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Monday, May 31, 2004

Did I fall asleep on the sofa? Of course I fell asleep on the sofa.
Did I feel like shite at 7-30 this morning? Of course I did.
Did I still get the job done? Well... sort of.

Two out of three ain't bad?

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Saturday, May 29, 2004

The birthday was a success. More about that later.

Right now The One is in the midlands with her parents and I've had a Boy's Day. What is a Boy's Day you ask? Let me tell you; let me lay it all out...

11am: Wake-up, drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, turn on the telly and watch girlbands on CD:UK (or the continental/colonial equivalent). Think about how cool it would be to be the kind of person who has sex with girlbands. Text girlfriend. Have a shower.

12 noon: Text friends. Arrange breakfast. Compare hangovers. Watch Football Focus and think about how cool it would be to be the kind of person who discusses the England midfield quandary with Ray Stubbs.

1pm: Go to a Greasy Spoon cafe for Breakfast. Order Full English, no black pudding, make the eggs fried and the bacon crispy, eh ourkid? Drink more coffee and orange juice.

1:30pm: Get a beer in, just to round off the breakfast and help the toast go down.

2pm: Pop into the bookies, have a flutter.

2:30pm: Enter the pub, order Guinness, sit near the big screen. Engage a stranger in a conversation about the problems with the West Ham defence.

3-6pm: Watch footy, note horse-racing results, drink Guinness and shout at the big screen. Tell stranger he's a feckin' ace bloke and buy him a drink.

6:05pm: Change pubs to one with a pool table.

6:15pm: Enter pub with pool table, secure change and tell anyone who will listen that (a) you've actually a God-given gift for pool and can beat quite literally anyone in the world at it... and (b) that you're only staying for a few though because you've got work in the morning.

6:20 - 11pm: Lose at pool to everyone in the pub. Blame it on all the Guinness.

11:20pm: Pick up a Chinese on the way home. Text girlfriend and propose marriage.

12midnight: Fall asleep on the sofa.

God I love Boy's Days. The irony is... I actually do have work in the morning. That's why you won't catch me falling asleep on any sofa - oooh no...

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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Another quick one, I'm afraid... gotta shower, shave, then dash to The One's for the Big Birthday Spectacular (well, lunch, an afternoon on the Heath and the evening in London's fashionable Soho at a comedy club and dinner). Then it's the office tomorrow, The One's again tomorrow night and the office again on Friday.

All of which means sadly that I'll be off-com pretty much till the weekend.

However, despair not! At least come then I'll be able to tell you about The One's present and why it's either the greatest thing in the world or doesn't really work. Either way it almost made me cry as I got it ready yesterday...

Oh - by the way. The Return of the King finished at 1 o'clock this morning. And the ending is so brilliantly over-the-top gay ("just snog him Mr Frodo!") that I think it totally works. Even though the big elephants were my favourites.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Right. I've finally filed my supergroups piece, prepared and wrapped The One's birthday present (I'll tell you what it is after the event - loose lips sink ships and all that), sorted out what we're doing for the whole malarkey tomorrow and have generally done all that I can be bothered constructively doing with this day.

And you know what I'm going to do now? Boys and girls, I'm going to sit down and spend the next three and a bit hours watching The Return Of The King on DVD. On the very day it's come out. Am I sad? God I'm sad. I'm soooo sad...

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Just had my hair cut. I go to a little place down the road where a Turkish feller does it for less than a fiver: which sounds too good to be true, until you realise that he only knows about 17 words of English - five of which are the names of the Arsenal midfield. There's really very little point in telling him what you actually want haircut-wise... the clippers are coming out regardless.

Anyway, he was clearly in a good mood today and has been improving his language skills: not only did he shave the barnet closer than ever before but he showed off his whole new phrase to me. Pointing to my smiling face in the mirror he shouted: "Haha! You look like the Timberlake dickhead!". Err, cheers ourkid - that was you what did that.

Why am I telling you this? Mostly because I've got 1,000 more words to churn out on Supergroups this afternoon and I can't think of anything more to say on the matter... but also because a sneaky little part of me was more pleased than offended by being compared to the Timberlake dickhead. Let's be honest: I've been called a lot worse by people a lot closer to me before.

