The only free spot is by the pool table – less than ideal for a date. Standing comes with pitfalls, though – too close, too far away – so he sits down. Should he have waited outside? The place’s packed, she’ll have trouble finding him.
He is certifiable levels crazy for her. He’s afraid it’ll show. She arrives late, which, in a way, is good. His nerves have settled.
‘My favourite table. How did you know?’
‘I had a hunch.’
‘We’ll have to play, obviously. Let me win and you’re my favourite guy.’
No trouble letting her win – he’s never played pool before.
It’s just gone 7am and you are thinking about waking up. You are questioning the music selection on the BBC 6Music Breakfast Show – how are you supposed to wake up to this subdued stuff? It’s 7:11, it’s January, you don’t need gloom.
You’ve got plenty of gloom yourself.
And then Shaun Keaveny says the words which do two things: justify the musical mood and wake you up with a jolt. You heard that wrong. It can’t be true.
You let it sink in.
And you wonder: Will he sing Under Pressure with Freddie again?
You’d like to think so.
Let’s all thank our lucky stars that we were – for a while at least – alive at the same time as David Bowie.
He doesn’t bother looking. She’s become too squeamish, coming to her rescue every time a bug scares her won’t help.
‘What if it stings?’
‘Them buggers haven’t hatched, I wouldn’t think. It’s January.’
‘Ain’t no bluebottle, though. It terrifies me.’
She stifles a scream. Exasperated, he goes into the other room. She’s cowering in the corner, shielding herself with a book. He freezes before he sees it hovering above her. It’s the sound out of his nightmares – the sound of a hornet drone. He curses the day he had the idea.
I must have been four. My uncle must have been in love with Debbie Harry. I don’t remember but we must have listened to all of Parallel Lines in his Beetle. On the way to or from our hotel, Heart of Glass always seemed to be playing when we traversed the level crossing; little me had convinced herself that going over the crossing while listening to the song meant we’d get hit by a train. I wailed every we went over the train tracks. I drove everyone bonkers.
Isn’t it funny that it’s one of my all-time favourite songs now?
Some of the group simply don’t want to talk about it, they’re sitting away from the rest and try to drink their memory clean. The rest analyses what we’ve seen. And naturally, the doubts come creeping back in. What we’ve seen these last few weeks before tonight, was that the real deal? Or is that the nightmare performance we’ve witnessed? Yes, of course, say the pessimists. No, it was just a fluke, say the optimists.
You never know, do you?
They could have gone to the top. Instead, they got a spanking left us disappointed.
It’s the one day when it is worth getting up early to go to Oxford Street. Because Central London will be deserted. You’ll stand in the middle of the Oxford and Regent Street crossing and if you’ve not been good, you may have to step aside for the odd taxi.
It isn’t, however, as empty as it used to be. Has it become a thing to post a selfie of oneself on London’s most congested road totally empty? Maybe it’s a fad, maybe you won’t have to get up before sunrise in the future anymore.
The Christmas wish list keeps growing. You are still waiting for an item you might be able to afford to make an appearance.
In the meantime, you check the charity shops several times a day. You find a few acceptable branded clothes in excellent nick; they cost more than you should spend, but it is Christmas. Some of them are even on the list. But you don’t have high hopes for Star Wars toys or the electronics which make up the bulk of the list.
It’ll be the usual for Christmas Day – chicken with a side order of massive disappointment.