Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Bank Holiday Weekend: Friday & Saturday

So I pulled into London in the sweltering heat on Friday morning, and presently realised I hadn’t brought my keys. So I headed to Shoreditch to wait for Housemate Eddie to take his lunch break so I could nab his set. As I basked in the sun in St Leonard’s Church grounds, I noticed that the 90 degree heat seemed to subdue all the winos and bums who often inhabit the junction the church sits on. They were all quietly sheltering in the shade, eager to keep their super-strength tins out of the direct sunlight, but I was treated to a moving, if somewhat incoherent, medley of ballads by a nearby prostate Irishman. “When I grow Rich…” dueted the bells.

After a Friday night date that was only notable in it’s forgetability, Saturday was spent in various pubs around Camden and Kentish Town with Housemate Eddie. As the evening began to subtly arrive, a decision was reached to watch the sun set over the city from Primrose Hill. With Activity Bags in hand (as ever, containing aspirin, square crisps, prawn sandwiches, Stella Artois and 7UP) we began the arduous but always worthwhile climb of the acclivitous elevation upon which there was already a substantial and rowdy crowd gathering. The sun soon began to dip, until only the peaks of the tallest of buildings were still glowing a golden red, but with the sun’s disappearance came a bitterly cold wind which whipped round the hillside, and I’m pretty sure wasn’t entirely imagined. A contingency plan was swiftly formed to head for lower ground and the warmth of a pub. Note to self: future Activity Bags should contain warm clothing or, if possible, a wind breaker.

Later that same evening, we found ourselves in Quinns pub where I had a rather alarming encounter. You see, we still had our Activity Bags with us, and were clutching them like a pair of wide-eyed idiots no doubt, when I realised that between us we both had a fair bit of beer contained within them. Mischievously, we hatched a plan to refill our near empty glasses in the toilets, thus saving ourselves both a wait at the bar and a few quid. “Genius!” I hear you cry. I hang my head in shame thinking about it.

When it was my turn, I headed down to the lavs and to the lone cubicle, only for some shirt wearing bloke to slip in ahead of me. In a bit of a daze, I stood there serenely awaiting my turn. As I waited, another guy sidled up to me.

“What are you waiting there for?” he demanded.
“I want to go in there,” I gestured, having recovered from his seemingly sudden appearance, “for a… you know, sit down”
“Well” he snapped, “You’re going to have to wait, cos me and him are going to be in there for a minute”
“Oh, ok, go for it” I said. As the guy entered the cubicle he stopped and turned.
“Hang on,” he said “there’s not any funny business going on.”
“Of course,” I said, smiling knowingly.
“No,” he said angrily “we aren’t doing anything dodgy”
Confused now, I intoned that I was sure that that was indeed the case, but the guy was coming back out of the cubicle now, and with me up against a wall as he ranted thoroughly unsure of what was going on but realising this had suddenly become a head-kicking situation. Then though, the situation became a bit clearer.

“We’re not fucking bummers!” the guy snarled. The penny dropped. So this was his problem; his lariness stemmed from a rather neurotic form of homophobia as opposed to an unlikely denial of his nasal needs. There’s something about the combination of the arrogance and paranoia of a cokehead which breeds a very unique form of aggravation.

Seemingly convinced that his dual use of a cubicle wouldn’t leave him branded as a homosexual in my eyes, the guy returned to his dose of Marching Powder. The fear never hits me until a fair bit afterwards, but I soon decided it would probably be a bad thing if these two guys reappeared to find me still waiting outside, still eagerly clutching my Activity Bag, so I swiftly exited, pint glass remaining unfilled.

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