I went to see Puressence at Oran Mor last night. I’m not really into obscure bands; generally I feel if a band hasn’t really made a reasonable impact on the public’s consciousness it’s because their songs are shit, but this isn’t true in the cast of Puressence. To my knowledge they’ve only been mentioned by name on television once, back in 1998 on Live and Kicking I think it was. Their single, the beautiful ‘All I Want’ was subject to a scathing review by Steps’ H, in which he said it “was a bit depressing and not my kind of thing.” Needless to say after this glowing endorsement, I went out and bought the album the song came from.

At that time, two years after the release of the Manics’ meisterwork Everything Must Go, I was still under the slight delusion that there might, somewhere, sometime be an album released that was better. ‘All I Want’ gave me the impression Only Forever might run it close; it didn’t, but it’s still a pretty good LP in its own right.

I haven’t heard the band’s first album, and they played quite a lot of stuff from the upcoming fourth album, so I found I was a little lost and only really enjoying the gig when they were covering the middle two releases. That said, they only played an hour set so there were a lot of great songs, songs I really enjoy, that they didn’t play; ‘Never Be The Same Again’ for instance. Though James Mudriczki has such a skyscraping, tremulous voice, it was good to actually be standing a few feet away from him watching him do his stuff. Recordings don’t do him justice to how powerful his singing can be at time. And his banter with the crowd was quite amusing at times, especially as the new(ish) guitarist was struggling with his equipment.

The gig was over by ten, so I went home. There, it’s been said. I was in the single most romantic part of Glasgow, where seemingly anything can happen, and I was alone. In that situation, you really don’t want to spend to long there, having your inability to form even the most basic of relationships with people rubbed in your face. I caught the subway (oh, be still my beating heart!) back to Buchanan Street before driving home, stopping off at Tesco to get a fuck off big cream cake. Yes, I comfort eat.

I’m having a period of intense self-contemplation. Or, I’m feeling sorry for myself. Last month I felt like I’d finally gained a finger-hold in the sheer face of life, and now I seem to be back at the foot of the cliff thinking ‘It’s too bloody high!’. I’d applied for a permanent job where I’m currently temporarily employed; it’d been implied to me that I would be a shoe-in if I did so, and this would lead to me training in an appropriate discipline within the department, as many others have done before me. Not a bad back up career to rest my pipe dreams on top of.

And at the same time, I’d gone for a drink with Michelle. I didn’t feel it went that badly, but as you’ve probably gathered by now, I’m absolutely atrocious at judging people and situations, especially when it requires reading between the lines. As such, despite the fact we’ve carried on texting and mailing each other, and despite me asking her if we’ll be meeting again, to date we haven’t. Which is a bit of a shame, mainly because…well, I don’t know quite how to say this, but I don’t often find myself stumbling into the Goldilocks zone.

NaNoWriMo beckons in another six weeks, and I think I’m going to enter it again this year. The purpose of the contest is to try and write a novel(la) of a minimum of 50,000 words in just 30 days. I entered it last year, and managed to complete a children’s story on the day of the deadline, so I’m positive about the chances of writing a sequel this year. I’ve continued to work on my ‘proper’ novel, and I recently hit the 70,000 word mark. I’m hoping to try and get as near to 100,000 before the 1st of November as I possibly can. I know you shouldn’t hold too much stock in the number of words you’ve written, but for me it’s a psychological issue; if I can hit six figures, it’ll go a long way to proving my stamina as a novelist; that’s probably the most difficult aspect of writing books, I would imagine. It’s also worth noting that I’ve written around sixty thousand words in the last 18 months, compared to 12,000 in the nine years before, when this was just a word file on my old computer, something that existed in the back of my mind, mainly I suspect so I could tell people I was ‘working on a novel’. There’s still a long way to go however; I’ve been writing it in sections, almost like a tall building in reverse. Most of the rendering’s done, now I just need to create the steel frame to hang it on.

 I’ve been doing a few reviews as well. I’ve got a load of stuff to review for the website ‘God Is In The TV’, and I’ve done a couple more for ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’ or whatever it’s called this month. And I may be commissioned by UNS to photograph Hamish Stuart next month, so everything’s looking mildly positive in that respect. I just have to continue to be mildly tenacious.

