Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday 10 December 2010

Friday 10 December 2010

Dream: a horrible dream where my parents are disappointed in me (in my decisions and actions) and as a result are on the verge of disowning me.  This is surprisingly still distressing to a 34 year old man.

I wake up this morning upside in my bed.  On autopilot I switch on my TV to the sight of a lot of reporting of the apparent attack on Prince Charles and Camilla in central London last night.  Get over it, nobody died, it’s not Paris.

From here I pull myself together after my computer refuses to go online.  As I look at my reflection this morning I begin to wish that I made more an effort.

Soon I am leaving/exiting home passing the Trash Humpers latest bin bag outside 15 Hollytree Court.  I wonder when they will finally get off their lazy fat arses and move it to the bin stores.  It must be tiring doing nothing for a living.

I get into my car with the clock saying 6.51AM (which actually means the time is 6.42AM).  From here the drive to the station is calm and then so is the train ride.  Obviously in this weather it gets delayed but this morning I am resigned to such things.  I carry the demeanour of the defeated.

In the end the train pulls into Liverpool Street ten minutes later.  I have to admit I was expecting it to be worse/later.  It certainly felt that way.

Once into London the tube gets me across town comfortably and soon I am stepping into the restaurant into another working day.

Tonight we (our team the finance department) is heading out for a Christmas meal.  I would really like to have made the effort but in the end I was just too tired to do so.  That or too lazy.

The boss is in Sussex today dealing with his deceased mothers affairs which means save for a telephone call checking in on the bank first thing; it should be a relatively quiet day ahead.

In the end the day rolls out smoothly as I put to bed an incredibly productive and satisfying week.

Around 3PM the IT Guy trots in and being that we haven’t invited him along to the Chinese meal this evening suddenly there is something of an elephant in the room.  Thankfully in the end The Girl manages to dig us out of our hole coming clean in charming fashion.

At 4.30PM the Filipino heads out to collect her daughter during which time a sudden emergency concerning a chef’s wages at one of our theatre land locations occurs.  From here something of a panic ensues as The Girl begins running around last thing on a Friday evening trying to recover wages paid twice at a time when the majority of people in the country have mentally (if not physically) packed up for the weekend.

When the Filipino returns with her daughter it is into something of a panic and flap.

With things still up in the air typically the angry boss turns up at pretty much the same time he did last week (when I was printing off my Twitter tweets).  When he asks us why we are all still here The Girl comes clean on the wage error and he thankfully he picks up the ball in calm fashion and saves the day.

We hang around until he gives us the all clear before leaving the restaurant and jumping on a tube down to Green Park and across to Leicester Square.  These tubes turns out to be horrible experiences and with a little girl in tow I suddenly feel very defensive and concerned for her wellbeing as people come close to knocking into her.  For her mum (the Filipino) though it is all par for the course.  Thankfully we finally emerge onto Leicester Square unbruised into a busy Christmas Friday night.

For some reason The Girl really wants to get a drink but I really don’t want to drag an eight year old girl into a pub.  In response I float the idea of hitting a Starbucks or going to the Curzon Soho bar but neither of these ideas resonant with The Girl.  I swear she is part gypsy sometimes.  In the end we get to the restaurant the Filipino has suggested and we just step inside cutting out the beverage starter.

The Imperial China is a nice hidden gem of a restaurant.  To enter you have to cross a small bridge over a river pond of huge fish that looks magnificent and mesmerising.  These fuckers look like they could easily take off a finger.

Upon entering we get directed towards a roundtable by a lady that looks frighteningly like Szesze.  For a strong minute I actually think it is her.  I wonder how she is right now, where her Christmas holds much light for her and the children.  Should I have put more effort into that one?

From here we have a great meal with a tasty starter platter that includes seaweed which oddly nobody seems to like but me.  Satisfaction guaranteed.  Elsewhere the Filipino’s little girl soon gets to grip with the chopsticks having the right idea to skewer some prawn toast onto hers.  Genius.

As the restaurant begins to fill with Christmas parties and the staff continue to fail to smile soon the little girl begins to get bored by us grownups as she wants to go back to looking at the huge fish.  In this day and age the idea of letting her run around on her own is terrifying to me.  Luckily at this time The Girl is out front having a smoke so fortunately she can look out for her.

By the time they return our main courses have been served and its all gravy as I get my lemon chicken with fortunately for me doesn’t necessarily prove popular with the others and as a result I get most it to myself.  So crunchy, so sweet.

