Monday, September 18, 2006



So today I sought refuge from incipient depression (have I not been taking my pills properly? my doctor thinks I should reduce them, gah) by making pizza with my two little boys and their friend Sam. Under my eye, they shopped, and weighed the flour and the sugar and yeast, and discussed what the chemical reactions were; they thumped the dough, which I urged them to treat as their worst enemy (Bush and Maurinho, these enemies turned out to be), they grated and sliced toppings, and finally they ate with huge appetites. Then I gave them icecream.

I spent about four hours supervising and educating. They loved every minute. It cost about £3 in ingredients. I have spent small fortunes on child treats which have left them hideously blasé. This is an old lesson, first learned when I had to entertain my older kids on the weekends that their millionniare dad didn't have them. It was good to be reminded of it.

Meanwhile our new kitten Abou, an Oriental Black and six months old, is settling in. We got him to give our existing cat, the vast orange Zülle, company following the death of his ma. Abou is enthusiastic about Zu and calls to him, rushes at him, rubs himself affectionately against Zu's flank and generally goes out of his way to forge bonds of friendship. This has been going on for nearly a week and has reduced Zu to a gibbering wreck. This evening, alarmingly, Abou extended a perfectly oval paw and placed it gently but firmly on Zu's head. I have seen this gesture before. It means 'You're a wimp; I'm the boss around here'. It's perfectly true that Zü is a wimp, but it's a little disconcerting that he has given this secret away to Abou and allowed this ten ounce scrap of felinity to assume alpha male status quite so soon.

The best bit of news recently was our match against ManU yesterday. Not just the fact that we won our first match of the season, but how well we won, how beautifully we played our own kind of football, flowing, passing, stylish football. And without Henry and van Persie too. Cesc was fabulous, Freeddie worked his socks off, it was such a joy to watch. I thought I didn't hate ManU quite as much as I used to until I saw them take the field, when I felt a quite unexpected and curiously satisfying rush of extreme loathing. Anyway, we looked like Arsenal ought to look, and if we carry on playing like that I have hopes that we'll get the season back on track. Ferguson complained that his team were tired. It's mid-September ffs, and we travelled away for a CL match in mid-week. Poor excuse for a poor performance.

I'm slightly confused about the nature of the blog. It's not private, like a diary; I don't feel free to say the things I might say if I thought no one else would ever see it; but it's unlikely to be read - I'm not talking to anyone except myself. This private/public interface is a bit weird. I e4xpect I shall get used to it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I'm not at all sure why I'm doing this. It seems terribly self-indulgent. My partner has often suggested it , but I suspect that's because he wants me to waste more time to lessen his guilt. But here goes. I'm flailing about a bit with the technology, but no-one will read it anyway so I don't suppose it matters.

I am a journeyman, a day labourer. I get up each morning and go to see if I have any work. If I haven't, I don't get paid. This seems to me exactly like the situation of my great-grandfather, who was a docker and went down to the docks every morning at around five. He had the advantage of me, though, because he took the Telegraph which, in those days, carried the shipping news so he tended to know when a ship was due in. His peers thought this was uncanny, and hung around with him in the hope that some of the luck would rub off, which - naturally - it usually did.

My children mock me when I point to my precarious working-class status. They show no respect. They point to the thousand things about my life that prove I'm middle class. When did patterns of consumption, rather than labour, become the key determinants of class? How useful is consumption as a class indicator? To be defined, and to define ourselves and each other, in terms of our possessions and the way we spend our money?

I hesitated over having a good rant about idle husbands at this point and decided against it. As I don't imagine anyone will ever read this, I don't quite know why.