Sunday, December 11, 2005
the Latists 3
September 11th. Morning
England 290 for nine. (Flintoff 93 n.o)
I do like the tube – we worked quite extensively with London Underground for a while in the early pre Ken-Tsar nineties on one of those extensions to nowhere that took forever to build – but ever since that bombing I’ve been more taken with buses, truth be told. And from Bottenham to Euston is only about an hour and twenty minutes. It’s like traveling from London to Paris on BA, minus the taxis and the duty-free frisking.
In fact all I had to do this morning was climb over the back fence, shew away a fox cub, steal down the Terry’s side alley, double back to the high street and stand waiting with my hoodie on until the number 69 arrived.
And I must say for once Pa was spot on.
Not only is the British Library free, once you’ve paid a steep tenner to get a pass, but the tottie is quite spectacular. I mean it’s like being in the library of some Swiss finishing school except that old people – and me – can justifiably sit around staring into space and fiddling with their laptops and breathing heavily.
And opposite me?
Oh, only wife four: abso-lutelement.
I began to type. Chapter One: Art School and Early Beginnings.
On the Pod Hard-Fi were singing Living for the Weekend.
The other great thing about this library even if it isn’t the most creatively inspiring of places is the books. It may well be that all the tottie in here already has a boyfriend – or a girlfriend from the looks I’ve been getting this morning – but there is this great added bonus. Stuff to read.
I began to type again. (The first document got binned somehow when I forgot to plug into the mains). Chapter One: Art School and Early Beginnings.
In the Bookseller it says that 63% of book buyers would consider a biography only if the author is on television.
Pa had cooked lentil risotto with parmesan and carrot juice when I got back via the Terry’s alley. And rain had blighted any hopes for a result in the last Test Match. Can’t decide which is the worse news.
“The good news,” Pa said, “is that Charlton are playing Wigan on Sky 2.”
I’ve always hated football. It is another of our discussion points.
See dad is pure grammar school, scholarships – almost an Oxford blue at centre half in the 1950/51 season, and all that. Me, I’m minor public school, second fifteen, art school, sniffin’ about…agency runner…got lucky with marketing computers…does that make sense?
It will do in time.
Ok, this the way he tells it, the old-school way: his education was free. It was broad and thorough and set him up for a balanced life caring and sharing and voting Labour come what may. Even when Labour is actually Tory, minus the foxes and flaggelants (though Blunkett is doing sterling work, don’t you think?). My education was patchy, narrow-minded, expensive and turned me into what pa still insists when he’s one-or-two-under is the Über Thatcher Kinder.
I mean I didn’t even vote for her the first time.
“Great,” I said – for I want as few stressful moments at home as are absolutely necessary.
“I thought you hated football.”
“Grown to love it, since Sky.”
“How’s Mary?” I said.
“I don’t know,” Pa growled. “She’s not my girlfriend.”
“I didn’t say she was.”
Since Ma died I’ve become aware that Pa has a lot of lady friends. I mean not one or two but several. I can’t say I get on with them so well.
It must be me: Even Snow-Queen Elspeth who obviously was hot against all age-gap relationships, especially mine, excepted Pa from all criticism.
“How was the writing?” Pa said, flipping to a programme about another mysterious disappearance in Australia. Frankly if Australia disappeared completely I wouldn’t be so unhappy. The footie was still twenty minutes away.
“Oh, pretty good. Starting with my youth.”
“What you can remember of it.”
“Yah, what I can remember of it.”
“So can I read it?”
“Not yet, pa. Not yet.”
“There was a woman outside here all day.”
“And you didn’t talk to her, did you?”
“Only for five minutes.”
Dreamt I was in Cuba. I’m sitting at a bar in Havana drinking cuba-libres a mucho and across the way there’s some saucy Shakira just looking for trouble. Trouble is I’m reading Ronald Reagen’s autobiography for some reason and the next thing I know a bunch of stubbly Ché Guveras are interrogating me, whipping me with copies of the Daily Mail.
“Who was it?” They kept asking. “Charlton or Wigan?”
Woke in a sweat at day-break and for unfathomable reasons went for a run on Bottenham Heath. Pulled a muscle on the boarders of Wandworth high street. Limped to newsagents to buy the new GQ, Details and Dazed and Confused.
Never got beyond the already low pile of Daily Mails.
What a total Gr***ting Bitch.
And what is Pa doing saying she was a wonderful wife and mother?
“What’s wrong?” I heard some female voice. Turning I saw Bloody Mary.
“What?” I said.
“You’re crying,” she said.
“Groin strain,” I said. “Practicing for the London Marathon.”
53% of Brits do not exercise enough, says The Times.