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I've found my epigram for sure. It's my new favourite Belle and Sebastian lyric and couldn't sum me up better if it was written about me:

We all know you're soft cos we've all seen you dancing;
We all know you're hard cos we've all seen you drinking
from noon until noon again...


Perfect.

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Another weekend, another weekend away.
In fact, another wedding. I've almost had enough weddings, I think. I've got champagne-fatigue, first-dance-fatigue; I've got speech and toasts and "how do you know the bride?"-fatigue... kids, I've all but got love-fatigue.

Which is not to say that this wedding, like the other two or three I've been to in the last six weeks, wasn't beautiful. It was. I'm just... exhausted. Every goddamn weekend since March I've been doing something, catching a train somewhere, raising a glass to someone - and I'm knackered.

I'm also watching Police Academy now and so I realise that I really have no right to moan about anything (I do it to myself, and that's what really hurts)... but still.

As for this week - it hasn't even begun yet and I'm fully booked, daytimes and evenings, until next Monday.

(I've just realised that this is the moaningest post ever. Sorry. I don't mean to moan. I'm actually very happy and loved-up and slightly drunk and generally much better off spiritually, mentally and, like, zen-ally, than most... blame the moaning on Police Academy.)

On a far more positive note - it's The One's birthday on Wednesday. And all these weddings might be blurring into one, but the way she holds my hand when the priest/vicar/registrar or whatever gets to the part of the wedding service about loving forever makes me just melt every single time...

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Thursday, May 20, 2004

So I blatantly tempted fate with yesterday's rant about my excellent and unique system of time-keeping - today has been too short, too full, too goddamn busy.

Naturally, all the things I left till the last minute were joined by a couple of new features commissioned today - and naturally, being eternally scared of ever turning down work - I said yes to the lot, made myself an enormous pot of coffee, bought 40 Marlboro, put The Story of the Clash on the decks and sat down and bashed them out.

Children, it was a struggle, Lord it was a struggle!, but I hit the deadlines. Don't ask me how, but I always do (actually do ask me how - the answer? Joe Strummer. Put on the Clash and you never miss a deadline. Try it - it works). And I still made the pub for 8pm to meet P and N for summertime drinking.

Ahh, summertime drinking! What is it with summertime drinking? I'm dog-tired, fucked with work stress and The One stress and general over-living, under-nourishing, need-a-holiday stress... and yet summertime drinking seems such a good idea! Had a shit day? Gotta get up and haul your arse into an office tomorrow morning? Go down the pub! Sit outside in the balmy dusk of a London May evening and sink yerself six or seven pints! That'll sort you out...

I'll tell you what it is with summertime drinking. It's the sunshine. When the sun's out you feel immortal, impregnable, untouchable by hangover or headache. When the sun's out you go drinking every night, sure that come morning you'll spring up with the rosy fingered dawn, ready to conquer and be conquered again...

It's a pagan thing, a primitive thing. Sun equals life equals health equals get twatted and wake up feeling fine. Oh, my little druids and bodiceas, if only that were true! The very length and breathlessness of this post I feel proves otherwise... Right now I feel ace - full of the power and vitality of summertime drinking: it's my guess that in approximately eight hours' time, when I try to haul myself into the office for Day 1 of my two day office week, I'll feel considerably less powerful and vital.

Still, I'm glad we had this chat. It's given me something to do while the Alka Seltzer fizzes away into my bedtime pint of water.

Oh! And remind me to tell you the Story Of The Sloth sometime. I was going to tell you today, but given how busy I've been it didn't seem appropriate. It's a good story anyway, one of the best...

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Okay yer bastards, now I feel guilty for not posting every single day...

Today was a day of both intense activity and equally intense time-wasting: I've somehow developed the ability to both get a lot done and do absolutely nothing. Let me explain.

Constructive activities:

Bills paid - three.
Phone calls to accountants made - one.
Insurance documents sorted and signed - one.
Work phone calls made - three.
Features changed and refiled - one.

