I’ve realised, a bit late in the day, that my random jottings are becoming perfect spam fodder. I should really run it through a spam filter one day to see how much gook I di gobble. But enough of that seriousness. On to verbiage.
A propos of nothing, I decided to write down everything I thought worthy of a story en route to my first appointment of the day. Here’s the list:
- Schoolgirl on the tube reading her neighbour’s Metro over the top of her library book. There were a number of ways this could have gone – perhaps she recognised a friend in a photo, or maybe she dreams of being an actress. Not much to work on, but it was really the repetition of the look, like an addiction, that made it interesting.
- I saluted a single magpie hopping on a garden wall as I walked past it, and in doing so saw a pair of ballet shoes discarded neatly in the front garden. You want niche? How about ballerina cat-burglars? Or better still, ballerina cats. Or perhaps mice living in the ballet shoes – kind of one-up-mouseship among the mice population.
- A man was reading Sharpe’s Drift on the tube. So far, so humdrum. And how! Anyhoo. I was somewhat surprised to discover when his phone went that he was actually Polish (the very idea of an English person speaking Polish never crossed my mind, which is another story in itself). Which leads me to wonder what on earth this man makes of Sean Bean. And why the bally hell is he not reading Harry Potter? Did he not read the code when he entered the country? You may not be able to pronounce ‘sugar’, but you know what side your Hogwarts’ buttered on. Or something. Anyway, weak, relies on crude stereotypes, plus culture clash is best served over ice. Diamonds, to be precise.
- Much more promising – the homeless man on Hungerford bridge (irony, thy name is a cup of tea) mewling softly into a harmonica as his two dogs slept doggedly by his side. In that they were big and fluffy and dog-like, and their bellies puffed as he huffed. His hands were covered in tattoos, which on first glance read ‘Jade’ and ‘Goody’, but on closer inspection were just the usual not-so-cryptic ‘fuck you’s to friends, family, god and the state. I felt bad about not giving him any money, but if he’s not going to have performing dogs, I don’t want to know. God knows I’m a sucker for anti-capitalist ventriloquism starring golden retrievers. To be honest, and serious for a moment, it seemed vaguely pointless to give him anything. He seemed beaten, even in his begging/busking. Sigh.
- Further along Hungerford bridge you pass by some supporting columns going into Charing Cross. The supports of these are covered in spikes, presumably to keep people from jumping on to them, and you know, having a party or something. It seemed a perfect perch for a human-gull nest. Which leads on to human gulls. Like harmonica man. Or that Gibson book where they all live in the supports of a bridge, if memory serves.
- On the South Bank there was a solitary workman breaking up the paving slabs. I’m always fascinated by men in yellow bibs who work on their own. It takes someone unusually bloody minded to do that. Or perhaps he had a vendetta against the National Film Theatre and was tunnelling his way in. You know. Slowly.
- And finally, the man set apart from his peers, juggling a coffee and salmon-encrusted bagel, looking hot and uncomfortable despite being one of the few men not in a shirt and tie. Waiting for an event to start that I didn’t really belong at. But that story is far too easy to tell.
So – there you have it, the insides of a story-teller’s head. The constant extrapolation of events, filling in backstory, weighing up the sheer unlikeliness of things. What works, what doesn’t. What’s believable, and then a sanity check of what’s believable by others. Like my response to the arrival of concrete blocks in front of various public buildings – surely this is a fantastic opportunity for public art or corporate sponsorship or similar.
Anyhoo. Not up to my usual standard. But sometimes you need to let the drain clear. Oh, and someone trumped me tonight – describing something as not ‘rocket salad’. Slightly spoiled by possibly being pre-meditated. Otherwise, comparable to ‘it’s all gone fruit dougal’ for describing my outlook on life. Little bit of philosophy there. I won’t let it spoil my dinner.