The doctor was bearded and sympathetic and where he said he would be.But for the second time today I'm looking into the eyes of a medical professional who clearly thinks there "is something wrong with me". And as usual there was the lingering expectancy hanging over the question of my smoking and drinking. There must be something about my flushed and grizzled appearance that suggests that my every leisure hour is spent scouring the gutters for dog-ends and discarded cans of tenants extra. It could be the jacket and boots of course. I may think that I look suave in my velvet collared, charcoal-grey Edwardian over-coat and keenly buffed ox-blood Dr. Martens but squint and it's a navvy in a donkey jacket about to artlessly resurface your patio. In the seventies.
Actually I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the billion or so shiny reflective surfaces that Canary wharf has to offer and realised that I looked like a leading expert in my field about to be interviewed on BBC 4. Though I have no field.
I'm writing this in "The Prospect of Whitby" pub looking out at the blue, white and brown of the Thames. As the tide swells each wave the flat plane of the water turns the exact shade of Kelly's eyes in sunlight. It may be my favourite colour.
Just as Limehouse revealed no Golems and Fu Manchu or "Brilliant" Chang were not hiding around each corner there are no vampires in "The Prospect of Whitby". There is a big picture of Arthur Daly and Terry McCann giving it the thumbs up however. There aren't even any goths just toothy cockneys eating fish and chips.
One of the cockneys gets a telephone call; his ring-tone is the "Benny Hill theme". He lets it ring for a good twenty seconds before answering and I tut loudly. He answers:
"Yeah, no, back from the hospital. Yeah, no, she has to have the leg off! Says she's still got the other one though..."
I feel like a heel!
Later the same man bounds up to me and asks for a light. When I tell him I have no light as I don't smoke, he nods and farts incredibly loudly before walking away. I don't have the social aptitude to deal with this sort of situation!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
On my way to the spa town of Basers Basers for "The Cure". The cure, if my mother has anything to do with it, will be two litres of French red and a cheese course the colour of a Swedish flag. My mother knows I like three things: red wine, blue cheese and fois gras. And regardless of my dietary needs these luxury essentials are always there.
In order to avoid this I have attempted surprise visits in the past. But this has invariably lead to a long cold wait outside the house (I have no key - my brother borrowed and lost them all), a bollocking for not telling her I'm coming and then a trip to Morrisons to stock up on lark's tongue and truffle wine and a wheel of veal cheese.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Healine in today's Sun: "Return of the T.V. morons". It was actually announcing the return of Beavis and Butthead but could realistically apply to anything currently appearing on any channel at any time. Beavis and Butthead do at least have a clear and sustained critical voice, putting them head and shoulders above most modern television fodder. I expect to see them join BBC4's flagship Arts strand.