Saturday, 19 May 2012

You smashed it


So there I was all excited at the prospect of a nice relaxing tube journey north. I’d just had a lovely meal in town with Jim and Nathan and Saturday afternoons are always quiet on the underground. I'd got my computer with me to do some work. The platform at Tottenham Court Road station was empty, so where on earth did the hundreds of people come from who were crammed like sardines in the tube that pulled into the station? The combination of wall-to-wall people, the dreadful stickiness in the air and the woman’s perfume next to me, made me almost dizzy.

I was, however, greatly cheered up by the guy who runs the shop on the corner of Southwood Lane. It's a very sweet little newsagent but it barely sells anything, and I don't go in there often because what it does sell costs three times the price of any other convenience store in the area. The guy who runs it is terribly friendly. His phone is never surgically attached to his ear and he waves at anyone he recognises as they walk past in the street. The thing that makes me smile, however, is that he always talks about the weather. Always. And never about anything else. It’s almost as though his book on etiquette for shop keepers - which successfully taught him that it’s rude to speak on the phone whilst serving, or peer at customers suspiciously as though every one of us were a potential shop-lifter - also taught him that the English love to talk about the weather, and he is absolutely charming in the way that he does it! Today's conversation went something like this; "it's 5.30pm, and it's still not rained. I think we've got away with it. I hope it will be the same tomorrow. It’s meant to rain tomorrow. Perhaps it won’t rain at all. We should be thankful that it’s muggy and not raining." and so he went on for at least another minutes.

I’ve just watched part of The Voice on television, and have been rather astonished by the vocabulary the judges have started to use, Tom Jones included. These are people from my industry, and yet they’re talking absolute nonsense. I don’t mean their opinions, they are neither here nor there, but it’s the words they’re choosing to express their opinions which seem bizarre. Phrases like “you smashed it” “you gotta bring it” and “you should have spun it” aren’t technical terms, they’re just words which sound funky. I find myself all too often criticising corporate types for talking in nonsensical clichés like “growing our potential” and “blue sky thinking” but it’s happening in my world as well. Madness.

Titanic was on Channel 4 when I switched over. What it is about The Titanic which draws us all in? I found myself weeping uncontrollably at one moment, and it wasn’t at the quality of the ad-libbing! There’s something horrifying and utterly devastating about the disaster, which I don’t experience when I think about the Lusitania, for example, which was every bit as hideous. Why is that? And why is Gok Wan now doing cookery programmes?

350 years ago, Pepys went to the theatre with his wife, Sir William Penn and Penn’s daughter. They saw The Little Thief at the King’s House in Vere Street, before taking a stroll in Moorfields, where they also ate cheesecake and a gammon of bacon. Pepys returned home and immediately vomited up everything he’d eaten. The evening was spent on the roof of their house, singing and enjoying the moonshine. No moonshine in 2012, sadly. Just murk.

Is this really the coldest May in 100 years?

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