwurst, anti-bac wipes, and absolutely nothing else.

It's a complex.... thing. It's complex.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Hello twitter. I'm getting self-concious about this blog auto-posting to twitter. It sends over a link to each post, a random time after I click publish, with text comprising of the first few words. I can't remember how I set it up, it was so long ago, and I can't be bothered to google it and go to the effort of stopping it happening. It's probably better that it does post to twitter than to not, or is it, I don't know. We managed well enough without twitter for almost all of history, and longer. Blogs too.

People wrote diaries:
Dear Mr. Diary,
This fine morn a wondrous occurrence occurred. When assisting me as I alighted from my carriage, the young gentleman Dr. Jonathan McD'Arcy, took me by the hand and our eyes connected for a moment. I do believe I felt an impurity within my fore-fundament. I embarrass myself with this impropriety in the eyes of the good and pure doctor and I fear I shall blush a most revealing shade of scarlet when next I set eyes upon him. Oh, dearest diary, it gladdens my heart to know how you listen, for if anyone else were to hear of this, mother or father, or heaven forbid, my brothers, the trouble I should bring upon this house would rival the trials of the ill-fated feuding Montagues and Capulets. To suffer the fate of poor Juliet, I just don't know, diary, I just don't know.

That sort of thing. The people of yore, they were at it all the time.

They wrote it in a book and kept it to themselves. And let's face it, that was a much more proper way to conduct oneself, not like now where every thought is turned into a status update, tweet, blog post, YouTube video, or that worst of all form of contemporary express, the YouTube comment. What the fuck are we playing at.


Monday, November 04, 2013

Thank you seems to be on its way out, as it dissolves into a mush of ta, and cheers, and nice one.  And with it inevitably goes you're welcome. How can you reply to nice one with you're welcome, it would sound bizarre. All this can be seen (heard) in living colour (sound) when alighting the bus at a busy stop or station, a queue of people stepping off, passing the driver and saying an array of thanks. Mostly thanks, with the odd ta, cheers or nice one. Sometimes the driver responds, sometimes not. When he does it's usually a nod, a yup, or a cheers. Even a thank you will not coax out a you're welcome in response.

I work in a shop where I am sometimes inclined to be helpful towards customers and when I am, especially with nice old ladies, I am often rewarded with a thank you. I always try to say you're welcome, but sometimes other responses slip out unbidden. There are two that spring to mind: 1) That's OK, or it's OK, which I don't like, because it's not a proper response and it is quite dismissive, sort of batting away the thank you before it can land. 2) Thank you, a thank you for the thank you. I imagine that this is a response American's would find baffling, the sort of behaviour they stereotypical assign to Canadians. Perhaps. Anyway, a thank you for the thank you is just weird. And wrong, like replying to how do you do? with good thanks, you? instead of the correct how do you do? Clear? Clear.

And on the bus, the one I mentioned before, remember, the bus, on that bus a boy in a hat gets on. He was a school boy, wearing one of those baseball caps they all wear nowadays, perched on his crown, separate and balancing. They have words and slogans on them, don't they, I'm sure you've seen them, out there in the wild. This hat said CAVIAR on it. Yep. The salty eggs, or roe, of a sturgeon. On a school boy's hat. In Hulme, Manchester. I don't know what's happening any more.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Leg pain plus sleeping equals dreaming about leg pain. I don't have any ongoing problem with leg pain (neck and shoulder pain however, that's another story) but I occasionally have dreams where I am attempting to walk somewhere and every step I take is agony. I move slowly, one step at a time, holding myself up against walls and fences, my destination vague and unreachable. When I wake up there is invariably a dull thud in my legs, a generalised ache causing wobbliness and uncertainty, requiring minor adjustment by moving into a more comfortable position. It's no biggie, hardly worth mentioning really, it's just one of those things, such is life, we just pick ourselves up and move along, nothing to see here.

Then I made the mistake of reading a bit about Unit 731, the secret Japanese military operation to perform unspeakable vivisection experiments on Chinese citizens during World War II, during which stomachs were removed without anaesthetic and oesophagus's were sewed directly onto the intestine, and by the end of the war 500,000 people were dead as a result of this group experimenting and dropping bombs full of plague fleas, but most of the perpetrators were never punished, due to the supposed value of their results, and given immunity from punishment for war crimes and crimes against humanity in exchange for their dubious and horrific results.

People are awful.

There is a dog running in the park outside my house. It chases a ball and wags its tail, and bounds along happily, its ears blowing and bouncing in the wind. It might stink of wet dog, and shit in the street and on the grass where children play, and cover furniture with greasy hair, but it will never organise and carry out the mass extermination of another group of dogkind. Yorkshire terriers would never implement a final solution in their vile war against Doberman Pinschers, shitzus would never enslave and work to death millions of poodles. They just stink, and shit, and chase balls in the park. Squirrels are too disorganised to make a final push against the pigeons or the magpies, they're just not generally that way inclined.

