Wednesday 23 December 2009 - FESTIVUS
My bed is so warm and comfortable this morning it feels criminal to leave it.
Despite my reservations about pulling myself out of bed today once up and out I soon find myself running quickly and heading out the door in good time.
Prior to leaving I make the major mistake of viewing a few peoples’ Facebook profiles to discover that plans are being hatched for the Hogshead on Christmas Eve and it would appear that I am not being included. This truly is the season of goodwill, why do I persist with these people? I don’t think I’ll bother in 2010.
When I arrive at the station/platform this morning once again it is to the news that the cables are fucked in Marks Tey. For too long a period I freeze my arse off on the platform and by the time a train finally turns up to pick us commuters up I have been standing for about 25 minutes in misery. God hates me.
It is a Norwich train that I board this morning and out of character I find myself able to find a seat on it whereas ordinarily these trains tend to arrive into Colchester already filled to the brim with bumpkins. As the train creeps slowly towards the nation’s capital around 7.30AM the guy sat opposite me begins vocally complaining (“fucks sake”) and when he sighs I snag an unpleasant whiff of his breath. He has smokers halitosis. Thanks for ruining the ride for all of us mate.
Shortly after this revelation the train ride turns into a total piss take by National Express as the ticket inspector exhibits the fucking gall of checking our tickets. Perhaps he should concentrate his fat arse on putting the trains right first and getting us multi thousand pound paying punters to work on time. At this point halitosis throws down his mobile phone in disgust.
The train eventually pulls into Liverpool Street at 8.24AM just as I find myself experiencing some kind of a moment of clarity. Christmas will often do that to me as the pressure and panic kicks in the holiday season causes me to over analyse my life. Invariably this usually results in me mentally beating myself up and blaming myself for all the bad things that happen in my life.
While trudging over to the tube platform this morning all seems quiet on the East London front. After two tubes pass me that aren’t worth boarding the train that I finally get on appears to have a David Beckham lookalike driving in. I am experiencing madness hallucinations.
Later at Kings Cross a Method Man/ODB hybrid boards the train. He pulls the greatest and most terrifying facial expressions (ticks) and I am ashamed to admit that this is the first hip hop intimidation I have felt/experienced in years, definitely since I have been coming up to London daily. What a racist I am.
Once finally on the Jubilee Line tube to St Johns Wood I find myself on the same carriage as the Parminder Nagra lookalike and pretty Japanese lady that I think works at the hospital in St Johns Wood. Obviously I fancy the pair of them, they are truly gorgeous looking ladies. As we leave the station on the escalator I then find myself the meat in a sandwich of the two of them. This is torture to me.
Upon getting into work I check my email to find a response from the solicitor. He has gone for my compromise and is offering me £50 to cover the transfer of the domain which is exactly the figure/amount I was thinking of. This is a genuine result and relief.
On Radio One today Fearne Cotton is hosting a live Christmas party from her house. It is Alan Partridge through and through.
From here onwards the day sails out comfortably. Early on the posh boss comes in asking me when the November accounts will be done and I happily inform him “by the end of the day.” Everybody is happy with that.
Once out of work I head directly towards Bond Street with view to taking Christmas shopping by the horns. Like a masochist I trawl my way up and down Oxford Street from West to East. This year I also possess the added responsibility of buying a present for my boss who I was unfortunate to get in the Secret Santa draw.
It comes as no surprise when Oxford Street turns out to be carnage, rammed with gaggling idiots all happily poodling along without urgency. It is the couples that are especially annoying, the ones waddling hand in hand and arm in arm swaggering around full consumed in each other rather than being immersed in the dank proceedings of retail Armageddon. Talk about rub it in my face.
Thankfully things pick up indefinitely and infinitely when I pop into Selfridges and stakeout their food hall where after a three year search/hunt I finally discover they have cans of eggnog in stock. The cans represent glory to me, a genuine beacon of positivity.
For me eggnog has been something of a culinary holy grail. For years I have seen it mentioned on numerous American films and TV shows and gasped in wonder at just what it is, why it is special for this time of year only. Is this the sweetest of all drinks possible? Does it actually taste of egg? All questions will now be answered for me.
From here I take on Oxford Street and Christmas shopping with gusto. On my iPhone I begin to listen to a pumping, late period Public Enemy album (Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age) which gives proceedings some kind of pace, some kind of intensity with a determination that has been distinctly lacking this evening.
The next place I arrive at is John Lewis where I stagger through the store stomping but still uninspired. Within minutes I am out of the shop and finding myself inside the big HMV on Oxford Street. Here I buy CDs from my parents ranging from the good (the latest Beyonce) to the bad (the Michael Jackson death cash in) and suddenly the ball is rolling on Christmas shopping.
Quickly I escape Oxford Street and trickle onto Berwick Street and into Sister Ray which once again is depressingly and eerily quiet. I remember when this store would be rammed and you couldn’t get to the record sections you wanted to because other browsers were in the way. This industry has now been destroyed by other browsers unfortunately. Inside the store I am pleasantly surprised/shocked to discover copies of the latest issue of Vice Magazine that have not been scooped up and sold on eBay already. I leave with my arms full.
Outside in Soho it begins to rain and I begin to feel concerned about my Selfridges paper bag getting wet and falling apart. With my arms full I am unable to get a Starbucks, which would have been the greatest thing for me at this time.
My next destination turns out to be Charing Cross Road where I figure that books make for a good Christmas present. For weeks now the boss has been joking about us getting him an Aston Martin in the Secret Santa so maybe a book about them will work just as good. I step inside Foyles and to the motoring section which is utterly foreign and alien to me. It turns out that books about cars are really expensive and quite rubbish with it. I decide against getting any of these as a present, low returns.
Obviously I wind up in Fopp where I reward myself by presents for me. In the end I buy the boss the Thick Of It box set not least due to the resemblance of our angry boss to Malcolm Tucker (that wannabe).
As I head home I walk up Charing Cross Road and past the now empty Borders store which is a very sad sight.
Eventually I get back to Liverpool Street where I board a strange 9PM train to Lowestoft. It’s a very busy train tonight, I guess I wasn’t the only person shopping this evening (although a good proportion of them were probably also out on the piss). Swiftly before getting on the train I buy my Liverpool Street dinner of a flapjack and Cola Red Bull which I am gingerly eating in my seat as some lady decides to squeeze into the seat next to me. I take up too much space on the trains these days and when I pull out my copy of Vice Magazine which the various lurid advertisements I suddenly become slightly more antisocial. Nice piece in there on Alan Moore this month though.
When I finally get back to Colchester I find myself slipping on the frozen station car park. Really? REALLY? All that fucking money I pay for my monthly parking tickets (£92.50) and combined NCP and National Express are too fucking tight put some salt or grit down. What if I slip and break my neck? They don’t care.
As soon as I get home I set about writing my Christmas cards for work and wrapping the present for my Secret Santa (my boss).
With the Christmas holiday just around the corner it is now a genuine relief. I need this time off.