Non-constructive activities:

Book groups not attended that were scheduled for tonight - one.
Hours played on Final Fantasy - seven (approx).
Films watched instead of working this evening - two. Plus a programme about a chef. Oh - and another about trying to sell your house. Although to be fair, the chef did swear a lot, so it didn't seem too much of a waste of time when it was on.
Features I have due in tomorrow that haven't actually been started on properly yet - one.
Features due in on Monday that haven't even been thought about yet - one.

How does that work out? How can I have managed to be so productive and yet simultaneously so slothful? The hours don't add up. The maths don't work. The centre, as Yeats said, cannot hold. Oh - and did I mention I didn't even get out of bed until 10-15 this morning?

Actually, I'm rather relieved about Book Group... after what happened last time (see post of approximately one month ago) I'm not sure I can handle the drugs, let alone the literature. And the book itself was about a bunch of Turkish kids riding around on buses looking for the Angel of Death, so that hardly indicated an upbeat, optimistic, happy-go-lucky evening anyway... Silly Turks.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

love this!

Amusing Iraqi advertising

thanks to Wes...

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A blogger's dilemma:

So is it better to post every day, for the sake of regularity and for those who make a point of stopping by... just to say something, anything, even if it's not especially interesting?

Or to be more erratic and intermittent with one's bloggery so that when something is posted it's always interesting?

And if you think the first... why did you start your blog in the first place? To share every detail, diary-wise, of your day-to-day life - or was it to educate, inform, entertain? And isn't that why diaries always fail in the end? Because the diary-keeper gets bored himself of chronicling nothingness? And is that how you spell chronicling?

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Sunday, May 16, 2004

So I'm back from the seaside and I have the following Things That Make Me Very Happy About My Weekend In Brighton to report...

1. I love Brighton. I would quite like to live there.
2. The One asked me if I'd like to live in Brighton with her - we'll open a second-hand record shop/vegetarian cafe. Think about it; it's genius.
3. I said I'd think about it. Then I said: "that's genius".
4. I met Kevin Rowland. I had my picture taken with him. I was an unashamed fan. If you don't understand why - just look at the cover of Searching For The Young Soul Rebels.
5. If you still don't understand... just listen to it.
6. I drank an awful lot of champagne and vodka cocktails. And they were all free.
7. The sun shone.
8. I wore my Elvis Shades and looked a lot like Christian Slater in True Romance.
9. I danced to Stevie Wonder. This is not especially remarkable in itself. But given the cirmcumstances and the people I was dancing with, it felt... like I was Christian Slater in True Romance drunk on champagne and vodka cocktails dancing to Stevie Wonder. And how cool is that?
10. The One said on the train back that she was serious about the record shop/vege cafe thing. And that she'd thought through the implications.
11. Err, there is no 11.

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Friday, May 14, 2004

Just a quick one...
I'm off to the sunny south coast with The One tomorrow until Sunday for a weekend of luxury, filthiness and general fine livin'... oh, and the odd C-list celebrity, but that might be a different story. Try not to panic.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Oh dear, I've found something new to get addicted to. As if Guinness, red wine, cigarettes and television were not enough for the modern junk male, someone sent me (gotta love my job - the freebies!) a GameBoy Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics. That's it - all social life over. Not only have I written three features in the last three days (two on edition for the next day's papers, no less - how hard do I rock? Pretty goddamn hard) but I've also somehow racked up nearly 20 hours on the GameBoy (according to the Final Fantasy's inbuilt timer).

How have I managed this? Reader, I've barely left my flat.

Fear not though; hold that call to the Nerd Police. There may yet be hope. Tomorrow I have to go into the office for a couple of days and then Friday I'm straight out for a dirty (and filthily expensive) weekend by the sea with The One. These are the things I remember as being normal...

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Picture the scene. It's 10am today and I'm on the phone to a nutritional consultant (or somesuch healthy living guru). He's in his office; I'm on my sofa in a pair of shorts and a T-shirt: ashtray, coffee, cigarettes all to hand, scribbling all he says into a notebook. He's helping me out for this diets feature, telling me exactly how the nation's bright young things should take care of their bodies...

