Meewella | Fragments

The Life of P

Month: September 2004

Curry Night (Extended Version): 48 Hours Later

Oh, Dicko!The original plan was to extend the traditional Thursday night Curry Night by heading back to Phil’s flat in London afterwards to continue the revelry. Zaki came up with the bright idea of moving the venue to an alternative Weatherspoons in London Victoria. Well, great idea in principle, until we discovered that Andie was having an informal leaving do of sorts down at the Skylark, having naturally assumed we would all be there just as we had been for the last three months! So we adjusted our plans and I was really glad I managed to see her before we disappeared to our respective universities. And not just for the pole dancing photographs of herself that she inadvertantly passed around the entire table…

tunneling to Leicester Sq.From the ‘Lark, Phil, Dicko, Zaki, Sarah (Zaki’s Liverpudlian friend from Exeter) and I headed up to London. First stop Brixton, where we left Dicko’s car and picked up some alcohol from Zaki’s house; then on to Vauxhall Bridge where Phil lives in a swanky flat with a balcony that looks out to both the Thames and the MI6 heaquarters next door! We drank, watched DVDs, PS2ed and chatted until around 2am when we developed collective munchies and discovered the one flaw to the scarily clean apartment – no munchies. So we headed off on foot to Leicester Square where we grabbed some Burger King and McDonalds before splitting the cost of a cab back to the flat.

thames lifebuoysZaki and Sarah decided to leave soon after, taking a night bus back to Brixton while Phil, Dicko and I settled down with both volumes of Kill Bill lined up. I was already tired and admitted I might drop off, while the other two seemed wide awake. So obviously after crossing some metaphysical time barrier I perked up while Dicko fell fast asleep. As the movie wound to a close, Phil and I fired up the PS2 and switched between beating the crap out of each other in 3 different games and then crashing cars as spectacularly as possible Burnout 3-style. Eventually it dawned on us that it was about 8am (pardon the pun; and there’s great view when the sun streams across the Thames and through those huge balcony windows), and far too late to go to bed, so we shrugged and started planning breakfast.

can you tell who it is yet?It took us nearly two hours to convince Dicko that he was going to come with us to Leicester Square for breakfast at Garfunkle’s café. The fact he needed a lift from Phil back to his car in Brixton was the clincher in the end. So we headed off once more on a route that was fast becoming familiar. Re-energised by quick meal, we headed off on an aimless wander around London, managing to bump into Rolf Harris in Leicester Square where he was posing for press photos promoting…a promotion. Phil wanted a photo and since I had my camera with me, eventually I acquiesced.

Dicko offered me a lift back to Croydon where I finally managed to set up my student account (although unfortunately was too late to catch Clare and other people from work who were meeting up for drinks that afternoon). And now, having eventually returned home, I am absolutely shattered having been up for very nearly 2 days straight.

london by day/night

Quitting Your Job…Priceless

what I won't missLast day of work today. Having only been there a handful of weeks it was not terribly emotional (especially since half of that team are being made redundant at the end of the month and some of them have been there for around sixteen years!). Nevertheless, it felt weird to think that I wouldn’t have a job until Christmas at the earliest, or that I was eating my last Pret sandwich for a long while. Actually, right after work, taking money out of the cash machine I suddenly felt guilty for withdrawing again. It’s somewhat depressing to realise that your balance isn’t going to go up anymore and it’s only downhill now. Although I cheered myself up by remembering I still had two week’s pay to come in.

and what i willIt was also Toby’s last day so we had intended to meet up for lunch. As he was unavoidably detained, I left on my own, marginally irritated. I ended up bumping into this Hindu spiritual guru who said he wanted to chat to me. Having nothing better to do with my time, I agreed. Essentially he just wanted money. However, he did manage to produce Friya’s name on a piece of paper before I’d mentioned her name. Now that was a neat trick I hadn’t seen before…

Comfortably Numb

one of THOSE nightsI’d never actually been to Walkabout before. Generally my experience with bars is that they’re a little too cramped, crowded and (above all) loud for my taste. Which it was. But tonight was the first time that I really enjoyed how small a world Croydon can be. The night was intended for just meeting up with a few of the old Downside gang (well, Toby and Mark, really, and whoever they’d dragged along). Pretty much the crowd at Mark’s house party, really. Though I would not be drinking nearly so much night tonight. Or dancing. Well, that was the plan…

the thinking menAt The Goose, where I met up with Toby and co., I bumped into Mandy who was having her farewell celebration. Quick chat and a “bye”, and we were off to Walkabout. It wasn’t too crowded and drinks were cheap before 9:00. And then other people started turning up. First it was Katie and Sophie, then Ally, then Anna, her big bro, and Iain and the other Ally (of the male variety), and then Jon, and Dave Aldridge (my old RS teacher!) and his girlfriend with whom I chatted for a while. I explained it wasn’t quite the same as having any other ex-teacher there, not only because he’s young, but because we had one-on-one lessons we spent many of them critiquing bars in Croydon anyway! There was even some girl who recognised me from church who may or may not have been underage…

