Monday… the worst of all the days. A bastard of a day. Only surpassed by Sunday evening when you were a at school which delivered the depressing countdown combo of ‘The Muppets’, ‘When the Boat comes in’, ‘Agony’ or ‘Two’s Company’ and then the tolling bell that was ‘The South Bank Show’. Once the opening bars of the theme to ‘The South Bank Show’ kicked in, it was over….. school was imminent….No way out… no escape…. only becoming ill in your sleep could potentially save the situation…
It’s much the same now. There is little good about a Sunday. Sunday is like January 2nd on a weekly basis…the furthest point possible from the good times… work beckons and there’s nothing that we can do about it…
As usual I walk to the station. I like the walk… it’s 15 minutes and as interesting as it gets. Millionaires row followed instantly by crammed hovel…classic London.
As I reach the station I see the familiar sight of the God Squadder. He’s there most days handing out pamphlets to the weak minded. He’s a sort of Mr Magoo type in the kind of clothes that only nothing-to-do old people seem able to find… flat cap, bumper car shoes, heavy fabric the ‘car crash through the window of a MIND shop’ effort. Wholly unappealing, musty with a hint of urine.
He’s never approached me. I have an unapproachable face so I’m hardly surprised but I do find that I save a special look for him. In reality he’ll always leave me alone as I have testicles and he only really entertains women. He’s a hand grabber…a look deeply in the eyes merchant. You can almost see the religion being forced into the victims. Occasional he delivers the double peck to the cheek….sickening… this is the real reason he stands there. He’s the religious equivalent of the laminated “Big Issue” that you can’t buy… show me the money or show me the money-shot…
I head to the platform and get on the emptier train heading in to London. I have to do this trip every day so I’m not bothered if I let a packed train go in order to get a seat or a less pack carriage. I’ve never understood the people that want to stand, crammed in someone’s breath zone in order to get to work two minutes earlier….I don’t want to get to work at all.
0743 Hours….. The Freak Box….
I’m planted in the middle of the carriage, my favourite seat… near enough the door but far enough away so I’m not hassled into giving up the seat to someone carrying a baby or wearing incontinence pants…
It’s fairly empty, in fact I’m the only person in this segment. I whack up the ‘phones. Naturally it’s ‘Royal Blood’ as I’m obsessed with it’s magnificence. In the window opposite I see the reflection of another London bound train pull in and the faint sound of the platform Tannoy announcing that my train is first out. Cue panic in train two as the punters, who moments ago were smug in their seats, must now rush across to my train like zombies chasing a fat kid, to fight for a new seat.
Then I hear thudding steps coming my way.
In bursts a young Greek God, all muscles and beard in loose open shirt with muscle vest beneath….City Boy is my guess . I spot the obligatory “Maximuscle” water bottle poking from his bag. He couldn’t give a fuck who else wants the seat opposite me, they will be dispatched if they attempt to get it before him. He sits down and seems to calm down slightly…
But wait a moment… he’s not happy.. he starts doing a seated version of the iPhone dance… he’s frantic, the hands are everywhere but the phone is clearly missing. He’s in the bag, out the bag, in the pockets, out the pockets…a faint sheen of panicked sweat appears on his face and then he stiffens and looks across the platform at the other train.
He knows it, we know it…but can he make it? His hesitation is fatal… the door alarm bleeps. He lunges but is weighed down by Green Lanes muscle… he looks good but speed ain’t his thing….The doors crash shut and his lip trembles… it’s over.. a 100 pictures of himself in a pair of speedo’s are left abandoned in a photo gallery on an iphone on a seat in a dead tube train.. “Achilles” paws at the door as we pull away.. he doesn’t look back at us but waits, ready to exit at the next stop in the hope he can make it back before a devotee of the deceased Crow can snaffle up the lost phone.
I smile….what an unprecedented start to a Monday…Bolshie bloke crumbles under his own whey protein fuelled arrogance… marvellous…
My gloom lifts and a sense of joyous euphoria hits me as I notice a young bloke get on at the next stop to fill the now vacant seat opposite me. He’s carrying his own rubber ring to sit on…. he looks pale, it’s a clear case of the knobby’s and he must suffer our scrutiny…. personally I’d go to work later to minimise the attention but it’s a matter for him…..
I kill time at work… I don’t mind as I’ve got nothing better to do and I quite like the laugh. After some sleep and a few phone calls The Horse and I retire to the pub for pre gig drinks. Robert Plant beckons at The Roundhouse. Horse is excited… I’ve never seen him so childlike… It’s brilliant. However I do sense a certain disbelief on his part… I got these ticket free from a Greengrocer and until we actually get in I’m not sure even I can believe it.
We sink half a gallon and head to the queue…. It’s long and filled with Top Gear audience types and students who want the free stuff without appreciating the fact that they are about to see a Rock God belt it out.. These people are the ultimate freeloaders.
I’ve seen Plant before and have bought the albums, even the bad ones.. I know he’s called ‘Robert’ and not ‘Roger’. These gigs are created for people like me and the Horse and not the assembled mob in the queue. If this was a paying gig this lot would be ‘Stub Hubbers’ paying top dollar for something they neither understand nor fully want to be at. Attending concerts is no longer about being a fan it’s about saying you went… is that really what the musicians want?
We finally enter the building and Horse’s joy is evident. We head to the bar and get suckered in to the mentality of the mob by drinking red wine from plastic tumblers…. rouge at a Rock gig…. My big Bruv would punch me in the face for that….
Plant starts his stuff…. It’s top drawer as expected. The new stuff sounds great and he knocks out some classic Zeppelin including ‘No Quarter’ which has always been my favourite so I’m happy…
I scan the crowd… There’s a Rupert over there…. He has a younger girl on his shoulders… he’s wobbling, she’s grinding herself into the back of his neck…he’s not used to this kind of attention outside of a debutants prom… he seems distracted … either that or her jean’s zip is cutting a groove into his neck..
“MATILDA??…. MATILDA??” he screams a little too high pitched…. “Can you see up there?…. can you see?” She can see… she loves Roger Plant and “The Led Zep” and his new African direction is “tantalizing”…. It’s enough to make me weep….
The gig ends and we are chucked out into the night … I walk to Camden with the Horse for a rare trip on The Bus of Dreams where I manage to sit on a damp seat..
Red wine on a Monday might be a mistake..