Something for the Weakened

Saturday May 15th 1999, 17:30 – 19:40

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008 by

What follows is another archival project in lieu of my having the energy to form any cogent arguments at the moment. This may prove to be a horrible mistake, in that this time around it does take the form of a journal I kept over the course of a fortnight’s holiday. Like the previous archive projects, I’m only reading this as I type it up, so don’t really know what I wrote next and will not be editing for anything except grammar (and possibly extreme embarrassment in this case, though probably not). In the case of this one, I can assure you that it will be quite dull, unless I’ve forgotten some interesting details of the holiday. Annotations are unlikely to follow, unless I have a massive change of heart. I have taken the liberty of missing out the original title on the grounds of it being far too dull (‘Two Weeks Away’ – really, couldn’t I come up with anything better?) so subsequent entries will simply be titled as the dates on which they were written. We shall begin after the acknowledgements featured on the journal’s title page.

Acknowledgements

Dad – for suggesting the idea & fronting cash for travel.

Nik Lucey – for suggesting I try ‘n’ write this.

Uncle Ian – for enduring my presence for a fortnight.

Mr. J. Organ & the Oxford branch of the Jesus Army – for temporary lodgings & offers of sossies.

Good day to you dear reader and welcome to the beginning of my two week voyage to Prague in written form. You join me sitting in a pretty central seat on a luxury coach somewhere in France, so please excuse the shoddiness of my handwriting, as the road is considerably bumpier than I had expected. [the handwriting is quite wobbly at this point, even by my own dubious standards] Ah, according to a sign we just passed we are just coming up towards the town of Gent, which means more to you than it does to me. Anyway, as you have hopefully surmised, this is not the beginning of my journey. Oh no, dear reader, that began yesterday, the Friday of great preparations. I awoke initially at 8:00 – well, was awoken – by the sound of my brother leaving for college. “Aha,” thought I, “just have a little lay in, get up around 10:00 ‘n’ sort everything out.” Oh poor, foolish me. After what seemed like 20 minutes catnapping, I checked the clock on my video – 13:00. “Shit.” Thus began the Friday afternoon of hurried dithering. Following showering, polishing my boots (black polish – brown boots – works quite well I think), the rapid consumption of a Knorr Pasta Meal (just add boiling water!!) and some final packing (thankfully I did have the foresight to do most of that last week), it occurred to me that I would need to go to a bank and obtain some traveller’s cheques (Czechs Ha Ha) ‘n’ hopefully some Czech crowns. After a brief search for a working bicycle ended fruitlessly (I did locate Frags’ bike, but not it’s wheels) it seemed I had no option but to stroll to Witney – European city of culture for 6 years running now – a walk of 2 miles or so. This proved no problem, though wearing my overcoat on what turned out to be a surprisingly warm day caused me to perspire pusillanimously. The traveller’s cheques weren’t a problem, but sadly the hard currency eluded me. Ho-hum. While awaiting the cheques I happened to meet Kerry (surname not included for reasons of my own amnesia) who was paying some bills and wished me well. Which was nice. Then, after buying some hygiene products (shit, forgot to buy johnnies (HA! Like I’ll need any . . .)), I strolled back home. 4 miles in just under an hour in a heavy coat isn’t bad for me. I arrived home to find Frags ‘n’ his crowd cranking up the pooners again (hold ona moment, I think we’ve just arrived in Antwerp – which unless I’m mistaken is in Belgium – without passing any kind of border crossing that I noticed. Weird!). Sorry, where was I, oh yeah, pooners. I partook in a quick lug or two ‘n’ then went to fix me ‘brolly – with partial success – it’s holding together now, but I feel my shoddy stitching won’t last long. There then followed an hour or two of dithering, a habit I am particularly prone to I’m afraid – please bear with me dear reader. Following a crappy microwaved chicken casserole, I went on an uneventful bus ride into Oxford. The only thing resembling an event was a scary looking, chubby, bespectacled Asian bloke in an orange lined Parker, who sat behind me ‘n’ talked to himself – a little worrying, but hardly an event. I then dragged myself ‘n’ my case from Bonn Square