On Wednesday for some reason I’m requested to be at work – as if I haven’t got anything better to do – and then at lunchtime I’m released for a while, on the condition that I’ll be back at my desk punching that keyboard in exactly one hour. And during this hour I walk around pretending that I’m a free spirit and in control of my own destiny, even though I painfully know by now that I’m a puppet, maybe a pawn even, in a game of chess that nobody knows how to play.
And what I choose to do with myself as I improvise my so-called life during this hour, is go in Borders and read the latest copy of the NME. The NME tells me that the band Ash are playing their album 1977 in an one-off concert at the Astoria in September, so when I go back in the office I email Enid and we book tickets to go. Surrounded by other former indie fans now in their late 20s / early 30s, we’ll be there and we’ll try to relive our youth, trying to ignore the knowledge of the broken dreams and shattered expectations that we’ve now grown so close to. Back in 1996, it was never meant to end this way.
Later that afternoon, A Girl sends me the lyrics to ___ by Elton John, a song that I’m not familiar with (even though I find out is really famous), but reminds me of a person that I obsess with at the moment and would like to drug, tie up, rape, kill myself in front of, and haunt for the rest of his life. As I haven’t heard this song before, but the lyrics tell me that I should, I spend a big part of the afternoon trying to imagine what the music might sound like. As I fail, I decide to read it as prose, which quite frankly works much better for me.
After the gym, I download this song, and by Thursday morning it has become my ninth most played song of 2008.
On Wednesday evening I set out my outfit for next day’s work (grey suit trousers from Zara, black leather shoes from unknown brand, white fitted shirt from the Gap, skinny black tie from Topman) and watch the Apprentice. The guy who I identified as the best looking candidate 12 weeks ago - here and here - when the series started (and therefore a major candidate for being treated favourably by the rest of the human race – the entire world to be honest), wins. I take that as a personal insult, a confirmation that this planet has not punished me enough yet, and I go to bed.
On Thursday lunchtime, I head for the tattoo place with A Girl to make an appointment. On the way there I’m feeling quite stressed, I’m embarrassed of turning up again and asking for more. Like a junkie going back for another methadone shot, fearful that they will turn me away (they know an addict when they come across one – they’ve seen this happen before: “and how many tattoos have you had in the last six months?”, “I’m afraid I can’t help you anymore. You’re going to have to leave”, etc) I go in.
I discuss what I want with the guy, he quotes me £130, A Girl comments that it’s not that much, the guy says “well, he’s a regular”, I can hear Mummy’s heart break into even smaller pieces at the thought of her only son being referred to as “a regular” at his local tattoo place (she’s unaware of this of course, but they know, they always do), I make an appointment, I leave.