No, Not Again

30 April 2011

London

Smoke, tobacco; it’s all I’m aware of. Oh there’s some sound. Unzipping of a backpack. I see something now. My watch reads 5. AM? PM? My disorientated self leads me to the shower, before it’s too late. “Sorry for waking–” somebody says to me, but the door closes behind me so now I feel like a fool, which is just the same as I have felt for the past 20 hours anyway. Although from the emptiness of my wallet, I can literally feel the foolishness.

I come back to an empty dorm and sit.

I get bored of that so i get my computer and sit upstairs. I get bored of that so I head back to the dorm. How satisfying simple things are right now!

Murmurs grow into speech as I near the dorm that I wish was empty, but don’t mind since I see friendly looking people after I walk in. They’re talking about population and Australia so I tell them how many there are at home. Usual questions follow: where from? How long? etc. They laugh at my joke and that’s good enough for me to join in on the conversation properly.

These people are really genuine, and much cooler than those you can ever meet without being extra lucky. I guess this is one of those extra lucky times. I quickly forget how tired and physically down I feel.

Now, there is Eric & Mohammed from Brazil (yes, more Brazillians, which makes sense because Brazil is the most populous country behind India & China!) and Angela and Alex from Croatia. More laughing, so the next step is inevitable; the group wants to go up for a drink in the bar. I have a sinking feeling in my stomach, in more ways than one. Drinking, being energetic again again? No… But it’s not like I’m ever going to ever see these guys all together again unless I go.

I had already said yes before I was able to think it over anyway. Automatic opportunism.

Ah no, not again, the head of the pint stares at me… unmoving… uninterested in how I feel. Instead I focus on speaking to the new gang of people, trying to speak clearly and without sayings; speaking English to those who can’t speak it as well as you is a skill that needs practice.

The Brazillians are, for an unknown reason, never around. They come for a shot then leave again. Why? Where are they going?

I leave to get into jeams and come back to find the bar void of any Croatians or Brazillians. Hm, that was a quick one. But then I find them in the lounge talking about football. It is, without a doubt, amazing that you can speak to almost any male about football from anywhere in the world: a marvel of human behaviour to all identify with one universal ‘activity’.

So now I see why Eric & Mohammed were never really around: they were being directed to a place that another two Brazillian guys were taken to last night in London, though they couldn’t quite remember where this place was exactly. These strangers recommended to find the same guy who took them there. “There’s these guys… we’re trying to figure out where to go tonight” “Thinking of going to a club?” “Yes. These guys say they went to someplace amazing last night–some guy took them there” I reveal what I know. “You are the guy! You are the guy we were looking for!”

So it’s Koko club round 2… Not again…

I’m already getting ready because it’s all too coincidental to let go of. I lead as we head off, stopping off at the Ethiopian off licence. I’m not sure why they advertised the fact that it was Ethiopian owned corner store, nor why they had plastic cups to pour our bottle of vodka into.

It’s not too long before I’m in Camden Town–again– and I’m observing the locals–again. Somebody is wearing a boombox as a backpack, and two intoxicated (not sure what with) are dancing around him. The music is so loud you we can still hear it down the street when we’re stopping off at another off licence. Here I find the holy grail of caffeine addicts and teens alike: a can of energy drink at 35p (50 cents). Cheaper than water.

Finally on the way to the club I hear the same question in the same accent: “You are sure this is not uhh… homosexual place?” Not again…

The only thing I see is a solitary security guard. Unnerving. “Camden Crawl?” he asks me, with the others standing back. That annoying Australian woman told me about this, I recall… So she bloody came into use after all by telling me that you have to buy a ticket for every club in Camden tonight.

It’s times like these you have to play the complete dummy regardless, so I make the point that we’re foreign and it’s our last night in London. Any drinking place loves this stuff because'our type’ spend twice as much on drinks.

“Because our manager is being gracious, you can all come in. No charge.”

There seems to be more size and grandeur this time; the massive chandeliers leading to a monolith disco ball, overlooking the four levels–full of people– with the bottom level just one black movement to the sounds of the stage.

Same old routine. Meet a Swede, and both of our groups of have left a long time ago, and the music is completely hypnotic. They seem to have mastered the ways of completely hypnotising young people. There is a beat & rhythm, but there is a swaying, loose-limbed movement to the bottom level, like the zombie disease has not yet spread to the upper levels.

Now I’m talking to somebody about one of my favourite albums. I swear to god almighty that I don’t know how or why I’m suddenly meeting these people who like this stuff.

The Swede and I retire, one grabbing a taxi and the other looking for a bus–I’ll let you guess which one is looking for a bus. The search is more eventful than usual. So far I’ve been offered lots of white powders in little plastic bags. Dire thirst hits. Drunkenly, I pick up a full bottle of water on a bus seat but rightly put it right back down again a few seconds later thankfully seeing some sense. I jump around like a rabbit that’s been spotted:

“Hey! That’s my dog’s water you bastard!” A leather jacket-clad woman shouts at my back. Her male friend joins in on the abuse. “You f###### c###! F### off!” “Woah… really sorry guys. I’ve been drinking–” Their dog, which was likely a bulldog or something dangerous, was held back only by a flimsy rope. “Yeah I bet you’ve been drinking you stupid c###! Stupid f###### kid! Hey, look at me when I talk to you you little twat!” “Look, the kid’s been drinking” she eases, holding back the bald plump 45 year old in a tracksuit. I walk hastily away to a bus stop with a streetlight, giving a false sense of security, but enough to ease my nerves.

Drunk teleport back to my hostel bed, now with the wisdom to take my clothes off before I lie down–ears ringing like a bedtime lullaby. Again.

Copyright 2010-2020 Oliver Lowe. All rights reserved.