Saturday, October 23, 2004

Trains, Tribulations and Drunken Lunatics

Friday 22nd, 1:30 A.M. After a traditional Thursday night extravaganza (namely Wetherspoons, the Marmite of alcohol supplying establishments, followed by a healthy dose of authentic cheese rock), I return home to discover that my girlfriend Dani (who, by the way, is ever-so-conveniently located in Exeter) has been repeatedly falling unconscious.

2:00 A.M. One nerve-wracking phone conversation with the groggy Dani and her frightened housemate Abbi later, I make a decision which has everything to do with calm and considered reasoning and absolutely nothing to do with impractical emotion and alcohol-induced foolhardiness. I check train times.

2:30 A.M. Discovering that the earliest train leaves at 4:00 A.M., costs a stomach-churning £95.70 and that I need to change three times and travel for six and a half hours, my resolve and love undergoes a severe and hardcore ten second examination. And passes.

2:45 A.M. I book a taxi for 3:15 A.M.

2:45 A.M. - 3:15 A.M. Me and my nocturnal fellow Essex Boy housemate Neil discuss the intricacies of the human condition and the meaning of life.

3:15 A.M. I catch aforementioned taxi.

3:30 A.M. I reach Brighton station, and have the following slightly disturbing conversation with someone I originally placed as a drunk, then a lunatic, then as a drunken lunatic:

DRUNKEN LUNATIC: Do you know when the train ssshtation opens?
ME, SLIGHTLY AGITATED: (relieved by relative normality of question) 3:45 I think.
DRUNKEN LUNATIC: Thash cool. Schweet. Nishe. Yeah. (pause) Did you know shat if you drink a dog'sh pish you can live forever?
DRUNKEN LUNATIC: Yeah. It'sh better if you have a bath in it though. Get'sh in the poresh and the orifishes.

3:45 A.M. I blearily stagger on to the platform, and finally think to check my packing. The absolute man essentials like my iPod and various assorted music magazines are there, but I appear to have forgotten clothing. Bugger.

3:55 A.M. The train is an archaic slam-door relic that should have been condemned several thousand millennia ago. I find the seat in the carriage least likely to (a) be riddled with several billion assorted bacteria, all carrying multiple terminal diseases, (b) remove itself from its moorings and propel me into the bosom of the king-sized human Flora tub opposite me and (c) fall through the bottom of the train as soon as I apply the slightest amount of downward pressure to it.

4:00 A.M. The train reluctantly moves into action, wheels and whatever the South Central equivalent of an engine is combining to loudly scream and protest their discontent with this.

5:49 A.M. Feeling like a member of the undead whose tomb lease has expired and who is forced to wander the world forever, I get off the train and stagger through Clapham Junction in search of something vaguely resembling actual edible substance.

5:55 A.M. I eventually settle for what the acne-ridden teenager behind the till vehemently insists is a 'Beef Baguette', despite appearances to the contrary. Refraining from suggesting sardonically that 'Turd Roll' would be more accurate, and that under his new customer policy of strict honesty he also rename the 'Breakfast Sandwich' as 'Regurgitated Contents Of A Very Ill Cow's Stomach Encased In Mouldy Bread', I make my purchase.

6:03 A.M. I catch the train to Reading and am hit with the realisation that after two hours of sleep-deprived hell and worry I'm not even a third of the way through the journey. And with the even more depressing realisation that my thoughts regarding the 'Beef Baguette' were entirely correct.

7:15 A.M. After seventy minutes of acute indigestion I reach Reading, where I am confronted by the twin evils of daylight and Drunken Lunatic 2:

DRUNKEN LUNATIC 2: Hey! Nice leather jacket homeboy!
ME: Thanks.
DRUNKEN LUNATIC 2: Makesh you look like the the Fonz would look if he shtyled his hair with his spunk and didn't like girlshh.
ME: Thanks.
DRUNKEN LUNATIC 2: Wahey. Banter!

8:10 A.M. I catch the direct train to Exeter, now equipped with an actual super-extreme high-calorific Breakfast Sandwich ('contains 25% real meat!') and at least 40% of my full brain capacity, which puts me somewhere between Cabbage and Jade Goody on the intelligence scale:

Jade Goody

9:00 A.M. I begin the downward spiral of clock watching. Time slows accordingly.

