The noble Sandbachian greeting.
Not "hello". Nor "good day". No. It is "art", or I suppose in written form "ar't" with the unorthodox deployment of apostrophe bearing reference to its origin, and the disappearance of the "igh".
Perhaps, people began greeting each other with a cheery "alright" as a less formal version of "good day". A greeting moving beyond the mere recognition of "hello" to add the faint aspect of inquisition. A litmus test for mood and temper. I suppose another alternative would be the rather old-fashioned 'fit and well' but this is perhaps too direct, in lacking the bland neutrality of an 'alright', it is a greeting that may seem intrusive and have the unwanted side effect of making one sound like an old twat. The case in point here was a bloke called Allan Horne who used this greeting toward my father.
"Fit and well, David?"
Clearly, Allan (Allan's with two l's. Yeah, I know) could see that David was mobile; getting around. Sure, he's carrying a few pounds but he's in reasonable health, that much is apparent. Clumsy. Forced.
And you're never going to hear a "No" are you?!
"Fit and well, David"
"No, not really. I'm a bit of a fat bas."
In Sandbach it is delivered from the back of the throat and practically grunted. To the untrained ear it is really just a somewhat aggressive noise. And often it is precisely that! On meeting a particular type of Sandbachian for the first time, the greeting can be the very opposite of a polite enquiry into somebody's health - it is, almost palpably at times, a probing for weakness. An early conversational jab to the jaw.
Ok. 'Tis Enough.
I hadn't ordered any words on the OSP for some time. And I know people still pop in to the old gaol from time to time. And I've not got much on tonight. And.. I just had this image of a salt of the earth working man in Sandbach wandering through a field greeting a horse. Which would of course be HORSEART or "Art, horse" at the very least.
I wanted to say hello and I did that but it needed further explanation in what has inadvertently become a pretty poor Mitchellian pastiche. (I have opened parenthisis to clarify that I refer to my friend and associate Paul Mitchell and not the namesake author David. Yeah Cloud Atlas. Whoopee-do. He's invented a language. Yeah well I did that when I was ten, Dave but I grew out of it.)
So I've done that now. But for the hard of reading - "Hello".
What have I been doing? Quite a lot has changed for me. I have moved from the original location of the OSP in Salford to a new one in Canary Wharf. If I was to extend the prison metaphor I'd say that in comparison to the new one the Salford prison was like a bare cell with a hard bed but few distractions.
The Canary Wharf prison is, by contrast, a new fangled, modern lunatic asylum for highly intelligent master criminals. It is more intrusive and exacting, like Bentham's panoptigan crossed with a Russian Goulag camp but with less inclement weather and TV's in every palatial, en-suite bedroom. Does that make sense? In short it is what would have been described in late nineties Manchester as a headfuck.
I'm working harder than I've ever done in a suit. But I think I'm happier.
I don't think therefore I am (happier).
Mark X - if you by chance read this could you drop me a line? We want to know what you are upto and say a hearty and non-threatening "Ar't" to you..
Ricky Gervais podcasts
Belle and Sebastian (new album is fabulous, joy-filled, unashamed pop with that same expertly delivered concoction of lyrical sibilism and indiosyncrasy, effortlessly interwoven with inspired melody and a pot pourri of instrumentation. Live last night, they kicked weird ass like Frankie Howard covering Thin Lizzy WTF! or a freakish show of preternaturally gifted circus folk slapping trapped beasts about the glutius maximus. Folk is the key word here. It's rooted in folk - get over this prejudice and you'll see they are like Franz Ferdinand would be if they had more than one idea, less style and were brilliant).
Mile End Football
Beards, Facial Hair (still)
Running out of pants
Living with a misguided enfant terrible accountant
Working til past midnight with no tea because you are being stoopid