Holiday Blues Jam

My dearest Jane,

While I was on holiday (which was lovely thank you), Japan beat Wales at the rugby. This was something of an upset (he said with typically British understatement).

‘Japan harpoons Wales’ would’ve been my headline if I were a tabloid journalist still. Crying shame that unhappy business.

Back here in Blighty the weather continues very hot. I have requested of her Majesty’s government that the Spanish siesta tradition is imported for the duration, but to date my communiques have gone unresponded to. Such is life under the perpetually face-grinding boot (which my good friend Eric B so eloquently alluded to in his recent novel).

The silver lining of this sad little tale is that I remain of buoyant mood despite being forced to work in conditions that would be positively sweltering were it not for the office’s highly capable air conditioning system. As you might guess, I was recently able to indulge in one of my favourite pastimes – becoming inexplicably, albeit cathartically, angry at airports.

It never fails to enervate me that they persist with the ludicrous fiction that flying is a glamorous mode of travel. So glamorous in fact that the only things available for purchase are sunglasses, perfume, booze, poor quality, high cost clothes in lime green and hot pink, cigarettes (albeit only on one’s return) and electronics. Because nothing says ‘impulse buy’ like a desktop computer.

I suppose that if you’re going to spend that much money on a polo shirt you damn well want to make sure that no one can miss it. It seems a sad irony that the people who can be least trusted to spend money wisely and with taste are the ones who have plenty of it. Money, not taste – that’s a given, unfortunately.

And don’t get me started on the food, the purveyors of which exist to cater purely for those whose dollars exceed their quotient of taste buds.

In fact I became so apoplectic when forced to produce a passport and boarding pass in order to buy a bottle of water (you wouldn’t believe the cost) that I felt I might explode into a puce fireball. But I remembered too late that one mustn’t use words like ‘explode’ or ‘bomb’ in an airport.

At least the chap who performed the cavity search had nimble, gentle fingers that reminded me of those long ago days at Charterhouse.

I find the airport bookshops these days to stock a much narrower range of reading material; confined largely to the chart toppers and such literature as has previously been adapted into picture shows for the masses. They are indisputably harder to comprehend, with new categories like ‘genuinely true crime thriller’ and ‘dirty gubbins’ replacing those of my youth. I found an entire shelf apiece dedicated to those three fifty shades books I once had the misfortune of skimming through twice each from cover to cover. My ex-wife says she flicked through it.

But alas, happiness is fleeting and I fear the post-holiday blues will soon overcome the invigorating rage of the departure lounge.

It was dark upon my return and the seductive night air put me in mind me of you, which in turn left me with a short-lived but profound sadness. I deeply regret the manner of our parting and the pain we caused your husband – I’ve heard his new album by the way, exceptional. I received your regards and hope in turn that you still have the rose I gifted you, not to mention the lock of my hair. And I hope your husband has repaired that ratty old raincoat of his, because it does suit him rather famously.

Intermittently yours,



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