On Friday following a rather unproductive day in the office I took the tube to Angel and caught the 38 bus in order to meet some friends in a very residentially located boozer on the borders of Hackney and Dalton. A mutual friend of Swineshead and myself, Rochelle, had come all the way down from up t’North for work reasons and was now happy ensconced on the pub with another mate, Belinda and a further three other birds, Cath, Laura and Savannah. I felt a bit like Ziggy entering the Big Brother house, except I didn’t say ‘daddy’s home’ to the front door and proceeded to act like a testosterone filled bollock with hair thin lips and a penchant for conversing over the top of my ‘yeah, that’ll do’ little bummer boys tattoo.
So far so good, I caught up with Rochelle and Belinda’s comings and goings and chatted to Savannah, a former Melody Maker journo but now attempting to un-cuff herself from a dubious women’s magazine. The Flowers was slipping down nicely (that’s the beer, not actual fucking flowers, dear reader) when Swinsehead arrived with his missus, Theresa. Crowded round a tiny table in a rapidly filling pub I mentally acknowledged each cigarette I slid from my packet and the smoky atmosphere with a certain degree of pre-emptive nostalgia. A pleasant evening ensued, beers were appearing with splendid regularity and I did some laughs to boot. In time to catch the last tube Belinda and I caught a cab from the pub to Angel. The fucking cabbie wasn’t prepared to take her on to West London, as she’s a fucked knee I hung about to make sure she was able to find a ride back home before I hopped on the tube for a head-lolling trip back to my flat.
On Saturday, as is usual at the weekends, I woke up, annoyingly, at my usual weekday time and found getting back to sleep a non-starter. Why does this happen? Even if I go to bed early during the week I’ve no desire to get up, but when I am in a position to lie in, I can’t be fucked. Bloody human condition.
I did a shit load of washing; my priority was to bleach Myfwt’s blob spillage off the bedclothes and shove the lot into the machine. I would like to make it abundantly clear that such thing bothers me not a jot, had she (or indeed, I) grumbled an arc of beer slurry all over the Egyptian cotton I’d be a little more concerned. After a blast on Lara (got fucking stuck again) breakfast (smoked trout on toast) and the F1 qualifying, I made the usual Saturday trudge to fucking Sainsbury and spent my hard earned on essentials. My mind turned to the evening, the last time I’d be able to smoke a cigarette in a pub without getting fined £50, for fucks sake.
I’d arranged to meet Frank and Robert in my local, despite the beer not being up to much -lagers, no ales- the music has improved lately beyond belief and it has an edgier atmosphere that the usual Frank and I frequent. The pub wasn’t too full, surprising for a Saturday, made more so by my expectation to see lots of smokers mournfully gazing at their fingers. It was 7pm, I had 5 hours to wolf down as many cigarettes as my endangered heart desired before becoming an outlaw for crying out loud. This was ridiculous, obscene, even.
Frank and Robert appeared a bit after 7, we chatted away, those two had been at boarding school together, you know what they say about what happens at boarding school (if you don’t it’s a word that sounds like ‘thuggery’) but Frank and Robert no more doff the brown hat than I. Indeed, they seem to have had quite a good time of it. When I was little if I misbehaved I was threatened with boarding school, a nightmare proposition, but I couldn’t help feeling as if I missed something. Robert and I reviewed our Glastonbury experience; it transpired he’d had a better lot than I but I agreed it had sort of been worth it for the bands and company.
The beer and cigarettes were going down fast, as was the evening, we had a few frames of pool before finally settling down as the minutes ticked toward midnight. Frank bought a round of fucking tequila’s which we demolished in between objections, I fucking hate the stuff, and the evening was closed with some Jack Daniels and coke. At 11.45 Frank and I bought one last pack of cigarettes from the machine before it gets slung onto the scrap heap. Ritually we pressed the Malboro red button together and split the pack. I lit my last ever cigarette in an English pub at 11.56 and drew heavily on it. When finished I crushed the butt into the soon to be defunct ashtray and for some reason, known only to myself, stole a pair of shot glasses as a way of exacting some sort of revenge. I was pissed rotten.
We said our farewells and I quite literally staggered the short distance home. I was even too bollocksed to eat or roll a joint so I went straight to bed.
Predictably I woke up at the usual time for bloody work but managed to get back to sleep until midday. I watched a rather average Grand Pricks, save a few moments of raw excitment, ate some kippers with a couple of cups of tea, tried to get Lara back on course and after failing did some writing, the fruits of which you’re now reading. I have a dose of the screaming brown hot shits to boot, probably due to over indulgence and a lack of food.
This evening I’m going to cook some sausages and make a broccoli and cauliflower bake and avoid alcohol. I don’t want to, I just should. Stick with my self imposed programme and all that. Doubtless I’ll watch Big Brother and turn in early as tomorrow it’s bloody work. Again.
On Radio 4 yesterday afternoon someone said life is like a Hen Ladder, shit from top to bottom. I laughed. I don’t find it so funny now. I mean I can’t even fucking well smoke in a pub anymore. Wankers.