Written on the train home as I transferred from 46 to 47 years old.
I just had one of those stinky little moments of nostalgia iced with melancholy, or was it melancholy iced with nostalgia.
Tomorrow I will be 47.
This evening I performed at an event about space at the Science Museum.
Now I’m eating Licorice Allsorts on the late train home.
As I left the South Kensington pub, I realised that I spent my 19th birthday a few hundred yards away from here. That night, I drank Moosehead, a briefly popular Canadian lager. I drank too much and was then taken to Pizza Pomodoro (I forget the name of the pub, but it might have the name Elgin across the door frame). By the time I was in the restaurant, I was a little aware of my mind being in a fug. On the way home, the dough and tomato paste had irritated my stomach lining enough for it to require projection. This was at Bond Street station. I attempted to be sick in a platform bin. Sadly, the wire mesh was not enough to keep it in, and it emptied onto the platform. A late night tube worker walked by and told me to be sick over the edge of the platform in future. I had probably created an unpleasant cleaning issue for him.
The next bit may be a collage of memories. I rang my mum from Baker Street (no mobile phones in common ownership then) and told her what train I would be on. I think some kindly men both laughed at me and offered me support as my head swung loosely on my spine. I woke up at the end of the line. I rang home and explained my error. My dad fell asleep before he could relay this information to my mum, he would be returning from what had recently become “the wrong station”. As I shrunk and withered on the wall by Amersham on the Hill station, other less drunk drunks said, “you alright, mate” and similar. Eventually I was collected. The illusion of sobriety was destroyed by a new necessoity to vomit a few hundred metres into the journey. I opened the door and fell to mu knees on the verge.
The next day, I went to see the freshly released Withnail and I with my teetotal pals, Carolyn and Heather (happily I remain friends with them both. I wrote the film Razzle Dazzle with Carolyn a few years ago and it did reasonable business in Turkey, as listeners to Richard Herring’s RHLTP will know). I think we liked the film, but not quite as much as the brilliant Ralph Steadman poster.
And now 28 years have gone by.
Would I the boy that vomited on the tube platform be happy with the balding man who exists in this time?
i think he would be impressed by that he would have just done a gig to a few hundred people at the Science Museum. Basically, he would be happy that he was a professional comedian (twentysomething one would see his level of success as a failure, but thirtysomething him would have been impressed that he managed to turn down an advert that would have paid quite well).
That 19 year old would not have imagined having a child, but would be relieved that at least one woman would be prepared to have him as more than a helpful friend.
He would be quite amazed that he had gigged with Alexei Sayle and The Cure and Graeme Garden.
All in all, the 47 year old is not hampered by what could have been. Some of his incarnations may be disappointed, others would be elated. He would not have imagined the joy in being lego assistant to an eight year old.
Today, I woke up, spent time writing a book that may never be published, played some childish but addictive tank destruction game, went to the Notting Hill Book Exchange and talked of horror films and the recording of Meat is Murder with the artists who work there while creating other things, talked of space and graviitational waves to a few hundred people and then showed the robots, and finally had some beer with a man who wrote some of my favourite songs.
It could have turned out worse.
Tonight, I was not sick in a bin.
The skin may become lined and grey, but I think it is more comfortable to live in.
Josie and Robin’s Book Shambles, with guests from Stewart Lee via Charlotte Church to Mark Gatiss, is HERE
and this will explain Jefty https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffty_Is_Five