Lift philosophy.

Life I'm sitting at the table on my balcony at home. The view from beyond my screen if the windows weren't covered in condensation and it wasn't ten past nine in the evening would be the one you saw on New Year's Eve across into Toxteth, with the Anglican Cathedral and the rest of Liverpool and the River Mersey on the horizon.

In a twist of fate I have a laptop. Over Christmas I discovered some relatives were throwing it away because the screen is broken and I asked if I could look at it and see just how damaged it is. They agreed, and also that I could have it if I could use it for anything. On Boxing Day they brought it around, I started it up and sure enough there is a fault line that runs almost across the middle of the screen, blocking the viewing of icons, pointer, text, anything underneath.

The machine is quite an old model, from a company called Pico, and has a label stuck just next to the dodgy disc drive saying that it's been tested and agreed to be Year 2000 complaint. Somewhere on the hard disk are a group of mp3s from a 1999 Steps album that someone has ripped to try out that software. But it's still a working laptop and I could learn to love using it, despite the faults, in the same way that I love buying battered library copies of books that look like they've had a long life and been seen by many hands, some of whom have left notes in the margins. Perhaps I will find a use for the Nokia mobile phone software that has been installed and Correl 8.

It'll be fine for doing this, with WordPad's window resized to stop just above the fault line. It's nice being away from my room, away from everything else, being able to write in relative peace and quiet except for the odd screeching of a speeding car using the road around the park as a race track or bang of a door from one of the surrounding balconies. It's almost like being in one of those old studies rooms I used at the university during the writing of my dissertation and I can feel myself being able to concentrate just as I did back then, which is a change for lately.

I went to Manchester today, also for a change of scene, just to go to Manchester because I haven't been for a few weeks. As well as buying some new tracksuit bottoms and a replacement side plate from Marks and Sparks (but not a birthday present for my Mum which was half the point of the trip), I found in Vinyl Exchange a copy of the soundtrack to Happy Endings, the film I studied for my dissertation complete with the amazing vocalisations from Maggie Gyllenhall. They also had the Sandi Thom album for a pound, so I can also say from experience that it's not actually that good, an opinion I'll expand upon further one of these days.

I also visited the central library to return some Hamlet recordings. Their lift is the slowest I've had the 'pleasure' to travel in ever. It takes at least thirty seconds after a button press to close the doors, then another ten seconds before deciding to go to the destination floor.

Today as it weezed itself open on the ground floor, a woman stepping looking a bit confused. Two twentysomethings were standing next to the floor buttons and one of them asked were she would like to go.

"The first floor, thank you." She said, with a surprised expression on her face, before continuing with "Don't ever let yourself be used in life, for goodness sake."
They giggled, and so did I but she just stood with her back to the wall and rolled her eyes. I could tell there was something behind the words, something that must have happened to her, in her life. The way she said 'for goodness sake' -- not sarcastic, simply making sure we all understood her plea.

The doors opened on her floor and she stepped backwards out.

As the doors closed again, the twentysomethings looked at me, expecting me to add something to that. I wanted to say something else philosophical, like 'Time Is A Great Dealer' but thought better of it and simply grinned and said: "It's good advice."
Which it is. Don't ever let yourself be used in life. For goodness sake.

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