The summer we might have had

The tube. I remember the tube.

There are adverts on the walls for grooming products. Remember when we all cared what we looked like? There are posters for festivals and art exhibitions. Simpler times. Remember when we all paid money to be in crowds? That’s my whole industry, fucked.

Boomtown, anybody? Book your tickets for the summer shows of Harry Potter by much loved writer JK Rowling. “The story continues on stage.” Not right now it doesn’t. Festival 20 in Upminster says “We are 2020” which is a bit like putting “We are AIDS” on your poster in the ’80s.

Green Man Festival? I could just do with walking about doing tarot and watching something burn in a field in Wales. But nope. Everything is cancelled. But the adverts are still up.

The tube is like a safari trip through the hopes and dreams of early Spring. “Please keep your distance,” says the window. “Do not feed the past.”

People disconsolately edge into the carriages and sit apart from one another. The ones with masks carry huge silent disapproval of the ones without. Opposite me and to the right is a dude necking Jack Daniels from a can and talking to himself under his breath. Opposite me and left is a guy with Pokémon badges and involved tattoos masked like Bane with self-approval oozing out of every pore and he hates the Jack Daniels guy. I just cleared my throat at a station and literally everybody in the carriage flinched. The guy directly to my right has now pulled his cute dog away from me. I might be dangerous. 11 people in this carriage, all of them men, weirdly. I like to think it’s to do with men being generally irresponsible. I suspect it’s actually just observed chance. I’m a big one for observing things and I haven’t been on public transport for my whole entire fucking LIFE.

It’s my stop. Kennington. “Lyift nyumber two shell be the nyixt lyift.”


I tyook the nyixt lyift and despite my mockery I genuinely enjoyed the original terribly posh lift voiceover. I’d much sooner have a bit of history than listen to some voice that is designed to telegraph “now” to me.

And I saw my dear friend. It was worth the journey.

We awkwardly didn’t break rules alongside each other. No hugs. I saw her and her lovely awkward boyfriend and we all hung out and it was lovely until he reads this and hears me saying he’s awkward and then I have to explain that it comes out of love and come on mate you know what I mean. Because basically we all had a lovely evening.

Then I picked my way home and managed to coincide with some other friends who were up on Primrose Hill. By that time my ability to be anything other than totally drunk was compromised as, despite my plans in Hampstead, I had given myself a free weekend pass and allowed myself to get terribly and horribly drunk in the name of midsummer fun.

Not the same as festivals. I’ll miss that part of my summer. Around this time any other year I’d be buying a £300 car…

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Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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