Another shitty fucking day of life

Back in the day, when I managed the Quinto bookshop at 48 Charing Cross Road (which address, psycho-geographers might argue, encodes the famous old shop at No. 84), I used to catch the 38 bus back home to Hackney from outside the Central St. Martin’s building next to Foyles. One dark freezing foggy evening in winter, waiting for my bus, a derelict old gentleman in a raincoat which had clearly been a habitue of some of the seedier parts of Soho in its day shuffled past, talking to himself.

”Ere we go,’ he said, ‘Another shitty fucking day of life.’

This bleak philosophy has been a source of great comfort to me over the years, and has become a bit of a family saying. If I or one of my daughters have just had a nice morning in Elda’s Colombian Coffee House chatting to pals, followed by a lunchtime smoke with our chum Pete Smith the Blacksmith, and if cool Radnorshire sun is shining on the rooftops, and on the hills, and all is well with the world, then we stretch, and yawn, and say, ‘Yeah… another shitty fucking day of life.’

So it is today. I breakfasted at Elda’s with my good friend Prof. Roger Kite, author, egg guru and philosopher. We talked a bit about taste, and how interesting it is. For example, I much prefer The Stooges to Beethoven , but by any objective standard, Beethoven is quite clearly a better musician than Ron Asheton. My not liking Beethoven says nothing about Beethoven’s music, but a lot about my taste (or lack of it). It’s the Bohemian Rhapsody thing all over again. People love it – but it’s shit. Whaddya gonna do? Anyhoo, philosophy with your poached eggs and coffee makes for a good start to the day.

As does a lunchtime pull on your trusty old pipe while you put the world to rights with Pete Smith the Blacksmith. Today’s topics included Welsh road signs, and how odd they seem when you live this close to the border. When native Welsh speakers cross the bridge over the Lugg at the bottom of Broad Street do they suddenly get confused when the road markings just say Slow instead of Araf? But, as one of Presteigne’s two native Welsh speakers (the one from Llanidloes, not the one from Newcastle Emlyn) said to me recently, you’ve got to draw the border somewhere; and here it is, in a way. Presteigne is one of only half a dozen or so Church of England parishes in Wales, and I’m reminded again of what George Borrow said after his visit to the place; ‘Neither Wales nor England but simply Radnorshire’.

A friend’s mother once said to me of Presteigne, ‘It’s lovely Ian, but it’s not the real world, is it?’ No more it is, thank Heaven; it’s the land of milk and honey, and I’ve run out of both, and with tea time and the football results fast approaching, I’d better nip to the shop for supplies, as I am oddly dehydated and peckish after Pete Smith the Blacksmith’s visit.

Another shitty fucking day indeed.

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~ by Ian Marchant on January 24, 2009.

4 Responses to “Another shitty fucking day of life”

  1. Shitty fucking awful it may be, but it’s quite preferable to the alternative. I sometimes think.

  2. Re. Ron Asheton (RIN), the Stooges, taste, musicianship, (by implication) Beethoven and ones relationship with the aforementioned, I always come back to this passage by the sainted Lester Bangs (writing here of Funhouse, and in particular – of course – the defining Stooge statement LA Blues):
    “I would say that a true Stooge fan, like a true aficionado of Captain Beefheart or the Velvet Underground or Pharaoh Sanders, probably has a couple of the ten thousand or so most sensitive ears on the planet, since they are sufficiently developed to appreciate that Stooge magic which so escapes dullards.”

  3. I agree that I (and, in my view, lonesomedepot) have very sensitive ears. I do think this taste thing is interesting, though. Take Dylan. I admire Dylan; I listen to Dylan; but when I look at my most played songs on i-tunes, ‘I Love Your Smile’ by Shanice beats Dylan by a factor of about ten.
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=QGXxcSdsXJ4
    So although I know that Dylan is ‘better’ than Shanice, I like – nay, love,- Shanice’s single more. It’s one of the many embarrasing consequences of being a 50 year old pop head.
    Oh well; I’m gonna put that new black mini on my charge anyway.

  4. Surely its fucking shittiness is less terrific for your glorious appearance (well, more like an unseen and largely unheard presence, though no less real for that) on R4’s estimable ‘Pick of the Week’, though… well done old chap…

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