end of part oneOriginally I figured I’d leave early but I had a sudden craving for chicken. Lots of chicken. So Toby and I decided to go to Rooster’s together afterwards, which of course meant I had to stay until things wrapped up at about 2am. It was cool though, with the myriad of people I knew. Anna kept me entertained with tales of her European adventures, and I’d missed her company while she was away. We ended up dancing for a while (in a more civilised and enjoyable fashion than Mark’s, for those wondering!) and she got a little too excited that some attractive girl was checking me out which admittedly made me a little nervous. So I stopped. I wasn’t in the mood…

flashback: whitgift centre[flashback to earlier in day] 10am, sitting in the office slogging through a tonne of leftover work due to the Camden excursion, which all needed to be done for a meeting that ran throughout the morning. I knew Friya hadn’t been great last night, so checked to make sure she was better. She wasn’t. So I sped through the work and took an extended lunch break (well, she extended it) to look after her. Turned up with Thornton’s chocolate which guarantees an instant improvement and then left her, much calmer, with Sophie an hour and a bit later.

After work I met up with the two again since Sophie is shortly off to Australia forever. Well, a year. But still. Because I was meeting the guys later on, going home would be a problem. So nipped off to the toilet and changed into casual clothes I’d conveniently brought with me to work. I found the girls sitting by the fountain in the Whitgift Centre, out of indecision mostly. We chatted for a few hours before taking Sophie to the station. I could tell Friya was finding it hard, but it was a quick goodbye so not overly emotional. I walked Friya back and put her on her bus before going on to The Goose to meet people…

end of part 2[flashforward to end of the evening] 3am, outside Rooster’s, Toby and I have finished our chicken and onion rings (though their burgers may be okay, their pieces of chicken really aren’t). Toby was a bit subdued after the manager of Walkabout had become irate about advertising photos for without his permission. Which makes little sense since essentially we’re promoting a good night out at Walkabout. As we wandered back in the general direction of South Croydon and Sanderstead, a girl who likes him turned up and demanded to be taken back to his house. In his current state he ended up agreeing. So, given that the last bus left about three hours earlier, I shrugged and began the hike home. It was quiet and dark and suited my slightly pensive mood because of all the people I’d seen today. I was still struggling to work out how I felt about many of them and what was going on in my head. Mostly, trekking back up the hill to my house, I just felt numb. But in the darkness, listening to soft 3am radio music through my phone, it was comfortably numb.

“How could I possibly be expected to handle work on a day like this?”

friya by the lockUtilising the Ferris Bueller approach to work, I decided to take today off and escape to Camden with Friya. And frankly, it was one of the more fantastic days off I can remember (up there with Toby and my London shopping escapade on a Vodafone sickie). And Friya was also a Camden virgin, so to speak, which made the whole thing doubly exciting. Having met up in Croydon at midday, we headed down to Camden was a bit of strain given the handful of hours sleep we’d had between us. Nonetheless, my stumbling navigation got us there fine and we were soon breathing in the fresh(ish) scent that is Camden air.

First taking her into the small market near the station, she immediately and inevitably fell in love with the vibrancy of the place, as well as the t-shirts and jewellery. We would later return and buy the majority of our purchases from here, in fact. We then wandered off to the lock and surveyed the (somewhat limited) view from the bridge while before heading off for some serious shopping. Top of the list was an attempt to find a suitable corset for her, although we were unfortunately unsuccessful. The one’s we loved were out of our price range and so I advised she just come back again once she’d been working for a while, rather than spending money on something that was just okay.

pensive handsWe grabbed food from a Chinese stall for lunch, which only took Friya about twenty minutes and four laps of food area to pick. No really, that’s actually better than usual for her! We took it back to the lock and ate there, though afterwards she claimed to be too full for the chocolate crêpes she had been eyeing up earlier. I swear her food must expand to four times its original sized after she nibbled at it.

Before heading back to Croydon I picked up a new ring from The Black Rose, and a replacement for an old thumb ring of mine (à la Lestat) which I’d lost in Hertfordshire. In the first market we also grabbed a bunch of t-shirts, including a black and white Marlon Brando Godfather print, a Thundercats one, and my personal favs which were two Tarantino-inspired ones with the Samuel L. Jackson’s “AK-47” and “Ezekiel” speeches respectively. Also picked up one with a mild slogan for her sister, after being vetoed repeatedly by Friya. So one said, “Nobody knows I’m a lesbian.” and another, “Why doesn’t barbie get pregnant? / Cos ken comes in another box.” (and those were the less offensive ones). She’d have liked them.

