Sunday 27 December 2009 - BOXING DAY 2
This does not feel like a Sunday. Today feels aimless and thankfully still possesses something of the holiday feel. This is a day for lounging but sadly that also gives birth to worry and remorse whenever I endeavour to undertake such downtime.
I worry about last night, about a world making party without me. I guess my invitation got lost in the post. I thought last year was a barren period and season over Christmas but this feels ten times worse.
With that in mind thank god that today Justin and Helen are down from Manchester (via Kent) for lunch and a visit. If there are two people I sadly miss from my life at these times it is them.
My morning gets spent endeavouring to write which comes with minor returns and some progress but nothing near what I had hoped to achieve.
In addition to the writing I watch the penultimate episode of season 2 of In Treatment. This is the final episode for John Mahoney’s character and I have to admit I have really struggled to get through this season of the TV show again. John Mahoney has proved one of the more interesting characters of this season and with it he has really displayed a range that you would not expect to come from Frasier’s dad. That said this character does not conclude in a satisfying manner. For a figure that has been put through the wringer to end on the verge of a heavy dose of self-introspection does not really serve to help or assist anybody. I wonder just what other people take from this show. Personally I take some of the self-analysis and attempt to apply it to my own circumstances but often this just does not go. Mahoney’s character did at least offer an example of a person with a life of work and not much else and truly I was able to identify with the imbalance at some points but on the whole no solution to his existence ever came across over his episodes. Maybe I’ll find the time to rewatch these shows one day.
Halfway through the morning Justin texts to say that he and Helen will be hitting town at 1PM, which works out perfectly for me.
With this in mind I pull myself together for lunch and my highlight of Christmas 2009 and eventually head over to my parents crib for 1PM. In between times I get a text from Justin to say not to hurry as he and Helen are stuck in traffic so for an extended spell I wait around my olds as Arsenal v Aston Villa kicks off on Sky. At 1.30PM the call comes through and we head to the Hole where Chris apparently already is.
When I get to the pub I see Chris and Steve in the window. I wasn’t expecting to be seeing Steve this Christmas, this being the first time I’ve seen him since the Frank Chickens show in the summer. As I arrive everybody seems well on their way to ordering food, which is the first disappointment as I thought we were going to a restaurant, I had truly saved myself for some good food.
Soon Steve is kicking off but it is in a nicer manner than back in the day. Quickly he mentions my Facebook Cull blog half in the fear it seems that I may suddenly decide to either delete or save him as a result of discussing it. This is something I hadn’t even considered. He is full of nice props for the site though (even calling it “genius”), I guess he can tap into the bitchiness of it.
In the end it’s not a classic meeting. A few people are conspicuous by their absence and also a few people really are not on form as our group seems to splinter in half at times.
The food turns out to be shit. First it takes forever to arrive and when it does it just feels like slop, typical pub grub. And I get the biggest portion.
I fucking hate this pub and have no fucking idea why it was suggested that we come here. For various reasons I have felt intimidated here for years, not necessarily a physical intimidation just a mental fear that this really is not a healthy place to be at my age and stage/point of personal development. There is a stench of defeat attached to a place where I spent so much of my time years ago that weren’t necessarily good in the first place. My friends however do not appear to necessarily acknowledge this treating the place in the same way that they did back in the day which to an extent suggests a lack of development/movement on their part. I may be wrong but this is just how it feels to me.
To reiterate this point in my mind it just feels typical when we look out of the window and spot one of Chris’ ex-girlfriends with her family that has recently got married (very adult). We glare at her in mockery but in comparison we must only appear on the whole childish, stuck in the rut that is our inhabiting this pub.
Afterwards we head into the town escaping the grunge pub. As our group drops in numbers we trawl around town as Justin and Helen go in search of replacement Christmas lights. Unsurprisingly we wind up in the tacky, temporary Christmas shop that doesn’t actually have any carpet or linoleum. Truly what has commerce been reduced to? Also the shop appears to be devoid of heating and the people inside it are of a miserable state. Still when Steve finds a Boyzone 2010 calendar that features Stephen Gately we can’t help but giggle at the bad taste of the experience. Quite frankly disgusted by the state of the shop (but not the calendar) Justin, Helen and I exit the shop leaving Chris and Steve behind to tickle their way through all the cheap kitsch items probably made in Chinese sweatshops by elf-sized children.
The three of us head towards Wilkinsons where they figure they are bound to have some tree lights left. As we pass through onto Long Wyre Street I spot The Wookiee walking through town with a kid. This is the second time ever I have spotted her in town on a Saturday, both times with a kid. I wonder if it is her daughter. Certainly I have never spotted a wedding ring on her finger (should I really admit to having looked?). Maybe The Wookiee has emerged from a failed arranged marriage with this kid. Or maybe she is a lesbian and this is her nephew. Sadly this second scenario is more in sync with her business like disposition that I see on the commute.
Eventually Justin and Helen find some new lights and with Chris and Steve now seeming to have disappeared I give Chris a call and it turns out they’re in Costa so we head back to join them. On the way I now spot the Purple Haired Girl as we emerge from Sheargate Steps. What is with today and bringing out old crushes?
On the way Justin and I stop off in HMV where the sales now appear in full flow as the shop is rammed. Unlike previous years there have been no goodies in the sales this Christmas, I guess that’s a symptom of having sales all year long. Nothing is special anymore, nothing is sacred.
In the end Justin buys a boxset of the Bourne movies before we catch up with the others at Costa. Soon after I arrive Steve heads off and it has been genuinely nice to see him. I don’t bother getting a drink, instead I just in the corner with the others as we discuss all our developments. In some ways it feels hard work, everyone seems shattered.
From here we proceed onwards and wind up in the Hospital Arms where Chris continues not to drink which is totally out of character for him causing me some concern for his wellbeing. Soon he heads home also leaving only Justin, Helen and I.
All day various comments have been made about my broken iPhone and I’ve been telling everyone how it is the one thing about my person that people comment about and then suddenly the magic of my broken iPhone is displayed as the girl collecting glasses asks me about it. I can’t help but feel a more seasoned person could be able to clean up at this point but in the end I just fall over my words looking foolish in the process.
Things are definitely changed. I guess it is a sure-fire sign now that we are getting old as Justin and I begin discussing at length accounting for his record label. I always surprise myself when I have the words of experience to facilitate such requests.
Eventually it comes time for them to return to Kent and with a long journey ahead of them I feel quite bad for keeping them out for so long. This will probably serve as my Christmas highlight and I really appreciate their efforts to come and visit us in Colchester. This is not something that can be said for a number of other people.
As we bid farewell to each other at the crossing on Crouch Street I head back to my parents’ place in hope of snagging some dinner and sobering up. I find moderate success in visit.
Tonight there are reports of Tom heading to Colchester and while I sit watching Beetlejuice at the olds word comes through for an 8PM meet up at the Hole. This sounds good. Then Tom adds in following text that the guy I used to do Gringo Records with will be out tonight too. Now this is something I can’t stomach so I ditch those chumps. Why would I want to be in the same room/space as somebody such as that? It just makes no sense? How could it be a fun evening if there is going to be such a level of tension attached to proceedings? I would seem the Christmas Eve Massacre has now slipped into post Christmas proceedings as well. At the end of the day it is just some kind of popularity contest that I am not winning.
Ironically though it is Steve Coogan night on BBC2 so in the end I wind up spending it with a Coogan after all.