Letting the train take the strain

erhaps the last five days in London were not that bad. Maybe folk

did look alive on the tube. just alive in another fashion. I was

canying a guitar and people looked like they thought I might play and then they would have to negate something bigger that just each other. the co-conspirators in the silencio. They knew they wanted to talk and had gotten sour now at their own familiarity with that apathy.

I got a lovely reaction from a lady prematurely grey and when I offered her with a clear ‘(‘herry Tune madam?’ she gave me the best ‘No‘ l have ever had. with a sliding of the eyes shut and a waving of the head and a lovely sound that looked as positive as a ‘Yes‘. I said: ‘lf you change your mind. please don‘t hesitate to ask. The taste of cherry is good . . . an amazing llavour.‘

Because I was sincere. I left the Cherry Tunes. for which. funnily enotigh. there was an ad above us. the Tunes constituting the stem of a snorkel with no words; just the concept —- that they help you breathe again through the ocean of your snot and set you on a vascular adventure among the reefs was enough. I left them sitting on my knee so that if she did change her mind. it was as easy as possible for her as they were still in sight. To request a sweetie from a pocket is a level of intimation a hand or two up in the poker-like hierarchy of underground interface.

livery now and then. the train might move enough to let the

Tunes fall into my inner lap canyon and I would bear the oddness of

laying them out again balanced.

By the end of the journey I needed a pee and asked if there were loos. She was from Kincardine and had been away from Scotland too long and had a problem with the journey and was Helen and as she left she said: ‘I hope it goes well with your waterworks.‘ with that familiar happiness face like in the glare of some laughing sunshine.

She got off at lil‘lingham and I got off at Guildford. Surrey. without a ticket and bought one from liftingham in order to leave. I stand playing my guitar waiting for Daniel Kitson and I am told to stop playing. I say I am not asking for money. They quote a bylaw. I say I don‘t believe them.

‘Ihopeitgoes . well with your waterworks’ ' '

They say: ‘Do you see the station master in the long black coat‘." I say: ‘No.‘ They say: ‘We are asking you to stop.‘ I say: ‘Chill out man. I am waiting for a friend. 1’“ be gone in two minutes.’ And they walk away.

On my initial joumey down. I had been most excited about the prospect of a little chat with a Hasidic fellow who was sitting behind me. belching and drinking many cartons of orange when two sixteen-year-old drama students sat down right opposite me. took out their make—up trunks and began a transfonnation from spotty girls into spotty girls with a lot of make-up on that surely can‘t be helping. The toxins are rising to the surface eager to finally breath and be free from

the body and. instead of some kind of snorkel. they get covered in non- porous animal-tested chemical pastes. One of them had a battery operated eyelash curler and I thought.

wow. what if there was a nuclear strike and all power cells go dead and you are left with an electric eyelash bender gripping your eyelash? r

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128 THE LIST 128 Mar ‘.l Apr 9002