half way up the Woodstock Road to the abode of Jake Organ ‘n’ the Oxford branch of the Jesus Army – my stop off point prior to boarding this infernal bus (which as I write this has decided to stop in what I have decided must be Antwerp ‘n’ is taking on more passengers. Ahem). Right, so I found the place without any problem and after dragging everything up to my room and collapsing briefly (it was another 2 mile walk), I was informed that we were going to a barbecue. Before I go any further I would just like to state that I know Mr. Organ through his being my su(a tram just went past my window – cool)pervisor at work. I do not subscribe to his beliefs or his cheerful, well meaning fanaticism. Now to get to this barbecue we called into use a couple of the commune(ity)’s bicycles. This led to further overcoat related problems dear reader, as it became repeatedly entwined in the rear brake block, a problem not resolved until the return journey (this place is full of cobbles – at every bloody junction – it’s a nightmare to write – see) [indeed - the handwriting here is all over the place] by tucking the lower half into the upper half, making me look like I had a tyre round my waist. The barbecue was something of a let down – it was made on a cooker, presumably due to rain. Jake’s usual band were present and were pleasant, as always (I wonder if the fit ones are celibate too . . . sigh, there’s no justice in the world . . .). Little of much import was said, though I arrived at the conclusion that as a movement they’re sort of doomed to failure. Despite the attempts to breathe contemporary hipness into an otherwise unhip subject, the ever growing climate of moral laxness will always eclipse their moral evangelising. No matter how good their intentions it seems to me that their only prey would be those with weak spirits or highly drig addled brains. Maybe I’m wrong, who knows or for that matter cares. But, my dear reader, I digress. Returning to the commune(ity), I spent most of the night fitfully attempting sleep, my mind locked in the painful duality between thoughts of carnal abandon and trying to suppress the desire to have a wank (a suppression, you will be pleased to learn, that was successful). I was already awake when the various alarms went off around the room at 6:00 (unheard of by my standards) and I proceeded to walk to the Gloucester Green bus terminal, pausing only to buy a bottle of Dr. Pepper ‘n’ a copy of Mojo, due to it containing an interview with Viv Stanshall (which includes some more photo’s from the Oz shoot of Viv with Germaine Greer with her tits out – I think I might have the whole set now!). The bus ride to London was thoroughly uneventful and got me into Victoria station about an hour earlier than when boarding the connecting bus to Prague commenced. (I believe that I might’ve just arrived in Brussels now. Which is nice). There then followed another hour of dithering, though slightly more organised than the previous bout – in fact most of it could have been averted if the stop my bus was scheduled to arrive at wasn’t the only non-smoking area in the building (hold on, we’ve just stopped for a break in the middle of Brussels, so I’m just nipping out for a fag) (that’s better). So, the bus turned up on time and I, along with only half a dozen other British passengers, though not all of the are British citizens, embarked on the ‘alleged’ 24 hour journey. Leaving London, the passed through one Lupus Street – Toylor’s current residence? I must find out when I return. The bus, so I’m told, ran down to Folkestone, I don’t know, my nose was buried in a copy of Empire throughout the journey and stopped next to a huge duty free building, wherein I purchased 200 B&H (I only wanted 100, but it seems these places only cater for the hardcore smoker). Then, following a considerable wait, we boarded the ‘Chunnel’, not a ferry as I had been led to believe, which was hideously dull, but very quick once you’re actually on it. We then carried on driving to the stop apparently outside Gent, which is where you joined me. I’m now sitting in the middle of Brussels wishing I dug out my foreign coins so I could’ve bough some food. Or porn. Though mainly porn. Still, I’ve got the sweets my Nan got me to keep going on, so I should be alright. I’ll keep you posted if anything happens.

Well, that’s a lot franker than I thought it was going to be. Trust me, it will get worse. Tell me to stop if you wish. I might well heed you.

Next time – Monday, May 16th 1999 (and what became of Sunday . . .)

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