Here's one Ka Ka on the move
IT SEEMS I've been spending half my waking hours on the grim highways of North-West England in recent weeks.
First thing to face every weekday is the tedious slog down the M53 from New Brighton, past the Satanic smoke stacks of Ellesmere Port and on to the posh village in Cheshire where I toil in a lowly cattle shed (converted to accommodate computers and office politics etc).
Most evenings after work in recent times I've been motoring through the midwinter murk to Wigan (via the Runcorn Bridge or the Thelwall Viaduct, depending which takes my fancy) to visit my mum whose been ill and in hospital for some of the time.
Then, at about 8.30pm usually, I leave Wigan, after a final coffee with my sister Princess Stephanie, to drive along the nation's emptiest motorway (M58) to Liverpool.
Then down it's off down the A59 through Walton and Kirkdale (they are fairly soulful to drive through, those suburbs, though I'm not sure I'd want to live in either of them) and on through the Wallasey tunnel and home.
One night I was so weary I came off the M58 too early and couldn't get back on (there's no slip-road back on the motorway Liverpool-bound at that point) and so I was forced to make a very tedious detour through Kirkby (the speed bump capital of the UK) and then the other way through Maghull before I could find a route to the A59 and down through Liverpool. Nightmare!
It feels like I'm repeating this triangular journey (New Brighton, rural Cheshire, Wigan, New Brighton again) endlessly. I am beginning to hate cars in general and my vile Ford Ka in particular.
The only consolation is that as I drive I can smoke rollies made with liquorice skins and listen to music as I cleave through the night. That's quite relaxing on the Wigan to New Brighton stretch.
Usually I listen to mix tapes (yes, in car terms I'm still in the cassette era) of my favourite artists... Steve Forbert, Roddy Frame, Paul Weller, Morrissey and Dusty Springfield.
Just now my favourite tracks are Frame's "The Gentle Kind", Morrissey's "November Spawned a Monster" and Forbert's "Monster in a Box".
And sometimes I play recordings of my own voice reading poems I am trying to memorise for performance at our Bards of New Brighton meetings. I can only take that for so long. It's so weird to hear recordings of your own voice.
At the next Bards, by the way (Monday, 9 February, Magazine pub, starting at 8pm) I will be reading, in two instalments, a toxic short story I've written and am hoping to get published.
Anyway, soon after arriving back from driving my auld triangle route I usually fat-neck a sandwich or a light meal prepared by the lovely Posh Boots, and by the time I've had a couple of glasses of red wine, it's bedtime and I'm watching Sky News (usually better than the BBC's equivalent service - though Sky was waffly and disappointing in its coverage of Barak Obama's inauguration).
More about Obama in my next posting - plus news of the good aspects to the current economic downturn.
Till then, keep the faith, folks!