A Hazy Weekend

The time is currently 09:24 and I find myself sat on a train back home to Manchester. All that I can hear around me is the Mancunian accent; all that I can see are shabby looking students and unkempt old men. The smell of last night’s alcohol fuelled binging hangs in the carriage like a cheap hooker’s perfume the morning after the night before. Oh… the lady sat behind me may be the reason for that. This train certainly is Manchester bound!

However, don’t be confused dear reader, for it is out of affection for my hometown that I can confidently pick up on and knowingly expect all of it’s flaws, and in fact is part of the reason for my love-affair with all things northern/Mancunian which has shown itself since moving away in June of 2007 with the aspiration of setting up a better life for myself in London.This is only my second time back after leaving the city behind me, the last time was only two weeks ago. There is a sense of adventure about me, and despite the early hour, I am excited.

But I jump ahead of myself. How do I get from lesbians on the BBC to a train bound for Manchester? And did I have a fun time getting here? Of the latter, of course I did – I always do – and of the former, I will relay the tale back to you now. Have you a coffee, a nice biscuit and the soothing sounds of Macy Gray on in the background? You have? Then I shall begin… 

Friday was the last day of my holiday time for 2007-8 and was a day that I had been looking forward to for weeks. Tom had very kindly invited me to his house party and I was both nervous and excited. As some people may be aware, I am painfully shy at times, especially around new people, and this was the first house party invitation that I have ever accepted! I arrived early in order to help Tom get set up (I don’t think that I have ever seen as much pop in one place as in Tom’s fridge – what would the collective noun for all of that drink be and isn’t it a jolly good thing that nothing exploded?? That would have been disastrous and caused a crater about the size of the O2 Arena!)

We went up to the Tesco at Lewisham in order to pick up some tonic water (I know! How do you forget that you need tonic water? Pfft! Hehe) and I must say, it was an ‘interesting’ place. Outside the Tesco we encountered a gang of teenage mothers encircling their pushchair bound babies like a pack of rabid dogs. All of the girls were effing and jeffing loudly whilst smoking and covering the children in ash. There was so much nylon and polyester there that I’m surprised that that one spark from a lighter didn’t set the whole lot up! The assistant at Tesco was painfully moronic and took to smashing the bottles of alcohol that we were trying to buy against the security tag remover thing as heavily as she could, whilst managing to bark ‘ID’ and grumble about her break time to the checkout girl opposite at the same time. It was a relief to get back onto the DLR and to Tom’s to be honest! Lewisham clearly wasn’t made to be Gari-friendly.

On reflection, I think I managed to hold myself rather well at the party. I was fine at first when meeting a chap called Alan, and then Alex N, his Italian friend Valerio and Robin were the next to turn up, but I did get rather shy when other people started to arrive, and notably I ended up standing quietly by the kitchen, slowly taking the atmosphere in, until Tom came by in a whirlwind and literally threw me into the middle of the room and forced me to socialise. Best thing he could have done really, and I’m very glad that he did it as it made me get over the shy thing and hopefully made a few new friends through the course of the evening (my Facebook contact list has notably been expanded somewhat). I did end up drinking far too much (I even ended up on Singstar doing R.E.M’s Losing My Religion against Alan and I only missed out on winning by a couple of hundred points – I had like 3700 and he had 4100) and so I hope that I didn’t come across negatively to anybody. My sincere and humble apologies if I did! Mogwai and Scott arrived quite late in the evening and though I hadn’t really had chance to socialise with them much at previous social occasions, it was nice to see familiar faces and get to chat to people whom I don’t always get chance to keep up with. I can remember Scott showing me his iPod thing and I was VERY impressed with it. No, iPod thing is not a euphemism for a man’s doo-dah! :oP

I think Tom deserves a medal for his efforts at the party. He was the perfect host throughout and everyone that I’ve spoken to since has said what a wonderful time they had. He still seems to have a mountain of pop to get through and so I think we’ll be seeing a very bouncy, hyper-happy Tom for a number of weeks to come!!!On Saturday I didn’t end up getting out of bed until 3pm (so a nice 12 hour sleep – woo \o/) and instantly regretted doing so – the hangover was excruciating!! I mustn’t have been on the gin all night (we ran out of tonic) otherwise my head would have been fine, I’m sure hehe. I was introduced to the delights of Eddie Izzard once I’d managed to drag myself to the living room, and despite the hangover I even managed to giggle once or twice.  The Simpsons movie followed, as did Family Guy and X-Files. Watching QI was a lot of fun as always and I now come away desperate to find a copy of the soundtrack that I can download. We even treated ourselves to fish and chips (I did offer to cook!) which were fabulous, especially as they were so reasonably priced. In Muswell Hill you normally pay £5-8 for a good bit of fish, whereas in SE London you only seem to pay £3 max.

Waking up at 7:30 this morning for a 9:36 train was something of a chore. I was feeling all happy and snugly and so the last thing that I wanted to do was to get up and ready. Still, I managed to tear myself out of bed, introduce Tom to Millicent and Henry and hurriedly get ready in good time to be on the DLR to Lewisham; the 08:23 to London Bridge; the northern line to Euston; and park my bottom down onto the train where you currently find me.As I am on expenses, I ‘treated’ (note the loose terminology) myself to a Burger King breakfast thing – it was basically a whole English breakfast on a muffin! In the station, I was sat right next to Jamie and Violet from Coronation Street – I was quite star struck I must say hehe! I just sat there in subdued awe and may possibly have been drooling… I am not sure… it’s all a blur! :oP

So yes, I’m very excited about going back home to Manchester, despite the weird collective of people on my train, but to be frank, if I may, I’d much rather start this day over again, if only so that I could be all happy and still snuggled up in bed.

Thanks for reading xx

About Gari

Northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.

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