Went to London yesterday, one of my clients took me for lunch. Went to a nice place on Dover Street - lovely meal - sat next to Tracey Emin. She didn't remember me from college ( it was 22 years ago and I'm bald now ) and I made no attempt to jog her memory.
On the way there, I had to fiddle about with the train ticket machine. a group of middle aged, over dressed and over excited women were getting ready to go 'up west' for some shopping. They were very much of a kind. About 55 -60, overdressed and over groomed, with giant handbags - wearing the kind of clothes their husbands would never have allowed them when they were alive - talking very loudly about fungal infection - two of them were able to finish each others sentences, in couplets.
"he said take these pills / for the infection
It's miserable probably going to take / at least six months
if that doesn't work / and the stuff that I put on myself
I go for more pills / but there could be complications
might take six months / and then the liver packs up"
Very long and dreary journey - filled with Guardian pod casts. Train full of students traveling home to places like Sevenoaks and Tunbridge wells - having telephone conversations about what they are getting for Xmas
" Oh I just want the money and I'll get myself something decent - and they can just get me an iPad as something for the day"
A woman was having a business meeting and came out with the classic line -
" We need to implement some serious templates and put a kick ass spreadsheet in place to show we are not a management team with which to fuck" - she was about 20. I blame Alan Sugar.
When you come into London you skim past the Shard - which once I was quite excited by - but now hate, it's just not working for me - it's quite inelegant and clunky looking - I had this conversation with Grindrod later that day in The Retro bar - I think he was shocked by my hatred of it - but I had already had a drink, so I must apologise - he has a flikr set of the Shard punching skywards here.
London was wet and cold - with massive snowflakes later that fell from the sky with a thud, one went in my eye and it actually hurt - Gridrod proclaimed one had caught him on the face and he needed his nose re-set.
I made the mistake of going into Primark on Oxford street - which was like something from a Bosch painting - airless and overheated, no natural light and full of rabid, thrashing youngsters tearing clothes to pieces. A child was screaming so hard I thought he might cough up blood.
The shops were grim and most already on full sale. I'm convinced that the staff downstairs in French Connection ( Regent Street ) are all drug dealers and it's a front for organised crime.
I went into the Apple Store on Regent street and had to leave straight away due to the crowds. So I went over to the new one in Covent garden, which is lovely and huge. I wanted some plain ear buds - but could only find expensive ones - while I was looking a fat half oriental assistant came up to me and said
"hey, everything OK there"
"I wasn't expecting him to appear and sort of mumbled 'Erm yeah' under my breath
"man...... that's so AWSOME" he replied
I was so alarmed at this familiarity I just stared at him - he didn't know what to do so touched my arm in a matey way and said -
"hey man, how's the Xmas shopping going" - I took this as my cue to leave.
I had a drink in the Retro later with Grindrod - was expecting someone else too but apparently she was 3 hours late and I had to get the 8.45 train home - or it would have been 2hrs 20 mins on the train - which is 40 mins longer than it takes to get to York. The winter timetable is a joke. It was snowing and very cold - on the train coming home two women made eyes at me, one looked like Zena, Warrior Princess.... and I overhead some awful middle class teenagers talking, one came out with -
" Oh My God - it was like, soooo amazing - I was like soooo drunk I was dancing to Kung Fu Fighting - it was the most radical thing since Tamzin set fire to that old womans house, A-MAY-ZING!"
Fortunatly - I found a load of Acoustic Radiohead tracks in the depths of my iPod to keep me going.
Thank God I remembered to put the bins out - or they would have been here for a month.