Tuesday 22 December 2009
I wake up this morning expecting another deep bed of snow on the ground awaiting a call from work telling me not to worry about making my way in today. Unfortunately as I step outside the reality is that the snow is now mostly turning to slush here in Colchester although in the untreated areas it has turned to harsh black ice in some areas. Everywhere else appears to be getting hit hard by it now; this is some kind of revenge for Friday I feel.
Today the drive to the station is relatively devoid of drama and as I step out onto the platform this morning I spot The Wookiee catching the same train that I am for a change.
The train feels super fast this morning. Before I even know it we are at Witham and when it pulls into Chelmsford the time is only 7.20AM. Does the train go faster when there are less people on it or something?
Despite this we only manage to pull into Liverpool Street just after 8AM, did we lose some minutes back there at some point? Suddenly all my times are screwy it seems.
On the tube across town I experience a strange moment while listening to The Boatman’s Call as I nearly begin weeping while playing “Idiot Prayer” by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. Does this make me sound emotionally fragile at this time?
I step into work with everybody already in. In our office there are mince pies but otherwise it still does not feel like Christmas, these pastries are the only indicators that these times are special.
Thankfully I manage to muster up a productive day after being lent focus by the to do list that I wrote on the train earlier in between sniffles during Nick Cave songs.
For lunch I have penne with chicken and indulge in a return to the carbs.
In the afternoon I find myself downloading the Judgement Night soundtrack. Without doubt this is a direct response resulting from Rage Against The Machine being Christmas number one. I can’t imagine that a rock rap festive season can possibly be a positive thing.
After a decent day of work at the close of proceedings The Girl keeps good on her promise to drive us over to Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush where we can both hopefully FINALLY nail our respective batches of Christmas shopping.
For some reason she does a route from St Johns Wood via Maida Vale (going past Hamilton Terrace) and Paddington that then requires going East along Euston Road and turning around at Baker Street. As she drives down Baker Street I see my old offices of Baker Street and it makes me shudder. Together we look up and see lights on but when The Girl asks me which floor my office was on I can no longer remember.
Soon afterwards we eventually find ourselves going over the Westway and The Girl turns out to be truly fearless behind the wheel. It has been years since I have driven on this road (probably one of the BBC visits to Maida Vale with Hirameka and Gringo Records) and it is fun to look down and spot Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove from up here (having for years been the person looking up at the Westway).
It is just after 6PM when we park up in Westfield. I cannot imagine a building more American, more bloated and commercially fat. This is already horrible to me and we haven’t even left the car park. Upon hitting the main part of Westfield we are slapped in the face of a vast and disgusting hurricane of consumerism. Immediately I begin to feel nauseous and get a headache along with the desire and will to head straight home. Surely Oxford Street would have been easier than this. At least there I would have known where things were and I could have hit it running.
Tonight Westfield is rammed. Credit crunch, what credit crunch? This is a true exercise in pissing money away, the number one past time of modern man. Right away it becomes apparent that this trip has been a bad idea. This is not a night for casual browsing, the people around me are locusts devouring anything decent in their path. There are no bargains here, just heartache. Had Mallrats been conceived or filmed here it would have looked similar but been a very different movie.
With this in mind I just let The Girl get on with it even though bless her heart she is trying to enthuse me and get me involved. Suddenly I realise why I spent so much of my time shopping on the internet: it means I don’t have to be around this scum.
While we’re in HMV my friend from Holland Park texts to say she has been busy shopping herself today and that she had only just got my message. She says she hopes to see me in the new year which I read as a proper heave ho and coded “leave me along for Christmas now.”
Eventually The Girl gets bored also. I’m unsure as to whether this is because I am dragging her down or if she is feeling the hassle of the hustle and bustle also.
She suggests that we get a drink and asks some guy in the perfume section of Debenhams where we can get something alcoholic. Unsurprisingly he is gay and with full of enthusiasm for her request. It turns out that the closest bar/pub is a place called The Bull which is hidden, stuck out on the edge of Westfield. Eventually this will be the part of the mall where people come to hide out.
Getting to The Bull turns out to be something of a chore also as we pass numerous restaurants and smokers teasingly there pair of us respectively (I’m hungry and she wants a fag). Arrival there offers little in the way of choice or solace but I notice that they are doing “Mulled Cyder (sic)” which for some reason screams out at me. Its description reads “tastes like drinking a Chelsea bun” so I go for that figuring the sugar/syrup might equal a meal. In the end it’s a fair description as later I begin to have sour flashbacks as to how sickly it tastes.
We sit outside in the smoking section just so that The Girl can have a fag. Who cares if I can’t breathe as a result, so long as she can smoke that is all that matters. I could never go out with a smoker, it would fucking kill me. Eventually after repeatedly gagging I finish off my sickly drink and while she returns to shopping I head home back to Essex and safety away from shoppers and shopping.
In the end I manage to survive a Central Line journey from Shepherd’s Bush to Liverpool Street a few days before Christmas. As I board the train at Shepherd’s Bush it is with some Oriental innit kids, a few of whom glare at me menacingly before they get off at a central station. I’m not afraid though, tonight I am listening to the Judgement Night soundtrack. This music was designed to soundtrack dealing with this shit.
Fortuitously I manage to catch the 8.30PM Norwich train as for once leaving late works in my favour as I miss all the wanker trains in the process. On the train I sit opposite a guy that looks like Adam West while sat to my left is an amazing looking Japanese girl who spends the whole journey on a tiny tiny laptop. I wonder what she is doing on it, I perv.
As I skim the internets on my iPhone I discover that a remake of Red Dawn is being pencilled for next year. Is the world really ready for that? Surely its not good for relations to be creating a film where China invades America. Common sense and all.
Once back in Colchester I head straight to Asda in the hope of at least getting something in the way of a present this evening. In the end though they fail to have the CDs my parents want so instead I just wind up getting wrapping paper and cards while treating myself to some spicy cheese. Why am I suddenly eating cheese? I don’t think I have bought any for years now for fear of putting on cheese related weight. What has changed for me?
On the way home tonight I brave St Helena Road again and tonight I find myself skidding along and almost ploughing into the side of parked cars. Eventually when I reach the end of the road the real skid/slide occurs as the rear of my Focus begins to take hold, bolting from behind. This could very easily have become a very nasty bump. I have to concede it puts the willies up me a little bit.
As soon as I get home I breathe a sigh of relief. What a wasted evening.
Thankfully things pick up when I check the 100 Days project website to discover that I have been mentioned on the page for a second time as I get featured on the Day 22 entry.
For the win.