Thursday, April 23, 2009


Extract from e mail sent by friend B from Spain.

Hi Kaz

Norma, BM, Norma's brother and his wife came here on Sunday. We all went on the prom and had lunch. It was OK. The brother was quite nice but the wife was a bit difficult to deal with.

I find social occasions increasingly problematic. Ron and I were discussing this the other night. He says he wouldn't mind if he never saw anyone socially and that he could get all his social interaction via the Internet.

I'm constantly looking for social interaction that's not hard work.
I like yours and my meetings at the Met. I find them very supportive, entertaining and interesting.

Etc. etc. .....
Much love B. XX

This is extremely disturbing.

Ron and B are the Sting and Trudy Styler of Heaton Norris.

They are renowned throughout the North of England for their hospitality in an ambience of glittering chandeliers, heated marble floors and the king-sized dinner table which came from Peter Caarlson in Stockport.

There was a time when I received invitations to their dinner parties - but my social skills didn't quite cut the mustard (deipnophobia?) so now B and I meet at early doors in the pub.

I can't recall the last time I held a dinner party. I find the concept of having people in my home who won't leave even when I start plumping cushions, drinking Ovaltine and flossing my teeth is quite horrifying.

I used to be happy mingling in the pub - but I couldn't take the hangovers. And have you ever tried temperance in a situation where all around you are drunk? Not only do drunks talk utter drivel but they repeat the same utter drivel over and over again.

So - if people like Ron and B go reclusive - then miserable, curmudgeonly introverts like myself who have developed an aversion to picking up the phone will have no social life left at all.

It will be the end of Human Socialisation

The doom merchants who said Twitter, Blogging, Facebook etc would lead to isolation and lack of personal interaction will be vindicated.

Ok by me?

Not really Sure




Blogger Steve said...

I recall the quote from About A Boy - no man is an island? I am an island! I'm bloody Ibiza! With me it's more of a case I'm bloody Easter Island! I loathe social occasions bar the few that take me by surprise and I end up quite enjoying. If I never set foot in a pub again I'd die happy. As for having people round... oh how I share your horror when they cling to the sofa like limpets even as I'm shoving their arms into their coat sleeves and wishing them a safe journey. I wish I could be brash and just damned right rude and tell people "OK, I'm bored of you now; don't take it personally but I need some quality time with the telly." I'm thinking of getting some trap doors cut into the floor around my dining table - Dr Evil style - so that with a push of little red button I can deposit clingy guests into a underground lake filled with sharks. I wonder if Ikea caters for such tastes?

9:02 am  
Blogger Dave said...

'have you ever tried temperance in a situation where all around you are drunk'. Yes. I'm teetotal.

Perhaps this explains my phobia of social occasions.

9:12 am  
Anonymous NiC said...

Plumping the cushions?

No, get out the Dyson and start Dysoning around their feet and, if that fails then get out the upholstery attachment and start on the sofa they're sitting on. Probably best to check first that they don't have any vacuum related fetishes or you may find yourself stuck with them.

10:11 am  
Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

I'll be round at eight this evening, then, just me and a few of the lads - Arnie, Alf, Abe, Strange Eric, Walter, Dave, Dave, Dave and Gordon. No need to go to any trouble.

10:21 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

I recall that film made me feel a bit guilty because I hadn't invited a few random social inadequates over for Christmas.
I agree about being 'taken by surprise' it's often the waiting that's the worst bit.

Sober socialising is a nightmare.
But don't worry they won't be inebriated at the gardening club. Boring maybe - but stone cold sober.

....... now what did I do with that tool?
I think Dyson himself has a vacuum related fetish. I'll just give him a vigorous plumping next time he calls round.

How Nice.
I know I'll just love Strange Eric - but why don't you bring Dave as well?

10:44 am  
Blogger Liz said...

I know quite a few people who repeat the same utter drivel over and over again when they're sober, so I wouldn't want to meet them drunk.

I love Steve's comment about needing some quality time with the telly!

My parents used to have a male friend (divorced) who never knew when to sod right off. Once, when he was still waffling away at 11pm, my Mum went and put her pyjamas on. When he still didn't take the hint, she said goodnight and went to bed, leaving my poor Dad to deal with him.

