Day 61

5.02: Unless you’re richer than Spielberg, living in London means spending your life at unfeasibly close quarters to about half a dozen strangers. Closer quarters, in fact, than you’ve ever lived at to your parents. Such close quarters it’s only a few inches of plasterboard stops you reaching out and helping yourselves to one another’s socks.

So when your upstairs neighbour spends the night trying to shovel a dinosaur into his cloak-cupboard, you tend to notice. You tend to notice the thing scrabbling its prehistoric toes on the floorboards, and the rafters warping and splintering as it rasps down his corridor like fingernails over a blackboard.

You start dreaming about your neighbour. I very seldom remember my dreams, but last night I had one – vivid as an insurance advert – in which I was the little green shooty thing out of Space Invaders, and the impending tiers of alien flanks were all made up of my upstairs neighbour, Richard. It was like being water-boarded by a nodding acquaintance.

So morning everyone, and congratulations. You’ve all become a commingling jungle of Richard-faced Richards. Richards everywhere, and not just Viv and Cliff. Richards in the alleyways and Richards on the buses. Richards grinning in my cutlery draw and squatting in the wheelie bin. Richard, Richard, dinosaur, Richard. The whole city’s made of Richards. Nothing but shovel-weilding, dino-shoving Richards from Havering to Hounslow, Hillingdon to Bexley Heath. And you can never go to sleep again. Thanks Richard.

6.56: It hasn’t been an auspicious morning; everything hurts. It’s so much harder to turn out meaningful prose when you’re thinking through a brain that’s been trussed up like a joint of beef and buried in the basement of a sandcastle. My legs, slowly filling with Araldite, aren’t helping either.

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~ by David Thorley on March 16, 2010.

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