Round and round and round…



Some years ago I wrote a monologue – which centred, to my recollection, on the Queen’s toilet roll – by shouting into a Dictaphone as I went about my daily business. Well today, having a blog to write, a ceiling to paint and a water feature to de-slime, I thought I’d try it again. You never know, technology having moved on, as it does, I might even just to be able to play the recording back straight into the laptop so that it can transcribe it into my blog for me. I’ll let you know…

So, the one thing I have discovered during the lockdown is… Is this working? How can you tell? I’ll have to run it back and see if… Yes, yes, it’s fine. I should have known – you can see the little wheels turning on the cassette. I wonder if you can still buy these titchy little tapes? I guess not. All digital now I bet. Anyway. Now, where was I? Oh yes, I remember, late night T.V… Now, I’ve happened to catch Gogglebox these last few nights and… Do people really watch T.V. like that? I… No, it’s me. No, I’m not on the phone, I’m talking into my Dictaphone. Yes, I did keep it. I know you put it in the charity box. Yes, I’m sure – I can see the little wheels turning. It has one of those titchy little tapes. I know… Have you seen Gogglebox by the way? I know, that’s what I was just saying. Nobody watches TV like that. They have to be actors don’t they? People just don’t react in unison unless they’re directed. I wonder if they need scripts? I’m sure I could… Shit! Did you move the paint tray? Oh bugger. Quick, get the turps and some cloths. I’ll take my shoes off and you check the insurance details. Just a minute while I turn the bloody tape off…

…OK, now, where was I? Oh yes, late night T.V. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that Gogglebox is just a repeat of an early evening programme, but let’s face it, nobody ever looks at Channel 4 during normal hours do they? Just in the middle of the night when the only competition is Live Casinos, Shopping for Crap and Gordon Ramsay shouting at somebody who would punch his lights out under any other circumstances. Oh yes, and Come Dine With Me. Presumably the production companies have a special department dedicated to searching out the obnoxious. I… Is that my phone ringing? Hang on, I’ll just have to turn you off a minute while I look for it…

… Oh, of course, I didn’t turn you back on, did I? Didn’t think to check if the little wheels were turning. So, where was I? Ah yes, late night T.V. Well, let’s face it, they wouldn’t show those programmes at any other time of day would they? I think… Ah yes, good afternoon neighbour. No, I am clearing the green slime from the bottom of the water feature. No, no need to call the police. I am not having an illegal gathering. I do not, since you ask, have ‘a group of nobbish friends round infecting the whole bloody neighbourhood’. I am talking into this little tape gizmo thing – you can see the little wheels turning… No, there’s no need to call the intervention team. I am not having a lockdown induced breakdown. I am carrying out one of my mundane tasks whilst attempting to write an entertaining blog. No, blog. No, not a huge number, no. Yes, I suppose it could be a little sad, if you chose to look at it in that way; although, I’m not certain how that automatically makes me ‘a sad old tosser’. By the way, I’ve got a bag for you here. No, not a parcel left by the postman, no, it is many, many parcels left in my garden by your bloody cat…

…No, it’s just a bruise. I had no idea that the bloody maniac had put a gate in the fence. Community police officer decided against charging him, pointing to the cat crap I had dropped on his hat. She locked the gate and wedged it. She also fished the little tape recorder out of the water feature. Wonder if it’s insured. What? Oh really? So they are. Amazing this old technology – you just can’t stop those tiny wheels from spinning. It’s no wonder they caught Nixon. No, Nixon. The American president. He… oh, never mind, it’s not important. No, I’m just going to go inside and finish the blog. I won’t bleed on the sheepskin. It’s stopped now. I don’t know, I won’t be long. No, I have no intention of talking all night. My blog. It is for my blog. No, that is not why I have taken to sitting up half the night. I never even knew those channels existed. I have been watching a group of everyday people watching the television. No, on the television, it’s… oh, never mind. Look, the titchy little tape has almost run out. Must be a blog in there by now. What time does Naked Attraction start?…

…Well, that seemed to go ok, didn’t it?…

There’s a hole in my neighbourhood down which of late I cannot help but fall… Guy Garvey (Elbow – Grounds for Divorce)

13 thoughts on “Round and round and round…

  1. Ah the frustrating life of an unappreciated literary master, will they ever understand? I too have a little dictaphone, but I was never so good at chatting to it. The satnav and I, on the other hand, could argue for hours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many years ago, I thought that it would help me, mostly because any ideas I had came to me at the most inconvenient of times. It very quickly became clear to me that barking into a Dictaphone at 2am was, by and large, more intrusive than scrawling on a piece of paper. My interactions with the satnav are few. Occasionally I have shouted at it for giving me confusing instructions, but I swear it then gives me the silent treatment and leaves me with no idea whatsoever of where I am, so I tend to just live with its eccentricities now and apologise to other motorists almost by instinct…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, I did the same retro-thing. I took away five learnings from the experience.
    1/ The little wheels and cogs do turn when you press ‘record.’
    2/The ‘lil’ red light means it is still recording.
    3/Check the above when disgorging all one’s words of ummmm-forgettable wisdom
    4/Ten year old batteries may, at best, hold a residual charge.
    5/ Retain a good memory; If not, retain a pen and notebook.
    Commiserations on the cat crap- that’s a memory that’s hard to wash away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have pens and scraps of paper about my person at all times. My desk is littered with them. Each bout (I see it as a fight) of writing begins with a rifle through the flotsam until I find something that attracts my attention. My entire ‘output’ amounts to a physical ‘cut and paste’ of mental detritus…


  3. I never had a dictaphone but I did have a cassette recorder. As kids we would set it next to the radio and record our favorite songs when they came on. What did we care about the sound quality? Splicing them was fun when they broke.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, getting the little microphone properly positioned on its little stand just the right distance from the radio speaker. Recording the top twenty on Sunday tea time and then re-listening throughout the subsequent week. Small joys. Oh, not to mention Tony Bloody Blackburn yakking over the beginning and end of every single track…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Re: Satnav.. I have one of the very early versions of the Tomtom sat nav which sits in its little bag on a hook in the under-staircase cupboard… I hadn’t used it for at least a year when one evening Mrs F and I were watching a late film when a disembodied voice declared.. “You have reached your destination”. We nearly s*** ourselves!

    Liked by 2 people

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