There are a few new stories in the links above. They are better than this one.
I am writing this at 4 am, having only just got in from a little trip to Brighton. I’m never going there again. I always say this, every time I get back from Brighton, yet I go there again, hope anew, looking forward to seeing the place.
One time I was stuck there amidst piles of cans, sleeping on the beach. Another time I wound up sleeping at a strange friend’s half-renovated house, with his annoying dog. Another time I was thrown out of a club, and wandered the freezing beach all night, suspecting testicular cancer.
But this was the worst time yet.
I am looking at the clock in the station, and comparing it to the train times. I can make it back to London, change at London Bridge, bus to Kings Cross, train home. Lovely. What a beautiful night! There were people wandering around dressed as zombies, I was licking a Strawberry Cheesecake Haagen-Dazs.
Will you make it home in time, Simon?
Yes, all will be well.
I walk up to the very front carriage of this eight-car train. I always sit here, on the left, away from the people. I put my feet up on the seat opposite.
There are some people looking in the window, they get on at East Croydon.
I left my phone on that Brighton train, ran back to see if it was there… nay. I think it went because of my railing against consumer electronics and my dismissal of it as a petty tool of capitalism. I’ll be back on my Nokia brick soon enough. I am feeling quite free of material shackles, as I didn’t feel bad to lose it at all- usually there is a sinking feeling and crushing terror- this time, I was fine. I did miss sending someone a text though, showing I’m thinking of them.
But then the bus didn’t turn up- I asked the guy what was going on, and he called the bus- the driver had gone home early. He made another one come down- I was the only one on it- and it raced straight to Kings X, just in time to miss the last train.
I asked when the next one was, and he said there was a bus to St. A at 4:30. Ok… Then he mentioned the clocks go back, so it would be another hour of waiting with that infernal tick.
I ran to Euston, (passing a karaoke session where someone was singing “Caught the midnight train going anywhere”) and just made an Overground service to Watford, where I thought I could walk along the railway line to St. A (I did this once years ago, no trains on it after hours). Tickets please.
However, once I found the platform, there were engineering works on it, so I couldn’t just walk in and disappear into the darkness along the tracks… So I walked through industrial estates that looped me backwards and sideways like a slalom, until I found the next station- more engineering. Someone said “Alright geezer” to me, in a darkened alley. Nice chap.
Some young people at a house party gave me directions, so incredulous of my attempt to walk to St. A that they got their friends out to hear my tale, then tried to pile cans and fags on me. I took a Coke and cracked it, firing off into the night, music quietening.
I walked along a massive dual carriageway, soaked in sodium light, lorries blasting by, until I no longer felt up to the challenge. Up until this point I felt like Ulysses, and things seemed good and true. I do like a walk. Then I wanted my trial to end, and a cab blasted by on the other side: I threw my hat into the air, waving him over, and he actually stopped, brought me to St. A, to my bike, after a nice chat about people who run out of cabs. He made me pay in advance.
Now home. I never thought I’d see it again. I really enjoyed the journey, it did feel like a spiritual quest, even though I ducked out before the 12 mile Promethean jaunt.
So, feeling good, loved the night out- that bracing sea air is good for you! But I ain’t never going to Brighton again.