Thursday 12 November 2009
This morning I awake early before the alarm clock buzzes the life out of me. This can only be a good sign.
As I pull myself together and mooch towards London as I near the station in my car at a leisurely pace I suddenly remember that I have left my ticket for the evening back at home. Cue a full circle of the roundabout as I race home to collect the ticket.
By the time I get back to Bohm Grove The Ghost has arrived and is walking his dog. Well, maybe not walking, standing and looking at his dog. As ever he cuts a spooky shadow.
In the end I wind up back on the old 7.03AM express to London. As I sink back into looking at the familiar faces of extras I come to the only conclusion that this train is shit.
At one point in proceedings all that can be heard is Beyonce screaming from out of some girl’s iPod headphones. Her shrieking is piercing, this is not the first time that this has happened.
When we reach Chelmsford some chump carrying a number plate decides to sit in both his seat and mine in order to accommodate his toolbox. He sits with his legs spread wide open as the girl sat opposite in her purple beret attempts to sleep in a gesture of indifference.
While I struggle in my seat I notice the guy sat opposite is reading a magazine about shotguns. Later he swops this to read his copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife. What kind of psycho hybrid is this we are dealing with here?
More by the day this train begins to represent the public transport of a clip joint to me. There is a false pretence attached to currency of this ride, the cost is just not justifiable in the grand scheme of things and any satisfaction attained is just false and tainted.
The train pulls in at a predictably late 8.08AM serving as a timely reminder why I have started catching a slightly earlier train instead.
I have to admit/concede to stomping into work grumpy today. With this in mind it is probably a good job that I am the first person in (with alarm duties and everything). In this frame of mind to trudge by people and be forced to endure the etiquette of joyfully saying “good morning” just might ravage me morally.
Fortunately by the time people start coming in I have cheered up and slowly I get into work again although not at an overly productive pace with any real urgency but it is still productive all the same and today realistically that is all that can be expected of me.
Eventually lunchtime comes around and today I plump for the penne and chicken option which today arrives with a lot of pepper in the mix and a new kind of kick. Ultimately it turns out to be the best serving of the dish I have had in a long time.
Again today I find myself trawling/trolling through Gumtree looking at the singles ads. These are truly pathetic, too many thinly veiled working girls and hardly any sincerity in the profiles that appear not to be. Still, it doesn’t stop me responding to a few (not prostitutes on this occasion).
I splutter through the afternoon and in the end I accomplish what I wanted to achieve, albeit by staying/working a little late.
Noticing that I am staying back late the boss says to have a quick drink with him (business drunk) where we discuss work and art in a more cultured discussion than usual. In the midst of the mini session the angry boss comes in and rumbles us. Own goal.
With the rain beginning to ease off I head to St Johns Wood station and hop aboard the Jubilee Line down to the Southbank getting off at Waterloo and heading over to Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Stepping into the hall tonight as I look up into the audience I catch a brief glimpse of a lady sitting on her own also and I give her a meek smile. Upon taking my own seat suddenly the nosebleed seats don’t feel so nosebleed after all but that still does not prevent a poncy middle class couple from delighting in informing me that I am in the wrong seat (one of their seats).
Tonights event is the DAVID EAGLEMAN with PHILIP PULLMAN conversation that focuses on EAGLEMAN’s book of short stories about the afterlife “Sum”. In some ways this is meant to be some kind of tense debate between the scientific and religious interpretations of the afterlife.
It all almost begins well as one of the short stories is awarded a reading by Stephen Fry but sadly a reading that was quite literally phoned in. OK fair enough Fry wasn’t billed as one of the readers of the evening but I don’t really need to be hearing a tape when there are real people already on stage capable of performing their own.
The talk fails to ever take off as a true air of smugness gets attached to proceedings. It doesn’t feel like a event with any opinions only a series of smart remarks and observations. DAVID EAGLEMAN goes through the story of how he has had to suffer for his art, how his compositions have taken form and the response that he has garnered from them both positive and negative, especially the negative ones in which he seems/appears to take great delight in goading believers, more so than men from the cloth who on the whole appear to be afraid to take him to task. Typical scientician.
In a TV show EAGLEMAN would be played by Timothy Hutton and unfortunately after a couple of questions it suddenly occurs to me that I have no interest in what these people are saying. The old religion v science hokum prevails in a gesture of squeezing out almost all fun and humour from proceedings.
The readings continue as Miranda Richardson and Jarvis Cocker take to the stage and endeavour to find wit in two fairly forgettable tales. Neither of them register any emotional response from me as I begin to act like a sore loser.
The night of disappointment is then fulfilled when Nick Cave’s reading is also literally phoned in. He was part of the deal for tonight, his billing and apparent appearance was large part of the draw. This truly is not good. Later when Lester from The Wire also phones in a reading it is all too late.
At the close of proceedings the obligatory questions from the audience come in and at the end there is always the crazy lady that is present who usually tends to get to the fucking point.
Afterwards I feel gutted. Was this really one of the best books to be published this year? What a load of old bollocks. Nice concept but tough reality.
Walking back from the Southbank Centre to Waterloo station tonight I find myself being barked at by a homeless guy dancing who sings in an accusatory manner at me “I’m homeless and you’re not.” What is that supposed to accomplish? I think I just found out why this guy is on the streets.
Eventually I get back to Liverpool Street and board a weird orange train that pulls of at 9.38PM. As I sit opposite a Frank Lampard lookalike (and he knows it) a seventies version of a Chav family ambles its way through the carriage with luggage and a pushchair basically getting in the way of everyone and everything. The dad really is a throwback who should get his priorities straight: haircut first, family second.