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Archive for July, 2011

The departure of Unfeasibly Attractive Girlfriend has not slowed down my (to me, and I daresay to others) surprising rate of sexual success: the last of which was like something out of a farce.

The girl was very attractive, very nice and we went back to her very lovely house, where it must have struck her that I was considerably the worse for drink. We went through the two-step of “I ought to go…” and “Have another drink…” and “Is there a sofa?” and finally ended up on the firm ground of “You can sleep in my bed”.

She went to the bathroom and returned in – Hurrah! – a silk nightdress, and got into bed. I started to undress and then announced:

“I’m not wearing any underwear under my jeans.”

“That’s OK” she said, smiling encouragingly.

“You’ll see my cock.” I added, truthfully.

“Good.” she said, which was encouraging and clear. So with that, I decided to shrug off the trousers and socks and (in attempting to do that in one fluid move) managed to fall over, before popping up at the foot of the bed like some kind of strange creature and making my path up the bed.

You can imagine how, faced with this kind of suave flair and self-possession she was simply putty in my hands – so that is where I shall leave it…

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Ex-Wife is (as predicted) moving in with Man Who Looks Like Steve Buscemi, in North London.

The children are staying at their current school, which is good as it’s clear that they don’t need any more disturbance, and she has been diligent about finding a way in which she can get them to and from there with relatively little fuss – to wit, The Magic Train (as it has been dubbed by Best Friend), which goes from North London to West London (and beyond in both directions, actually) in a matter of minutes. So, the education is not to be disrupted, but I am thinking that it can be supplemented.

As mentioned above, kitted out with all the requirements of a forty-year old man (younger girlfriend, cashmere V-Necks, expanding classical music collection), I became – unsurprisingly – enamoured with the back catalogue of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, delivered via the iPod.

Other than the varying charms and humour of the guests (high points being Ian McEwan, Lawrence Dallaglio and Kristin Scott Thomas – the low point being Giles Brandreth), and the music choices, the other great point of interest for me has been in discovering the nature of the early home lives and education of these (by and large) celebrated and gifted people. The thing that seems to be consistent across class, gender and country, is a parent (sometimes two) who exposed them early to books (not just reading, but “the cult of books”), often Shakespeare and always music. Music unending and constantly on: varying, but high quality (whether it was Ella Fitzgerald, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan or – most often, it seems – Bach) seems to be the thing that animated these households and these childhoods.

No doubt it’s partly in the nature of the programme they’re appearing on: were it “Desert Island Books”, then I daresay books, libraries, recitals and the spoken word would make (even more of) a starring appearance; and the same is probably true of “Desert Island Kitchenalia” prompting fond, misty-eyed recollections of that sieve, that spurtle, that spoon. Nevertheless, there is something in music (and I know just how unoriginal this is) that is transcendent in every sense, which must account for its animating spark and its ability to provoke feeling and recall time and place. Like many others, I have rehearsed in my head what my choices would be (and I have gone down the path of “music that reminds me of people and occasions), and it was really easy: perhaps because I realised that music was constant in my young life too. I remember my father turning up Elvis Presley whenever it came on in the car, my mother pretending to be all of the animals in Saint Saens’ Carnival, being allowed to stay up late to watch “Carmen” (and then, at the age of ten, being taken to see Losey’s magnificent film of “Don Giovanni” in the cinema), and a steady progress of classical, opera, rock, jazz, blues and pop ever since. It was inter-mingled with the radio (never stirring from Radio 4), but there was always something in the background, over which we talked and about which we argued.

I am redoubled in my determination that it should be the backdrop to my beloved children’s lives whenever they are with me – and if that means that I begin to appreciate  more great music, and to learn more about it with them, then what a reward that will be.

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So, farewell then Unfeasibly Attractive Girlfriend.

You were a joy to be with and a wonder to behold. You made me feel fantastic when we were together, and content when we weren’t.

You were respectful of my situation, and all the rules I imposed, and bore them all with great grace, humour and toleration.

For all that: thank you.

Unfeasibly Attractive Girlfriend is off home to New Zealand for four months. It was planned (and indeed, booked) before we got together in the dying embers of last year, and so I can feel content that I have nothing to do with her fleeing the country. For all that I will miss her (though she is returning) it’s also probably a good thing: I’m a long way off wanting a relationship, and am quite enjoying the contrast between the responsibility to my children and the responsibility to no-one but myself that being single offers. It’s great to have had months and months of great fun, sex and companionship, without any need to promise or pretend more, and I’ve enjoyed every moment.

Fare thee well, UAG – may you find as much happiness as you bring.

Eiljert x

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I don’t really care massively about how houses are decorated. Like everyone else, I have preferences and things that I will not tolerate (wet look tiles, chintz, deep pile carpets – nothing too contentious), but I can’t get too excited about looking at the subtle differences between fourteen shades of “White” from Farrow and Ball with names such as “Suet”, “Linen Petticoat”, “Mrs Danver’s Teeth” and “Dame Maggie Smith White”. This is not to say that UAG is going to get her way and see the downstairs rooms of my new house painted “Duck Egg Blue” (“That sounds shit, love.”), but as long as everything is fairly recessive and serves as a good way to house the things I like, I am happy.

But today, an announcement was made at work that made my heart sing: the office is to be redecorated. This is great news NOT for the decoration that is to come, but the decoration that is to be replaced. The most recent example of “Let’s make the space more creative” (which has now run longer than “The Mousetrap”) was to give the staff free rein on the decoration of the pillars that run the length of the first floor. These ran the gamut from the half-hearted (occasional run-outs of “interesting use of graphics”), to the embarrassingly teenage (hundreds of shots of heavily made-up lips) to the tentatively themed (album covers) to the energetically creative (an oak tree, complete with added branches and terse-looking owl) – but the worst of these was the one nearest to me. Needless to say: I had nothing to do with it – partly because of my above-stated ambivalence, partly because of my refusal to get involved with anything that might involve a committee – so I have only got myself to blame. What emerged was horrific: a pillar covered in large and small boxes of breakfast cereal, which was named – DEAR GOD! – “The Deadly Cereal Pillar”.

Words cannot describe the fury and disgust that I felt on the first day, and every day after, that I saw that atrocity. Over time, some of the boxes peeled off and fell to the floor, so that the one thing that could have been said of it (“At least it’s neat”) was no longer true. Anyway: this is all over now. Today, the Front of House staff moved in and started pulling the remaining boxes off the pillar, in preparation for the weekend of decoration – and whatever this weekend holds, it cannot be comparable to the horror that has been: even if it’s just a simple wash of “Stilton Mould”, “Kristin Scott Thomas’ Back” or “Dinner Gong Beige”.

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I turned down the other job offer.

I didn’t think I was going to this time (it is, after all, the third time that this network has offered me a job), but I did, after a chat with Great Researcher Whom I Like.

She suggested that I focus on the stuff that matters: and the stuff that matters is not the money, the title, the status. It’s the fact that my current Agency has been fantastic about letting me work from home/leave early in order to see my children. How could I put a price, or an intangible “prospects” label on anything when I stack it up against that?

Exactly.

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