Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Anybody else got this head cold?

The sun would say “what a stinker” – I’ve had this since Sunday afternoon when it came on strong, and on Monday and Tuesday I sat wrapped in layer upon layer of clothes, sweating profusely with cold feet and hands watching the snow fall like a small child who has been told he can’t go out. Poo.

Right now I’m still suffering from the sort of congestion which leaves you sleepless and dizzy (despite several remedies!) so I’m off to the doc this afternoon for what will probably be my second dose of antibiotics this year for sinus infections. Grr.

This leads into a feeling I’ve had for a while about living down here in the south east of England, especially having spent the first 27-odd years of my life living on the east coast of Scotland, and most of that in an agricultural corner of Fife.

Up there, and I’m not being romantic here, the people are nicer to each other. We’re not talking about people cringing and fawning over each other, just small things like giving way in doorways: driving manners: smiling. In Edinburgh, Nic and I got directions to a wedding we were trying to find from a random man across the street who noticed us and gave us a shout – he’d seen everybody else headed for the reception venue. That touched me.

Down here, there’s a simple human truth: there is increasingly intense competition for resources. Roads: healthcare: supermarkets (yes, those shelves are empty for a reason): jobs. Colds and flu spread like wildfire in densely populated areas through the vectors created by schools and poorly air conditioned workplaces where people work the longest hours in Europe due to the paranoia of job security they’ve brainwashed themselves into.

All this results in a mental state which is becoming increasing strained, irritable and easily annoyed. I’d wager it also helps explain some of the insanity of the house market in recent years: how many people caved in to the “you’ve got to get on the housing ladder” jibe? I think this also results in the comparatively high crime rates down here.

Anyway, this makes the southeast (well, certainly the Thames Valley where I live and work) a miserable shithole to live in – you have to psychically “fend off” daily little displays of petulance, bad manners and short temper. And the truth is, I’m going that way myself. My shopping trolley etiquette is something to behold – I can’t put up with anyone who isn’t trying to shop at a million miles an hour, and while I don’t glare at people (yet) I do show my impatience. I’m on the cusp.

If you read this, and you’re considering moving down here because you think the jobs are here, you may be right – but you will notice that once the lustre of the cash fades, you’re left sitting in an overpriced brick shoebox, not knowing anyone who lives anywhere near you, paranoid about the chavs and the tinks you keep reading about in the local paper (the reading chronicle is great if you want to read about drugs, rape, murder and death on a daily basis!), and wondering why the hell you moved here in the first place.


I’m not quite that bad yet. But how long?

Just to emphasise all the above about Reading in particular, as I think it’s the biggest ugliest mirage to ever “big itself up” -

That little selection took me 3 minutes to glean. Yuk! I’ll go back to musical stuff after I get back into the studio – this post is the result of feeling like crap, promise!

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