I'm sitting in the Wetherspoon's in Heathrow's terminal 5 waiting for my flight which is not for another hour, and I find the best way to get the time to pass fastest is by writing entries for my blog. I don’t have anything in particular to say, but don’t worry, I’ll say it anyway. (That remeinds me of the observation of committee life I heard years ago: when all is said and done, some cunt will get up and say it, delaying everyone’s departure by another 20 minutes.)
I’m off to Germany for a week to help my sister and her family and friends celebrate her 60th birthday. My, don’t we all get older fast. I can still remember when she was very young taking her for walks in the country near our home. This will have been in the winter of 1958. She was born on September 2
The plan is very German (though I don’t doubt it will also be very entertaining): it seems there is some kind of small coastal cruiser with cabins for about 30 which you can hire in Holland, just over the border from where she lives in the far, far North-West of Germany, so my sister Marianne, her family, my brother Mark and I, and many of her friends are taking to the high seas for three days. There isn’t really far to sail so I should imagine we shall be going around pretty much in circles, but then when you have a glass of Sekt in one hand and a Laz Paz Wilde Cigarros whatever in the other and, crucially, fuck all to do for the next ten days – I’m not due back at work until Sunday, September 11 – who cares. If going round in circles it must be, going around in circles it will be.
. . .
I saw something yesterday which to me looked thoroughly ridiculous. But first, o give it context, I must admit that as I m now undoubtedly over 30 – oh, OK, over 65 – I am most certainly a candidate for hating change of any kind, at least on paper. In fact – and you can believe me or not – I am not really like that, and if in some small ways I am, I can assure all that there are far, far worse cases.
One change in life which has occurred in the past ten years is the proliferation of tattoos. Now, being the character who, at the age of 29 and challenged to do so by my girlfriend, got himself a single ear stud and wore one for several years after, my aversion to tattoos – yes, I do have one – might strike some as hypocritical. All I will say is that you can take an ear stud out in a matter of seconds, but getting rid of a tattoo will take a lot longer and also set you back quite a few shekels. I shall also admit that until they became popular, tattoos were only sported by those who went to sea, hard-as-nails whores and criminals. Oh, and the occasional plumber though, it has to be said, plumbers who cared little about making their way in the world much further than the station they had already reached.
Then, courtesy of rock stars and other trendsetters, getting a tattoo caught on and before you knew it everyone under 30 and their sodding dog had a tattoo. And it was not a single anchor they sported or ‘Love’ and ‘Hate’ tattooed over their knuckles. Most people go the whole hog and get some scene from The Hobbit tattooed all over them, that or some piece of cod Chinese philosophy they don't understand but like the sound of, something 'The butterfly is to life what the butter never knows'. But what I find most ridiculous is the claim made by many that their tattoo somehow highlights their individuality at, that somehow they are marked out from everyone else.
Well, not as far as I am concerned, they’re not: they just look like every other crud with a fucking tattoo all up their arm, on the back of their neck and (as I noticed just yesterday while getting changed in the gym) on one buttock cheek: superficially it looked like a football club crest, but I didn’t particularly want to linger much trying to make it out. It’s not that I don’t like the sight of butt cheeks, it just that I would have had some difficulty explaining what I was doing had the chap sporting it turned around. ‘Just admiring your arse’ doesn’t go down too well as a rule.)
The tattoo I saw yesterday which caught my eye was on the right leg of a young lass just outside the office in Derry St., Kensington. Picture it if you can: there were no other tattoos there, just the one. It was face, about three or four inches across and about five inches above the lass’s knee. She was wearing a skirt (it’s summer her in Britain for a day or two) so you could only see the bottom three-quarters of the face. It looked very, very daft.
But I must now go to my gate so I shall post what I have written and carry on later…
Arrived a few hours ago in this back of beyond, though I have to say I very much like being in the back of beyond, especially as in these modern times most back of beyond, if they aren’t in Patagonia, have broadband internet. Which is why I can continue this account.
Picked up a car, which went super-smoothly, it being a mid-week pick-up, then high-tailed it off to the German frontier from Schiphol airport and finding out what I did once I arrived, I wish I hadn’t been in such a rush to get the journey over with. I was given a small Citroen C1 which is a fine enough car and even though it has a small engine, you can still crack on at a fine speed. The trouble is, as my sister told me once I had arrived rather sooner than anyone expected, is that the Dutch police are very hot on speeding. The rule is ‘don’t go above 130kph. And guess why I arrived so soon? It was – well, you are way ahead of me: I has driving at – despite the small engine a smart 150kph whenever possible.
There was a small delay when the cops had cordoned off one lane of the motorway (probably because some twat had been speeding at over the limit and got himself into a crash) and we were all obliged to crawl along at around 10kph for several miles – at least ten – but apart from that the road was clear for me to zoom along and, as it will turn out, attract several stiff fines for speeding. Fuck. That’s about the only word for it. Still I got here about 19 minutes earlier than expected, so thank the Lord for small mercies.
Everyone else has gone to bed, but I have stayed up listening to John Scofield playing with Miles Davis (on Spotify), and Daryl Jones playing with Miles Davis (on Spotify) and John Scofield playing with Daryl Jones (on Spotify). I have already, on the strength of what I’ve heard bout one CD by John Scofield, such is the ease – the nasty ease I should say, ‘cos I ain’t rich – to buy CDs on a whim on Amazon. Still, I like the music, so what the fuck.
I should already have gone to bed and I know that I shall have a thick head tomorrow after drinking several bottles of Krombacher (Lidl’s finest lager, I think), but what the hell. It will still be another nine days to do absolutely fuck all except schmooze with friends and family and go goo-goo over my nieces/god-daughters four-month-old son. Pip, pip.