Friday, February 19, 2010


Friday 19 February 2010

I awaken in a strange frame of mind this morning, emerging from indulgent dreams where I actually feel happy.  It was probably at somebody’s expense.  A stark indicator of this distraction is how I forget to have breakfast today.  Almost immediately I pull myself together and brush my teeth before realising breakfast has not happened yet.  You can’t have breakfast with toothpaste taste in your mouth.

All in all though by the time I leave home I am feeling OK, almost determined and almost with fight.  Despite my lack of sleep this week my day begins with an initial exuberance.

In contrast to my mood when the train arrives all the lights are off in the carriages.  What kind of sign is this?  That it is going to be a dark day ahead?  That there is going to be a lack of energy and juice attached to proceedings?  More likely it is that National Express are rolling out defective, malfunctioning trains.  Now having lost their contract they just don’t give a fuck about their service anymore.  Do I really pay £4600 to sit in the dark?

From Witham onwards the lights begin to flicker on but after a few attempts they go again.  Evidently there is a ghost in the machine.

By the time the train arrives at London I feel like crying.  There is no discerning cause or reason for this.  What happening to my bold, striding start to the day?  Thankfully the tube is quiet and I don’t have to contemplate dealing with others.

Eventually when I get off and emerge at St Johns Wood I make a detour to Starbucks to get breakfast.  Along the way I hit Tesco with view to buying the office (The Girl) triple choc cookies but I can’t find them anywhere so instead I settle for a venti caramel macchiato.  When did I become fluent in…..Italian, I think?

When I finally get into work my boss is already in, shouting out “morning” to me as I pass his office.  It is almost two years I have been at this company now and things have really changed.

Yet again today I am not really sure what I have ahead of me.  I shuffle through the day in very much the manner of a Friday.  In other words productivity leaves a little to be desired.

The restaurant is closed today as it is being hired out for a private function (a wedding).  As a result of this when lunchtime arrives we are told that the kitchen is closed and are offered only a limited menu.  Its all gravy, I’m not fussy, with this life I can’t afford to be.

For a while now my office chair has been creaking.  This is a worrying indication of my weight increasing and the subsequent strain of the seat.  Now as the left arm begins to fail and the back cushion is almost hanging off, stuffing from the cushion is now falling out on the floor.  For The Girl this gives great amusement and the opportunity to lambaste me for not taking care of the office furniture afforded me.  For me it now adds a new sense of danger whenever I take my seat.  The day is coming when it is going to completely collapse beneath my arse.  It will all end in tears.

Ultimately the sad truth of the day is that the highlight of the afternoon arrives from the yuks attached to the boss eating the final Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  For most of the afternoon The Girl and I had been threatening to eat it while the other person guilt tripped them out of doing it.  So now along comes our boss and whomp oblivious to proceedings and our battle of attrition he devours the cup without fanfare or justification.  As he leaves the room The Girl and I are dumbfounded, weeping with laughter that are really tears of sadness and loss.

Very late into the working day Mark begins emailing with comments regarding the Facebook Cull.  Did he clock that a couple of recent comments were directed towards him?  In the end I suggest a coffee meet up before the suggested 6.30PM meet up at the Hope And Anchor for Matthew’s birthday drinks.  He responds in kind by suggesting a meet up at Angel for 6PM.

When I get out of work at 5PM I take the wanker route to Angel, getting crushed in the rush and soon realising that I should have just taken the normal/natural route via Baker Street and arrived early.

Accommodating arseholes.

As I emerge at Angel I receive a text from Mark saying that he is running late and that he is actually coming into Highbury & Islington – the other end of Upper Street.  Fucking hell, why was Angel even suggested in the first place?

From here as a result I wind up walking the length of Upper Street to the station that should have been the suggested meet up destination in the first place.  As I pass Islington Town Hall (where I once was the usher at a wedding) I curse the stupidity attached to proceedings this evening.  Not long after this I actually pass the Hope & Anchor before getting a phonecall alerting me that he has finally arrived into Islington.  By this point the time is now 7.20PM and with it the pre-drinks suggestion of coffee suddenly seems futile.

When we finally collide things aren’t helped as Mark wants to look elsewhere for a coffee place other than Starbucks.  By now I just want to sit down and get this thing started.  Thankfully common sense eventually prevails and we sit down in the Starbucks with coffee as I gradually come around while we catch up on our respective ends of week.  Things improve immeasurably and I actually cheer up, happy to be out on a Friday night for a change.  It transpires that Mark has a number of invitations elsewhere this evening as he flaps about like a social butterfly, invitations that include the Proud Gallery a place he surprisingly has not heard of.  Basically it’s Camden thus it’s horrible.  Good luck.

Eventually we head down to catch up with Matthew at the Hope & Anchor and to see what is waiting ahead for us.  Upon arrival the night is still young and things look/feel sparse.  With this Racton looks genuinely relieve and happy that we have finally turned up, I am suspecting that this is not necessarily a home crowd tonight.

Inside I look around the pub and spot the birthday boy as well as the other members of Pappy’s and also Holly Walsh from TNT Show.  Yikes, there are people off the telly in the house.

Before even wishing anyone “happy birthday” the first thing I do is get some drinks at the bar from a guy with pink hair that looks like he used to be in Menswear back in the nineties.  It’s really necessarily a good look to be bringing through.  And this is coming from somebody that looks like me.

