The Week In Words

Every now and then you need a day of doing nothing, and that day is today. It’s been a week of always feeling the need to be doing something or other, keep moving Michelle, don’t waste the time you have here before you leave, get the most out of that Travelcard, but today – today calls for nothingness. For the first time since I got back from Germany the weather is fairly blah and hasn’t lured me outdoors. I’m mildly headachey and sore-throated from dehydration and a lot of sun at Wimbledon yesterday, and want to get over all that before I go to Xen at Cargo tonight. There’s also laundry. What probably seals it is that a gunman has taken someone hostage in the Amex building and most of central London is sealed off, so there you have it.

The morning has been lazy, with tea and Xfm and Don Camillo Meets Hell’s Angels (Giovanni Guareschi), which I discovered in Spitalfields market on Sunday and bought with glee, having read and loved most of the other books in the same series, but with all that out of the way and the laundry hung up to dry, I’m finally in front of the computer. I want to write about last week, but much like my record of the last week in Singapore last summer, it’s likely to bore anyone but me.

I spent half an hour in silent prayer before the Lord in St Anne’s Church (off Brick Lane). This wasn’t exactly voluntary – Alec got the mass time wrong, so we were half an hour early – but turned out to be welcome. I’ve had a lot to be thankful for lately. Dinner was in Eat And Drink, because I was craving Chinese food – they do rather good sweet and sour fish, for anyone who’s interested.

There’s something really endearing about the graffiti in and around Brick Lane, but I’ll save that for another day when I can upload pictures. I had lunch in Cafe 1001, great for people-watching and toasted foccacia sandwiches, but my cherry smoothie tasted mostly and strangely of banana. The evil, evil Laden Showroom wheedled me into parting with £30 for a pink appliqued skirt after trying on and reluctantly rejecting what must have amounted to at least £150 of other clothes. As I paid I half-expected to see the cash registered displaying “Soul” along with Visa as an accepted method of payment.

We wandered into Shoreditch after dinner, mingling with the mulleted at The Bricklayers’ Arms before try-out night at the Comedy Cafe, where Ria turned up wholly unexpectedly, complete with ukelele, as part of the lineup. She was great, but I don’t know if I’d go to a lot more try-out nights. The embarrassment I felt for other people who were failing miserably was so acute it was uncomfortable. A surreal gag I rather liked came from a guy who said a woman came up to him at a bar one day and said she’d love to have his children because his head was so small.

I couldn’t find the new Reckless Records outlet or the Ben Christophers gig, which were the two reasons I went to Camden in the first place, but Music And Video Exchange helped to ease the frustration by providing me with Rock Action (Mogwai, £5) and Morcheeba’s contribution to the Back To Mine series of compilations (£8). Singapore Sling’s Hainanese chicken rice was passable (chilli more piquant than is authentic, but rice and chicken tasted comfortingly familiar). Also, Alec acquired new ammunition for his long-running “People who share Michelle’s music taste are losers (this obviously includes Michelle)” campaign with the cancelling of the gig, so a good day was had by all.

I spent early Friday morning watching England meandering out of the World Cup, although it was quite hard to actually make out what was happening in the game while peering at a small, distant TV in a packed pub through the space between some guy’s armpit and the game machine he’d propped his arm against.

Actual game aside, I do always feel that the cosy atmosphere of total and cheerfully irrational bias makes watching football in a pub an experience and a half. When Ronaldinho got sent off, the TV commentator observed that he’d helped make Brazil’s first goal, scored their second, and commented on the irony of him now being sent off. The pub crowd generally confined their observations to “SEND THEM ALL OFF, THE FUCKERS!” When Rivaldo was hamming it up after a tackle by writhing excessively on the ground, the commentators remarked on this as a growing trend in international football, and brought up other instances of such conduct by the Brazilians earlier in the match. A guy in the crowd was more succinct with the simplicity and forcefulness of “CUNT!”

Lunch was indulgent (Carluccio’s with Tamara). Tea equally so (Valerie’s Patisserie with Victoria and Jolene).

The calorie overload was to prove useful later while dancing in the rain to Orbital at Somerset House, which, without going into long rambles about transcendental quintessential summer experiences (because I’ve done that too many times already), was one of those transcendental quintessential summer experiences. It was pouring down while they did The Box, driving, insistent, intense rain, just like the song. Strobe lights in the downpour, flashing off the sedate stateliness of Somerset House. That familiar feeling in the back of my head: remember. Remember.