books

How to get keithlard into bed

I really hurt myself yesterday [three years ago], as I was getting out of the shower and bending down to pick up a towel, a muscle twanged in my back and within half an hour or so I was unable to walk or stand. It was a little scary as I managed to get into bed, but was not sure how I was going to get out of it again. I lay there for a few hours drifting between sleep and pain, before eventually considerations of hydrostatic pressure forced me to start planning Project Toilet.

It was hard as the slightest movement caused all my back muscles to go into spasm and thus hurt much worse than they already were, but I knew I had to move if only to avoid a Tycho Brahe scenario. I managed to stagger to the bathroom and back, but the whole operation took about twenty minutes for a journey of a couple of yards. I started getting a bit worried about how I was going to feed myself ekcetera.

It is scary and lonely if you are lying on your own unable to move and in pain, and no one knows where you are or can help. Luckily Adam Bede was within reach of the bed so I was not dying of boredom, but even George Eliot’s rich and lovely prose failed to distract me from how much it hurt. It is funny though especially if you like Cold Comfort Farm, as there is a character called Seth and a rustic mother who says things like “Thee ‘t allays so hard upo’ thy feyther, Adam.” The mild, grave and saintly Dinah is also immediately annoying, and one recalls the odious Madeline Bassett asking Bertie Wooster very earnestly if he did not think that the stars are God’s daisy chain.

After another few hours I found I was able to move about a bit, grabbing at random things for support, and made it into the living room for a while. I discovered that although moving was painful, staying still was even worse, so I thought it might be a good idea to take a very slow walk up the road to the little shop for some provisions. I managed this all right, and walking (slowly and delicately as though balancing a crystal vase on my head) definitely seemed to help.

If you have accidentally been crippled like this you will know the most frustrating thing is not being able to do anything or look after yourself, so I was determined to do normal things even if it meant doing them very slowly and carefully, bending your knees to pick things up, and occasionally wincing in pain. I drove to the big Tescos and got a few things for dinner, this was OK because the trolley acts like a Zimmer frame and I could make plump and stately progress, like Buck Mulligan, around the aisles. Standing in the checkout queue was agony though especially as the person in front of me insisted on paying for their shopping in a mixture of pennies, defunct vouchers, and out-of-state personal cheques.

I do not want to sound like I am moaning too much as it made me realise how horrid it is to be in continuous pain and not be able to move around, and how many people are in that situation all the time instead of just for a day or two, and much worse besides. Contrary to what you might think if you imagine being ill is like Cousin Helen in What Katy Did and you become all compassionate, wise and saintly, you just feel impatient, angry and sorry for yourself. It is impossible to concentrate on anything or enjoy your favourite TV show eg. viz. The Apprentice.

It does give you some sympathy with Epicurus who taught that true happiness is freedom from pain, of course to truly appreciate this you need to regularly suffer orful pain. I will be extra kind to the sick and elderly now, at least as long as the memory of pain lasts, which thankfully is no time at all. Today I am much better and able to sit at the computer twiddling with photergraphs and such. So that is why there is an annoying preponderance of photergraphs just now.

How to cheer yourself up through books

I have been reading the most depressing books lately. First Tony Parsons’ Man and Boy, which is so sad in places that I started snuffling on the Tube and then when people looked at me suspiciously, pretended I had a cold and blew my nose in a theatrical manner. Then Star Turn by Nigel Williams, the story of a disappointed man’s pointless and miserable life, which practically made me feel like topping myself. Now I am re-reading David Baddiel’s Whatever Love Means, which was a mistake as Baddiel’s merciless dissection of a moribund relationship, intertwined with horrifying illness and death, is hardly calculated to perk you up.

I am sure it is just statistical clustering but I really feel that I need to read something cheery like Asterix books to redress the balance. Only knowing my luck it would be Asterix and the Malignant Tumour or Asterix Discovers That His Life Is Basically Worthless. It is OK though as I am quite happy at the moment, especially as I had a super night out with Steve and Matt and some others. We went to a sekrit pub that I will not tell you about in case everyone wants to go there, and then for a curry. Then mysteriously to another pub where we managed to chat up a couple of exceptionally attractive girls using only our native charm and a folding bicycle.

I am a bit drunken now but it does not matter. I am happy due to having lovely friends, also I have the world’s warmest and fluffiest jumper. This is more important than you might think if you do not understand about things like jumpers.

keithlard's wizzo weekend

I had a super Saturday which was meeting up with Sophy in town and having sophistercated coffees ekcetera, and then looking at shops. Thanks to my personal shopper I got some nice new shoes, and some subtle yet exotick cologne such as featured previously in the pages of this journal!

