Friday, September 11, 2009


Friday 11 September 2009

WE’RE LIVIN’ ON DOG FOOD

Happy anniversary everybody. Today is my last day at work before a week off. Thank God.

It’s another brisk morning again to say the least today. Chilly and disheartening. Autumn is the freshest month but its nip soon turns from subtle to biting and severe.

When I drive to my parents’ it is in their Fiesta to return it. I hate driving this car, it is terrifying. The car is boxy and light and rather than feeling like a product of Dagenham’s finest instead there is an Eastern European feel to it.

Soon I am standing on the platform shivering still humming the mantra “one day to go, one day to go.”

Most attractive extra on the train this morning is reading a book by Sue Grafton. This suggests to me that she is a suspicious person by nature.

Later satisfyingly at Witham as the stinky breathed Sitcom Woman boards she accidentally trips over the Kelvedon Bike Boy’s bag sat in the aisle. This makes her angry but makes me giggle. I tripped over the same bag just the other day; this geek is a fucking hazard with that sat in the way and his poxy fold up bike crowding the door. What is the train caught on fire and we all had to rush off? We would perish at his hands.

This morning I am listening to another old Baker And Kelly podcast from 2007 and when they mention their old turmoil days I suddenly get the idea of doing a University Of Turmoil website myself.

The train pulls in at 8.05AM. I can’t be bothered.

As I cross the station to get to the tube platform I see OCD Chinese Man frantically tidying and restacking The Metro stand. I have decided that contrary to the Baker Street Midget any time now that I see this guy it is to be a good omen for the day ahead. He’s my lucky charm.

The atmosphere in the office today is quite upbeat and as the bosses have a meeting it begins to sound like a Sid James convention as the laughter comes booming across the hall.

Unfortunately in the end I have a rubbish day which turns out to be completely unproductive. This is not assisted by The Girl spending the day throwing balls of rolled up paper at me at non-stop. Where did my authority go?

Today is the last day before my holiday and it would appear that I find myself in a holiday frame of mind prematurely. By the end of the day I cobble together some accounts for people to pick up next week when no doubt my boss will come in having forgotten about my week off. As I leave my desk is surprisingly clear and tidy for the first time in months and with it are the latest sets/drafts of accounts which I also email over to the consultant with some kind of notification of my holiday next week, which no doubt he has forgotten about also.

After work I head straight down to Shaftsbury Avenue to catch Fish Tank.

Taking the Jubilee Line route I get off at Green Park and head across along Piccadilly. As I exit the station there is a woman in a catsuit handing out some kind of promotional material/literature. Yes she looks hot and no she does not hand me what she is selling, instead choosing to just give me a scowl.

After a quick visit to Fopp where I buy lots of items to keep me entertained next week I take my seat at the Covent Garden Odeon prepared to be depressed by the movie.

The cinema is surprisingly busy for a film set in Essex. In front of me is a large German man that appears to be gay as he dances in his set to the music being pumped out through the PA. With it he rocks his chair and it gets on my tits.

The movie is late starting. This hardly ever happens at the cinema. These days you can rely on at least thirty minutes of trailers beginning at the time stated in the listings but tonight that doesn’t even occur. Is there something wrong with the film?

Eventually things kick off and after seeing the trailer for The Soloist for what feels like the tenth time in as many months (release it already, it looks worse with each showing of the trailer) the real star of proceedings is the retro trailer for The Godfather. With the freeze frame method it makes the movie look majestic as it captures all the key moments. Of course it makes me want to see the movie on a big screen now! Trailers are so slick and obnoxious today, one return to the old style and they are all rendered to being the pieces of cheese that they are.

Fish Tank is a pretty impressive film, exciting and gritty. This is a Chav movie and Essex is well represented in a chillingly accurate manner and the hopelessness of the poor girl’s situation is subtly thundered home. This isn’t quite the part of Essex I come from but the accents, actions and uniforms most definitely are.

It is strange to consider life like this. It all feels very dramatic and I know that people like this exist around me, generally without a pot to piss in, but I wonder how hyperbolic it is. As, after a rough opening, things begin to appear to be taking a turn for the good/better when a problem appears looming on the horizon you feel you can see it coming a mile off but the characters do not.

I spend a large portion of the movie trying to work out if the mum is good looking or not but then I realise that this is probably because I am closer in age to her than the main character Mia.

One thing I can definitely associate with is the hard language and gallows humour of the piece. When Mia’s little sister refuses to get out of the door for the latest male in her mum’s life unless he gives her £2 upon receipt of the money her affectionate method of response is to say “I like you I’ll kill you last” which I find is something uniquely English that my foreign friends probably will not understand.

As the movie plays out, complete with classic hip-hop soundtrack, things never seem to approve for Mia and the reality of not being able to claw her way out of such poor circumstances begin to feel suffocating, even for the viewer. When she takes a peak into how the “other half” live (in essence only successful working class) a couple of truly horrible moments occur that begin to make you really feel empathy for her even though she has been spending the majority of the movie shouting and arguing with anyone in her way. At the height of her problems I genuinely flinch as the screen and the troubles she persists in causing.

When the one ray of optimism turns out to be a sham (another thing the viewer can spot but Mia seems unable to) then sense of hopelessness never really goes away and when the movie ended I found myself grateful for where I am at. Overall the movie is good serving as what would appear to be an accurate portrayal of modern working class grit (modern kitchen sink for the South?) with exceptional performances even if it is a little overlong. A real rough ride.

Once out of the cinema yet again I find myself on Shaftsbury Avenue on a Friday night. There is a glow to this place that I never want to leave. I end up catching the 9.18PM train back to Walton where I remain deep in thought.

Elsewhere on the train I notice a young Chinese guy on the train counting £50 notes. Where the fuck did he get those from? His parents? The Triad?

At Marks Tey the train gets flooded by people returning from a beer festival. What the fuck is the deal with drinking different beers for a hobby? These are generally the type of people that should not be allowed anywhere near alcohol.

Eventually I get home to Colchester and peace and comfort. From here the night does hold much more for me other than the satisfaction that I won’t have to go to work next week.

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