Nutritional Consultant (NC): I can't overstress the importance of drinking enough water. Eight glasses a day is an absolute minimum. And that doesn't mean flavoured water, or even tea...

Me (Sipping from enormous cup of weapons-grade coffee): Mmm-hmm.

NC: And certainly not coffee. Coffee is not good - especially not first thing in the morning. You know it doesn't cure a hangover? It just makes you more dehydrated.

Me: Right. (Refilling coffee from pot and spooning another two sugars in.)

NC: Obviously if you must drink coffee then take it weak and without sugar. But, you know, taking care of yourself needn't be dull. You can still have a few drinks, for example, just stick to white wine spritzers and avoid beers and stouts. Don't go near Guinness.

Me: (Writes down "Guinness" and underlines it.) I thought Guinness was good for you?

NC: Well not if you drink six pints a night every night. Ha ha. (Pause.) That was a joke by the way.

Me: Of course. So (sparking a cigarette) what else?

NC: Try to avoid smoky atmospheres...

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Monday, May 10, 2004

Busy busy. Ooh! I'm busy! You think you know busy? Baby you don't know shit about busy until you've seen just how busy I am...

Been working like a madman today. This morning I knew nothing. As of right now I'm a world class authority on steam trains. By tomorrow morning I'll be a dieting guru. On wednesday I shall be a leading expert on the causes and effects of alcoholism. Come thursday I'll have forgotten the lot. Such is the life of the freelance hack!


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By the way - what on earth has happened to Blogger? Call me a traditionalist but I'm more than a little confused by all the new look malarkey.

I've also spent the three hours or so since returning from the pub drinking the last of The One and mine anniversary champagne (oh look, it would have gone flat otherwise) and watching a Sherlock Holmes film, but still...

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So here's a thing. There I was, talking at some length about the Anti-One last week... and what should happen on Friday at the Franz Ferdinand gig?

C from book club introduced me to his friend J... who is leaving her job to work with my Anti-One. Not only that - she (and apparently C) both know my Anti-One, are actually quite friendly with my Anti-One, and know all about me and my Anti-One.

The Fear doesn't even begin to cover it.

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Sunday, May 09, 2004

Well kids, unhook your tenters, shuffle back from the edge of that seat: I bit the bullet and asked her.
She said... she said if we're still like we are now by Christmas, then Yes.
I'm not sure what I think. It's all a bit scary. Far away, so close! as someone more Irish than me once said.

I did finally put into words how she makes me feel though. (It's probably another old lyric I'm plagiarising - it's too good to be original, but what the hell...)

The moment I met The One I knew I'd found what it was I'd spent my whole life looking for. But until I met her, I didn't even realise I was looking for anything.

Is this blog becoming, like, too sick-making for words? Or am I trying to prove that happiness doesn't write white and sometimes it can show up on the page? Would it be best for everyone if I shut up about The One and got back to rambling drunkenly on about my booze intake?

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Saturday, May 08, 2004

Children, I'm so tired. I'm sooo tired. And I came home today to a letterbox full of bills and a phone message reminding me of all the work I have to file early next week. Everything's catching up with me at once.
The One is at the office but she's coming round in about an hour and a half's time.

Things I have to do by then:
1. Shower/shave/generally make the best of myself.
2. Tidy up a bit/wash the dishes (err, that will be Tuesday's dishes then)/feed the fish etc.
3. Book the restaurant.
4. There is no 4.
Things I'd really like to do:
1. Sleep.

Went straight out after work with about 100 people who M knew to see Franz Ferdinand in a club off The Elephant and Castle in London's rather seedy Old Kent Road last night. More later (well, tomorrow) but three words spring to mind: "A Certain Ratio". (But then as I was probably one of a mere handful in the crowd who had even heard of A Certain Ratio, let alone owned albums by them, I suppose that doesn't really matter.) I only mention this to make me sound cool for listening to both chart-friendly 2004 art-pop AND early 80s Mancunian, um, art-pop.

Anyway - must go: my ablutions await!