I’m feeling the healthiest I’ve been in years, apart from the piles which have been playing up this week. About six weeks ago, John and a few others from work decided to organise a Tuesday night game after work, to run in tandem with our Thursday lunchtime games. I’ve been playing in both of them, and I really have started to feel the benefit in recent weeks. Most of the guys are 20 years older than me anyway, but it’s only been in the last couple of games that my relative youth has started to prove its benefit. That just goes to show how unfit I was when I started playing there. But it’s great; a fortnight ago my stamina emerged after years in exile, and on Tuesday, my game fitness joined it. It’s always good to feel fit and healthy I think; it’s just a shame I loathe exercising.

 So that’s pretty much my life at the moment. It’s Rachael’s second birthday on Saturday, and she’s really starting to grow up quite quickly now. Her vocabulary and perception is improving all the time, to the point where we all think she’s a genius. Well, we all were at that age, weren’t we? Especially in the eyes of our relatives. And speaking of relatives, my father seems to have got his divorce and house sale sorted out, so that’s encouraging.

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Being an enthusiast of Scottish football is so damn easy at the moment. We’re on the cusp of something great. Perhaps it’s the crest of a wave, but like the sea, we need to just keep on, wearing down all opposition, keeping this momentum going constantly. In the past we’ve reached decent heights, but the next crop of young players hasn’t quite come through in time; look at how many players in the Scotland squad at the moment are aged between 25-30. There are about three as far as I can remember.

 Football has a tendancy to move in waves, with a peak inevitably followed by a trough, and for some nations the sum difference between each won’t be so great. We’re riding so high in this country at the moment that I think we’re all looking over our shoulder, waiting for the next slide into oblivion to begin.

Mayne I’m getting ahead of myself here, but midway through the Rangers vs. Stuttgart game tonight I realised that Rangers had started with seven Scots in their line-up. And five of them were aged under 25. Two of them combined wonderfully to score Rangers’ equaliser when Alan Hutton went on a marvellously mazy run which took him past four defenders to the edge of the penalty area. There he slipped the ball to Charlie Adam, who came in from the cold and onto his weaker right foot to curl the ball deliciously round the Stuttgart keeper. I exploded the most quietly anyone has ever combusted as it wasn’t quite worth the wrath my sister would have unleashed upon me for waking my niece.

 Hutton was involved in gaining Rangers’ winning penalty when he latched on to a pass from the overwhelmed Steven Whittaker and burst past two defenders. The second is currently being held in Govan Police Station’s anti-terrorist unit for the ridiculous challenge he put in on Hutton, getting nowhere near the ball in the process. The tiring Jean Claude Darcheville converted.

I’ll be honest and confess I didn’t expect Rangers to get anything out of this game. But the Scottish spine through the team seems to be bubbling along on a air-cushion of confidence at the moment. On tuesday, in relation to Kenny Miller’s goal for Derby against Newcastle, Emily wondered what the Scotland squad were being fed at the moment. One can only speculate. But I’d like to suggest (as long as it’s legal*) they keep them on it.

 *I think it’s called confidence.

I went to see ‘Run Fat Boy Run’ last night; cease reading here if you don’t want the film spoiled.

I did this because Scotland were playing France away in a European Championship qualifier, and I really couldn’t face watching the game. I get nervous when Scotland engage in footballing combat with teams bigger and better than us, as our natural limitations are almost always shown up. I wasn’t really in the mood to watch 90 minutes of entrenched Scottish defending, and so I opted to remove myself from all the anxiety and take myself off to the cinema.

‘Run Fat Boy Run’ is the latest outing for Simon Pegg, and it’s a decent wee film. It basically follows the Hollywood Sports/Rocky template, so that’s why I warned you about spoilers. If you’ve seen ‘Rocky’, or ‘When Saturday Comes’, or even the ‘Mighty Ducks’, you’ll pretty much know how events will turn out. Although there is one minor departure from the usual; when Dennis (Pegg) completes the marathon, he does so, not in a blaze of athletic prowess, but hobbles the course in 13 hours with a sprained ankle, displaying the determination and perseverence he’d always previously shyed away from. It’s a cute film, if nothing more.

I left the cinema, got in the car, turned on the radio and was greeted with the news that Scotland were winning 1-0 with a matter of minutes to go. I could scarcely believe my ears. I’m still not entirely convinced about the reliability of any of my senses still, nearly 24 hours later. There’s no way we should have won; France have a population ten times the size of theirs, they have a more varied and impressive gene pool to draw athletes from, and they’re not a half bad team. Fortunately, they’re also lazy and arrogant, and this appears to have worked in our favour.

