We go for a curry to celebrate my forthcoming birthday. It just so happens that the restaurant is packed to the rafters with parties of people in party mood. They aren't here to celebrate my life.
But some of them are here to talk about cars.
Apart from an ejaculation of "BHP - BRAKE HORSE POWER", the loudest sentences tend to include the words, "Jeremy Clarkson said..." or "Jeremy Clarkson's favourite..." I think the man is in love with Jeremy Clarkson as he seems to be having a bit of a rocky spell with his wife who he brings into the conversation only to demonstrate how she doesn't understand him.
We are spoilt by a Christmas hits soundtrack, although the Mud track they play isn't Lonely This Christmas, but Tiger Feet. Your usual Wizzards and Slades are present, along with your Mariahs and your Eltons. Two young men exit the toilets together, each clutching a false moustache/beard combo to his face. As they walk past me I expect to hear howls of laughter from the enormous party behind me. I hear nothing but babble.
* * * * * * *
Trousers are a problem for me. They just don't fit. I've got a couple of pairs of Primark combats which I wear for all occasions, but with the festive season now upon us I feel I ought to have a smarter pair.
So here I am trying on a pair of £32 M&S combats. 34 inch waist, 31 inch leg. They seem to fit but they don't. There's a drawstring inside the waistband which seems pretty pointless as you either tie it too tight or too loose. Too tight and my ropey digestion starts playing up. Too loose and they fall down to my hips. So I try on a pair of £32 moleskin trousers. 34 inch waist, 29 inch leg. They're cotton of course, not real mole. And Christ, they're tight. Hug me round the middle with a tape measure and I'm clearly 33 inches. How can 34 be too tight?
I leave the changing room, put the trousers back, and a small dog who is accompanied by a well dressed middle-class man looks up at me with pity in his eyes.
His owner's trousers fit like a glove.
* * * * * * *
In Wilkinson's, looking for cheap, tacky Christmas decorations made in Chinese sweatshops, we notice a £20 yeti. "Press here," it says on its chest. I press there, nothing happens. I press again, nothing happens. A seven year old child muscles his way in front of me and presses there.
The yeti begins to sing and gyrates his hips in a lewd fashion. The seven year old walks away. I am left watching the abominable Elvis with a man in his sixties.
He turns to me and smiles.
Some book reviews
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