Saturday, 30 July 2011
How did it come to this........?
It's nearly ten years. Ten bloody years, since we moved out of Hackney, back to my home village in North Yorkshire.
Beirut to Bradford. Post modern to pre-industrial in 200 miles. That has to be the cheapest and quickest form of time travel there is.
I said I would never go back.......how wrong can you be? Completely, utterly and totally, it appears.
I blame Hugh F W. That and a diet of gastro-porn and too many expense account dinners.
You actually start to believe that you are important, that your company can't function without you and that you'd probably curl up and die if the company car and company credit card had to go back. All that and a nagging sense that you probably shouldn’t have spent so much, on so little.
Not much to show for 20 years; a bigger belly, a more marinated liver and a growing sense that if you have blow any more smoke up an American arse, just a little bit more of your soul is going to give up the ghost. Yet, that's what you do. That's the way it is.
Fuck your life, fuck your marriage, fuck your health.... as long as the bottom line gets filled, no one gives a damn. Keep focused, eyes on the prize. God forbid that you actually think about what the prize is. More of the same, work until you're seventy; retire and vegetate for six months, die. All of your clients and most of your colleagues will have forgotten about you in six months.
Most of the metrosexuals that worked with me won't see fifty. Stress, jetlag, bad sex and booze aren’t conducive to longevity. And that's just the straight ones.
Stepping away from this was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life. Hate it with a passion, but at least if you hate, you feel something. I've forgotten the number of meetings that I sat in where I'd have gladly slit my wrists to relieve the boredom, yet this was my life for just about 20 years. Resilient or stupid; make your own mind up?
How life has changed. The constant irony of life here in the North is that absolutely nobody who knows me up here has a fucking clue what my old life was like. Half of them aren't capable of reading and understanding what I have written and for the rest; mostly they don't care..... I might as well have been living on Mars. Life on........?
A passport is viewed with suspicion in these parts. If you look a little different, well.......you should have a thick skin and a long fuse; you are going to need both in equal quantity.
For the first couple of years, I kept bumping in to people, mostly in pubs, whom I finally recognised. Let's face it none of us has aged that gracefully. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Most, I had spent time with at school; All of them, I hadn't set eyes upon for 25 years; most I couldn’t have cared less if I didn’t see for the next 25 years; most hadn't travelled more than 50 miles in a single journey.
Without exception, they all told me the same thing; that thing that I already knew. London sucks. It is the well-spring of evil, the locus of all the hurt in the world and the most unfriendly place this side of Kandahar. Very insightful, if........ If; you had ever set foot in the capital city. If; you had ever bothered to spend some time embracing the smoke, only to find that expectations pall, wither and die. If; you find that London is a demanding and frigid mistress. If; you had ever bothered to travel beyond the limits of heredity and line.