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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I've had four hours sleep, watched the latest episode of the Sopranos from the states and now I'm back here again with no real agenda or plan.

Not the best start to a blog entry, now is it? Don't you wish I had a hippy webcam? You wouldn't have to read about my sleeping and viewing could watch it live 24/7!

I'm not saying my life is boring, but even I tune myself out sometimes.


Believe it or not I took a one-day class in stand-up comedy last year. Yeah, yeah, as if you could tell from this.

It was fun, that course, and I was uncharacteristically confident that day. I even got more than a few laughs. Then I blew it.

No, not on the course, that went really well. So well that I organized an evening at an open mic night at a local comedy club with some of the other people from the class.

Turned out the night we went to club, instead of being a regular evening, was a showcase for a local university's graduating class from the comedy department. The comedy department! No wonder Blair wants top=up fees.

Teenagers saying fuck a lot in front of their parents was not my idea of an evening of quality entertainment.

Add to that the fact that every kid in the pageant brought their parents and this being the year of our lord 2004 and all, their parents' brought their new partners as well. So that was four adults per kid, plus friends, other family, and on and on and the place was packed as tightly as lorry full of illegal Chinese immigrants coming through Dover.

It was the makings of a real panic attack, but I departed swiftly before that could happen. You can imagine the reaction of the people I met there. I have to imagine because I had only spoken to one of them before I disappeared with little warning. There were others at the club as well, I saw them, but they didn't see me.

I'm actually pretty good at that, clocking someone I know and becoming totally invisible. I fade into the background really well, I think I've said it before here, I'm surprisingly anonymous.

Not being noticed is both art and science and I am well practiced at it. In London, you need to be, because it's actually smaller than you think. After living here for 13 years, it's not hard to run into someone you know.

I stopped by to see my younger brother this morning in south London after I finished work. He had some business in the general direction of the local tube station and we walked up there together from his place. Within a space of maybe a half-mile, he said hello to at least three people that he knew. He's lived here even longer than I have, and pretty much in the same place.

What's it like your little corner of the world? Where I live, I get ignored by most of my neighbours. That's not a bad thing since most of them are either asylum seekers or dole fiddlers, or both. I've lived here about 7 years, I recognize hundreds of people on sight because I've seen them so many times, but there's only a handful of neighbours I actually acknowledge even in passing.

Why is that? I don't really know. It's a rough area, but we're all stuck here. I trust that my neighbours would phone the cops if they saw someone trying to break into my home. I'd do the same for them, more if I was feeling particularly angry and wanting to beat on someone's ass.

Did I just type that?

Yes, I did. We all feel rage sometimes, luckily I'm able to keep a lid on mine. Sometimes, it’s very hard, especially now that I'm back riding the tube.

Working nights means I am always going in the opposite direction to just about everyone else. So at the end of your day, when you are doing the underground zombie shuffle to catch your train and a short, fat, bald guy is breathing down your neck, trying to get around you, move over or I'll gut you like a fucking fish! Some people don't want to spend their lives on the tube, so move, walk, shake it like you wanna break it and get the fuck out of my way.

And to the unattractive middle-aged woman of colour who sat next to me from Stockwell to King's Cross, put your cunting make-up on at home. That goes for the cheap perfume and smelly hand cream as well. It was making me physically sick and had I really barfed, I would have done it all over your cheap and nasty wig.

If you are going to ride the tube here in our fair city, please abide by some simple hippy rules:

1) Don't have shouting conversations with your friends. Just because you are a loser, doesn't mean you have to broadcast it.

2) No make-up, hand cream or anything else that stinks like a two-dollar whore on payday in a seaport when all the ships have come in. If you can't find the time to do all that before you leave your home, then darlin', it's not going to help you anyway. You fucking munter.

3) If you are going to read a newspaper, buy a tabloid sized one. The Times and The Independent both come in that size now. And watch your elbows, your funny bone in my face doesn't make me laugh. It might end up making you cry.

4) If there's room elsewhere in the train, don't stand on top of me. I will step on your foot, hard if you do.

5) When you reach the top or bottom, of a staircase or especially an escalator, don't just stop. If you don't know where you are going, step to the side and let the people who do keep moving. I will shove you, hard if you don’t.

Fuckin' hell, a little lack of sleep and I'm going all mental with pent up rage. In high school, I was voted the boy most likely to grow up and impulsively kill a stranger with little provocation.

Remember, the psycho standing behind you might be me, or someone much, much worse.

When I lived in NYC I used to play a game on the subway there. I would glance around the carriage and try to guess which of my fellow passengers might be carrying a gun.

In New York City, this is not as far-fetched as you might think. Guns were cheap and plentiful back then.

Here in London, if you can afford an illegal handgun, you can afford a car, so you ain't ridin' no tube. This is why you hear about drive-by shootings, but as far as I know only stabbings happen on the tube.

Playing the game with knives isn't as much fun and I expect it would easier to guess who didn't have a blade, than who did.

I carry a pen, they say it's mightier than the sword. In close combat, I suppose it would be, because you could stab someone in throat with a pen.

Sweet dreams.
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