Last October (the day after I saw James Dean Bradfield at the Garage in Glasgow trivia fans) Scotland beat France 1-0 in the same qualifying competition at Hampden Park. That day the French manager bemoaned the ball boys for their defeat; something to do with the alacrity they would throw the ball back to the respective teams, and the rest of the squad humped and groaned about Scotland defending, like it’s some kind of bewildering new secret weapon.

When a losing team declares that ‘they deserved to win’, I’m not impressed. There are many aspects to winning a football match, not least (and most fundamentally) scoring more goals than the opposition. You may well have 70% of possession, and 25 shots at goal, but if you fail to even seriously trouble the goalkeeper, then, to use some slightly vulgar internet phraseology, ‘you’re doing it wrong’. On the other hand, if you have four shots at goal, score one, and then successfully defend this lead for the remainder of the game, then in my mind at least, you deserve your victory. Football, like all sport, is about more than the final tally of points; the points have to be gained, and they have to be defended. Teams wouldn’t bother with defenders otherwise. Chessboards wouldn’t have pawns. Snooker wouldn’t have the safety shot.  Fencers wouldn’t bother parrying. Successfully marginalising your opponent’s attacks is just as important as scoring points yourself. Well, maybe slightly less important.

So, I’m not overly concerned about French players, their management and their fans moaning about us setting out a defensive stall. Defending is a job and it’s there to be done. We did it well, unlike the French team’s attempts at attacking. In the two games they managed to scored precisely no goals against us. A score of 1-0 indicates that Scotland both defended and attacked more successfully than France. And so we deserved our victory.

What about James McFadden though? We did need a spark of inspiration from somewhere, and he provided it with yet another gem of a goal to add to his burgeoning collection. He scored a pearler on Saturday, and last night he added another even better one to it. France’s defenders allowed him far too much time and space to bring down Craig Gordon’s long kick out; they allowed him too much space to set himself for a shot, and he punished them remorselessly.

It’s quite a time to be a Scottish football fan; Rangers and Celtic both playing in the Champions League, and Scotland sitting atop their qualifying group after taking 6 points off the World Cup finalists. And there are other plus points; we have strength in depth in our squad for the first time in many a year. Hartley, Ferguson and Pearson, all outstanding last night, didn’t play on Saturday. Maloney and Boyd were dropped from Saturday, and Fletcher lasted only 25 minutes. Some players are to return from injury, and some young players are looking to break through. I’m hoping this isn’t the crest of a way, and instead starts to level out a little. Although our star can continue to rise for a little while longer…

I’ve been reading ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ recently, so forgive me if I disappear up my own arse at any point…

I think when people look back at this current period of time we’re living in, this epoch, whatever you want to call it, I think (and I hope) they’ll be dismayed at the sheer level of shite we were content to put up with. I travelled up to Glasgow city centre this morning, ostensibly to purchase a new pair of football boots, but I’ve come back ever more dismayed at the profound lack of quality in the world.

A chain of sports shops has recently claimed it is selling the firm ground version of what is arguably the finest football boot ever made for a mere £60, reduced from £75. As I’ve always wanted a pair of Copa Mundials, but never been anywhere close to being able to afford them, I thought that now was the time to indulge myself. Unfortunately, it seems said chain only has size 13s in stock, and I’m now suspicious that they ever had any other size available. Dismayed at being faced with paying the full price (an extra 1500 pennies seems to make all the difference), I decided to instead buy a cheaper and less salubrious pair of boots. Hence, I wandered into JJB where I found they were selling the close counterpart of the Copa Mundial, the erstwhile Puma King for just £50. And I might have bought them. Had their been any staff within, literally, 25 feet of me.

 There are a few sports shops left in the West of Scotland that are what I would term traditional sports shops. Foosty old premises with racks of badminton racquets and cardboard cut outs of Bjorn Borg and not a necessary prerequisite but a couple of stores almost meet those standards of naive, honest supply. It’s just a shame said shops are being squeezed out by nation-wide chains which seem to sell little more than Premiership football shirts and shiny tracksuits. They’re not so much sports shops as leisure wear retailers, and they all have similar soul-destroying black and white facades, they’re all staffed by sullen lazy teenagers and they’re all frankly pathetic at serving customers.

It’s become a stereotype that service in Britain is appalling, but it’s true. Sports shops are simply the inclusion that proves the rule. From the moment you’re verbally assualted with an utterly insincere greeting as you enter the shop to the few minutes you spend fruitlessly scanning the aisles for someone to fetch the size of shoe you want to try on until you decide it’s not worth it and you end up leaving, shops in Britain seem to follow a very peculiar ethos of how to please the people they’re trying to foist their wares on. I worked in a shop recently, for three weeks, and their approach to service was no less baffling, especially as no other store in the chain seemed to share their approach.

