Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Scummy Brummie

I was up with the lark this morning to drive to Birmingham with a young cameraman called Tom. For the first time in my life, I signed up to the Nathan school of navigation, which involves planning your route and then staring at street view images on google to familiarise yourself with visual landmarks which turn blue and red lines on a map into something tangible. So instead of turning off the M6 onto the A38, I turned left after seeing a weird concrete over-pass, and got into the right hand lane at a distinctive red brick church in the city centre... It's actually a lot of fun, not just because it entirely does away with the need for a map on what might otherwise be considered a fairly complicated journey, but also because it's blinking impressive to those who are in the car with you! "Have you not got sat nav?" asked Tom. "No," I said smugly, "I don't need it!"

We made it to Brum in pretty good time, where we met a bubbly lass called Tina, who talked candidly to us about her experience of diabetes. The interview happened in a whole food cafe where all the food was either vegan or dairy free, which I thought felt somewhat un-Brummy!

We were back in London by 4.30pm, feeling wiped out and achey, which was a shame, because I was back on the road again at 7, heading to Victoria Station to get the train to Fiona's house in Hove where I'm staying tonight before doing the last two days of first stage mixing on Brass.

I desperately wanted a nice quiet journey down to Hove, but the experience was blighted by a man to my right eating some kind of meat pasty which smelt like one of the kids in my form at junior school, and an enormously fat Nigerian bloke behind me who did nothing but shout a blend of English and Nigerian at the most extraordinary volume, which became almost impossible to ignore.

Fortunately he got off at Croydon, and I must have got used to the urine-biscuit-smelling pie because everything was fabulous by the time we'd passed Gatwick. That was, of course, until we got to Hayward's Heath, where the train divided, and the first four carriages went off to Hove. Sadly, when the dot-matrix machines inside the trains have been switched off, and you approach the train in the platform from the back end, there is no way on earth of telling where the first four carriages start...

The man opposite on my the table tapped me and said "this train does go to Hove, doesn't it?" "I certainly hope so!" I said, and we both laughed. I went back to my work, wondering if anyone ever ends up going to the wrong station and thinking how terrible that would be.

A second later the man opposite was legging it out of the carriage, and a fight or flight instinct told me to run after him. Just as well. We weren't sitting in the front four carriages and barely made it there before the train doors closed and we ended up somewhere ghastly!

Hove was freezing cold. It's often either very hot or very cold here. We've been told to expect temperatures around zero tonight and tomorrow, which begs the question; where on earth is spring?!

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