Wednesday, 31 August 2011


It is in Jackie Fielding’s honour that I chose the vegetarian option for my dinner. That was on the train, the 17 :25 to London King’s Cross (a “225 electric service”) where, by an outlandish lavishness that suits my not-frugal-in-the-slightest nature, I had paid the extra fifteen quid to travel First bloody class. First bloody class !!!
Without any disrespect to the rest of the Pantheon that constitutes my friendship group, Jackie Fielding is the most noble, loyal and adorable woman I could have the privilege of knowing, as the following anecdotes might show.
Let me add that it was entirely in my own honour that I chose the Gin ‘n’ Tonic option for my pre- during- and après-dinner.

The title of this post is “Japprehensive”: that is how I am feeling. There are three possible explanations for this:
(1) – I always get a little nervous before air travel. Naturally, a feeling of apprehensiveness before a flight to the Land of the Rising Sun would be a feeling of Japprehensiveness, whatever the word processor’s devilish red squiggles might protest.
(2) – the organisers of the program have given us absolutely no information for our arrival. A gang of ten ex-students will rock up on a rock on the other side of the world: and then what…? Perhaps there’ll be a welcome party; I’ve always wanted to be greeted at an airport by someone holding a sign with my name on it, a desire that is yet to be fulfilled. If not, what do we do? Pub I suppose. Perhaps I’ll run away and join a Sumo training camp (like Al-Qaeda but with less facial hair and less Islam): one day I’ll be like “Fat Baaaarstard” from the Austin Powers films. Anyway, this is cause for concern.
(3) – the most likely explanation for my feeling Japprehensive is my desperate sorrow at once again leaving behind my parents and my people. Paris is one thing, and Fukuoka quite another.

The Japprehensive feeling is compounded by various factors relating to my own suitability to get to and survive on the other side of the world.
l-OBS: Brahms’s strings, Tchaikovsky’s soul and Enrique’s Iglesias swimming in my ears, I had a rummage in my backpack, looking for my phone charger. Naturally, I had left it on my computer table at home. This adventure begins, then, with an extremely low OBS[1] rating, and brings my credibility into choking disrepute.
unSUITableCASE: about a year ago, I was in London, staying with Joolz Collins in Clapham. Despite the interventions of that Nirish beauty, the suitcase I had with me, soundly buggered, had to be abandoned by a bin on the north edge of the Common. I had a panicked stroll down to the Tube station to find a replacement case. The shop I found was, of course, dodgy and, of course, a rip-off, but as we’ve all said to ourselves: oh balls to it, I’m desperate. I thus acquired the gayest suitcase in the known luggagiverse, appropriately decorated with images of the Eiffel Tower, and reminders of my destination:
je paris que vous avez pari que c’était Paris.
My failure to head all of the warnings manifest in the manifest dodginess of the Clapham Suitcase Emporium came to a rather sore head this morning when the bottom of the bloody thing disappeared and the bloody handle snapped in the middle of Central Station. Buggery.
Jackie “Leads-young-boys-astray” Fielding/Boob “Banter but bad influence” Reay: the two of them took me out last night, against my will, and forced me to drink an awful lot of tasty, reasonably priced, alcoholic drinks, thereby succeeding in their attempts to give me an awfully sore melon this morning.
The combination of all of this has contributed to the weird feelings in my tummy. Notwithstanding, though, the Hellespont (as I’ve been calling it: the bridge between Greece and Asia) has been a bittersweet vignette, igniting all of my enthusiastic adoration for the north east of England and its people. We’ve eaten so well: Flavours Indian Buffet with its lovely lovely Lady’s fingers, the new noodle restaurant near the gate. We’ve looked so good: my bebronzèd parents lending untoward glamour to the usual warmth of 27 Blagdon Avenue. We’ve supped of the milk of human kindness (and put it in coffee too, probably): the ladies in the Post office have all been gorgeous, on repeat, and Boob “Biggest Gun in the Borough” Reay bought my dinner.
The milkiest afternoon, however, has been this very one, 31st August. Seeing me snap the handle off my bloody case, and my peculiar distraught reaction, the said Fielding undertook to herd us to a café, hunt down a replacement suitcase, forget to ask the lady in the Grainger Market to keep it, go to try and buy it, find that it was sold, take me to Debenham’s and insist, insist, insist (“I’ll break your fucking nose” etc) on buying me a voluptuous violet valise to lighten my labours and remind me why leaving love is a loss. And it is.

And so it is that in the Newark twilight, my mother’s waving fresh in my solemn memory, I am aware, surprised, of the Japprehensiveness that erupts from my adrenal gland and makes the heart beat a little faster.  Adventure, here I come. Sadness-tinged excitement, here I come. Piss, here I come.

[1] This is classic banter. The OBS score of a person or event relates to and is a measure of the shittogetherness that can be associated therewith. 

1 comment:

  1. Ganderson - if all of your blog entries are this fabulous then you can guarantee I will be logging on to read them daily! Have a wonderful time my darlin! Looking forward to hearing all your tales, and already looking forward to you coming home! Love you loads! Japes xxx