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Friday, May 07, 2004

Oh - and as I know you're all on tenterhooks... I didn't ask her tonight. I might on Saturday though.

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By the way, I forgot to mention: the interview with the alcoholic - very scary. It catches up with you, the drink. Felt so traumatised I went straight round to The One's and had the best part of a bottle of wine to calm down.

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Thursday, May 06, 2004

The sweetest thing I ever heard:

So I'm not the religious type at all, believe me. But there's a story about the Angel Gabriel that's just too lovely to ignore. Apparently, one of the duties of the Angel Gabriel is to look after unborn children, take care of them, prepare them for life. Which he does for nine months, fully giving them love until they're ready for all the pain and sorrow of the real world. (This in itself is fairly tragic - poor little babies, they don't know what's coming for them, they don't know what's waiting down here.) And then just before they're born, he touches them, once, to make them forget about him and about Heaven, so that living (down here, and not up there where they were before they were born) isn't too much to bear. And the mark of that touch is the little dent, that little furrow, that everyone has between your top lip and your nose.

Is that not beautiful? Like I said, I have very little time for religion, but shit like that can't fail to make you gooey.

By the way, I'm enormously drunk. But still - the point stands.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

So, this afternoon do I:
1. Do some work on the diets feature?
2. Paint the cabinet/coffee table thing the fish tank sits on in a natty beach house bleached-by-the-sun effect?
3. Play computer games?

No contest. (2) followed by (3). Besides, I'm interviewing my alcoholic later and that's quite enough work for one day.

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Well it's nearly 1am and I've got one last glass of Shiraz in the bottle. I shall re-read Chapter 5 of the novel. (Unfortunately, instead of sending me to bed snug and warm and wrapped in the safety blanket of my own literary brilliance, it's more likely to send me back to the keyboard chainsmoking and desperate and determined to stay awake until every sentence sings like an angel. But still. Beats watching G.I. Jane, which is about all the telly has to offer.)

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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I've spoken a lot about The One over the last month or so (how long have I been doing this? Just how interested are you, really?)... so I think now may be the time to tell you my theory of The Anti-One. It's a good theory.

So it's important that you believe in The One, that you believe that somewhere out there is the yin to your yang, the Priscilla to your Elvis, the Nancy to your Sid... for if you don't then life becomes too chancy, too unpredictable, too random to leave any hope. Even if you never meet your One - you still have to believe The One is out there, somewhere, thinking about you.

Some meet their One at school, or University, or as toddlers in playgroup. Some meet their One incredibly early in life... and they're the really lucky ones. Most people who are going to meet their One do so after a few Other (lesser) Ones, and that's normal. Some meet their Anti-One first (the Anti-One always comes first - for after The One there's never anyone else) - and they're the unlucky ones. (Some never meet their One - but you can guarantee they'll have met their Anti-One: and they're the unluckiest of all.)

So who is the Anti-One? Well, if The One is the one you're made for, the one you're destined to be with... then the Anti-One is the one you think is The One - but turns out to be the one who fucks you up. If The One is the person who lifts you up, the Anti-One is the person who breaks your heart. If The One shows you just how amazing life can be, the Anti-One shows you just how cruel it can be too. If The One becomes your very definition of love... the Anti-One can make you believe that love is just a lie all along.

What separates the Anti-One from just being another failed relationship is that the Anti-One is the one you are CONVINCED is actually The One. It's only when you find out just how wrong you are... that you find out just how wrong you are.

I met my Anti-One years ago. She fucked me up. I would have married her; I was stone in love with her, blinded with love for her... and she fucked me right up. Worse, she didn't care she fucked me up. The One (by which I mean my The One, the girl I'm in love with right now) had her Anti-One about the same time, weirdly. She nearly did marry him. Life's strange like that. Sliding doors, etc.

Chances are, if you're of a similar age and live a similar life (though perhaps with a little less red wine, Guinness and general narcissistic reflection), you've met your Anti-One too. Perhaps you're still in love with your Anti-One, perhaps your heart still makes a little tragic leap of pain and joy when you hear the Anti-One's name, or see a similar face. It's a bitch - but now you've got a theory about it, now you've got an explanation, you can see it's all as random and magical as meeting your One. It's just UNLUCKY, that's all.

