Thursday, 25 March 2010

Samuel Pepys esquire

It’s done nothing but rain all day, and I’m beginning to wonder if spring is ever going to make an appearance.

I’m currently drinking peppermint tea in Dean and Hudson, a new cafe just down the road from me, underneath Fiona’s house on the Archway Road. This place has a very nice atmosphere; chintzy in a cool sort of way. It sells old-fashioned sweets in jars, alongside a window filled with multi-coloured and beautifully-frosted cup cakes. There’s 1940s jazz on the sound system. It’s got a very New-York-meets-my-Grannie’s-front-room kind of vibe. I must remember it in the future, although it’s packed with toddlers and their middle-class parents, who are obviously too posh to shout or tell their kids that they’re not necessarily the centre of everyone else’s world.

I’ve just returned from PC World, where my computer is now being repaired. I’m writing on a borrowed machine, which, humiliatingly, is George-from-Rainbow pink. My least favourite colour. It’s also incredibly hard to use. Ten minutes ago it completely froze over and I lost everything I’d done in the past hour. You also have the bash the keys incredibly hard on the keyboard and I can feel the shock waves shooting up through my fingers. RSI-tastic.

And if you don't know George from Rainbow; the campest Hippo in the world, you do now... Imagine a computer this colour...

PC World is a tragic place. You go to the Mac store and it’s immediately like being in some crazy cool party from the future. Cool music. Cool people with cool hair-dos. Even the techies are Geek-chic. PC World – or PC Third World – is like entering a mall on the outskirts of small town in the 1980s Mid West America. Everything looks shabby and a bit broken. Like in the last days of Woolworths when you’d go down the toy aisle and all the produce had been pulled out of its packaging and scuffed or chipped. In PC World, the geeks look like proper geeks; a veritable parade of jovial red heads, fatties with greasy hair and cold sores and people with body odour issues. They’re incredibly kind and incredibly good at their jobs but they know they’re the B team. Like the air-hostesses who aren’t glamorous enough to do the cross-Atlantic flights. Like the blue-stocking women who sit at the side of the 1950s dances and hand-jive with invisible tears caressing their porcelain-white cheeks. Damn those trendy Macdoctors. Damn them all!

Not much was happening on Pepys’ ship 350 years ago today. They weren’t going anywhere, they were still anchored at the Long Reach and Montagu was refusing to get out of bed. It was a Sunday, so the ship chaplain did his thing at the dinner table, in the morning and then again in the afternoon. Pepys fell asleep and felt ashamed. The rest of the day was spent writing and receiving letters; one of which made Pepys incredibly happy as it was addressed rather flatteringly to SP esquire “of which God knows I was not a little proud.”

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