Monday, January 03, 2005

December 24 (Christmas Eve Friday): Where’s Pete? This morning I wake up at 9.30. Ugh! I hate waking up later than I should and especially in a state of exhaustion.

I get up and check my post and there is a small Christmas card with a credit card bill wrapped around it. I expect it to be from Azmei but when I open it is from the Good Doctor saying “I hope this card finds you well”. The sentiment hits me like a punch and I almost cry. And this is a really nice gesture, one that should make me feel happy, so why do I react in such a way? I had considered sending her a card but I never got around to it, considering it perhaps improper (who buys their ex-shrink a Christmas card? Stalkers!). This is my first (and probably only) non-family Christmas card I receive in 2004 and its volumes compared to any other I might get.

The morning is pretty much a no no until around 11.45 when Chris calls and our plan for the day kicks into action. Unfortunately however this coincides with the Karate Kid beginning on TV, which is probably the greatest, most inspiring movie to kids in/of my generation. Wax on, wax off.

I get to his around 1PM and I bounce about his house, really chipper in the best mood for ages as I am so happy that people are back for Christmas and there will no be some fucking socialising going on. He cooks up some really nice food, some kind of pasta in top sauce. We head to town and with God smiling on us; once more I/we get the BEST parking space in town. We stagger into and in the very first shop we go in (MVC) I am able to find the CD present I have been searching for for mum in the sale (some cacky Pet Shop Boys compilation). And with that, my Christmas shopping is complete.

As we pace towards, me looking sheepish trying avoid faces I don’t want to see (ex-work colleagues mainly) we bump into Ben waiting at the bus stop. He tells me he likes my “beard” and asks us if we’re going to be out tonight. Deffo. Chris and I proceed do the thing in town, he needs to buy a few more gifts, not least flowers for his mum but when he goes to her work to drop them off, she has already left for home. In the shops it is only Christmas Eve and already the sales have started. And initial impressions are that they are not good. We finish off by heading to Wilkinson’s (cheapo shop of cheap shops) where I need to get sellotape and by fluke, in the sales for £1.50, I find the best gift for mum (some kind of bear holding/hugging bath salts). So cheap (me and the gift).

We head back to Chris’ house where I have been invited for dinner which is this fantastic tasting pizza. The hospitality I feel at the dinner feels foreign/alien to me and it is really really appreciated at these times of things kind of going tits up. This is a more functional family than my own.

Beyond dinner, Chris and I mess about on his computer before going out for the evening. At this point Tom texts to say that tonight he will be stuck in Yeldham, leaving it down to just me and Chris to face the evening. I also text Stevo, wishing him a Merry Christmas and he gets back to me, asking me if I want to go see Col U on Boxing Day. Sure thing.

On the way to going out to town, we stop by at my flat for a few pre-drinks drinks. Well, Chris does, I decide that I don’t want a hangover on Christmas Morning and neither can I be arsed to walk home at the end of tonight. I don’t even bother to have a couple in my flat. Instead, I whip out Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and we marvel in that for about an hour before heading out.

And when we head out, I speed drive over to Lucy’s new place just off North Station Road where she has a Christmas present waiting for Chris. As I tear along the roads, we both begin to get/feel itchy as my speed takes up a GTA edge to it and it is only by shear luck that the roads are clear at this time, otherwise I might/could be found driving into other cars, dragging them out of their cars and smashing in their skulls prior to speeding off in their cars. And Chris notices this twitch/urge also.

We arrive at Lucy’s new crib which she shares with Steve, a self proclaimed Gimme Gimme Gimme and it is a really fantastic house. We get there and some kind of Christmas Eve party seems in progress and Kim and Kathy are in the house also. The house is totally festive and it actually turns out to be the warmest feeling to actually go somewhere like this, where people are happy and excited (positive it seems). It all comes as a revelation when I mention I got the sack (Lucy works in the Job Centre of course) and I feel a bit more included than usual (of late) whereas I generally feel blanked by these peeps. Steve is Steve; he doesn’t change and still cracks me up as much as he offends me. A fluorescent beverage is passed around and it looks (to me) like the most potent drink ever known to man, like it was brewed in a laboratory. Chris decides to have two. Steve tells us all a Festive/Christmas joke “what is pink and smells of Holly? Ian Huntley’s cock”. Well, I guess it is the season of goodwill to ALL men.