Ezekiel 25:17Back in Croydon we went to see Hellboy, which I thoroughly recommend to anyone who is just expecting a top notch comic book movie. If you don’t like comic book style action and humour, don’t expect anything more. That’s all there is to it, but paced and directed wonderfully by Guillermo del Toro (of Blade II fame, and also Cronos for those who really know their Mexican vampire film lore – yes, that’s you Sammy!! I’m already a big Ron Perlman fan, and he’s stunningly perfect as the impossibly huge and laconic Hellboy, who’s the sort of unwilling hero who would much rather be at home with a large bowl of chili, but hey, if he has to save the world then he’ll do that too…
As usual Friya loved the bit with the kittens. And possibly for the first time ever, so did I.

The Corruptors

the corruptorI knew last night would be awkward. But knowing in advance always helps. As does having a Martin around. Am unbelievably grateful that he was there too! So, Friya’s party. We all met up at the Bagatti’s and once Sophie had finished inadvertantly insulting Lily (greeting her with, “have you shrunk?” and later trying to make up for it with, “no, that’s not what I mean. I just meant…you’re really short.”) we escaped inside and away from the rather cold night. Friya was wearing a stunning miniskirt though it did make me feel a little cold just looking at her. Inside, i started to relax, arguably aided by half a bottle of white wine and a whisky. Conversation flowed easily enough (again, aided by an already intoxicated Martin) and presents added a little spark too.

martin and friyaHaving discovered the wonderful all-purpose giftness of baked beans, I couldn’t resist being creative again. The result was a personalised Gap Year Survival Kit for Friya which consisted primarily of Viennese Thornton’s chocolate bars (the staple self-indulgent food of any good gap year). The prerequisite 2 tins of baked beans were present, of course, coupled with dental floss, a pepper grinder, 20 plastic spoons, 50 tissues, and most importantly a carrot. With a bow. If you wish to know the purpose of any of these (surely they’re self-explanitory!?) just ask me. Or better yet, just make “carrot” references to Friya.

tipsy shirazBack to hers afterwards and we crashed on sofas while Martin mixed cocktails. Woo-Woo was the drink of the night (1 part peach schnapps, 1 part vodka, mix with cranberry juice, serve in a highball glass with lime) and he and I decided her li’l sis Shiraz deserved some fun too. So we poured her some fun and she got a li’l merry and enjoyed herself a lot (mmm, that chocolate-craving-inducing book, girl!), amidst a few evil looks and weak protestations from Friya. It was all above board, but maybe we were pushing it a bit.

mr. friya - err - engineerAnd then we wandered off with her dad…ended up chatting with him in his garage/workshop with over a glass of Laphroaig and some toast things with melted cheese. Surreal. But it was very relaxed, in sharp contrast to the start of the night. After deciding to be more sociable once more and returning to the rest of the gang, we got a lift back home with Sophie (who’s leaving for an entire year in Australia unbelievably soon, but I know she’ll have a crazily good time) and Martin let me in for a quick sip of a rathe fantastically impressive whisky. This very special J&B is so indescribably smooth that, well, that I can’t describe it, I suppose. Still, wonderful end to a night that finished with me crawling back into the house at about three. I was in bed by four. And then up again by ten this morning. Tired, but blessedly free of any considerable hangover.

Ahh, That Fresh Brixton Air…

heinz baked beansDrowning myself in work has begun to take its toll on me, but last night in Brixton was definitely rejuvinating. It was a strange experience to find myself in a room in a hazy room in Brixton with people from all over the country. I’d actually met a few of Zaki’s uni friends before, Georgie at a curry night and the House Tree visit, so it was cool to see her again. The whole evening had exactly the chilled, mellow mood I needed given how hectic and overwhelming certain things have felt recently.

Chop and I met up in Victoria and accidentally bumped into Sophie who was also heading to Zaki’s. She decided she wanted to get him a birthday card, but then I saw Special K bars and figured it was fairly obvious which Zaki would appreciate more (Sophie vehemently disagreed but has since relented). Once in Brixton, as we left the underground station, she decided to pick up a bottle of wine for him too, so stepping into Sainsbury’s I swiftly hunted down two tins of Heinz baked beans (the only food he could actually cook) and a box of chewy chocolate chip cookies. Whilst the wine was admittedly a lovely gesture, Zaki definitely loved the quirkiness of the baked beans, which he did eat that night. As for the cookies, everyone was raving about them, asking who bought them. Except Alexia. Because she’d noticed they were on discount.

"Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has."

(CC) BY-NC 2004-2023 Priyan Meewella

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