Sunday, 24 February 2013


as i draw into the station
much steam is being let off
huddles of disgruntled passengers
stare up myopically at inscrutable monitors
or cuss the glib recorded announcements
maddening in their affected robotic concern
there are no trains
there will be no trains for the forseeable future
there is an equipment failure
somewhere down the line
an outage
a shortage
a power vacuum
wrapped up warm in my furs against the harsh winter cold
i desert the drafty platforms and the uncouth concourses
manoeuvre my way out of the car park
and lurch down into the pit of selly oak's stomach
sticking to the pavement
foiling the over-eager traffic lights
i nonetheless stay vigilant for straying pedestrians
soon i am warming to the task
as the vistas open out into leafy edgbaston
and the pavement becomes a bona fide cycle path
ten minutes later i am dropping down into bristol street
where i stop at the door of the diskery
to check out upcoming gigs
getting lost in the underpasses
i reemerge and climb steeply past the post office vaults
resonant with memories of wintry ale and banter
at the central library
i fare little better than at selly oak station
all the books are boxed up for the move to the new building
and it is with a 'one of those days' sinking feeling
that i descend into the bowels of paradise forum
forging now down new street past steely street executives
to my chagrin
no - muji does not have any cardboard cd sleeves in stock
have i tried on the web at all?
asks the not overly employment-hungry assistant
finally i strike lucky
there are no polo neck sweaters to be found
but there is just one pair of unripped boot cut jeans in my lanky size
and they fit like a glove!
relief - in spades!
meanwhile a celebratory black americano
awaits in the bookshop cafe
the caffeine and warmth reanimates
while my literary companions ball and dagger
state the following:
an 'adversary' culture of left-leaning intellectuals
and assorted malcontents
poses a greater threat (to the neo-cons of the united states)
than islamic terrorism
i like that
the idea that assorted malcontents
those of my ilk
could threaten to bring about power failure

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