 But it’s not really about the customer; it’s about the sale, and anything that arises from said sale will be bridged when the time comes. Shops aren’t concerned if you’re not really happy with what you buy as long as you don’t complain and you’re foolish enough to come back for something else.

 And that’s the bit; too many people (in Britain at least) seem to settle for poor service from the shops they visit, from their public transport, from the newspapers they read. We don’t even construct any real reason for why we aren’t making up placards and taking to the street and we don’t even blame it on our own laziness. For me it seems that the whole world has accepted that poor quality produce is all they can expect to get from the world, and that’s a horrible outlook. How have we reached a point where shops and national broadcasters can lie to us with a bare face without even a peep of protest from us? Harold MacMillan once told us we’d never had it so good; that was fifty years ago and in many ways things have gotten even better. But if we’re losing our ability to discern quality, what’s the point of it all?

I also got my hair cut today. This is normally a long, painful and drawn out affair with me attempting to communicate to the stylist in pidgin hairdresser exactly what I want done. The problem is I don’t know what I want half the time. A combination of the humidity in Scotland at the moment (yes, I know, but please don’t laugh), and a forthcoming job interview combined to hint that I should get a short-back-and-sides type do. Which I have. But I’m not really sure I like it. I would say you decide, but I’m not actually sure anyone reads this yet. Those of you who read this, leave a comment. Those who don’t read it, don’t bother.

We got back to Barrhead just in time for the Scotland game, which as always was something of a rollercoaster of emotions. There were a fair few Lithuanians milling around the city centre, though Scotland does appear to have a reasonably healthy permanent population from the former Soviet state (and former non-Soviet state; history is like a wheel, yadda-yadda), but before the end of the game I had become enraged with at least one of their compatriots…

For the umpteenth time it wasn’t a classic Scotland performance, but we won. I don’t so much mind this; it’s better than the Berti days when we were playing shit and getting humped 4-0 by Wales. But it’s frustrating nevertheless. We started out with a tactic of humping the ball long to Boyd and O’Connor, bypassing the midfield of Fletcher and Brown, and the ball just wasn’t sticking. I think we play better when we stop patronising our players and let them get on with passing the ball; some of them are actually quite good at it. Captain Darren Fletcher displayed some of his own ephemeral passing skills when he expediently curled a free-kick into the path of Kris Boyd, who glanced a deft header past the goalkeeper to give Scotland the lead in the 31st minute. We then huffed and puffed when we should have been blowing the opposition away; we certainly had the quality, if not the assurance. And when Hearts’ Saulius Mikoliunas took a tumble in Scotland’s penalty area despite Darren Fletcher making no contact with him at all, and the referee awarded a penalty, I swore my head off.

A few years ago, Scotland played Lithuania in Kaunus, and a similar incident occurred; they were awarded a penalty after a blatant dive in the penalty area. There’s no subjectivity here as Jackie McNamara would have been lucky to get close enough to anyone to actually foul them. And today’s referee (just 31) made some baffling decisions on his own, giving free kicks for the least physical challenges you’re ever likely to see, so having someone to ‘help’ him…Lithuania celebrated the penalty award as if they’d won the Championships themselves; in fact I think they celebrated the award more than the conversion. 1-1.

Alex McLeish quickly made a change, the…I loathe to use the word ‘mercurial’, but it’s so damn fitting…mercurial James McFadden replaced the ineffective and really rather pointless Gary Teale, and Scotland began the quest to get back on top, without too much success initially. And then a second round of substitutions proved the charm. Shaun Maloney sprinted from the dugouts to the corner of the penalty area, picked up Fletcher’s short corner, and curled an enigma of a cross into the back post where buccaneering central defender Stephen McManus connected admirably and firmly with his left leg joint. Cue headline of ‘Kneesy does it’ in tomorrow’s red tops…

And a few minutes later the excellent Kris Boyd held the ball up for McFadden; the Everton man sashayed past a defender before contemptuously curling the ball into the top left hand corner of the net, and Scotland saw themselves through to the final whistle to keep up our record of winning all our home games so far, which had been, for me, one of our targets at the outset of the campaign. And perhaps the scoreline flattered us somewhat, but we didn’t cheat.

