This morning, I found myself here:
Perhaps there's a feature that automatically mutes the garish colours of hi vis jackets.
Fortunately, the voices were only telling me to wave if I could hear them.
We have all gone off in very different directions during the last few decades, but there is an ease that comes with old friendships, perhaps because we know the child within the adult.
Today, we recalled our first trip to London and my near-demise at the hands of Duran Duran, who were speeding through the back streets of Knightsbridge and narrowly missed knocking me off my bicycle.
Would my death have been a price worth paying to stop hits like The Reflex seeing the light of day?
We talked about the career choices we'd made. One friend worked as a software developer and had watched three alpha male colleagues become absurdly wealthy and successful in their early 30s, only to pay the price for it ten years on, with broken marriages and heart attacks. All three were now dead.
Next time I'm sorting through a tonne of books in a freezing cold warehouse, I shall congratulate myself for not jeopardizing my health with a successful career.
After saying our goodbyes, I walked to the station platform and waited to board my train. Next to me, a small, dumpy woman in her late 60s was fussing with her husband's coat collar, as if he was a little boy. The train doors opened and we walked towards the one vacant table.
The wife pointed to some empty coffee cups: "You can clear those up before we sit down." The husband meekly obliged without saying a word. They then sat in silence until the tannoy announced that we were in coach number five of twelve. 'Ooh, "coach number five of twelve"', she imitated, in a sarcastic voice.
The husband asked his wife what she had said. "I'm not saying it again!" she snapped.
I looked at the husband. He had the air of a broken man and I was slightly disturbed to see the faint traces of a black eye. Almost as if she could read my mind, the wife blandly announced "As you sow, so shall you reap."
The husband remained still and silent.
Another passenger that caught my eye was this individual:
However, the most offensive person was a young businessman, two days ago, who was talking loudly on his phone so that we could all hear how dynamic he was: "Yup, yup, I'm gonna be smashing into it over the next few days..."
'Smashing into' was a new one on me, but it falls into the same league as actioning and escalating. It's part of a growing trend in which people try to claim kudos for what they intend to do as a means of distracting attention from what they haven't achieved so far. The crude, macho metaphor was clearly meant to impress.
The call ended and the man dialled a new number: "Yeah, behind Sainsburys...okay...turn left...yep..." There was a paused and he sighed theatrically. "Look, I don't want options" he said, aggressively. Okay? Just tell me where I should go."
I could hear a woman's voice on the other end of the end. I wanted to take the phone and say "Don't do it. He's a complete plonker."
We were on our way back from seeing 'Treasure Island' at the National Theatre:
It was a competent production, but the real star of the show was the amazing set and beautiful lighting (by the wonderfully-named Bruno Poet).
Out of the circle below, a three-storey cross-section of a sailing ship emerged, with people sitting in fully-furnished rooms. It was quite stunning:
I'm more aware of the sets these days, as my father-in-law was a lighting designer and we always used to feel grateful when a critic noticed his work in a review.
His lighting plans for operas were incredibly complex, like a schematic for the Hadron Collider, but he was an artist by training and used his switchboard like an painter's palette. The results were stunning, but I wonder how many people noticed his work.
I suppose we all see different things. I was particularly moved by a beautiful sea shanty at the end of 'Treasure Island', arranged by John Tams. My wife could barely remember it, but my younger son had noticed, as he's not a big fan of musical theatre.
Six weeks earlier, we went to see a friend's daughter in a production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I had promised my son that it wasn't a musical, but there was rather more singing than we expected.
Afterwards, I asked my son what he thought:
"It was good apart from the music. The poster should have said:
Warning. May contain traces of songs."