From here conversation flows and it’s a better atmosphere than I was expecting, the venue isn’t as shit as I was remember.  Then again the last time I came to the Hope & Anchor was during the Gringo Records years where Che Records organised a gig for Hirameka and then lumped a band from Brighton called The Oedipus into the equation suddenly causing dissent in our ranks for some reason.  In the end both bands dropped out so Reynolds and San Lorenzo just played instead supporting some awful gigging local London band called Ponce.  That was the nineties (well, 20 April 2000 to be exact).

In addition to the birthday tonight, it is also the evening of the live Eastenders episode, something that almost caused me not to venture out tonight.  Such is the excitement.  Eventually somebody has the good sense to put it on the TV without sound but with subtitles and suddenly the night descends into a bout of some kind of soap opera karaoke which seems/serves only to add an extra sense of tension to proceedings.  Unfortunately the lack of sound does make for confusion as/when the sight/vision of Ian and Dot watching old episodes of Eastenders on his video player seems to make so sense whatsoever.  What is going on here?  Finally when the inevitable happens and Bradley kicks the bucket we find ourselves almost collectively cheering, so exhilarating is the experience of live Eastenders.

As people begin to head off and leave (Mark) they soon get replaced by new faces turning up including Helen and Olly from Answer Me This! to whom I seriously fawn.  Olly just about seems to remember me from asking the 1000th question on episode 100.

Eventually I wind up chatting to Tom from Pappy’s and about his recent appearance in the Only Fools And Horses prequel.  He serves up magnificently.  Unfortunately elsewhere later my conversation with Ben from Pappy’s proves less fruitful as when I bump into him in the toilet I just point at the available stall (soon stool) and say “number 2.”

Also turning up tonight is Tim from the Saturday night at ATP, the guy with the silly wax moustache and the weed.  Initially I don’t think he recognises/remembers me but then I steamroll him with memories of ATP as we get into another weird conversation.

As the night heads towards the club Racton points out that he has not eaten and when he suggests getting some food I literally jump at the suggestion.  With the end of free entry to On The Beach looming we briefly pop to the Buffalo Bar to cheekily get our hands stamped, a free OTB compilation CD and to say “hello” to Thom before fucking off to McDonalds.  McDonalds FTW.

It has been a very long time since I have been inside a McDonalds on a Friday night and it remains an ugly and messy experience.  At any second you can’t help but feel some drunkard is about to make comment to bring down and pull apart any occasion.  This comment then might bring about exception and some kind of reaction might occur.  Around us are girls dressed as disco tarts, fake but attractive.  In the distance what looks like N-Dubz appears to be having a competition to see how many burgers they can stuff in their mouths.  It fails to muffle them.  At the end of proceedings I do my own bit of rule breaking when unable to find the men’s toilet I take a piss in the disabled one.  I spot the emergency cord/string and before I exit I think I pull it.

When we eventually head back to the Buffalo Bar and On The Beach Racton is already flagging.  Once inside as I get the drinks he heads to the toilet only to appear to emerge as Pauly in Quantum Leap style.  Eventually Racton re-emerges and suddenly we have a scene.

I like the On The Beach club.  I thought I would hate it but the mix of undanceable music with familiar faces is truly a win win situation.

Eventually I wind up talking to my friend’s girlfriend where we discuss this year’s film releases before it transpires that she has been working on the new Ant & Dec TV show researching games.  Somewhere this is somebody’s dream job.  I ask her if she remembers Pets Win Prizes and indeed she does.  Tonight I was not expecting to bond with somebody over the great lost TV gameshow.

By this point Racton begins heavily hinting towards making moves when sadly I feel happy and on top of my game in a rare example of having a good time.

From here we begin to make moves to exit in full knowledge that we have to be up early to do stuff tomorrow.  Still, I find the time and opportunity to drunkenly slur and embarrass myself once more to Olly from Answer Me This.

Once outside we are soon catching the tube to Finsbury Park where we then find ourselves boarding a night bus.  This is always a scary experience.

When we get back I am visiting my friends’ new crib for the first time and its top notch.  I am fortunate that my friends’ hospitality always outweighs that of what I offer.  On the floor of the living room sat in front of the TV is an inflatable awaiting me.

Together we end up watching Gremlins on TV.  I cannot remember the last time that I watched this movie and through beer goggles and nostalgia tonight it really holds up.

Just before Racton turns in on proceedings Mark begins sending me text messages.  It turns out that he has returned to the Buffalo Bar to reunite with us at On The Beach (“I’m in buffalo but you boys are gone. Massive guttage.”)  With us now long gone he doesn’t really have any friends there, just acquaintances (“Matt’s left his own birthday already? Loser.”)  This is never a preferable situation to be in.

As Undercover Brother begins to kick off on TV at a rapid rate the texts begin to fly in.  I ask if our friend from Manchester is there which garners the response “Ha – have.nt spotted the fatuous no mark yet. The guy’s a rapist withoui a victim” which hints at the wrong side of drunk.

At this point I attempt to talk him down and suggest he head home while making enquiry of the karaoke (“We hit the karaoke hard. Was great – next time you come.”)  For some reason these days I genuinely have the urge to do karaoke.  Upon expressing this he responds “Dude – you would have killed it tonight . I’m sorry i flew solo. I find it easier.”  I guess so.

I further enquire about the current scene at On The Beach where it seems “Yeah, chatted to  tom. Just found matt. Going to make him justify his existence.” followed by “I’ve ended up a long way from cool people. Not sure how to play this. Geek hockey.”  I guess we’ve all been there.

It all ends with “Dude. I wish you were here.,” as I pass out on the airbed only to awaken halfway through Undercover Brother as the vibration from the phone sat on my belly wakes me up.  For future reference I learn not to balance it there when soughting sleep.

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