What's my conclusion here? No conclusion. Just some stuff about a dream, my legs, some war crimes, and some animals I can see from my window. An average Sunday morning. Next lunch, then reading and writing.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

We've got ducks on our shower curtain. Not real ones, cheeky cartoon ones, looking like bath-time rubber duckies. There are six babies and two growed-ups in a repeating pattern. The growed-ups look very similar to the babies, as though they have evolved to remain stuck and become sexually mature in a juvenile stage, like axolotls, emus and maybe even humans (the shape of an adult human's face is much closer to that of a juvenile chimp than it is to an adult chimp).

The only difference between our shower curtain baby and adult ducks is a slight patternation on the adults' wings which the babies don't have, and the colouration of the eyes (white with black pupils for adults, empty orange pits for the babies). There's no indication of external genitalia on any of the cartoon ducks on our shower curtain, thank heavens, imagine how distracting that could be. Also I think sales of that particular design would take a dive amongst a certain demographic, timid middle-class families and the like.

Of course we can't live our lives pandering to these (possibly imaginary) people in the middle of society. If there are people out there who want a ducky shower curtain with visible genitalia then they should damn well be allowed to have it. That's supply and demand, freedom of expression, the right to live your private life in the way you see fit, as long as you are not harming anyone else. And no, (possibly imaginary) middle class busybodies, your feeling of righteous offense does not constitute harm. So shut the fuck up who ever you are, it's just a shower curtain, neither you, nor it, even exist.

Our ducks don't have visible genitalia, you'll remember from earlier. But yet they are still quite distracting as I think I have inadvertently demonstrated. Most of them are looking forwards in the direction they appear to be marching, but some of them look cheekily to their sides, or directly at us, staring us out, distracting. I just sit on the toilet laughing at their cheeky little glances. What fun. What mischief.

Friday, November 01, 2013

"July made of Sellotape."
-note found this morning
on my bedside pad of paper

What am I supposed to do with that, how did my semi-dream state mind imagine the waking me would benefit from that assertion? July isn't made of Sellotape. Not for me anyway, I almost never use Sellotape in the month of July. The vast majority of my annual Sellotape usage is in October and December. The rest of the year is a nine month desert empty of Sellotape, and a second smaller patch covering most of November. Mine is just not a life with a significant role for Sellotape. And do you know what, I do pretty well without for the majority of the year.

In all the times in my life during which I have developed an obsession with stationery, of which there have been many, Sellotape has never taken a prominent role. As a child, bare-footed with constant splinters in my soles and toes from the untreated wooden floors of my childhood home, I had a wooden desk constructed by my father, painted blue and with a slanted fold-up lid concealing storage space for stationery. In it was, probably, for I cannot really remember, paper, pens, crayons, coloured paper clips, and possibly some Sellotape, or an un-branded alternative, kept in a dispenser. The dispenser may have been novelty, a dinosaur for example, or it may have been a serious, weighted, black office affair - both of which would have been equally attractive to me. I would not have got much use out of it, but just owning it would have given me pleasure.

As a teenager stationery was less important. My school pencil case would usually have been years old and in tatters, scrawled with band names and stinking of weed. My pens would either have been none existent or inadvertently (or, it pains me to admit, advertently) stolen from a hapless classmate who trusted me to return the pen at the end of the lesson, but whose trust proved unfounded. My respect for stationery, and those people rightfully claiming possession of individual items of stationery, was at a lifetime low. Sellotape, or any forms of tape for that matter, was entirely vacant from this era of my life. And to be honest I don't feel I was missing out on anything. Of all the things I regret doing or not doing as a teenager, ownership or usage of Sellotape is not one of them, one way or the other, it just didn't and still doesn't matter.

Three times in my life after leaving school I have worked in stationery shops. The first time I had the invented job title of 3rd key holder which meant I had to open up and close on Sundays when the manager and assistant manager couldn't be arsed. A few years later I returned temporarily to the same store as a generic customer service assistant. Further along in my life I worked in a different stationery shop, first as assistant manager and then for a short time as manager before I quit in sudden and rather dramatic fashion. As someone who likes drawing, painting and writing I couldn't help but build up a little collection of inks and special pens and drawing materials during these times, but never did Sellotape gain a special place in my heart. I'm sorry Sellotape, but you're just not adorable at all.

Having said all that I do like duct tape, a lot, and masking tape is very useful when painting, plus those multicoloured electrical tapes are awesome, just crying out for use in a collage or something. Sellotape, however, functions well in wrapping presents, but that's it - merely practical, nothing lovable.

What any of this has to do with July I really don't know. I'm not that imaginative. I don't write poetry.