This year’s WAY AGM was in the land of Shakespeare, at his home town of Stratford-Upon-Avon. So it was a surprisingly small train took us out of the hustle of London and away to a more tranquil town. Stratford really does make an impression. Emerging from the station to be surrounded by obvious regeneration and building sites isn’t necessarily a good one but we were very soon wandering through its mix of modern and wonderfully quirky old. Every corner seemed to hold another opportunity to exclaim “oh, look at that!”
About four years ago there was a trip to Edinburgh which in its own way led to a trip to Rochester, the start of something. It seemed worth celebrating and as Heather’s mum had bought me vouchers for a lovely lunch for Christmas it seemed a good opportunity to use them. So it was we headed off down to the seaside town of Whitstable.
A return to the O2 Arena, this time to see the Kaiser Chiefs. They were supported by Howl (who seem to have a track on the Fifa 17 soundtrack which explains my standing going “I recognise that from somewhere”) and Spring King, both of whom were quite good. The Kaiser Chiefs were also surprisingly better than I expected, giving a fine performance.
So I had to attend an entire church service today. Dear Lord, I’d forgotten how awful these things are, with there rote command and reply to demands to worship the unseen being. All while being told it doesn’t matter how you behave so long as you repent. I don’t need a hateful book (and yes, they read from the old testament) to tell me how to be good.
I was there for an Indoctrination, AKA christening. I don’t begrudge Ben his day but I’ll look after him despite the lack of the sky fairy’s approval.
At least I managed not to laugh out loud.
Okay then, have some photos:
In the Central, with memories. We sat about there. The seat was ripped. The gents was lacking a door. The jukebox was over there, far end. You always said you meant to play Magic Bus but you put on I Want To Know What Love Is. I already knew.
None of that’s here now. The memories are but none of the rest, or you. I’m not sad. I’m just sad.
And then Dakota; plays. You and I. And I think how many songs have you missed. I’m still not sad, honest.
Today I am forty. It reads as a significant number but only because it’s got a zero in the base we are used to thinking in. I may as well be 28b16 if we counted in hexadecimal, or 50b8 in octal or even 101000b2 binary (though those last two are also round—how about 34b12 in base 12?). The point is that it’s not actually a special point; just another trip around the star.
Yet it feels like it needs marking. This is of course the age Jan never reached, though I’ve been older than she will ever be for a month or more. It is the age that in youth seems such a long time off, a point that can never be reached. Yet it is reached, while not looking. And that not looking is important; life is not about round numbers, it is the things that happen while not staring at the time. So lets forget that its a silly number and get drunk instead!
It doesn’t matter who I’m travelling with, or not. Nor who is here or not. When I look out the train window and see lobba hill over the Team Valley on one side and Bensham on the other, I will always smile.