Why am I explaing all this to you? Two reasons:
1. I told someone else's blog I would do and he sounds like he needs a break.
2. Hey - I'm reaching out and making a difference. It's good to share, kids.
3. There is no 3. (From now on I'm resolved to end all lists like this. There's a Californian chick to thank for that.)

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Chaps, I feel I should point out that:
1. I was rather loved up last night.
2. It's by no means certain that I will ask The One on Saturday if she thinks we should move in together.
3. Even if I do (and even if she says Yes), it will take months to sort out.
4. So enough of all the goodbyes and stuff!
5. Err... there is no 5.

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Monday, May 03, 2004

I came THIS close to asking The One if she thought we should move in together tonight.
The fact of the matter is - we're made for each other. I've never known anything like it - and in a really cliched way, I can't help thinking that no one has ever felt like we do before. Is that really sickening? Yes, of course it is: but what can I do? As a better looking man than me once said - I'm in love, I'm all shook up. (But, to be fair, he followed that great insight with Uh huh huh, uh huh huuuh, yeahaaaay yeah... so the jury's still out.)

I feel I should point out that I'm also quite drunk, but still. Nothing new there.

So this morning, hungover to hell and sick behind the eyes, I woke to the flotsam and jetsam of yesterday's drinking. An overflowing ashtray here, a discarded burger wrapper there, everywhere a lingering smell of chips and Guinness... and (as you already know) three missed calls from The One and a message that she and Best Friend From Amsterdam (BFFA) were expecting me for lunch in a cafe down the road. So, emergency coffee, shower, shave and cigarettes later, there I was with the old mushrooms on toast and the Big Three Hangover Beverages (cappucino, orange juice, water) and a ready smile. Well naturally BFFA was lovely, lunch was equally lovely, and sure as spring follows winter, the hangover subsided and by 3pm we were in the pub...

To cut a long story short (and miss out all the rude bits), BFFA left for her train, The One and I ended up in the little Italian at the top of my road and I came within a whisker of asking her to move in. The weird thing is the only thing that stopped me was our pending anniversary on Thursday. If I'm going to ask her, I'll ask her then.

But what will you do? After all - this here blog, it's our dirty little secret, our affaire de literature. Lord knows no one else knows. I can't go public, I can't blow my cover... but whatever would you do without me?

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Jesus CHRIST my head hurts. And that cheeseburger and chips combo that looked so gooood at midnight last night sure as hell ain't feeling good now. I am, in short, something of a mess this morning... and I've just woken to two missed calls from The One - and the information that she'll be round this way with her Best Mate from Amsterdam in about an hour's time and it would be really nice to meet for lunch.

I should point out that "it would be really nice" is very much a euphemism for "we have to". I'm very much supposed to meet the Best Mate... and of course be charming, funny, good-looking etc too. Gentle reader, I am none of these things this morning.

Two coffees and three cigarettes later and I'm going to call her back and see what the score is. God, why did I get so drunk last night?

(It could be worse - at least I didn't post anything embarrassing last night... doh!)

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I feel I should apologise for the last post. I feel I should... only problem is I'm far too drunk to actually do any apologising effectively. Listen - it's the thought that counts. Clutch that straw baby.
To all my (two) devotees in California - I love you. I have totally non-secret crushes on both of you. (I reserve the right to choose one or the other upon actual sight.)
Um, that should probably be it. I really need to get some sleep. All work and no play makes me a dull boy!

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So now I feel guilty about having any kind of social life!
You know how it is - you get drunk, you stay at The One's one night, you're too drunk the next to bother writing anything, you get soooo drunk the following night you're incapable of writing anything... before you know where you're at it's sunday night (bank holiday, admittedly), you're shitfaced and you've not posted since, like, wednesday.
Kids, I'm sorry. Meine leibchen, ich bin, er, sorry. If it's any consolation, I'm shitfaced now. And I'm posting. I've been working today too, in an office and everything. You don't know how goddamn lucky you are...

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