The Big Man Restless

Saturday, September 18, 2004
I have volunteered to attend an NHS Expert Patients programme. This is set up for people with chronic health conditions as a way to help them manage their lives better. For some reason it always slips my mind when faced with collections of "the public" how stupid a lot of them are. The first task to flummux some was arriving - the programme kicked off at 2pm and some wandered in at 3.30 . The second was name badge writing. A sheet of address labels was circulated with which to write our names on and to stick them to our clothing. "Which side do I write on?" asked the first idiot. Another tried to write his name in the space where someone had already moved a sticker and spent a frustrating (for him, amusing for me) few minutes trying to peel his "badge" off.

I didn't learn much, it only re-inforced my misanthropy, but at least it got me out of bloody work for a Friday afternoon - and for the next 5 to come.

Sunday, September 12, 2004
Anyone who can recall my early blogs will know how I hate buses, especially the crappy service provided by the 225 in South-East London. However yesterday I was forced onto the damn things as I wanted to go to the record fair at Olympia and the District and Circle lines were shut because of engineering works.

Travelling in London by bus is actually one of the best ways to get to know the city. My geographical knowledge of it is rather limited. I can tell you where most of the record shops are, but have little idea of how close Reckless in Islington is to Reckless in Camden Town. So, through no choice of my own it has to be said, I decided to spend all of Saturday travelling by bus.

There is so much I never knew about - some of it awful. As the number 9 approached Knightsbridge station I saw in huge letters the words to turn any aesthete's stomach. No not Timothy Spall (who's face makes me feel ill) but Burberry. There was a huge Burberry superstore. In Knightsbridge of all places. Of course I did not go in, I did not want to risk the nauseau, but I found the outside most peculiar. Instead of pictures of chavs there were the usual windswept models one would find on any respectable store, half-wearng clothes that I would never associate with the revolting brand. Needless to say I did not notice any windows (though I may have still been reeling from the shock of the existence of this disgusting place), one could not actually see into the shop. I feel a weird compulsion to go back there (albeit prepared) - and write up a more thorough investigation - watch this space.

The fair itself was lacklustre, although I was pleased the woman with the £5 Beatles bootlegs was back. I wish I'd known who had chosen the awful music music that was on a loop in there. There is a strange phenomenon with music in shops. Away from the megastores of course and into the dark side of the second hand shops one could be forgiven for thinking the most popular band in Britain are The Fall followed by Captain Beefheart. Now I don't mind either of them in small doses, but a life without melody must be a very odd life indeed. I wonder if these people secretly harbour tuneful music at home yet only bring into work things that will (a)impress their colleagues and (b) annoy their casual customers?