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Thursday 30th January 2003

Living in London can sometimes be a degrading experience.
I left the British Library at 6.30 to head into town as I was going to see a film with my friend Andrew.
It was snowing and the pavements were damp with slush and ice and the air was freezing cold. The people walking to the station were miserable and barging past each other. Conditions get slightly uncomfortable and all politeness flies out the window. I was as guilty of this as anyone.
When I got to Kings Cross people were pouring up the stairs and an alarm (not an impressive one, it was like a car alarm or one of those coach reversing warnings) was sounding and a sign was flashing telling me not to enter. I immediately thought there had been a fire or an Al Quaida attack, but of course I know now it was just to do with the weather and the fact that the Underground trains are falling to bits. Forget dirty bombs, Bin Laden just has to send over a few ice cubes and wait for the engines to fall off our trains and the capital just grinds to a halt.
I walked up to Euston. The buses were crammed as people desperately tried to get anywhere other than where they were. But it seemed to be the same story at Euston. The escalators were packed and the queue spread out on to the station fore-court.
Fuck that.
I decided to walk. Andrew had rung and was having similar problems in Holborn. So at least we were both late.
A woman beggar asked for some change, I thought “fuck you, I’ve got problems of my own here. The tubes aren’t working and I’ve got to walk to Leicester Square in the cold.” I was a few paces on before I even considered my selfishness and lack of empathy. A bit of cold and all human decency is lost. I just hope the other tramps made it to the warmth of the Streatham Megabowl before the bad weather set in.
When I walk in central London I am always surprised about how small it really is. Because I generally use the tube (or get stuck in cabs in traffic) I picture Euston being way up in the North of our capital, but it’s just a spit away from Tottenham Court Road. If I had just set off walking at 6.30 I’d have been at Leicester Square by 7 and on time.
The conditions weren’t ideal and I was carrying a rucksack with a very heavy lap-top and several thick books about the penis (the books were about the penis. I hadn't strapped several thick books about my penis,a nd anyone who says I had is lying), but it was certainly quicker and more comfortable than being on public transport at that moment.
Finally my trek was nearly over. We’d decided to change our meeting place to Starbucks so we could have a warming coffee, but as I got to Leicester Square I was blocked by crowds of teenage girls waiting to see Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock going into the premiere of their rubbish looking new film. Was I to be thwarted at every hurdle. I considered hanging around and shouting out to Hugh “Hey, it’s me remember, the cock bloke from that party,” but I needed over-priced milky coffee.

So thirty minutes of feeling a bit degraded and being forced to walk a couple of miles in the slush. My plans for the evening were mildly inconvenienced. Can there be anyone on this earth who has a worse life than me?

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