Saturday, July 29, 2006


A couple of days ago I happened upon various family members enjoying a DVD.
"Cool Runnings" I said, eager to impress with my knowledge of early 90s comedy films. "Hmmg". Obviously not impressed. Oh well. It has been out since 1993 and blimey, John Candy died the year after it was released, was it that long ago? We are allowed to know these things. Sharon had never heard of it but then she lived in Norway at the time (her universal excuse for when our cultural references don't match).I did see it on release but I can't say I really remember much of it at all as it reminds me of a particularly unsavoury journey that try as I might, I cannot ever seem to forget.

I was working at 33 Cavendish Square, near Oxford Circus, for a well known French oil company. That's the big building next to John Lewis if you need a geographical scene setter. We were, quite frankly, bored. We knew we were going to be made redundant in the next year or so, so any excuse to escape for a few hours was gleefully siezed upon. My best buddy at the time was an ex-colleague, AJ. Now, AJ was (and presumably still is, for we haven't met for about 5 years because she's been living foreignly) a very attractive lady so this did not go down too well with she who was the then wife. And, as anyone of either sex who has a very good but also attractive friend of the opposite gender, the more you try to make an innocent relationship seem so, the less it impresses the spouse. It must be said at this point that our relationship was purely plationic and based largely upon a mutual appreciation of fags, beer and gossip. Nothing else, so don't even think it. We were both married and her old man was also a colleague and a mate and you don't do that to your mates, do you. Well, I don't.

It must have been around Easter because my wife was visiting her parents in parts abroad, so I could go out to play without getting the treatment when I got home. AJ had the afternoon off from her new job and I made an excuse that I was ill and we decamped to the Hog in the Pound behind Bond St tube. After a bit we decided to go to the pictures. I can't remember where we went but I think it was towards the Tottenham Court Rd end but I do remember "Cool Runnings" was playing. Halfway through the film I started to feel a bit cold and uncomfortable but I just put this down to the time of year and the effects of the liquid lunch. By the end I was feeling distinctly off-colour. I remember parts of the film but I also remember dozing off several times and it was something I wouldn't ordinarily do in the company of a friend. We came out and went for a coffee but I could barely drink it. I told AJ that I think I ought to go home but that I couldn't walk to Charing Cross even though it was only a few minutes away and I certainly wasn't taking the tube. She bundled me into a cab and I made it to CX without incident but feeling rougher by the minute. I certainly wasn't drunk because I'd only had two pints and I'd left nearly all of one of them because I didn't really feel like it. Very unusual.

I was by now dreading the journey home. 40 minutes on the train and 13 stops with a 3/4 mile walk at the other end. I got on the train, making careful note that I was actually near a working khazi. We pulled out across Hungerford Bridge and I immediately felt worse. I leant my head against the seat in front and said to the guy next to me that not to worry I wasn't pissed, I was unwell, wake me up at Belvedere. I must have gone for a bit because I woke up a few stations down the line feeling really ropey. Help! Someone went in the bog! Hurry, I need it. As soon as he vacated it I leapt in and slammed the door shut. Baaaaaaarrrrrffffff!!!

I am not a delicate emeticist. I was legend among my family for the loud moans and bullfrog volume belchings that accompanied my occasional drink fuelled clearances. I can't help it, it's all to do with the plumbing. On the very few occasions I have been sick through illness, the result is the same. How on earth is a spectator to know the difference? I was, after all on a train in the mid afternoon. I had a very faint whiff of alcohol about me. I was now bowking my guts up in a train bog and, horror of horrors, the train had stopped mid-station. Everything was quiet as it invariably is on a stationary English train. Ssshhh. BAAAAARRRRRFFFFFF!!! BELCCHHHH!! YEUURGHHH!!!! Moan. Mmm. Finished. Better go and sit down then because I must be near my stop now. Open door. The English reserve had been broken as I was greeted by a faint smattering of applause from my fellow Network SouthEast customers before stumbling the few feet back to my seat. "Thank you" I said, bowing. "Show's over, no encore."

I got a taxi from the station, filled the cats' bowls up (and somehow emptied their litter tray) then fell into bed. I slept soundly for around 15 hours and dined royally on a digestive biscuit the next day. Gastric flu it was. The excuse I'd used to bunk off work had caught up with me. How salutory. I can only offer up thanks to whatever power controls these things that I only evacuated from one end. I had salmonella poisoning once and that was gruesome.

3 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Judith said...

Very evocative account, Richard. Did you manage a blush, I wonder, as you came out of the khazi on the train and took the ovation? I reckon the cats' litter tray was above and beyond the call of duty in those circumstances!

6:33 am  
Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

It wasn't the John Candy film that caused it then?

6:54 am  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

Judith, welcome back. I don't think there was much left in the head end to provide colour. Re the cats: on balance, I thought it better I did it then than wake up to it.

Vicus, you know, I'll never blame a Canadian, too many visit here. Bad pint.

Everyone: Please go and visit Judith, she makes everyone here look a rank amateur. I would officially adopt her as this column's grandmother but she's not old enough yet.

9:58 am  

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