Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Wednesday 25 August 2010

This morning I awaken in a panic just before 7.30AM when I think that I can smell something burning.  My initial thought is that I might be my new laptop which is sat atop a cardboard box and the heat is now burning a hole in proceedings.  Fortunately this is not the case.  Eventually I come to the conclusion/realisation that the stink is coming from outside.

I cannot believe that we are already at Wednesday.  Where is my week off going to?

From here I begin the day putting stuff up online which proves much more time consuming that sensibly it should be.  Once done with this I pick up writing to a varying degree of success.

My neighbours continue to make me paranoid and suspicious.  Just before 11AM over the course of a few minutes I hear the entrance door downstairs slam four times in quick succession.  What is this person (people) doing that requires so much entry and exit?  And why are they bashing the door so ferociously each time?  There is much anger in this building these days, a tension and temper waiting to the ceiling off the shop.

Distraction arrives when I happen across a kid’s movie called The Country Bears which features Christopher Walken and then Queen Latifah amongst others.  Is it wrong that I find myself watching this shit?  And why aren’t these people weirded out by having a talking bear living within their community?

The movie turns out to be a kind of talking animal version of the Blues Brothers and after a cameo from Elton John it naturally all comes together it what just might be one of the greatest movies made in history.  Maybe.

Today turns out to be the second day in a row that I send an email to Racton to no response.  Has he got the arse with me over Monday night?

From here I watch episode ten of Louie where this week he hallucinates at the dentist, meeting Osama Bin Laden in the process (and telling him just what a dick he is) before in the second half trying to introduce himself to and hit on a stranger (Tarese) working in his local supermarket, trying his hardest to do so in a manner that does not appear weird but in the end he fails to act anything but.  Over the course of his introduction he follows the lady home on the subway to Harlem where she tolerates him but doesn’t indulge him.  It’s a pretty grim state of affairs.

I return to writing for a while before eventually switching back to television/downloads with episode four of Generation Kill.  This is a really great series.

Into the afternoon I suddenly hear the strange chimes of an ice cream van entering our communal car park.  It has been decades since I last saw one of these.  It parks up outside our building/block and sits waiting for people to emerge.  Who the fuck from Hollytree Court will actually emerge and buy ice cream from this guy, this is the quietest place in Colchester during the daytime.

I speak too soon as two or three young lads on bikes follow him into our car park.  Where did they come from?  I watch as they go up to the van, pay some money but when they get back on their bikes and head off they do not have any ice cream in hand.  Is this van selling what I think it is?  And on my patch?

Not long after this I begin slowly pulling myself together with view to heading up to London to the BFI for the screening of the episode one of THIS IS ENGLAND 86 tonight along with a Q&A with the makers including Shane Meadows.

Again today the weather is grotty which royally causes me hesitation and reluctance in the leaving the flat at all.  In the end though I keep to my responsibilities and head off.

Cleverly I do not have any change for the train station car park and despite the website selling every other type of ticket on its website it would appear you cannot just buy a one day parking ticket online.  No, that would just be too convenient and easy.

Eventually I wind up at my parents begging for change, briefly exciting the dog with my appearance.  Once currency is exchanged I head straight to the train station arriving around 3.15PM.  Somehow I manage to fuck up and spend (waste) £2.10 on an hour ticket which I thought would be enough for an off-peak parking ticket.  In the end I pay my £3.60 and wind up pissing away more money than necessary.

From here I finally find myself on the 3.30PM train to London.  At Chelmsford I look out on the opposite platform to see a kid in a red t-shirt that says “Not A Terrorist”.  Fucking little weirdo, the kid is White for starters (satire).  Indeed the kid appears/proves to be telling truth as we eventually roll into Liverpool Street around 4.20PM with all fit and proper and everything still standing in place.

I head to Rough Trade on Brick Lane where I trawl through rubbish rain to get to records.  Today Rough Trade depresses me as I flick through the seven inch bins and fail to find anything I recognise.  I guess I am now officially too old for this.  Eventually I find a few vaguely recognisable titles which I pay over the odds for (£6 for a seven inch!).  I cheer up infinitely when I happen across a fresh pressing of “TV OD” by The Normal.  For the win!  In the end I buy just six vinyl singles for a price of £25.94.  Rip off.  My pain is slightly eased when I find the latest issue of Vice Magazine (this month a music issue edited by the almighty Sam McPheeters).

With it still drizzling I pop into Spitalfields Market where I find a few record stalls which are most definitely aimed at collectors, people in their forties placing too much stock in fetish items Seymour from Ghost World style.  I sense that is where I am headed also.  On one stall they actually have bootleg live CDs.  In this day and age I didn’t think people would be pressing these up any more.  Unfortunately (and surprisingly) they do not have any Nirvana bootlegs.  Has their stock value really dropped so low?

