Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 4)

In which The Author justifies his decision to take the money and run

(This isn’t meant to rhyme! It’s just an incomplete list of things I don’t miss about the book trade …)
  • No more having to work under a pompous, condescending, two-faced twat who’s taken pedantry, nitpicking, and petty rule-making to dizzy heights. (If people’s personalities can be summed up by a band name, there’s a metal band with his name on it.)
  • No more patronising students with hopelessly outdated reading lists, claiming to know more about the vagaries of the publishing industry than a man who’s spent twenty years in bookselling.
  • No more answering the phone to the parent of the aforementioned patronising students, who are either unable to use the telephone themselves, or who just can’t be bothered to drag their overprivileged arses away from In The Night Garden.
  • No more incipient gap year students diving into the shop a whisker before closing time, claiming they know ‘exactly what book they want,’ and then spending at least ten minutes browsing in the travel section when we all want to close up and go home.
  • No more Coleg Glan Hafren vouchers on the verge of their use-by date, being presented by people with the barest grasp of English and no concept of ‘publisher out of stock’.
  • No more Cardiff Business School vouchers … Ditto.
  • No more trying to explain the basic operation of the CHIP & PIN system to elderly people, at least three years after it was introduced as standard practice in shops and Post Offices.
  • No more people turning down the offer of a loyalty card on such spurious grounds as ‘I’ve got too many cards’ or ‘three per cent cashback isn’t very much.’ More money than sense is the phrase that springs to mind when dealing with these pathetic individuals.
  • No more inaccurate checklists and changeover lists from Head Office, meaning that I no longer spend at least one day out of every working week correcting some other person’s mistakes and getting no credit for it.
  • No more arrogant wankers insisting about an out of print title, ‘But I’ve seen it in Smith’s/Borders/online,’ (delete as applicable) and really having to fight down the urge to reply, ‘Well, why didn’t you buy it in Smith’s/Borders/online then, you thick twat?’
  • No more having to walk to Aberdare Station in the pissing rain every Bank Holiday Monday because there’s no bus link to get me to work.
  • No more having to try and cram in a Servini’s breakfast in a forty-minute break on a Saturday morning.
  • No more ‘Power Hours’, ‘Get Selling’, ‘Team Times’, ‘Huddles’, ‘One-to-Ones’, ‘CDPs’, and all the other jargon-laden crap that Head Office and idiotic managers dream up in order to take people away from their primary reason for working there.
  • No more bag searches, pocket searches, locker searches, and even covert surveillance of colleagues outside company time.
  • No more hearing the same ten pieces of classical music (and not even decent classical music) on constant repeat, eight hours a day, five days a week, for months on end, to the extent that you hear them in your fucking sleep.
(To be continued …)

Shagged Out

In which The Author wonders what has happened to his libido

It occurred to me a few months ago that all the fetishes I’ve entertained for thirty years or so have suddenly ceased to have the desired effect.
When I was a teenager, the mere sight of a woman on TV wearing a poloneck sweater was enough to have me scurrying off to the bedroom. I was about 14, and Elaine, the newly appointed school secretary – young, slim, dark-haired and extremely attractive – used to turn up for work wearing a poloneck at least once a week. We used to go shopping in Tesco in Aberdare on Thursday evenings, and Elaine would often pass when I was waiting for Mother to bring the car round to the door. I couldn’t wait to get home and amuse myself with a mental picture of Elaine in her chunky sweater.
Over the years, things developed. It’s only when one reads Dr Timothy Leary’s model of sexual imprinting that it makes sense. I grew up watching imported programmes like Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman – and the women in those shows wore polonecks a lot of the time. Then, just about the time that the hormones kicked in, Punk erupted onto the face of the universe. Spiky hair, leather, big boots, studs, crazy make-up …
About six or seven years ago, I wrote out a list of sexually-oriented items as long as my arm. It wasn’t a catalogue of things one finds in porn magazines. It was just a list of things I like to see women wearing. Boots. Gloves. Dog collars. Hats. Chunky sweaters. Mini skirts. Opaque tights. Scarves … The list is still in one of my Unpublished Notebooks. If I can translate the hieroglyphics, I’ll add it to this post.
About the time of the fourth Punk revival, you couldn’t move in Cardiff without seeing a teenage girl in a dog collar. I spent months walking around with a permanent erection – and then I realised that I was the same age as these girls’ parents.
By then, I was fairly used to wearing female attire around Aberdare, and it dawned on me that I only ever wore clothes that would have appealed to me if a girl was wearing them. When sweaterdresses came back into vogue a couple of years ago, I was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon. The day that Jenny and I met for lunch, she loved the fact that I would walk around Aberdare in a grey sweaterdress and opaque black tights. She wore my baker-boy hat for a couple of minutes the penultimate time we met. If I was going to fuck her, that would have been the moment.
Today, I’ve seen at least four girls around town wearing woolly hats – I think they’re known as ‘beanies’. When I was working in Cardiff, I would see dozens of girls a week wearing hats like that. I love the way that girls wear them way back on their heads, and keep them on indoors all day, no matter how warm it is. They’re sexy and cute, and I’m going to treat myself to a silver-grey one in New Look tomorrow. With my grey sweaterdress over a black poloneck, my grey hat, and my ballerina shoes, I think I’ll cut quite a dash at The Thornz gig on Sunday.
But I don’t get turned on simply by the sight of girls in their sexy clothes any more. Like any ‘high’, you need bigger doses to get a hit. In my case I can’t just look at the clothes any more. I need to wear them myself. I’m a textbook case of a Fetishistic Transvestite.
This might be my last ever posting. If it is, it’s because I’ve been kicked to death after the Thornz gig by wankers who can’t appreciate individuality. My mate Dean is lucky to be alive after he and his pals were jumped on Sunday night in Bargoed. One of his assailants is under arrest in Prince Charles Hospital, after biting off more than he could chew. Dean has a hell of a black eye, and a dressing over what could have been a very serious stab wound. I had a pint with him earlier. The next round’s on him …