10:19 A.M. I reach Exeter and anxiously pace around waiting for a bus. Pensioner attempts to start mundane conversation about bus timetables and other topics that should really be on a DO NOT EVER ATTEMPT CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE FOLLOWING MIND-NUMBINGLY BORING SUBJECTS list distributed to all new-born babies (along with 'the weather', 'pot pourri', 'shampoo', 'cosmetics', 'rambling', 'reality television', 'beautiful sights' and 'fishing'). I politely kill conversation with said pensioner.

10:45 A.M. After a desperate search for Rowanscroft Mews and Dani's university habitation I finally come across it almost by virtue of the law of averages. I decide to be cheesy and ring her from outside her window. The following soap opera writer's dream action takes place:

ME: Er, you know I said I was trying to find a way to teleport myself to Exeter...
DANI: Ye................. (phone breaks off)
ME: Wh..?
(stereotypical soap reunion before the slow-motion editing. Dani rushes through door, runs towards me and clings)
DANI: What the hell are you doing here?!

I'll break that one off there before it becomes too annoyingly sickly for reader consumption. Fortunately, Dani is fine, if tired and stressed, and I've gained a few boyfriend brownie points, which are always helpful as insurance for important football matches clashing with anniversaries and other equivalent unfortunate occurrences.

Mood: Relieved
Ed's Incessant Auto Repeat Musical Tip: The Music - Fight The Feeling

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Third Time Lucky

As the elite audience (for 'elite' read 'pretentious synonym for 'depressingly tiny'') of my previous attempts at maintaining a blog will be aware, I have a reputation for beginning these in a blaze of enthusiasm and then burning out almost instantaneously in true stereotypical rock star style (minus the, er, sex, drugs and discernible musical talent). There's only so much potential to repeat the same cleverly disguised joke incessantly before the content of new entries starts displaying the forward-thinking originality and radical progression of a Status Quo album:

ROSSI: 'Hey Rick, I've found a fourth chord!'
ROSSI: 'A fourth chord!'
PARFITT: 'Woah man, we don't want any of that proggy woah-look-at-me-I-can-actually-play-my-instrument crap! Next thing you know we'll have 25 minute jazz breakdowns and two day drum solos!'
ROSSI: 'But dude, we've been ploughing out the same song for 30 years! Someone's got to suss us eventually!'
PARFITT: 'Francis - don't mess with what you don't understand. Just don't.'

For anyone fortunate enough not to know me, I'm a third year English and Media student at Sussex University. English and Media is, of course, a rigorous and stressful discipline placing an almost unbearable strain on the students brave and resilient enough to undertake it. Many fall by the wayside, citing extreme mental scarring caused by a horrific schedule which makes the following terrifying requirements:

a) 11 o'clock starts. No words can express the true horror of being forced to dress in a socially acceptable way before midday.
b) A weekly seminar. Not a non-compulsory yearly seminar, or an optional monthly seminar, but a compulsory weekly seminar. Despicable.
c) A need to relate everything to sex. No exceptions. Pride and Prejudice is a voyage of sexual discovery. Alice in Wonderland is a tale of one woman's irrepressible orgiastic desire for rabbits and cheshire cats. And how I wish that I'd made both those up!

I intend through the next few months to document all the outrageous truth behind the hilarious assumption on the part of a naive society that students go to university to study. The very idea. A few token concessions to work are all that is required to blindly convince the outside world that students do not spend their lives in a continuous everlasting alcohol fuelled trance, punctuated only b a) food b) sleep and c) standing around on street corners looking unkempt and moody. This is a terrible, terrible misconception. Let me confirm categorically now that students do not stand around on street corners looking unkempt and moody. They stand around outside cheap underground bars looking unkempt and moody.

I will also endeavour to introduce you to the large cast of characters who occupy this strange and terrifying reality. My housemates Hannah, Jenna, Jenny, Neil, The Large Orange Lounge Slugs and The Baby Yellow Kitchen Slugs. Our cowboy letting agents HomeLets (a sadly misleading title which should be replaced with OutrageouslyExpensiveFesteringCardboardBoxLets). Our mutual friends Sam, Craig, Amy and Kate. My fantastically intriguing oddball seminar colleagues MichaelMooreMan, KeanuReevesBoy, AnnoyingObsessivelyFeministFemales 1 -59 and EssexGirlStereotype. Hopefully by the time I say my final farewells to the establishment that has seen me progress from immature boy to immature boy with bad hair and a degree I will have an everlasting document to the 'best days of my life'.

I suspect not, but hopefully.

Mood: Pensive
Ed's Incessant Auto Repeat Musical Tip: The Music - Freedom Fighters