Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Tuesday 17 August 2010

This morning I awaken from disturbing dreams into a day that is dull and without promise as I look out of the window.  From here I sleepwalk through proceedings soon finding myself on the station platform recognising various faces of various strangers.  Eventually the train arrives and it’s a mongrel one, I guess the good ones were all taken this morning.  Once on board I find myself situated so far from “my seat” that it’s not funny.

Today the ride is both spiritually and physically empty.  Where is everybody?  Where is Stare Girl?  Where is half of the Sturrock Gang?  To amuse myself and cheer up I listen to a Collings And Herrin podcast but the MP3 is just so fucking quiet.

When we finally get to London it’s a genuine relief, I can’t wait to be away from these people on the train and sat behind my desk at work.

From here today turns out to be a pretty good one.  I am well in the home straight now to get the accounts done in time for the bank deadline at the end of the week.  And by the end of the morning I am just ironing out the creases of the figures.  Its all gravy.

Annoyingly both The Girl and I have headaches today with comes coupled with the information that there is a gas leak in the kitchen and that we might have to go out for some lunch today.  Surely us having headaches and there being a gas leak is not coincidence.

In the end it turns out to be a routine day.  Although the gas leak knocked out the grill everything else soon gets working down there again and I have penne for lunch.

Even though the accounts are done the boss doesn’t bother to look at them meaning the afternoon involves crossings Is and dotting Ts.  These will be good figures this month.

Thankfully at 5PM the boss suggests that we “might as well pack up” for a second day running which sees me tearing across town and managing to catch the 6PM Norwich train (the Sarah train) for a second day running.  Not that I see her on it but that is probably for the best.

Tonight I am in a rush to get back to Colchester for the book event and BILLY LIAR screening at Colchester Arts Centre.  With this in mind typically the train poodles its way back to Colchester.

Eventually I get back to Colchester around 7PM where I head straight to my parents’ gaff to show my face and grab some clean clothes.  As I walk to their front door I can hear the dog barking at me from inside their place and unsurprisingly when I step through the door he runs right at me in welcome.

I arrive like a storm, greeting all around me in a brief stop off before heading to the Arts Centre where ANTHONY CLAVANE will be grilled about his new book Promised Land prior to the BILLY LIAR screening.

Soon a mild panic ensues when I look up the event in the local newspaper to discover that it is about to immediately kick off.  With this in mind I head straight to the Colchester Arts Centre where I discover the paper got it wrong and the place remains all locked up.

Lost with time to kill I visit the closest ATM, get some money and proceed to waste half an hour wandering aimlessly.  Normal people would go to the pub.

Eventually time turns and I head back to the Arts Centre where a crowd is beginning to gather outside.  Quickly I get the impression that most of these are friends and relatives.

At this point I bump into Chris who is working tonight.  I try to disguise the fact that I’m no mates this evening but its blatant and impossible to hide.  Going to events solo in your home town is much tougher than attending these things in London for some reason.  I guess its not so easy to be anonymous here when you begin to recognise faces but not names.  Once inside tables quickly get occupied and I find myself with no option but to sit at the front.  Even more awkward then.  Briefly I say “hello” to the main guy but ultimately as far as interaction goes we have never achieved more than nice nice.  If that.

Eventually (thankfully) the event begins as ANTHONY CLAVANE gets interviewed by Anthony Roberts talking about his new book Promised Land: The Reinvention Of Leeds United.

The book is being promoted as the latest book about Leeds United (seemingly towards The Damned Utd audience) but CLAVANE appears to have a much more ambitious agenda looking to cover the bridging era between the war and modern times of Leeds, which all in all explains why BILLY LIAR is being shown.

The kitchen sink drama mentality reflecting the working class is a very exciting period in modern British history, one that appeared to favour the working class although perhaps this was illusion, I don’t know I wasn’t there.  The period and its movies is something that fascinates me and is one of the resounding things I find pride in being working class from (as have a number of other people in past such as Morrissey).  Very soon CLAVANE is wheeling off a list of great movies from the era such as Saturday Night Sunday Morning and A Taste Of Honey.

In comparison to those times from his description CLAVANE sounds as if he feels bleak about the modern age and how the optimism of his authored era has now been all but closed down.  He bandies around the word “social mobility” while suggesting a sense of feeling fearful for future generations.  Despite him being a sports writer for The Mirror and the book being pushed as a title about the great Leeds United sides, as I say he sounds as if he has a bigger agenda with his book.

As ever with these things the talk gets thrown out to the audience for a Q&A which as ever appears to be more about the person asking the question rather than the subject.  It is actually pretty tough to gauge who this audience is.  And with that the talk portion of the event comes to a close.

Soon we get onto the screening of BILLY LIAR which appears to represent much of what CLAVANE has in mind with his book.

Despite being a great movie BILLY LIAR turns out to be a bit of a slog.  The themes still definitely resonate even if the setting, location and fashions do not.  As a daydreamer myself I can freely associate with Tom Courtenay who puts in an amazingly painful performance as the clown boy looking for more substance and excitement in his life but seemingly without a clue how to get there.

Its no secret that this is the movie Cemetery Junction wanted to be seen as so many of the locations and styles appear to have been borrowed/lifted for Gervais’ attempt at recreating and representing the working classes of the era.  Of course that movie would appear far better (as with my American friend) were you not to know or acknowledge how its conceit had been pilfered wholesale from BILLY LIAR even if the themes are universal.

As the grim tone of proceedings match the surroundings as I say eventually the movie proves hard work as many aspects are bleak and dour but all in all it’s a good thing to go through.

Finally the movie arrives at its famously disheartening conclusion and the fear of living your entire life in the town of your birth (the town I am currently living in myself).  This is would appear to be my latest alarm call.

With my arse cheeks having fallen asleep about an hour ago on the hard seat I get up and on the way out I enquire about getting a book but as the guy selling them curtly tells me it is £17, it is £17 I sadly cannot currently spare/afford.

From here I slope off home not necessarily feeling anymore upbeat than I was at the beginning of the evening.  The day ends greyer than it started.

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