Urban Shred by ecstaticist
Now I am back from vacation and each lunch time a cold wind, an urban wind that carries rain and also dust, howls through Westferry Circus. Outside Smollensky's chairs lie overturned and the evening crowd huddles indoors. On the pavements of the Wharf prowl disconsolate security guards, dressed as policemen, with bolt-cutters confiscating the unguarded cycle-locks of the hapless, and I? I have a chipped tooth that will force me, reluctantly, once more to visit the dentist.
It's the New Year (I cannot be the only person, surely, whose year begins in September?), but it's not yet a Happy one .... and sometimes all of our thoughts are misgivings.
The old year ended in August with two strange encounters: an old friend and I went on a date, and a cyber-friend became real:
The date was with Frustrated Poet, whom I have known twenty-five years, and our expedition was to admire Gay Icons... followed by dinner. No, not that sort of date, and the icons weren't all gay, either.
As FP and I ambled slowly around the National Portrait Gallery I amused myself feigning incredulity at the portraits we encountered Elton John? He's never gay! Will Young? get away! Hang on? Be serious now - Graham Taylor's gay? 1 Until, after a while, we tired of my game, and amused ourselves otherwise: quoting When Harry Met Sally, competitively, over fish and chips and a very fine bottle of Burgundy 2 My, we got some funny looks.
The cyberfriend, just a few days later, was none other than M4GD, regular of this blog, who revealed her true identity - and a surprise - when she met Mrs Botogol and I to listen to Pasadena Roof Orchestra playing a free gig in Canada Square ("Um, Good Evening, Canary Wharf" - well, let's just say: Glastonbury it wasn't)
Meeting an on-line acquaintance in real life is always an ineffably odd experience: I have done it several times and yet still I am unsure whether masks are truly dropped....or raised. On balance I suspect it's only on-line where you really know someone.
So, now, back from France (moules frite in the square, rose wine on the table, drunk too much, spent too much, penniless again) the rhythms of the New Year (school, rugby, sunday roasts, a new season at Richmond theatre) firmly re-assert themselves and by way of self-improving New Year resolutions I have joined the Royal Institute and booked my 2010 Triathlon.
At work for the next month or two we are mainly budgeting: for - at the centre of this institution that champions capitalism and thrives on risk, that makes decision on the minutest flicker of a price, in which millions of dollars turn on a basis point - at the centre of this institution there beats a Stalinist heart -- and we are updating our five-year plan.
(1) Not gay. And not totally overwhelmed with enthusiasm for being a Gay Icon either, by some accounts..
(2) Was it even two bottles?