Thirty Thousand Streets

Monday, October 30, 2006

National Express



My trip to Manchester this weekend gone was moderately successful. I managed to see most of my friends, in spite of them inhabiting different areas, and having pretty different social commitments; arriving on Friday evening and departing on Sunday afternoon gives you a pretty slender window of opportunity to timetable everything in, though I did my best.

Caught up with Vic and Paul on Friday, and went to a bar called Common in the Nortern Quarter, which has lots of illustration on the walls, before getting a lift off Kenny back to Heaton Moor in his latest Japanese second hand motor (a Honda this time). Ended up sitting up round at Vic and Paul's flat well into the wee hours, listening to Northern Soul and other delights on this amazing old school DJing unit which Paul's dad lent him – all it's missing is the telephone handset to cue tracks up on and it could be the seventies again. I think we got a bit carried away as the landlord rang up the next day to say there'd been two complaints about the volume. Oops.

Saturday went for a trawl round Heaton Moor's charity shops, though didn't find a thing worth having. Wandered past my old place down into Burnage were I bought a few CDs at Sifters, before catching the number 50 bus into town.

Here I had my first encounter in years with a couple of good old Manchester scallies, who you almost forget about in London, but are instantly recognisable by their uniform grade one haircuts, and the fact that they tuck their trousers into their socks (I can't believe they think that's a good idea). The exchange was unremarkable. They called me some names, I wanted to bang their rodent-like skulls together but decided it really wasn't worth it. The end.

Got to Manchester and caught up with my brother Dan briefly, before heading over to Chorlton where I met up with Fran, and later Crenan, who'd just got back from Jersey. We sat in the horse and Jockey talking and it was generally a bit like old times.

After that I caught the 22 bus toward Stockport, and after quite a bit of walking eventually made it to my friend Stu's party in Reddish. Everyone but me was in Fancy dress, so I guess, in a sense, contextually speaking, I was the most outlandishly dressed of them all. My one concession was to fix a comedy moustache to my upper lip for a duration not exceeding twenty minutes. We partied until around six, before I caught a taxi to my brother's place in Heaton Norris and crashed in his front room.

And then it was Sunday and time to go home.

The worst thing about the weekend unfortunately, was getting there and back, as I'd opted (foolishly in retrospect) to take the National Express coach. Bad move, and as of yesterday I have made a solemn pact with myself to under no circumstances ever take the coach again of my own volition. Ever. Life is simply far too short.

It was bad enough on the way up when we ended up diverting through Alderly Edge, but the trip back down was the coaching equivalent of dropping brown acid, and ended up taking over six hours. It would have been more bearable, but the last person to get on the coach was a really fat lady who decided she wanted to sit next to me. I don't have a problem with fat people necessarily, unless they're sitting on my seat while I'm in it, and this lady's backside was threatening to annexe mine.

I sat, cramped up, feeling hung over and miserable, alternately reading a book about the Manson killings and watching the 'toilet engaged' light at the front of the coach slyly wink on and off at me.

"Please god, make this stop"

I thought. It didn't (draw your own conclusions here).

The worst bit was in Luton where the traffic was forced into one lane to pass a flatbed truck putting out traffic cones. It took an hour and a half to pull abreast of it, wherupon I noticed they'd just put out the last one.

I eventually got into Victoria and battled my way home, but by then it was getting on for ten o'clock. Nearly seven hours since I'd caught the coach. I could've flown to New York in that time. I hadn't.

8 comments:

jo said...

would that be the wonderful book called 'helter skelter' by bugliosi ?

jo said...

would that be the wonderful book called 'helter skelter' by bugliosi ?

The Eyechild said...

The very same!

Charles Manson: what a nice man!

Question is, is that Jo from G&B?

jo said...

yup its me !!

Zeno Cosini said...

What happened to Moby Dick? Did you conquer it?

Zeno Cosini said...

I just bought the new Cormac McCarthy. Dark

The Eyechild said...

Hi Jo,

How's the merry world of G&B treating you? Lots of bed ads I trust?

Zeno:

Mmm. Moby Dick has been a bit like the bread in a huge book sandwich (and probably a thick cut club sandwich at that).

Since starting it I've broken off to read about four or five other books. It is good, but the pace suffers for me because he keeps breaking off to write rambling quasi-scientific chapters about whales. Fair enough as this is a book about hunting a whale, but you do end up thinking "Oh get on with it".

A CM novel? I kind of guessed it would be.

Zeno Cosini said...

Yeah but this one is really dark. Blood Meridian dark. Much darker than No Country For Old Men.

It's also probably flat out the best thing he's done since Blood Meridian.