We leave around 10PM and immediately to the Hogshead where Ben is apparently to be found. Upon arriving there I see Greeney outside, so it’s a sure-fire bet that Ben is around. When he appears, he is so pissed and when Ben is pissed, he’s a lover. And he tells me (once more) he loves my “beard”. And then his mate Thompson (with the world’s scariest mouth) goes “he looks like Olaf Mjellberg”. Who??? Apparently its some dude who plays for Aston Villa. I’ll never turn down a comparison to a Premiership footballer but I always thought the player in question was always Mark Viduka.

We chip straight towards to Arts Centre (where until now I was unlikely to go to, being off the sauce and all) and the queue is in control (ie short and not yet like Hillsborough). Mercs (Hurdle) is back in town and he looks as rock chic (trendy) as ever (the trend currently being Razorlight). He however feels offended when someone earlier in the evening points out that he looks like Ricardo from Channel Four’s The Salon. Ha ha, this should persuade him into a crew-cut now then. Ben however even manages to top this when he begins saying “Nadia off Big Brother, if you’d didn’t know she used to a bloke, you would”. As I said, Ben pissed is a loverman.

I repeat Steve’s joke to everybody and then I am the one that gets called out of order! I then point out to Ben how Col U fans earlier this year were singing “we love you Kilroy, we do” and it then also gets pointed out how Millwall fans were singing “there’s only one Boris Johnson” and we all look down holding our heads in shame, a moments silence if you will.

It’s a touch this evening when it is free to get into the Arts Centre club but first we have to get through the really heavy handed security that now appear to be enforcing even newer measures to create more bruises I believe. I guess it’s necessary.

Inside the Arts Centre it is pretty much death on a stick for a sober man. The turn out is light and not many faces are very recognisable. There is no real order to the music selection, just stuff the pissheads can recognise and sing along to. I am fucking knackered upon arrival, so a wallflower am I. I see the usual suspects in Nina and Staff with Emma and Sue working, more people to wave to. Whatever though, for some reason, against all odds/the elements, I have a really fantastic time. After weeks now of cabin fever and little in the way of socialising, it is great to be around peeps again. Chris on the other hand, pissed as, seems to be having a less than great time. The neon drink now appears to be taking hold of his internals as he buys drink after drink, even getting me Pepsis when I am fine. His bad mood prevents him from dancing whilst Ben’s gang (a crew much different to our own ex-Gringo crowd) whoop the night away whilst attempting conversation with ugly girls.

With only around ten minutes to spare (and the night now well into Christmas morning) Chris begins staggering and almost falls over, I just about manage to save him in the process. Time to leave. Goodbyes get said and we head.

As we leave through the entrance (which doubles as an exit!) outside the club is Robin and Chris overjoyed to see the guy. Nathan is there also, a guy who previously appears to have quite the disliking for me but he then goes “it’s James the internet guy”. Fuck off, that’s not my name. He apologies and then adds how he has read my blog and said it really entertained him. And my Christmas is made. Everyone appears drunk and jolly but Robin is the greatest, the happiest and most animated I have ever seen him. He speaks about nothing other than his new born daughter and it all sounds like the greatest, most exciting thing that can ever happen to a person. Generally I struggle with Robin but tonight I have never liked him more. Even if I am freezing my arse off standing outside whilst the drunkards talk bollocks. He asks if he can blag a lift and in this season of good cheer, I comply. Eventually we begin heading towards the motor only to be accosted by another person (some guy called Jimmy) who talks another twenty minutes of drunken bollocks and psychobabble about parenthood while we stand freezing. And the absolute worst thing about all this is that I can see in his hand he has food that is getting cold (going to waste) and I am absolutely starving!

We finally get moving and I drop Robin and Chris off at their homes, exchanging the best wishes and I get in at 3AM in the happiest of moods, feeling the best I have done for weeks. Forget the job shit, the exam shit and the Sara shit, its all miniscule in comparison to the vibes from these times.

I find myself struggling to sleep back home. On TV is Gone With The Wind but my interested for that movie pretty much goes with the wind within minutes. I see Phoebe Toronto online and I wish her Merry Christmas at 3.48AM (and it her birthday also). Tonight my heart beats faster as the old cliché about Christmas kicks in and I experience some kind of Scrooge-esqe epiphany (ho ho).

np: Bomb The Bass – Bug Powder Dust


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