1:37 pm  
Blogger xl said...

I don't agree with the doom merchants.

I have am met, via the Internet, many interesting people from around the world that I would have never otherwise known.

1:37 pm  
Blogger BEAST said...

I love entertaining , which is a shame given my antisocial mien .
XL are you mad!!! , we have all met Miss MJ . If you invited her round for dinner , she would turn up with an entourage of houseboys and nekkid old men and break wind on the sherry trifle .
It would be a social disaster

2:14 pm  
Blogger MJ said...

I'll have to reread this. I didn't hear a word you said as I was under the table sucking Don Draper's ...

Oh my! We have company! Excuse me.

*breaks wind in Beast's trifle and exits*

2:19 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Yes - we obviously have mutual aquaintances.
I'm so sensitive to overstaying my welcome that I dash off too quickly and people get offended.

Yes - and you can communicate with them happily on a bad hair day and switch off the computer when you're finished.
Only joking about switching off - as if I would.

You are a paradox.
You do the catering and I'll look after MJ and the houseboys.
It could be the social event of the year.

You are soooo predictable.
But you have lovely eyebrows.

2:27 pm  
Blogger inkspot said...

You could always take out your strigil.

3:46 pm  
Blogger tony said...

Where did the expression "Couldnt cut the Mustard come from?I mean.......its soft Yellow/Brown & very runny! Its dead easy to "cut"!!!!
Yea,Like Im going out tommorrow night.& i dont really want to go (but Will) & enjoy it!Maybe its just the planning&anticipation thats the bugger?
I agree about being sober! Nasty!!!"Never Again" as they say!

5:43 pm  
Blogger Geoff said...

My idea of social interaction is with no more than two other people (other than me and Betty) in a nice pub from midday to four, lots of beer and a nice sandwich.

Then I can go home, sleep off the beer and start on the wine in front of the telly.

I hate going round people's homes and hate having people round ours.

8:04 pm  
Blogger Flaming Nora said...

I hate socialising too (well, in London, anyway, darling, it's all mwah mwah) and it sounds as if your friends and I would get on just great. Perhaps you can set us up to meet?

8:39 pm  
Blogger Kopenjz said...

The interwebs is well on it's way to innoculating us from traditional dinner parties..which is a shame.

I simply adore having about 6 couples over as long as one of them is a bit of a teatotallish prude. Then I make it my evening's work to slip copious amounts of liquid personality into their refreshments and wait for the miracle of alcohol to take place.

This subversive exercise is guarandamnteed to free up your victim's moral governor and soon you and your guests will be learning all sorts of interesting tidbits about their sex life.

What fun!

9:12 pm  
Blogger Rog said...

We've been watching the re-runs of the early Mike Leigh BBC plays recently which reminds us that sociophobia isn't such a new interweb phenonenum.

9:41 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

The strigil would make me the social success story of the North West.
I'd be on the front cover of 'Lancashire Life'.

I'll do some research - my grandad knew Mr Coleman - honest.
You are my social role model. Do you mean 'Never again will I be sober' - that's probably a resolution I could keep.

That 12 to 4 slot sounds like an idler's paradise. Trouble is that workers have to go to B&Q and wash the car on their day off.
But anyway - I'll see you and Betty in the Friendship this weekend.

You can call round at any time babe.
Mwah mwah.

A spiffing wheeze no doubt - but I don't know any teetotallers apart from Dave.
I wonder what he's doing this weekend.
Speaking of personality - mine was designed minus 2 vodkas or 3 Sauvignons.

9:46 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

It could be Abigail's party that made me a sociophobe. But Keith and Candice Marie didn't manage to put me off camping.

9:49 pm  
Blogger Kevin Musgrove said...

I've been teetotal for quarter of a century. In the rare social situations I don't avoid my job is to demonstrate that it isn't the alcohol that makes people talk drivel.

10:12 pm  
Blogger Dave said...

Colman's Mustard - from Norfolk. Not Coleman, Kaz.

7:33 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

Do you have to try hard - or does talking drivel come naturally?
I prefer to write drivel.

