Oh, I wondered how long it’d be. Writing this, in late January, it seems I’ve cocked up the chronology of last year’s events. If you’re one of the more avid readers here, you’ll have learned about our japes at the darts. The aforementioned japes were on a Friday. On the Wednesday just before, I paid a visit to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. If you’re reading this at some point after (*oohs, scratches beard*) about mid-February, you’ll be wondering what I’m going on about. And that’ll be because I’ve slyly changed the publishing date of this post so it appears in the right place. But, if you’re reading this now, I probably haven’t done that yet. Or perhaps I have and, in a fit of fakery fear, have forgotten to remove this paragraph.
So. Moving swiftly along… let’s experiment with drama!
SCENE 1: Hyde Park Corner station ticket office.
CLAIRE is leaning against a ticket machine with a bit of a face on. NICK approaches from the up escalator.
N: “Hey, lady!”
C: “I’ve been robbed, Nick!”
NICK makes some deductions Bag? Obviously not, cos it was over her shoulder. Purse? Probably not, otherwise CLAIRE would be on the phone to the bank. iPod? Nah, because CLAIRE still had her earphones in. iPhone? Unlikely, seeing as CLAIRE was in the process of texting someone to tell them she’d been robbed. Gloves? Hmmm, perhaps. Everybody needs a pair of gloves in winter, even the quick-fingered. Actually, they could probably make extra use of them (leaving no finger prints). CLAIRE is texting on an iPhone; NICK considers this not to be a pursuit for the be-gloved.
NICK decides there’s only one thing for it: a calm, rational, assured, masculine, response.
C: “I’ve been robbed, Nick!”
N: “Oh my. Shit*. No? Er, are you ok? What did they get?”
C: “My Oyster card! Someone’s robbed my Oyster card!”
N: “Oh”, failing to keep up the initial worry and concern, “is that it?”
NICK doesn’t want to point out that it’s CLAIRE that’s been robbed of her Oyster card and that robbing an Oyster card would be something else entirely.
C: “Nick! I have been ROBBED!”
N: “Oh. Did they get anything else?”
C: “No. But WHO STEALS AN OYSTER CARD?”
N: “Well, these are austere ti..”
C: “Nick! I HAVE BEEN ROBBED!”
N: “Shall we go?”
NICK and CLAIRE exit the station via a staircase
[That’s enough drama. Too much, actually. -Ed]
I’m pretty sure that Dante wrote Inferno as a clever, extended, metaphor for Winter Wonderland.
Nine Circles of Hell? Let’s see what we can do:
- The German market, selling all manner of crazy continental trinkets;
- The German sausage stalls, selling all manner of unpleasant-looking sausages;
- The German bars, selling all manner of Bavarian beers;
- The German musical entertainment (i), comprising a man playing an electric piano with little more than enthusiasm alone;
- The German musical entertainment (ii), comprising the same man singing with little more than enthusiasm alone;
So, the German tortures take care of Upper Hell. Those who remain resolutely self-indulgent (and nothing more) get off with nothing more than a casual Teutonic nightmare. But what about those of us who have strayed into violent behaviour? Ladies and gentlemen, Circles 6 and 7:
- The booming discotheque music from some of the fairground ride;
- Portable lavatories;
What about those of a malicious disposition? Journalists, or people from Todmorden, for example. Read on:
- Show-offs flaunting their skills on an elevated ice rink;
- Lots and lots and lots of children.
And, if you need more convincing, how about ‘Satan’?
In short: abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Unless you’re less of an all-round grumpy bastard than me.
And, just in case you’re wondering, Claire got her Oyster card sorted out in the end. Thanks for caring.
(* Sorry, mum. I sometimes swear.)