bulk :: 13st 5
exploratory rides :: 2
other exercise :: zero
tobacco intake :: elevated
insolvency threat level :: elevated
pages of The Da Vinci Code remaining :: 276
new friends made :: 7
new friends lost :: 1
Before I get back into the thrills, spills and humiliations of life in London, I thought I’d like to properly say goodbye to the North East.
On the whole, as I'm sure made clear, I didn’t enjoy my time up there. Although my sample jar – sociologically speaking – was clearly only partially full, I found it a suffocatingly small-minded place. I mean, actually like no other place I’ve ever been – quite striking in its negative incapability, with vast tides of the population seeming to exist in a state of almost intentional closed-mindedness, in a way that you just don’t see down here, not to that extent. In London, I think, people exist. Even if it’s often a rather confused, haphazard or accidental existence, forced by numbers. Up there they just drift through their soulless concrete cake-boxes like colossal graceless whales sucking up Gregg’s pasties and Bacardi Breezers, trading nods which sit firmly on the fence between suspicion and simple-minded friendliness; the men with their stone cold, lifeless eyes, their giant elastic guts thumping through their football strips like they’re perpetually starting a fight, jutting thighward like enormous chin-pillows of flab; the women with their tiny pinched mouths and surly ashtray children, Brian tattooed fecklessly to each and every neck; and everywhere, harsh empty faces slipping apathetically down hollow skulls, like dirty wet rags in a raw, unforgiving wind. You know?
But aside from all that, I wanted to say something positive about the area. To end on an upstroke.
The first thing I’ll really miss about the North East is the glorious coastline, which is raw and feisty and at points breathtakingly beautiful.
Actually, that’s it.
But something happened in the last week – on my penultimate ride to South Shields, I found something I’d hitherto missed, something which made me return with my camera for the last ride, two days before I came back to London.
It was this...
I just spent over an hour preparing the photographs I took. Around twenty of them, there are. And there isn't enough internet connection here to upload them. Not at the moment. Ah, well. All the more for next week.
Fresh start next week, you know.
In the meantime, have an exciting weekend, won't you, and happy 9/11!