Thank you Dave:
I was probably thinking of David.
I googled to make sure of the spelling and found he was born in Alderley Edge and once won the Manchester mile.
I don't suppose a Colman descendant made it to Manchester - so perhaps I was misinformed about my grandad.

9:23 am  
Blogger Pete said...

I'm always puzzled when people say they "Know" people they've only ever met from the internet.

I'm afraid though I am a bit of a recluse I like my own company. why Is that so hard for people to appreciate?

12:13 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

But internet friends who 'know' me probably understand me best as I don't need to hide anything on the blog.
They just don't what I look like.

7:38 pm  
Blogger Lubin said...

Introverts are more interesting so you stay introverted and proud.
Extroverts are so noisy and tiring :)

10:51 pm  
Blogger Istvanski said...

You could always go and see your mates down the pub as you peak on acid.
That's real fun, that is.

3:51 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Yes - I hadn't really thought of it that way - but they are noisy and tiring - and slightly to be suspected.
Many Lancashire people are quite reserved but witty when you break through.

I'd prefer some amyl nitrate if you have it.

8:06 pm  
Blogger zIggI said...

The secret is to drink so much that you fall asleep at about the pudding and when you wake up in the morning they've all gone! This ploy has never failed me yet.

Hope this helps.

9:13 am  
Blogger zIggI said...

Unless you have Dave round - he was still there in the morning.

But there's always an exception to prove the rule and he did provide the wine and didn't drink it himself.

9:15 am  
Blogger The Poet Laura-eate said...

What about changing the nature of the socialising?

I think bring-and-share suppers with a soiree thrown in (ie everyone bringing a party piece, whatever that might be) are far more fun than stuffy dinner parties.

Plus there's only the washing up to worry about at the end of the evening rather than all the cooking and mingling and who to seat next to whom nonsense.

11:40 pm  
Blogger Hyde DP said...

Think I've got deipnophobia too - I'm with Steve and Dave - I used to be a socialite when young and have probably outstayed my welcome at a friends or two - all changed when I got married and gradually turned into social recluses but that is changing now again - having had no internet for a month, part of me has missed it but part hasn't - twitter sounds like the internet version of those interminable pub crawls so I'm staying clear of it.

10:02 am  
Blogger Betty said...

Re: your reply to Geoff ("trouble is that workers have to go to B&Q and wash the car on their day off"). I can vouch for the fact that Geoff goes out of his way to avoid doing either, but this Sunday we went to Homebase AND he washed his car, AND he was in a foul mood because of this.

Er, anyway, I hate evening socialising because most of the people we know still keep student hours even in middle age and are chatty and lively at three in the morning. Ugh.

10:30 am  
Blogger Dave said...

I would just like to clarify that when I visited Ziggo, she didn't wake up in the morning to find me still at the dinner table.

I was in her daughter's bed.

12:01 pm  
Blogger Scarlet-Blue said...

Erm... Did someone mention Dyson? I have a party trick that involves a Dyson Crevice Attachment and Mr Beastie's spandex catsuit...

12:11 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Excellent idea - but knowing me I'd probably do it at someone else's house.

Ziggi 2:
Dave's an all round good bloke.
I bet you were his secret blogmeet?

Lack of cooking - excellent.
Performing a party piece - terrifying.
Unless anyone fancied an entertaining Chemistry lesson.

The young need to socialise for their education and development.
I don't know how I'd cope without internet for a month. I suppose I'd have to make my own fun!

I deny all responsibilty for the clean car or the foul mood.
Oh and on your next trip to Homebase can you pick me up a small packet of rawlplugs please.

Dear Dave:
Because I know you so well - I'm assuming the daughter in question was elsewhere.

Wow - now that's the best reason for throwing a party I've heard in a long time.

4:21 pm  
Blogger Dave said...

You may be right, Kaz.

Oh, and Ziggs wasn't last week's blogmeet. That took place nearly two years ago, in the days when I had a sports car.

5:25 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Is suppose you got rid of the sports car for economic reasons - but we'll give you some green credit points anyway.

8:45 pm  
Blogger Dave said...

No, I sold it and bought a small diesel six months before I knew I was going to have to retire.

6:49 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

A wise decision.

7:47 am  

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