Thursday, January 30, 2014

Go for the seasonal haircut & - sitting in the chair sans lunettes blind to the world around me - observe that it's unusually quiet today. The barber (Monsieur Charly) laughs bitterly & explains that he's stopped playing music. The stereo has been relegated to his flat upstairs. Apparently he received a letter the other day and realised that the performer's union had stung him with a bill (monthly & backdated several years) for playing his stereo in 'un lieu publique'. A quite staggering amount. Both he & I find this absurd. A barber's shop defined as a 'public place'? Music while you wait your turn? His own CDs in his own player?

& what if it were simply talk radio? I ask. Exactly the same. Mad!

I used to enjoy hearing a Bach concerto set against the syncopated rhythm of his snips. A blessed relief from that wall to wall thump & jangle favoured by the more upmarket trendy salons. While for M. Charly it was a way to make the hours pass and fill in any awkward pauses with his more taciturn clients. As well as, I'm sure, a deliberate attempt to educate himself, broaden his culture. He liked the entire works type of set, some 100 CDs in one shoe box size chunk. You could set yourself a target for the week, a month, a year.

So that's that then. No more music. He snips away in silence.

That's what they mean by the 'free society' he says (in French, of course) & snorts derisively. 'Free' as long as you pay.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I'm more or less halfway in the Alan Clark Diaries. It was among a box of books I took away from a pre-garage sale browse just before Christmas. I keep it in the downstairs toilet (where else?) & dip into it while engaged on pressing matters.

It's rather fun to read - seeing the underbelly of a period I lived through & loathed. And now and again names pop up of fathers of people I either knew at school or went to university with (usually accompanied by derogatory remarks).

I'm pretty sure I'd loathe Clark in person but on the page he's - dare I admit it - verging on the sympathetic. The kinds of nonsense, incompetence & in-fighting he describes & despises I witness going on around me. Might we not be so very different (discounting the houses, vintage cars & compulsive philandering)? It was Ben who confessed one day back in Leeds that go far enough to the Left & you just might come out the other side as a Tory Anarchist. A point to ponder.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Yesterday I got a new mobile - a Samsung something-or-other sufficiently hi-tech to provoke envy amongst the Wafflettes yet clearly sooooo 'last year' for there to be a deal. The jolly salesman punches my details into the computer & comes up with various options which prove we've been paying well over the odds for the past year or so. He checks the number of messages I send per month & is astonished at the figure: on average I send 7 (the typical teenager sends 60 plus per ... day). What do I have to say? I shrug apologetically.

I walk to the other end of the shop to collect the phone. A small brown box - it might be a pack of tea. Is that it? No manual, of course. Exasperated, L. grabs it out my hands & shows me how to unlock the screen, flip through menus, etc.. Pure intuition. Or simply the result of playground conversations. Phones are the lingua franca of the becoming-adolescents these days.



See ya. Wouldn't wanna be ya. L.O.S.E.R.



"Switch off the candles?" One extinguishes, my dear ...

Monday, January 06, 2014

Belgianwaffle in Paris Match?

Surely some mistake?

No ... as the elder Wafflette pointed out we are in the picture seven rows back on the right hand side behind the bride. (You can just about make out my bald pate - nearest the aisle - catching the flash light).

The occasion? The society wedding of the year (at least in Belgium) just before Christmas. Jerome & Natalie - as I know them.

& a lovely wedding it was.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014




A New Year's glyph to welcome in the New Year & wish Blog readers irregular & Old Regulars alike a Fruitful & Creative 2014.

Plenty of resolutions including one to blog more regularly - oh yes, we've heard that one before you're saying. 



(John Cage)


. Driving into work the other morning with 'Village of the Sun' playing & humming & drumming along  & think...