The Dullest Person I Have Ever Meet

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The Vinyl Junkie
Now, I love an expert as much as the next person. I revel in others’ depth of knowledge
I’m impressed by detail, fascinated by scope and, from time to time, just a little bit turned on by minutiae. To me, a comprehensive appreciation and grasp of all there is to know about a subject indicates passion and, well, passion is an ever-ready antidote to the grey days of austerity.

However, much as I may wish it wasn’t so, there are times that someone else’s know-how acts like dead weight on my eyelids and causes my mind to wander even as I’m looking the vessel of all that information squarely in the eye. Perhaps surprisingly, this always has more to do with the person than the subject – it’s their enthusiasm I find infectious, rather than their field of expertise.

It’s all about feeling. Someone whose obsessions border my own, but who cannot communicate how they feel about such affairs, is far more likely to initiate my concentration drift. Which is why the dullest person I ever met is someone I was expecting to get along with like the proverbial house in fire. 

It would be unfair to name him, but he’s the author of a book about records – the black plastic variety rather than the most, least and biggest of things. It’s a subject that’s dear to my heart, one that I know a bit about and something I could easily lose an hour or two in rumination of. 

In this fellow’s company though I began to rue the day I’d ever heard recorded music, much less bought it and investigated it. On and on he droned about this record, that release, the single that so-and-so cut for such-and-such label and why it was important – he even diverted the conversation to include a series of bon mots he’d prepared in advance. It reduced the source of so much of my own joie de vivre to the turgid ramblings of the friendless sociopath that I had to go home and spend the afternoon ankle deep in old vinyl just to stabilise my own sanity.

Hang on, that was a great afternoon in the end! Maybe I should thank the fool…?

© Words Nick Churchill

I Am All Right Jack



I met plenty of boring people; folks who love nothing more than waffling poetically on the diesel engine pulling the 10.37 Scunthorpe to Pontefract, or uttering monotone paeans to the chemical composition of emulsion. Boring people, individuals invading my psychological airspace with their inane musings- just what was it that made them think I was interested? What was it that made them even imagine they could ram-raid my time with inane piffle? Was it a lack of self-awareness or an inability to comprehend that others really couldn’t give a flying monkey about their James Last collection? I mean, what the fuck was going on in their heads?

But then I began to wonder- are these people really boring? Or am I the tedious individual, self-righteously pandering to my own highly evolved super-ego? I began to compile the evidence and it made for harsh self-appraisal; I’d tell anyone who’d listen what a classic lost album Dexys’ ‘Don’t Stand Me Down’ was (before the reappraisal)….banged on about that one big style for way too long. Spent a significant amount of time name-checking Robert Anton Wilson, Terence McKenna and Crowley to anyone who’d listen (mostly in after club shebeens; you know the kind…more drugs, more drug music, me yammering on about metaphysics to a lad and lass with both eyes in the same socket, looking at me with one of those “what the fuck are you on about?” expressions), at least that was better than my conspiracy theory era. Fortunately I came out of that relatively unscathed and without lifelong paranoia (thank you RAW). God was I boring. 

The thing is, I’ve come to reckon that boring is a state of mind- a truly subjective experience. Nowadays I’m aware that in any given setting it’s more than a vague possibility that I’m in contention for the rather boring person vote. And that’s alright for me.

© Words Chris Madden
 
Bath time 



I am far from being a social snob, and most of the time I have no problem with uninvited guests. For, like many (even though few will admit it) I have been sitting with people who have decided to go on somewhere else, either a club, another pub, restaurant or whatever, and felt a nice feeling of belonging when I have been asked to join them or a sad feeling of rejection when I have been left to finish my drink in solitude.

However one day, last summer I had the unfortunate pleasure to dine with someone who was certainly cold and uninviting. How he got to sit at the same dinner table as me is not the issue and there is no anecdote as to how this occurred. Nevertheless, he took this opportunity to air his concerns about a current dilemma in his life, the decorating of his bathroom(s). Once he had the attention of everyone, he delivered perhaps the most tedious and mind-numbing dull speech I have ever heard in my life. Ex-hooligans telling you about supposed fights they have won come a close second, or a man boasting his sexual contests can also be dull. Yet this nondescript man in his early 30’s, told a table of five his woes over what bath tub to choose, taps and plumbing and that, via a consultant (yes he had hired a consultant for advice on how to do his bathroom up, a nice little earner) that grey tiles were in, and did anyone else know what colour tiles were in or out.

At this point I tried to educate, but to no avail, that it should be a personal choice, that if he and his partner were happy then they should not be dictated to by a self professed design guru (whom, I understand, was on a retainer of £1,000 expenses and also negotiated with the bathroom fitters… Yes, he was well and truly being scammed). He wouldn’t listen and took his consultant’s words as gospel. It was at this point I thought it a good idea to embark upon my journey home, otherwise I would have slit my wrists or his throat after this conversation with the dullest man I have ever met.

© Words – Matteo Sedazzari

Everyone Needs Good Neighbours. Well Interesting Ones.



Some years ago when new neighbours moved in next door, a middle aged pleasant couple, I hoped they would at least be good ones. Good in the sense they won’t be noisy or annoying. What didn’t immediately occur to me was they may be dull as hell! So, when I got an invite to “come in for a drink one night” my first thought was “how nice and why not”.

After juggling diaries and finding a suitable time, armed with a bottle of wine I made my way next door. I rang their bell, the door opens and new neighbours greet me with a smile. “Hope you didn’t have to come far” they chuckled. I smiled at their attempt to start the night off with some humour. It was an old joke I know, but easily forgiven, after all it was our first social encounter and I thought to myself it was their attempt to make me feel at ease. We were both probably feeling a bit nervous. But it got worse. The initial conversation was strained, mostly short sentences and mostly about the boring gadgets the man of the house had recently acquired. They had no children, they didn’t listen to music, they didn’t read books. They didn’t go out much. The husband’s mother often came over for Sunday dinner and of course she went on holiday with them, always!

Then came the tour of the home. Check out this cupboard and that one. This is the kitchen, this is the bathroom (we know that!), this is the bedroom! We return to the sofa and really hoping the conversation will now change to more worldly things. Not a chance. We have nothing in common. Then thankfully the text on my mobile phone dings. To me it was like the sound of a warm pudding ending its cooking time in the microwave. I seize an opportunity to escape. As I check the text, which in reality is my daughter telling me she’s put her jeans in the washing machine and wants me to put them in the dryer when I get back, as she’s off out to have fun!

I stand up in an obvious gesture that I need to leave. “Oh no.” I try to say convincingly. “ I really have to go. A friend who lives in New York has been phoning my home line and when she found I wasn’t in has sent me a text.” 

I go onto explain that my friend really needs to speak to me tonight and is calling back in ten minutes. With that I apologise and I’m out of the door. I’m not sure my new neighbours believed my exit excuse and the evening was never mentioned again, especially during our small talk across the garden fence. 

© Words Val Weedon
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Read 2579 times Last modified on Sunday, 09 August 2015 16:24
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