Eventually I get back on the tube railing against the rush, heading to Tottenham Court Road where I change lines.  Once on the Northern Line more weirdness occurs when a geeky looking guy boards the train wearing a t-shirt that says “I don’t discriminate, I hate everyone”.  This would appear to be a very angry and unloved man.  A few minutes later one stop down the line at Charing Cross I watch as some black dude whispers into the ear/hair of an attractive lady getting off the train.  The dude is plainly a sex pest and suddenly I begin to feel really uncomfortable around him for fear of seeing what his next trick (sexploit) is (and hopefully not being involved).  It then indeed occurs at Embankment when as he exits he grabs at the dick/balls/crotch of the discrimination guy.  Naturally his reaction is one of disbelief as the dude exits with pleased swagger.  Maybe he is right to discriminate after all judging on this incident.  Then again maybe it was the message on the t-shirt that encouraged/prompted the action.  We will never know.

Thankfully I soon get to Waterloo without any more drama where I emerge to unrelenting rain.  Today London is truly a depressing place to be.

After picking up my movie ticket at the BFI I suddenly find myself with time to kill so I head to the Southbank Centre for a drink where as ever it’s a strange atmosphere inside.  There is a definite air of snobbery to this building.  As I grab a drink and take a seat I can’t help but find myself distracted by the couple of ladies (regulars) sat next to me, not least the American’s accent.

Finally I head back to the BFI and take my seat collecting a seat of notes on the way.  Today I find myself in the row where the camera they’re filming the Q&A on is situated.  So if halfway through I begin to make unfortunate noises or vibrate the row at least it will be caught on film.

Not long after I sit down, to my right a gorgeous Japanese lady takes the seat.  Initially this feels like a good thing until she takes out some kind of handkerchief to cover her nose and mouth.  Do I smell or something?

With this question hanging in the air THIS IS ENGLAND 86 kicks off with an introduction then straight into the screening.  I have to admit to reacting lukewarm to This Is England when it was released.  I went to see it at the Curzon Soho on a Monday night in a packed house at the height of its release (and fame) only to come away where I just couldn’t see the reason for the hype.  This however is different.

Set three years after the original movie this update feels a bit more tangible for me as I remember 1986 and being at school.  This time coverage is lent, distributed and spread somewhat more evenly as in the period between the movie and the series the group has aged and in some cases splintered and moved on.  It begins with preparation for the wedding/marriage of Woody and Lol with everyone acting on budget and making the most of existence.  Everyone looks different while still looking the same.  Noticeable by his absence is Shaun who himself begins the piece in celebration with his last day of school.  Later the introduction of a bully in a sky blue tracksuit named Harvey fronting a moped gang is a winning stroke and provides most of the early laughs.  Poor Shaun.

Eventually it all get served with a suitably dark dose of reality as all in all being the first episode (the pilot) it’s a very well rounded, faithful to the original movie while being progressive with the subject, situation and participants.  This is more than a mere spin-off or cash-in.  It is a real feat to retain the cast including Stephen Graham who appears set to play a large role later in the series.

As it ends the lights come up at which point it becomes apparent that the group laughing heartily through the screening a few rows back were the actual cast.

From here taking the stage with in addition to Shane Meadows is Vicky McClure (Lol from the movie/series) as well as Jack Thorne and Tom Harper who have been brought on board after being successful writers and directors on Skins.

Obviously being the author of the original piece much focus is placed on Shane Meadows as he comes over very well as an innovative and genuine individual with a real personal investment in his work.  Gradually they all chip in as you begin to realise that this is a very good and solid team/lineup.

With regards to the transition from film to television Meadows talks of being influenced by American television (as in HBO) while decreeing that British television is currently atrocious (which it mostly is).  He states how he appreciated that the serial format allowed him opportunity to expand his characters.

After the usual line of questions from the audience they soon wrap things up.  As I get up and turn around I spot the cast of the show where Thomas Tugoose actually looks younger in real life and Woody appears to be pretty close to his character in reality.

From here I head back to Waterloo and up to Tottenham Court Road and across to Liverpool Street feeling fairly elated.

In the end I wind up on the 9PM train home that stops at only Colchester.  What the fuck is this train about?  I have never seen this train before.  What is the rationale behind running a train that stops at only one station?

Unfortunately twenty minutes into the journey the train beaches.  It is at this exact moment a pisshead steps into the toilet and makes a noise that can be heard over my iPhone (currently playing a Collings And Herrin podcast).  I am in hell.  Minutes later Information Jimmy makes comment regarding a hold up at Shenfield and the subsequent congestion.  This information helps us how?

