Week – End

4 Nov

I did say, midweek, that I would return to the Odeon Epsom for more comment. You will recall Gone Girl – the movie, on which I briefly commented. Well the 25minutes of advertising preceding the blockbuster was wearily illuminating. Now I’m not on air-kissing terms with Germaine Greer but the shameless and shameful sexploitation is so much more apparent at big screen venues that on our little flatscreens at home. Loadsamoney spent on lavishly, digitally undressing gorgeous women who look as if they are about to orgasm over the leather seats of their new pink cars. Stubbled men (who invented this silly sandpaper? Do one thing or the other; shave or no shave) drool looking like cats who will get cream. Prudishly and rarely  I thought: what on earth are we doing to ourselves? I got over it pretty quickly, you’ll be glad to know.

Excitingly old buddies from university days came to stay for the weekend. The weather held for a grand Saturday walk along the Pilgrims/South Downs Way above Reigate. Clear and heart-swelling views over the town and, turning 180degrees, there way Wembley Stadium, the Eye and Shard and the rest. Gatton Park was a joy to wander round despite the National Trust’s unforgiveable misuse of apostrophes. Beers at that great pub on Walton Heath, The Sportsman and back to select a feast from The Haweli, Sutton’s finest Indian takeaway.

We moderated our Saturday alcohol intake as Friday’s arrival of old friends had seen quite an assault of various bottles. The evening had taken its usual majestic course:the easy slipping back into college banter; incredulous reflections on how irresponsible fun-junkies of the 1970s became tolerably regarded members of the professional classes; disregard of body clocks and vitriolic contempt of a range of modern mores from the ubiquity of Apple-tech, ‘like’, silly children’s names, political correctness, tattoos, shit politicians, X-Factor, Jamie Oliver…..you get the picture. And fucking apostrophes.

It was Halloween night. That’s another thing. What’s happened to that estimable member of Catesby’s team who planned to obliterate James 1st and the whole rag bag of Parliament on Nov 5th, 1605? In the deeply grey 1950s and early 60s, I slogged for weeks (well days) making gruesome, scarecrow facsimiles of the would-be multi-murderer, to wheel around on old pushchairs extorting money for my personal charity. We’d buy firecrackers from the local tobacconists (that’s another moniker lost to the idiocy of pc) to scare our primary school girlfriends. Our back garden for a few minutes would sparkle with Catherine Wheels and sparklers. My father would put a few impossibly large rockets tiltingly in precariously placed milk bottles. The blue touch paper rarely responded with brilliant ignition so he always risked life and limb returning for another Swan Vestas relight. The resulting take-off and orbit was as unpredictable as Richard Branson’s tourist space rocket, though mercifully not as calamitous. Stories abounded of those who had filled hospital casualty departments on Bonfire Nights. No Sorro ever suffered but there were close shaves aplenty. This mightily wholesome activity has been replaced by wizards and witches and the execrable fraud of trick or treating, not to mention the waste of millions of nutricious pumpkins. You can imagine the bile effused by me and my mates, frighteningly articulate at 2am.

The came a knocking on the door. God, not more T or T’ing at this time. No, there stood a solitary shivering lass, clad in strips of wispy green looking like a  Robin Hood groupie with face paint. She was in some distress – let’s call her Maisie – and a certain amount of drink and/or drug-fuelled confusion. She had escaped, so she said, from a place, up the road, where she was being held captive. Could she come in? Crying, frightened creature she was too. Quite clear in speech but weirdly wired and making little sense. Had she been harmed? This prompted a flood of tears. Was she with friends? More tears. Clutching a completely empty  handbag and shivering rather cold turkily poor Maisie cut a pathetic and sad figure. We erstwhile complaining men sprouted arm hair and bravado. We walked her to where she thought the ‘party’ had been – and where her money, clothes, friends and phone (ie her life) were last seen. An open ground floor window. No sound, no sign of life. We knocked loudly. Nothing. We returned. Phone police.

Within 5 minutes two highly attractive young constables, he a ringer for Jude Law; she Cameron Diaz. perhaps I have just watched The Holiday far too much in my downtime moments – it’s on ALL the time isn’t it? Sorry – digressing. Anyway these guys were brilliant and took Maisie’s plight very seriously.What were the possibilities? Endless unfortunately- rape, rohypnol, mugging, theft, drink and drugs….and, of course -and hopefully- a girl who had got pissed, become disorientated and wandered off in fright but come to no harm.

The PCs wandered down the road to investigate. I contacted mother – in Coventry. She and her partner leapt into a car as I was speaking. A 3 hour drive to Sutton police station or near-hospital, ETA 5.30am? Back came the bravos in blue. The party was going on in the garden shed. Maisie had been put to bed by her friends when she peaked early- she had been ‘out of it’. No one had checked her and they were not a little surprised to hear she had gone AWOL. The blue-brigade decided she had better stay with the authorities (good choice) and await the arrival of bleary mummy.

The delightful constables took the tearful Maisie off and we were left having to revise our opinions of earlier on the quality of young professionals today. Jude and Cameron were quite outstanding.

Oh I forgot to say what Maisie did for a living. She is a 26year old teacher. Well I never.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: