Wednesday 24 March 2010 – BUDGET DAY
Today I feel more tired than I was expecting to. It’s technically Friday for me, the final day of a short week. Originally I was supposed to be going to Wales (Portmeirion) this weekend but it never got arranged. In a way though this is a good thing looking at the weather today.
The drive to the station is an excruciating one, not least for getting stuck behind a car with a fucking yellow smiley face sticker on it. Does this explain why the car is driving so slowly: the driver is fucked up on drugs at this time and all the time. What kind of backwards mentality sees a person sticking a fucking yellow smiley face onto their car. Surely beyond anything else it devalues the book value of it immediately to the value point of scrap.
It’s a dull, dull day.
Again the train journey is OK as nobody bothers to sit next to or crush me. Over my shoulder I can hear somebody snoring over the top of my iPhone but that’s his problem. Around Maryland and Forest Gate frustratingly the train slows down to a crawl. I guess that is because these are tough neighbourhoods.
Eventually we get into town and on the tube I find myself sat opposite a boring (and bored) Zoey Deschanel lookalike. She just can’t pull the look off.
At the moment I am on a genuine self improvement kick, last Friday night has truly triggered something in me. I need to get better, I need to improve, I am not getting any younger and soon I fear it will be too late for me.
Today is a busy day filled with trepidation regarding the consultant’s impending visit. Not that this sense of urgency transforms itself into work, I have better things to do.
The consultant is due/supposed to be in at 11AM but eventually he makes it in just after 1PM while we are eating. His lateness suits me as it lends me the opportunity to get a lot of stuff done before his arrival but unfortunately when he steps through the door there are still tasks and chores that require my attention. As a result lunch gets cut short.
He seems in a good mood today though and with this I get a sense that he is going to be easy on me. Its not that he is necessarily awful all the time it is just that he sometimes makes qualified observations about aspects and areas of our accounts he really does not the full understanding that I do but due to his seniority my input gets railroaded. Also being a busy man he is not necessarily always 100% concentrating on our accounts which can occasionally lead him to contradict himself which obviously makes me life/job difficult as a result. It then turns out to be a real break when he stays only an hour. Result.
From here the remainder of my day comes with a full workload but at the same time it is manageable.
Around 5.15PM our boss announces that we can pack up early. Unfortunately I still have a bit of work to do and it holds proceedings up slightly before eventually the others just leave that little bit early.
When I leave at 5.35PM it is in full expectation of knowing the boss may want a drink and indeed as I attempt to race out of the building he is sat downstairs. He calls me over to join him. Despite being in a rush I indulge him. The guy looks shattered, there appears to be so much going on in all elements of his life right now and he just wants a chat.
At 6PM I make a move feeling bad about ditching him. Once out of the restaurant I head straight for Shepherd’s Bush for the TINDERSTICKS show where we are all meeting at the Defectors Weld beforehand. When I eventually arrive there cocktails are already on the go, promising much.
We have some dinner in the form of another expensive pub burger while I express my angst about reaching forty soon (in six and a half years time). I also try to coerce people into coming along to the Toots And The Maytals show at the Barbican in June as well as wowing everyone with the story of the dying person at the Australian Film Festival last night. I feel on form tonight with these tales and the “What Up With That” song from SNL in my head (now also hopefully in their heads too).
Eventually we head over to the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. As we step through the door we quickly peak at the merchandise store to see the Andy Nice CD in amongst the TINDERSTICKS stuff. That should make Justin happy.
As we take our seats VILLAGERS are already onstage doing their support slot. Apparently they have just been signed to Domino but I can’t help but think that this is a lie as I witness the simpering musings of some soft sod performing songs in a style that is prematurely ageing and demeaning to us all. It is a farce. When did society become so dull that professional nobodies such as these can get signed to decent labels? The best that I can say for him (them) is that I am reminded of Alasdair Roberts (who I dislike too).
The set soon concludes and it is at this point it occurs to me that the seats upstairs at the Shepherds Bush Empire are no longer large enough for human comfort. They were designed in better times, when people were physically slighter and in theory healthier. This dawning also comes coupled with the reality that the guy sat to my left is soon winding the shit out of me as he finds it impossible to sit still, taking up the armrest and regularly scratching his huge hair probably pulling out nits in the process. It is without doubt that this winner gets laid more than me. Such is life.
Without too much waiting TINDERSTICKS soon take to the stage and promptly launch into the title track from Falling Down A Mountain. It’s a majestic piece, great and encapsulating a pulsing tension and urgency that befits such a luxurious band. Tonight they all look dressed down, more relaxed and less regal than usual. You sense from the new record that this is now the way in this camp.
Ultimately it is a frustrating set, a true mixed bag naturally focused on the new record but painfully neglecting too many gems that sit obvious. Unpredictably they include “Peanuts”, an excruciating song from the new album that I just cannot tell whether they are conscious of how awful the song is.
A rare beacon glows in the form of “Black Smoke” as the velvet luxury of the band begins to become hinting at once more but frustratingly little else serves to storm the show.
Throughout the set sat upstairs I find myself being bludgeoned by the guy with apparent nits continuously scratching his huge head of hair throughout the set. To say it niggles and distracts me would be an understatement. Fortunately halfway through the set after checking his text messages he disappears never to return.
Onstage the TINDERSTICKS grind to the end of their set before returning to perform two encores after which I don’t wish for a third.
After the show we exit, heading outside where rain is now drizzling down. As Racton and Eleanor wait for their friends to emerge I split the joint and head home in full knowledge/realisation that it takes forever on the Hammersmith Line to get across to Liverpool Street.
In the end I wind up on the 11.48PM Colchester train and minutes before it pulls away Day 80 of Facebook Cull boards the carriage and waves at me “hi…..”
From here something of an awkward and uncomfortable journey takes place. I try to avoid eye contact, try to pretend she’s not there but it’s impossible. I try to fall to sleep but I ain’t got game for that either. At least she isn’t hurling shoes or abuse at me, perhaps she doesn’t know about it.
It’s funny to be bumping into her now, so close to the entry. It is now over two years since the last (and first) time we saw each other on a train home, a night after which Zoë had thoroughly upset me and Emma actually helped cheer me up at a bleak time.
When the train arrives back at Colchester the time is around 1AM and I make a point/gesture of speaking to her, to ensure that I don’t make more of a fool of myself. Much like last time she is really friendly once more having been out on the last with clients in a corporate sense. Maybe I shouldn’t have culled her after all.
By the time I get back to Bohemian Grove it is now after 1AM and as I stumble out of my car and put my key into the door of our building it doesn’t work, fails to turn. I check that I am using the correct key and indeed I am and as I toggle it soon it becomes apparent that the safety latch has been pulled down on the inside.
Without doubt this is the work of that idiot personal trainer next door to me in flat 15. At this point I feel truly fucked off by her latest action and I proceed to buzz all the doorbells in our block and pound on the door at an ungodly hour. I realise just how antisocial this is but quite frankly so is locking me out of my own home (fuck, she isn’t even an owner, she’s a scumbag renter which would suggest why she goes around with her “don’t give a fuck” attitude). How fucking dare they do this? Why have they fucking done this?
After no response to my initial flurry I begin kicking the door in again and making real noise. Eventually I hear the bedroom window of flat 15 open just as the lady downstairs (Michelle) emerges with bedhead and opens the door for me. I apologise profusely (three times) as she acknowledges that it is “the stupid people upstairs” in flat 15 that have done this.
As I step through my door I slam it in a final gesture of anger. If I was worth my salt I’d pound on the door of 15 Hollytree Court but by now the damage has been done so it is anything for a quiet life that now prevails.