It is at this point my iPhone begins vibrating in my pocket and to my surprise it is Nathan.  Happily I answer it but up against the noise and volume of the restaurant and so many Christmas parties I cannot hear anything.  As he asks down to the phone “is this a good time?” and verbally squirm telling him that I will call back later.  Here’s hoping he was calling about something good.

In the end dinner is fun and we all have a really good time even if conversation is occasionally stilted.  The little girl still remains pretty quiet around me and I worry about to what extent I am causing her shyness.  Do I appear a monster to her?

Towards the end we order some tea and when the pot finishes the Filipino points out that if we put the lid on it sideways they will come along and refill it.  I have to admit to feeling some scepticism towards this gesture but indeed they do refresh our pot even though we don’t really want or need.  That is local knowledge.

Eventually we call for the bill which gets handed to the Filipino who looks at the tab before promptly handing it to me to pay.  So this must be what it is like to be married.

Briefly I joke that we should split the bill four ways but really I want to pay for it all as some kind of Christmas gesture of generosity.  For a while though this does not look like it is going to happen as their PDQ machine rejects my first bank card.  Whoops.  Its always good to have a reserve.

From here we exit as we take a final look at the huge fish and get our pictures taken next to the Christmas tree.

As we emerge back into Friday night The Girl remains insistent on taking us to a pub.  Personally I still just want to get a coffee or hit the Curzon bar, in other words somewhere more children friendly.

In the end we wind up in Leicester Square where The Girl eventually drags us to the Yates beneath the Capital Radio building.  This is where XFM used to be and Ricky, Karl and Steve recorded their shows (their best material in my opinion).

When we get there unsurprisingly common sense prevails as the bouncers refuse to let us take the little girl into the pub on a Friday night (no shit Sherlock) but they do allow us to sit in the smokers section outside.  What a privilege.

With this we take up some miserable grim seats as The Girl and I step inside to get some drinks at the bar.  It feels such a long time since I have been in a cunted circus, my absence has diminished my ability to deal with it.

Finally we get some drinks and return outside to the Filipino and her daughter.  Typically not long after we sit down I get the arse as smoke wafts over, up my nose and, worst of all, ash drifts onto my coat.  Why do people smoke?  I’m not being puritanical, just trying to be clean.

Like a bigger child than the Filipino’s daughter I soon begin making blatant gestures of discontent as The Girl lights up herself.  Meanwhile the other try to make the best of things as collective we all try not to freeze.  The Filipino however contends “we’re used to it”.

Before long the little girl is covering her nose and mouth a bit too visibly as it finally appears to twig with The Girl as she relents and suggests that we move on.  From here with a degree of relief we head to Trafalgar Square to check out the Christmas tree from Norway (in hope that the protestors didn’t destroy it yesterday).  On the way The Girl challenges the little girl to a race.  She’s a natural with kids.

When we get there a group of people are signing carols.  Well, they’re finishing off singing carols.  For a minute we take it in until climax as I bask in something I would have scoffed at until recent years.  Such things in life hold more importance for me now; I have found value in simple gestures too late in life.  Years have been lost to cynicism.

While the singing is occurring the little girl cannot get a good view of who is singing and it is genuinely sweet watching her trying to grab a decent peak of proceedings.  Its such an innocent display of curiosity and desire.

Against reports of the riots yesterday happily the Christmas tree is fine, remaining stoic and impressive.  This is a pure sign of Christmas defiance.

With this we head to the manger scene at the base of Nelson’s Column.  Personally I find it impressive that this is still standing, it looks like it has gone through the wars.  Meanwhile others around are less impressed, not least the drunken foreign man of indeterminate origin who criticises the lack of authenticity as we all laugh heartily along with him while half being slightly afraid of the man.

Beyond this we walk around Nelson’s Column where some kids are sitting up with the lions.  Bloody students.

At this point we call it a night and begin discussing which direction each person will be heading off in.  I point towards Charing Cross tube station and we all head to the Strand.  It is at this point we pass a girl puking her guts up beneath Lord Nelson, something I am oblivious too as I remain transfixed by the lions.

Finally we get to the Strand where we wait with the Filipino and her little girl to safely catch a bus home before The Girl and I grab our respective tubes (her south, me north).  After a quick change onto the Central Line at Tottenham Court Road when I get back to Liverpool Street it is with time to still get an Eggnog Latte from Starbucks.  It tastes so good on the sweetest of nights.

From here I board a train back to Colchester and call Nathan back.  I have to concede I was hoping his call would be regarding a Dead Rat Orchestra guestlist spot for one of the Godspeed You Black Emperor shows at the Troxy next week and indeed it is.  This is definitely a result.

Soon the train is rolling and eventually pulling into Colchester an hour later where I finally get home arriving back happy for once.


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