I reacted badly to the penalty award. Scotland have conceded a lot of goals while I’ve been a fan (18 years now), some of the due to inept defending, or great play by the opposition. But occasionally, and it’s happened twice against Lithuania, and once against Ukraine, we’ve conceded a penalty due to out and out cheating, and that’s really hard to bear. All you can do is try and rise above it and do your best within the laws of the game…and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes we can go into challenges too hard, and we sometimes try and smother games rather than let better teams play, but out-and-out deception is just…sad. It’s sad that sportsmen feel the need to do it, especially in International football where there is barely a fraction of the money that circulates in club football. But hey ho, we won in the end, and Faddy’s goal was more than good enough to put Mikoliunas in his place.

It was interesting to see Beattie, McFadden, Maloney, Hartley and Graham Alexander on the bench today. The strength in depth of the Scottish squad at the moment is rather impressive, and I hope it can continue. We’ve a few players to come back and a few to be blooded, so things are looking promising. Of course, with a small, static population and comparatively low rates of immigration, we may find ourselves in the future yo-yoing between extremes as batches of players come and go. Look at Wales and the Republic a few years ago, and look at Scotland and Northern Ireland just now; the two former teams could be said to be on a downward curve and the latter on the ascedency. Who’ s to say the positions won’t be reversed in another five years?

I spent the first ten years of my life living in a 3 bedroomed end terrace; it was a reasonably atmospheric place, with access to a meadow, but its most notable feature was that there were no other children of my age for a good mile radius. As a result I had barely any human contact outwith my own family, and I wonder how much this has affected me in later life. I still find it incredibly hard to formulate and maintain relationships with people, to this day, and I wonder if I’ll ever have the ability to.

Of course, there is the other part of me that suspects my problems with people and social situations is down to me possibly having Asperger’s Syndrome. I’ve tried to get a consultation to investigate this possibility, but without much success so far. Whatever, it looks as if I’ll be condemned to profound loneliness for a good while longer. I’ve tried, really, I’ve tried, but without any luck. I do have friends, but none of them are geographically close; maybe that’s a factor in why I’ve still not pissed them off yet.

I bumped into my cousin’s ex-girlfriend yesterday in Paisley. It will come as no surprise to you that I had a bit of a crush on her, but then I’ve always fancied women I shouldn’t. That said, Jillian is a very handsome woman, and handsome is a fairly appropriate adjective here. She and my cousin were both in the same year as me, and during the period we were at secondary school (91-96), her brother was playing for Rangers which was bound to make her something of a minor celebrity at a school in South-West Scotland. We had a brief chat before going our seperate ways again, though it’d be nice if it’s not another eleven years before I talk to her again.

 My employment situation has become a little odd. My contract expires, in real terms, on the 20th of this month. I have applied for the permanent version of the job I’ve been doing, but the closing date is the 17th, and with the best will in the world I think it’ll be a good few weeks before anything’s decided. So, if I’m successful in getting the job, I’m looking at a couple of weeks of unpaid leave. Which is no bad thing.

 Oh, and my bank balance is in the black for the first time in years. 

My dad sent me a message on messenger yesterday saying “If your camera wasn’t so shit, I would have sent you to the St.Mirren vs. Celtic game.” This is notable for the fact he said ‘your camera’ rather than ‘you’, but it highlights the fact that I need to invest in some proper equipment, which means acquiring a steady income. If I’m also being serious about buying a car and going to the U.S. next year, I need cash to pay for that as well. And as far as I’m aware, I’m pretty much being offered on a plate a job with the council, with a decent salary. That’s about the only part of my life to be rendered resplendently in black and white at the moment…

 I had a look around Glasgow yesterday as I hummed and hawed about buying a new pair of football boots. My current pair, a robust set of Puma moulds which I bought way back in 2003 in readiness for my final season at Uni have begun to come apart at the seams. For a long time I’ve really wanted to buy a pair of adidas World Cups, which I think are the greatest looking boots in the world, but as it looks like I’ll never play on grass again (they’re screw-in studs), my attentions have been turned to their close sibling, the moulded version Copa Mundial.

Here’s the bit though; I have found a sports shop which sells them for £60 (twice the price of my dear Pumas, but £15 cheaper than any other retailer which stocks Copa Mundials), but I just couldn’t bring myself to even try them on. 60 notes is a lot of money to part with for a pair of boots that will only see field turf in Paisley, and I’m also a bit of a clogger; it would be a bit of a mutton dressed as lamb scenario. That said, adidas, like their sibling rival Pumas, manufacture their stuff very well, so I would probably get a fair bit of service out of them. And I think the psychological effect would be small but significant. Perhaps I just suffer some kind of post-traumatic stress from the cheap plasticky crappy shoes my parents bought for me when I was younger, which always seemed to need replaced after about six weeks.

