… convinced the man in the corner shop just blew me a kiss, not the classic blown from the palm of the hand sketch, more a subtle pursing of the lips. He’s new there, not the usual fella, so he’s blissfully unaware of our usual protocol over Bounty bars and wine and emergency bits of milk and matches, he did not honour the time-honoured grunted acknowledgment and muted nod. Could be a new phase. The sun peeking out from behind a factory. Anyway, my head did not get unduly turned, spinning as it was already by a workmanlike three points in the capital, the new moon over the river and the pubs packed with tiger feet dancing. And now it’s pelting down hard outside, waiting for the room to get too warm, the grape sat heavy in the glass, the wine dark sea filling the gutters outside … The Wine Dark Sea, now there’s a mighty vision of a book, one ship chasing another across the opening page. Violence under a vivid blue sky. Men sending machinery across the waves. Maybe could develop the budding paper shop flirtation in this way, escalate the tension until it’s a full-blown armed pursuit with flags unfurled and cannon shot booming off the waves. Is the rain outside ever gonna stop? Turn it off. Lee Mavers, he was tuned into the music. The rhythm of the rain. The Rain Horse, read that. Marcia and Mick in France, bet there’s blinding black sheets of rain up on that mountainside. I miss my mates. Oh January, when will you ever fuck off? You and your mate February. You are an empty cupboard raided of the last scraps of Christmas ….