Sunday 22 November 2009
Dream: I am in Terminator Salvation. I am the fucking leader. In this situation I am leading a group of work colleagues to safety, apparently there is a town somewhere that the machines have not discovered and ruined yet. Out of character I am surprisingly good at dealing with the machines, I guess it is the pumping 90s rock soundtrack that spurs action on. We reach safety and it all ends happily. Very fucking weird.
I feel lousy today. I wake up just before 7.30AM on a Sunday morning seemingly without a fucking clue of what is going on with me right now. I can’t believe how old I now am, I am fucked. That bullshit about the ideal age being 33 is nonsense. It is a lie and a charade. This is not a healthy existence for a person of supposedly such a mature age. So what do I do about it? I watch my DVD of The Inbetweeners.
Taking me away and out of my current concerns I laugh a lot at the DVD. Provided I am able to always summon up such blissful escapism everything will be all right. TV saves the day yet again.
As the disc reaches the fourth episode (“Car friend”) it begins to pixelate. Eventually the disc pixelates to the point my ageing DVD player outright rejects and switches itself off. Once more I am reduced to being a loser. Unlike in my dreams, today the machines have won.
On a roll with this show though I head over to my PC where I downloaded the series as a torrent and I watch that instead. Strike up a victory of illegal downloading over commercially produced poor quality discs. This is why (well, one of the reasons) people illegally download.
With the reality of heading back up to London today via the hateful rail replacement service buses I begin to murmur after the fifth episode. Outside thankfully is a sunny day with no sign of the rain that compounded an awful day yesterday.
Today is the recording of the DAVID SEDARIS show for the BBC. This is very geeky and part of me does suspect I will be the only working class person in the audience.
Just before I leave Mark texts to say he’ll come along which is a pleasant surprise after he has been acting slightly flaky over the event. This comes helpfully timed just as I deliver/unleash an internal rant regarding how I don’t appear to have any friends left anymore. This would be bad enough were I still a teen but at the age of 33 such emotions really are truly unhealthy. Not that there isn’t smoke without fire.
Eventually I head off to face what shit National Express can throw at me today. In the process a buy a copy of today’s Sunday Times because it comes with a free live Blur CD.
The usually very basic drive to the station is thwart with annoyance today as nobody appears to be driving with a pulse this morning. As the real people remain in bed, people with nothing better to do take to the road and ruin it for anyone with an agenda or purpose by driving slowly and poorly in the process. On the way I get stuck behind a sports car that appears to be afraid to stop at junctions and as a result has to brake early and leave a car length ahead of it. Why do people buy these suped up machines if they are only going to drive them like Mini Metros?
The stupidity displayed by other drivers only gets upped when upon arriving at the station I find myself stuck behind two dawdling pensioner mobiles looking for the perfect parking space, failing and giving up when they fail in their attempts to get parked in a less than perfect spot.
Niggled I head towards the platform and when the train arrives it is one of those dank blue and yellow ones that are ordinarily used to stop at the stations on the Essex/London border. Thankfully though this train has no stops and within 30 minutes we have already reached Ingatestone and suddenly it becomes apparent to me that I have overcompensated by boarding such an early train.
The transfer from train to musty coach is a disheartening one as these things still stink of cigarette smoke to me. Too many memories are jogged of having to catch coaches in my youth both on family holidays and for school. Things also fail to improve as while the coach drives to Newbury Park the heavens begin to open.
Just after midday we arrive at Newbury Park with no sign of any life on the Central Line. While I text Mark telling him I’m getting closer to Leytonstone some weird guy with luggage stood behind me decides to light up a cigarette on the platform. Is this station really so rural?
When I finally get to Leytonstone it is with sporting trepidation in the danger of seeing my American Friend. As I head through the town towards Mark’s gaff I feel myself literally looking around wearily.
It is with a large degree of relief that I finally get to Mark’s but as I bowl up it visibly looks as if he is struggling with flu. Am I really dragging him out at a time when he should be staying in and sleeping things off? Oh well.
Eventually we head off towards BBC Broadcasting House on our Central Line journey from Leytonstone to Oxford Circus. Unsurprisingly the train is rammed full of tourists and foreigners. We note the abundance in the amount of pushchairs on the train, noting the just how much room they take up. These really should not be allowed on tubes as they are such a risk.
We get to Broadcasting House about 2.15PM in good time for the 3PM kick off. Outside there is a queue waiting to enter and for a moment I worry about our chances of getting into the show at all.
The song and dance that is the entering of BBC Broadcasting House is akin to the strictest airport and as humiliating with it. It stops short of the rubber glove treatment as security measures at the BBC prove ridiculously heavy handed including the removal of belts. As usual I commit the schoolboy error of after emptying all my pockets of personal belongings when I pass through the metal detector I forget to remove me watch. Then after I remove this and go through again once more the machine beeps as it is then revealed that I have forgotten about my house keys sat in my pocket. I don’t who is more pissed off by this: me for feeling unnecessarily subjected to terrorist type treatment or the security guard for having to deal with such stupidity. All in all by the time we finally get into the BBC and get herded into some grotty room it feels as if the powers that be have tried their hardest to squeeze all possible fun out of proceedings.