We had drinks at the NFT which is about the same price as a weekend in space, but then you are paying for the ambience and eg such as top celebrities and movie stars, although we did not see any. Then we did lots of photography along the river looking at all the pretty coloured lights and the Eye and so on, of which photos to follow! So that was great.

Then on Sunday Jane made me a delicious casserole of chicken and vegertables, and we ate it with some posh wine and choclet fudge ice cream, and watched Hogfather which was really good. I wore a jacket and tie and shiny shoes and Jane said I looked hott! So my theory is correct that actually I scrub up pretty well. I expect all you doubting folk that said it is best to wear a potato sack and smell like a tramp will be laughing on the inside of your faces now.

I quite like my new stylish image and I think basically I always had a suave inner elegance, it is just that the outward expression of it was slightly hidden by wearing eg ratty old jumpers and jeans gone out at the knee. So if you see me around town looking like a dapper, cosmopolitan bavardeur, flicking an imaginary speck of dust from my immaculate lace cuffs, you know why!

In other news, I just got through reading Chocolat by Joanne Harris which is terrific, so now I am going to read all her other books. I like it when you read a really good book by someone and then you get to the end and see that they have written other things as well. Also it is now a major motion picture so I would like to watch that.

What stuff to get me if you want to get me Xmas stuff

I know it is fashionably cynical to decry the commercialised nature of Christmas ekcetera, but it is rarther jolly to get presents all the same. So if you like me and want to see my little face light up on Christmas morning, I have got quite a lot of things on my Amazon wishlist that I would like:

keithlard’s wishlist

I do not want to seem churlish or eg moralising but I really like to support local independint bookshops instead of giant chains like Borders and Waterstones and cut-price Internet retailers like Amazon that are driving small shops out of business.

So my favourite Christmas option would be if you could order the book that you wanted to get me from your little local bookshop and then post it. I realise that is a bit of a pain though compared to just twitching the flexor muscles of your mouse hand slightly. Perhaps it is irritatingly quixotic of me to even suggest it, but you never know. I think a big part of changing the world is just having the courage to say things like that without fear of being thought a ridiculous prig and eg one of these enviro-fascists that give you disapproving looks for not pedalling to work on a bike made of recycled tofu.

Next best option would be getting it from a massive bookshop, which are not nearly as nice as the small ones and are generally not run by people in faded patched jumpers who love books and talking about books, and sometimes make you cups of tea. They are usually vast and full of big tables of exactly the same books in every shop which you can buy 3 for 2 and bad luck if you like intresting and obscure books instead of bestsellers.

Obviously I would still be super pleased to get any books at all, even if it is from Amazon, so I hope you do not mind all the above. Incidentally the problem with not buying from Amazon is that the book still shows up on your wishlist obviously, so if you like you could comment anonymously to this post saying what book you have got me and I will take it off the list.

News of the Lard

It is an exciting time in keithlard world as I have been doing a lot of intresting things, programming Ruby, eating curry ekcetera and investergating various topics. On Monday I went to LRUG which is a special holding area for London Ruby freaks so that they do not endanger normal members of society, and drank a great deal and made a new friend rlivsey, which is a super chap, Also yesterday I had a trip to the music shop to see my friend Bob, I do not know if that is really his name but he looks just like the sort of fellow that should be called Bob, you know exactly what I mean.

I have been doing a lot of music lately eg viz. trying to play the slide guitar, which is quite difficult if you do not know, and I got various bits of guitar equipment such as strings, picks ekcetera. Also some intresting DVDs, which is on Blues Harmonica and Jazz Sax, so it should be quite entertaining watching me trying to play three instruments at once (especially playing sax with a harmonica in my mouth).

In other news, I am reading Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard which is an absolutely fantastic book and full of such beautiful and poetic writing that I am reading each page twice for maximum enjoyment. It is great travel writing talking about a hard journey on foot through the Himalaya into Tibet, but it is also about Buddhism, Zen and spirituality, and perhaps if you walk long among high and silent mountains it is hard to avoid thinking about that stuff. I highly recommend it anyway, even if you are not intrested in leopards.

I guess I have been feeling pretty low lately due to my girlfriend packing me in, or not actually my girlfriend but I suppose I had started to think of her that way, so it is good that I seem to have got the zest for life back. PS this is not a plea for sympathy. (Just send cash.)