 Fopp in Glasgow’s Union Street has reopened, under the umbrella of the slightly evil HMV/Waterstones Corporation, and yes, I was in there for about half an hour. Their pricing philosophy doesn’t appear to have changed much under the new management, though I think I recall hearing that they would be operating semi-autonomously of their parent company. After deliberating about whether I should buy any of the Studio Ghibli DVDs, or Belleville Rendezvous, I ended up not getting any of them, and instead left with Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny, Cider with Roadies by Stuart Maconie, and Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally, both of which books I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Years as far as the former is concerned.

 The Tenacious D film is pretty awful it has to be said. I suspected this would be the case, and that’s probably the reason why I didn’t go to see it in the cinema. I really liked their first album as well. I think it also provided a watermark of how disillusioned I was with contemporary music that two of my favourite albums of 2003 were by novelty mock-rock bands (see also; the Darkness). I’m not sure I’ve ever really recovered from this realisation.

 I was browsing Facebook earlier, which is fast becoming my favourite peer-interaction…thingy site, I think mainly because the potential to cross-reference is so high. I got on to looking at the Dudley Campus group. That particular campus was a part of the University of Wolverhampton, and it’s where I found myself living, as a very green individual, some seven years ago. Looking at photographs posted by the years that graduated before me, the overall impression of the place is depressing, and I can barely raise any happy memories of the place at all. My entire uni career feels like a bit of a mistake to me at the moment, as I don’t really speak to anyone I met there, I’m not longer in the band I formed there, and my degree is quite literally not worth the paper it’s printed on. I have this memory of being incredibly depressed the two years I was based in Dudley, but that’s probably my own fault for not going through with the move I requested to Wolverhampton midway through first year. People say that experience is simply learning from the mistakes you’ve made, but that’s surely only relevant if you find yourself in an analogous situation…if you’re currently moving on, you’re making new mistakes in new and exciting ways, and you never get the chance to learn from them. Hmmm. I’m not really convincing myself there. I think the most interesting thing to note here is that some 40% of Dudley Campus no longer exists; the Library, Union, Sports Hall, Administrative Buildings, and one of the Halls of Residence were sold to property developers and were demolished a good three years ago. Maybe that’s what depresses me the most; not only can I never really return to my alma mater, it joins the demolished childhood home of mine in making me feel really old. And yet still inexperienced.

I haven’t mentioned this in depth on LJ, because I suspect she had a link to it, but I’ve been kinda seeing someone recently. Yes, I know, this doesn’t happen an often lot for a myriad of reasons, most of which I’m trying to subjugate into a verse-verse-chorus format. I have the title at least…anyway, M works for another company which has had dealings with where I work, and she came into my office to collect some documents. And for once I spectacularly failed to scare her off with my inane babbling. Which was a very interesting development. We’ve been in communication for a while, and we’ve been out for a drink, and I still haven’t scared her off. Which means one of three things; she’s interested by the shite I talk, I really have become more confident in my own appearance (due to new tooth and feeling more comfortable about my haircut), or both of the above. Anyway, I quite like her, which in my own fussy way is something of a breakthrough, and we’ll hopefully be going out again in the near future. I think Byres Road may be the place to go; Glasgow’s sexiest area. She? Who the fuck is She?

Unfortunately, while I’m making in-roads with my long-neglected (though never knowingly under-analysed) love life, my list of corporeal friends seems to have diminished to…well, none. Outside of my family and the people I talk to on a regular basis on Messenger, I don’t really have any companions I could go out for a drink with, or go to Connect with. It’s somewhat depressing, but it’s a situation I have found myself in throughout my life. I don’t really get on with people, and that’s after I’ve overcome the shyness factor. Too often I say strange things, too often I don’t say the right, the expected things. I sometimes feel people don’t think they’re getting the emotional connection they need from me, but at the same time I don’t see the ley lines of communication in front of me. This often leads to humour or surrealism being used in place of saying what needs to be said. And then I don’t even know if that is the case or not. I find second-guessing people incredibly hard at times because I’m not attuned to it, and I have been to the doctor to enquire about further investigation, without much joy. Hmmm.