While we ruminate as a herd in a spare room (complete with used flipcharts) it appears to be under the watchful eye of snide security types (little Asians that realistically couldn’t stop a flea) who stare at us with criminal suspicion. These guys are placed as frontline obstacles for their ability to accept things like water off a duck’s back with their cold manners (rudeness) as really they are just their as some kind of expendable first line affordable casualty tactic. I cannot believe that these guys are the A-Team. To think Chris Moyles staggers through here daily without obstacle makes a rational person feel fucking sick.
Thankfully all our efforts prove worthwhile as DAVID SEDARIS proves an amazing turn as before our eyes he records two shows of MEET DAVID SEDARIS for Radio Four which comprise of three stories each. His stories are great, surface sweet but with biting content happy to accept and display his wrinkles and occasional selfish instincts that go against accepted social conventions. For this the man is a superhero. Spoken with a different voice these tales might sound snide but with the golden era Woody Allen-esqe observations each eventually gets to the point and makes the most sense.
DAVID SEDARIS appears to be somewhat bemused by the setup of things. The concept of him just reading and people applauding seems to feel cold to him and away from his stories he takes every effort to attempt to speak to the audience even though the BBC doesn’t appear to want to allow it. When he makes comment of the security we had to endure the briefest but strongest of connections are made.
Often DAVID SEDARIS mentions his family in his stories and occasionally he mentions his sister who most of us will know as Amy Sedaris from Strangers With Candy. It feels funny to picture these two together; they really are not two people that you would imagine to be related.
Soon the six readings of tales (including his family as children purposely trying cause accidents, an episode sat next to a grieving man on a plane and how he and his partner bonded over a fear of STDs) come to an end and with similar precision to the way we were entered into BBC Broadcasting House we are swiftly flung back out onto the streets of London with a high level of contempt.
We fall out onto Regents Street around 4.30PM on a packed Sunday afternoon at the early stages of the run up to Christmas. The lights are already up and they look naff, heavily embroidered with corporate Disney branding for their latest shitty Christmas cash in movie. Nothing is sacred anymore; these lights should be special, a gift to the nation, envy to the world. Instead now they are just one big advertisement.
From here we head to get a coffee, first looking at that place just off Carnaby Street from when I met up with Marceline on Friday which Mark promptly dislikes and decides to steer us instead towards Golden Square and the Nordic Bakery. Its all much of muchness.
It’s a busy scene, we barely get seated. We get into discussions regarding work and the inevitable Christmas period and what plans for that just might be. Then we get into some strange argument over my recent declaration that coffee tastes best out of a paper cup. This is not some kind of eco disagreement, just one of taste and apparent common sense. Seldom/rarely have I seen Mark so vehement with an opinion telling me it is nonsense but I stick by with what I know. Perhaps today he is just niggled because the Nords of the Nordic Bakery have given us our drinks in paper cups. Perhaps we should have gone to the Carnaby Street place after all.
Eventually we make moves to head home boarding the Central Line at Oxford Circus. Unsurprisingly a tube journey on the Central Line turns out to be a trip of annoyance as I concentrate on being annoyed at the mother in a headscarf dragging her buggy onto an already packed train Mark meanwhile gets annoyed by two gobby pissheads upsetting the whole carriage with their lairy drunk shenanigans. Scarily their movements remind me of Steve (and potentially me) from back in the day. Still, the buggy is a greater health and safety risk than those fools even if they do apparently make comments to some kid as he gets off. The really strange thing turns out to be that after they exit the train at Stratford and some old guy makes comment “England’s finest” that probably annoys me more than anything that came before it. Go figure.
Remembering that the trains are fucked today and I am being subjected to rail replacement buses out of Newbury Park my already ridiculously long Central Line trip gets extended as I end up going the incorrect route and winding up at Snaresbrook, a place that appears to be on the map for no reason. The station does however save my bacon by having a public toilet (free public toilet!) which suddenly adds value to the station.
Finally I get to Newbury Park around 6PM and with it endure an agonising bus journey back to Ingatestone where hopefully a train will be waiting for me.
Due to the trains being out all in all it makes for another long day reminding me why I don’t head into London at the weekends very much (because of rail incompetence). It is around 7.30PM when I get back to Colchester. At the moment I still have dad’s mobile ever since my iPhone went into coma mode a couple of months ago and now he wants it back so tonight I have to lug myself home and then pop around there’s.
While at their crib I manage to grab some dinner while X-Factor plays out in the background. Eventually I head around 9PM and once back I soon pass out.
Today was unnecessary.