Sunday, November 12, 2006
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
There's nothing quite like returning to old haunts. And so it was that I came to be back in Finchley (Central) on Saturday night, at a friend of a friend's houseparty. And very nice it was too. An interesting selection of music, a potent punch and a cheeseboard that would be the envy of even the most sophisticated society lunch.
But as we entered the wee small hours, I was starting to feel very single: far too many couples, with far to many PDA's. It was time to leave. There was no chance of hailing a cab, so I stood and waited for the night bus. Which was a comforting, if somewhat chilly, experience. I'd taken the N20 many times in the opposite direction, heading from central London out into leafy North London. This time I was heading the other way, to my current city abode. The bus was practically empty as we swung through suburban Finchley, down through Highgate village, and finally under The Archway to the urban spawl. Which is where I hopped off. Pretty uneventful really. Which caused me to think back to more exciting nightbus journeys...
The fights! The best fight I remember involved two guys who started off throwing burgers at each other and shouting a lot. And then the 'besht mate' gene kicked in and they were life long friends. Very endearing. If only we could all get on, etc.
The new friend! As chaos reigned around us, I remember making a new friend on the long trip up to Finchley. Neither of us could talk much, thanks the alcohol in our bloodstream, but we still managed to solve all the world's problems and came up with a foolproof way of stopping violence on nightbuses. Lollipops! Give everyone a lollipop and they'll be happy and quiet, and won't be able to hold a convincing argument, as you look a bit silly waving them around. Problem solved.
The loudhailer! As I travelled back with my then girlfriend to West London, someone had one of those mini-loud hailers, and wasn't afraid to use it. "Mind the doors...doors please" he piped up in perfect tube driver style. Cue lots of laughter and more tube like utterings, until he got a bit cocky and spoilt himself. Oh well. The first "Mind the doors please" was easily the funniest thing I've ever heard on public transport. Until very recently that is...
The sing-a-long! The loud group at the back of the bus has existed since the birth of the wheel. Usually they're very drunk, and pleasantly aggressive towards other passengers, before reassuring them that they're only "having a laugh", and then singing rude songs or vomiting. But a week or so back, a journey back from Camden took on a very different complexion. Instead of angry townie types, they consisted of a more leftfield indie rock geek crowd. So instead we were treated to note perfect renditions of the themes from Tetris, Super Mario Brothers and Zelda. Anyone who didn't join in, was loudly berated and accused of being Sega owners who now like the X-Box 360. Then they ran out of video game songs and started singing the Imperial March from Star Wars. Possibly the least intimidating back of the bus group ever, but certainly the most entertaining!
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