I finished work at lunchtime in Barking. Lou was at the O2 doing wardrobe for The Brits so I figured I’d chance it and drive over there in case she got a lunch break. Down through the Blackwall Tunnel and up through the roadworks and barriers, past the angry looking men in hard hats, to the vast dead alien maggot with its little spiky yellow legs. The roof blew off when someone coughed last winter but they’ve stuck it back on with sellotape. It’s all still functional. Six pounds in the car park for two hours and it’ll take you that long to find the pedestrian exit. Then you get to walk hours through flattened concrete bullshit. On your left a faceless and characterless commercial establishment. On your right a faceless and characterless commercial establishment.
I went to Wagamama’s which is basically Macdonald’s for noodles. Lou was chained to the sewing machine which I half expected, so I ordered a ginger chicken udon and gyoza on my own. I put them into my face with chopsticks while looking out over that concrete hellscape at all the sad looking people stumping through the gray. I felt like the woman with the egg sandwich at the start of Withnail and I. For a while I contemplated staying in the area until she finished work, but then I remembered that we are only alive for a limited amount of time. Added to that, the car park continues to charge you for being there. Honestly, they should pay us by the minute to be there. I decided to pour no more of my precious life into that hole.
I got in the car and gave them money to let me go. All the car exits had been secured with chains though and blocked with bollards. Once you’re in there they don’t want you to leave. Something of the millennium that perhaps should have been left there, like Robbie. It is still desperate. “We’re praying it’s not too late, but we know we’ve fallen from grace”. The Millennium Dome. Just over the cable car from the Olympic Park and all the things that are definitely working brilliantly and well worth the investment. Eventually I found a barrier that was functioning and would allow me to get out with my car. I escaped onto the terrible boulevards of North Greenwich, and from thence an hour through that spiky South East London traffic. To home. I put the heating back on. We are up to £55 now this week. I watched crap telly and ate meat.
Lou didn’t get home until late. Tomorrow she’ll finish even later and I’ll have to go back there and pick her up as we are both gonna sleep in Brighton. It’s the whole Brits ceremony tomorrow. I haven’t got a ticket. All the dancers. All the showbiz. All the personality. I’ll likely get to that awful car park at about ten pm and eventually we will all bundle into Bergman and hightail it to the seaside. Maybe by then she’ll have made friends with Harry Styles.