My big day outDecember 9, 2008
London is an amazing city, or so I’m told. I don’t really see much of it, as I spend most of my free time pressing F5 on facebook and picking my nose.
But today I decided to be a tourist, and do some of the things I never get round to doing.
I set off at 10am, taking my camera (and shamefully, an A-Z because I get lost everywhere and my crappy old mobile doesn’t have googlemaps on it). I took the bus to Finsbury Park. On the way I bumped into a woman who registered at the gym on the same day as me. Apparently she goes to the gym every single day, but she’s lost her job so I can’t blame her. Maybe she was merely a reflection of my future. I hope not.
Here’s a picture of Finsbury Park station and its lovely long tunnel.
I got the Victoria Line to Victoria and wandered towards Buckingham Palace. There were various parties of schoolchildren also going there and being typically obnoxious. As I strode along the road, one kid of about 11 jumped out in front of me and pulled some kind of ‘spazz’ face. Now, normally I just tut loudly, but today I was being a tourist, so instead I removed my MP3 headphones and shouted at him: “Why don’t you stop being such a FUCKING WANKER?” which seemed to do the trick. I have a deep seam of pent-up anger that I really should mine more often.
Buckingham Palace was very crowded. I’ve never been there before, which is a bit ridiculous given that I’m 33 and have lived in London most of my years. I was impressed by the crowds, but wanted to wear a little badge that read: “I’m not foreign. I’m a real, proper Londoner. Please treat me with deference.” I seemed to have timed my arrival well, as two minutes later there was a changing of the guards, and lots of men in silly uniforms playing brass instruments.
From there, I wandered down along St James’ Park, which was lovely in the sunshine. There were lots of birds, including possibly the fattest ever pigeon and a ridiculous, fluffy rook.
My plan had been to visit Downing Street, but when I got there it was all gated off. I asked the policeman (who was carrying a very big gun) when they had gated it off. Apparently, it happened back in 1991, which was news to me. He suggested I visit the House of Commons instead, as that’s open to the public and is free.
So I wandered down there, but the fat man in charge told me that it wasn’t open until 2.30pm and I didn’t really fancy hanging around for 3 hours. I crossed the road to Westminster Abbey and spied Gerald Kaufman, the veteran Labour MP. By chance, I had been watching BBC Parliament last night, when they were having a live debate about the Damien Green affair, and Mr Kaufman gave one of the most pusillanimous and spineless speeches that I had ever heard. I was sorely tempted to shout abuse at him, but by the time I was ready he had disappeared into the distance. Here’s a photo of his back.
I then got a bus down to Oxford Street and ended up in the Apple shop, which was full of shiny gadgets that are far too stylish for me. I went into H&M and various mobile phone shops before trudging up to Selfridges in search of a loo. As I wombled around the ground floor, a man walked past me who I identified as Aidy Boothroyd, the recently sacked manager of Watford. I stopped him and we had a brief chat, in which I told him he was unlucky to be sacked and ridiculed his replacement for mentioning Jose Mourinho in every single interview. He was very friendly and wished me a merry Christmas. Sadly I didn’t take a photo of him.
Further along the ground floor I noticed a throng of people queuing to get some books signed. It turned out that it was the publishers of Private Eye signing annuals, so I took a cheeky snap of Ian Hislop.
Then I went to Primark. By Fuck, it’s cheap. I’ve yet to see if anything I bought actually fits me, but you can’t question the value.
I walked down Park Lane for a bit, sat down in Grosvenor Square and admired the statues.
Then I got the tube back to Wood Green and ended up in Morrisson’s buying bits of lamb. Every story has to have a banal ending.