By now I appear to be regularly sighing out loud much to the notice (and annoyance) of the people around me.  What are they enjoying this?

Eventually we get to Shenfield where Information Jimmy announces that there are signalling and overhead cable problems between Shenfield and Ingatestone (always at Ingatestone).

Just plonked in the station my carriage remains patiently sat while awaiting movement.  Then ten minutes later Information Jimmy updates us with the information that we are now experiencing “significant delays”.  How long is a piece of string?

It is at 10.30PM that Information Jimmy (and National Express East Anglia) change their story to a loss of power between Shenfield and Chelmsford.

My phone eventually dies around 10.45PM at which point the reality that once more I am going to have to listen to the world around hits.  Once back with the apparent living all that can be heard is the sound of whinging.  To my right the group of three lads have now taken the French lad sat next to them under their wing and they’re all making barbed comments regarding the train system that they will never see through.

Eventually just past 11PM it gets announced outside on the platform that a couple of buses are being sent to pick us stranded people up to take us to Ingatestone and Chelmsford.  I need to get to Colchester though.  As people pick themselves up and trudge towards the bus stop outside (where there is rain) there isn’t actually any official word coming this train, was that message even directed at us?  In the end we get hauled off the train not by the announcer telling us but instead the information comes from some female do-gooder extra.

BUS WANKERS!

From here we wait catch a coach that is apparently on its way.  Unfortunately before we are even near exiting the station we get caught up in a Hillsborough crush that serves to temper.  With this officially comes the latest NEXD.

It would appear that at this time there isn’t actually anybody running this station, everyone has already gone home and those National Express employees that remain are hiding out and don’t give a fuck.

As things begin to get tense some people just cut through the commotion and push their way through and out of the station.  It is the suited pissheads and foreign people that do this.

Eventually the herd begins moving outside as thank god it is no longer raining (as with earlier).  By now more than a few people are looking into getting cabs but I resent the idea of being forced into forking out for this.

After a ridiculous wait one of the promised replacement buses finally turns up but with it there isn’t a hope in hell of getting on board.

About twenty minutes (and no announcements) later another bus finally comes along and again another bundle ensues.  By now though I have come to the conclusion that I hate everybody around me as it would appear they are all day tourists (amateur extras) exhibiting a weird blitz spirit mentality while harbouring disdain for National Express which they feebly will never see through.  They know nothing and are clueless human beings.  There is one woman in particular who appears to enjoy stepping and rubbing into me.  She never apologies, not until the end by which time/stage it is too late for forgiveness.

By this point a kid in a wheelchair has been wheeled out and do-gooders are now fretting that he must get on the next bus and if he doesn’t heads will roll.  Was this kid in the wheelchair before this all went wrong?

With the time now well past midnight a third bus comes along and finally a National Express employee has dared appear from somewhere.  Annoyingly he announces that kids have priority for getting on the bus.  Fuck them (not literally).

At this point now a posh lady at the end of a day trip is the person doing my head in most but thankfully as the double decker parks short of the main bus stop it works in our favour as we endeavour to crush our way on.

On this occasion (third attempt) I hit gold boarding the smelly double decker, managing to snag a seat upstairs.  By this stage I am feeling exhausted and vulnerable.  For far too long now I have been without an iPhone to drown this shit out and my nerves are on the edge.

From here the bus drives down the A12 and eventually gets us to Chelmsford in the early hours.  Exit from this bus is not easy as everyone wants escape from this existence now.

When I enter Chelmsford station I board the only train in the platform even though it is on the side that goes to London.  Not confident that this is the correct train I wind up asking some evidently foreign people if it is going to Colchester.  They nod but do they really know?

In the end I wind up sitting opposite a Mark Thomas lookalike and with the time now approaching (and passing) 1AM he looks as pissed off as me.  Elsewhere I spot a yummy mummy with two annoying kids as she chats to lame salarymen evidently not successful enough in their field to shout for a taxi.

Finally an Asian Information Jimmy begins making vague announcements that do not inspire confidence in the current abilities of National Express.  Without exaggeration he genuinely uses the words “maybe” and “I think” in his announcement of stops/destinations, failing to give/offer information of service beyond Colchester (the Norwich bound people evidently are truly fucked).

With a sense of relief we eventually begin rolling seemingly without urgency as Information Jimmy remains sounding vague and amateur with his announcements at each stop (and it is every fucking station between Chelmsford and Colchester).

When I get back to Colchester I just want to kill.  Somehow a fifty minute train journey has become an over four and a half hour journey.  Somebody must pay.

Eventually I step home at 1.45AM.  You’re killing me.

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