Monday 18 January 2010
Today I awaken to an undisputed grey Manchester morning. This is in stark contrast to what I was met with at this time yesterday. It is Monday and the world is going back to business.
Justin had to head out early to London this morning and as a result I miss him as he leaves at an ungodly hour. I have gratitude to serve.
Slowly I begin to murmur and with the reality being that in order to get to the bathroom I have to go through their bedroom and probably disturb Helen I put off my trip as long as possible until I can last no more.
As I gingerly step through their bedroom Helen acknowledges me and gives off a wave and I apologise. Not long after I return to my inflatable bed she gets up and slowly we chat our way into the new day and morning. In conversation we establish that this is in fact the first time I have been North of London since 2004 and the Millwall FA Cup semi final game at Old Trafford. Now is that a good thing or a bad thing?
This morning I find myself in deep thought considering my existence and balance. It is illuminating to me to see how Justin and Helen are living in Manchester and how other people of my generation get along and thrive and survive. Suddenly the message of Up In The Air begins to hit home hard and while I cannot really compare my life to that off the Clooney character, in some ways it really does touch a nerve with me in the way that I spend so much of my life travelling, dedicated to work and how I don’t really make any solid connections with people. All in all I just think I am cold and soulless also. I can’t continue the way I am going, my years are melting into each other and not displaying any difference or change in the process. To be continued.
Eventually I thank Helen (and Justin) profusely for their hospitality and letting me stay and I head off to Manchester with view to reaching the station in good time in refusal of missing another train. This is my equivalence of determination, the desire to do something with view to securing my investment.
When a bus with the number 80 somewhere on it I board asking for a ticket to Piccadilly. The driver points out that it might be better to get a Dayrider but I point out I’m not coming back.
The bus ride turns out to be illuminating as I stare out of the window. So this is the North and what it has to offer, a place where people generally on the whole look poor but also slightly happier than what I am used to down South. As the bus passes through Trafford I begin to think Manchester United and when I see signs for Salford I think Manchester United. Suddenly I begin to understand why fans are so passionate (probably more) about football in the North because there is some truth in that old cliché and stereotype of being its all they’ve got.
As the bus nears town I begin to spot signs for Moss Side and get something of a hard on. Also I spot a sign pointing towards Rusholme and my Morrissey weekend feels complete.
I get off the bus at Piccadilly as the journey ends along with my time in Manchester. As I stagger out into Manchester on my own it suddenly occurs to me that I have no idea where the train station is. Luckily I have GPS on my iPhone but it doesn’t fucking tell me. By fluke I spot some signs pointing towards the train station and slowly I begin to recognise my surroundings (the hood).
After my experience with trains on Saturday morning today I arrive at this station ridiculously early, intent on not missing my train home.
For an hour I mooch around the station trying not to look suspicious but also trying to find my hallowed train home. Unsurprisingly delays are occurring, why couldn’t this have happened on Saturday morning and worked in my favour? That said, just who the hell catches a train on a Monday morning at 11AM?
With the idea of a Starbucks not appealing to me (funny tummy) I try to speed up time in the station to as quickly as possible. Roving around an unfamiliar train station is not the most fun a person can have. Out of boredom I even find myself paying 30p to go into the toilet. Truly I can’t help but feel that this is the point that society breaks down, when you have to actually pay to urinate. Now I know the intention of this is probably to remove permanent lingerers such as junkies, tramps and paedophiles but once humanity gets to the stage where it has to pay to piss something has fallen and failed in the system.
Elsewhere while lingering around the station I spot a guy who is the spit of the lead character from Looking For Eric. Up North truly is a different world featuring those clichés from TV and the movies.
Eventually my 11.15AM becomes the 11.30AM. Why was this train late and not my one on Saturday, the one I was late for? God hates me.
Finally it turns up and finally I take my seat and gain escape from Manchester. Worryingly over the seat next to me there is a reserved light meaning that I will have a co-pilot for the journey but as the train pulls out of Manc thankfully the coast remains clear and I am able to spread out for what hopefully will prove a relaxed journey back to the South and safety.
Again as we pass through Stockport I spot the Hat Museum and wonder just how great a series/set of hats have to be in order to warrant their own museum. Such is like up North I guess.
Annoyingly just as a sense of relief comes over me unfortunately at Stoke some spud boards and sits in the seat next to me despite the chairs opposite the aisle being empty/open. From here he proceeds to crowd the plate for the remainder of the journey as he reads a book about the history of Communism. Figures. All the way back to Euston he regularly nudges me in the side with his elbows. By the end of the journey I hate him and all that are like him.
The train pulls back into Euston just before 2PM after a tough journey that has served to make me weary of leaving Essex and London ever again. The toughness of the journey is then exposed/expressed/displayed by the ridiculous amount of pain I suffer just walking from Euston station to Euston Square station. Often I really am a fanny. Quite frankly I have been on eight hour flights were not as bad as this journey.
In the end I wind up catching the 2.30PM Norwich train where I promptly scoff my four Sainsburys white chocolate and raspberry cookies one after the other, all in one foul swoop. Crumbs fly everywhere on the train as I just no longer care. Well, I do care enough to hide my shame so that none of the handful of passengers (not commuters) see me.
After a stumbling journey home my circle of weekend travel misery is completed upon the discovery of a parking ticket attached to my car windscreen. National Express East Anglia can well and truly go fucking die. Just why did I purchase a £92.50 monthly parking ticket if they are still going to issue a penalty ticket against me? For the way they fucked me about on Saturday it should be me issuing them with some kind of penalty charge, a charge for incompetence of the highest level and degree, one that realises the flaws in their managerial techniques and explains why customers despise their basic being.
Leaving the station in a huff I stop off at Asda to a do a little shopping before heading home to tear into my limited comfort food with view to cheering the fuck up. Unsurprisingly by the time I eventually get back to Bohemian Grove it is in the state of being a right miserable cunt.
Now home and bedded in I listen to the Danny Baker BBC London show before nodding off briefly before the end. When I reawaken it is still fairly early in the evening as I mooch around before eventually turning in proper for the night.
I hope I don’t have to get on another fucking train again in a hurry. Oh wait, the 6.59AM tomorrow is calling.