Wait until next year

Putting off what could be done tomorrow, today

11th of December

“All around them men drank alone, staring out of their faces.” When Denis Johnson wrote that line I don’t think he was describing the experience of drinking in a Wetherspoons, but he might as well have been.

The Sir John Hawkshaw is a peculiar little pub, sat within Cannon Street station. Wetherspoons are rarely destination pubs, and neither are station pubs. They are stopping-off points, placeholders, they mark the beginning or the end, rarely do they host the whole evening’s festivities.

And so The Sir John Hawkshaw, as both a Wetherspoons and a station pub, is particularly transitory. Everyone perches, or hovers. Everyone just one swift movement away from leaving, or at least grabbing a rare free seat.

The trains are a mess today, so it offers solace and shelter from the cold. But you get the impression we’re here out of function rather than joy. We would rather be home. The Christmas revellers about to go out feel especially out of place in this pub.

I could damn it with faint praise in saying it serves its purpose. But sometimes that is all you really want from a pub. No matter what it is and where it is. A place to wait. And to stare out your face for a while.


10th of December

Snow. What could be more apt as Christmas approaches?

And yet it is somewhat disconcerting. Perhaps because we had such a mild autumn, so such a cold snap is a shock. 

But I think it is disconcerting more because snow at this time of year is rare. I’ve not experienced a White Christmas in my lifetime; that as much as the visual language of Christmas has snow at its centre, my memories of Christmas don’t. 

However, it provides a good excuse for staying indoors, which is no bad thing at this time of year. 

9th of December

The tree is up. Christmas is on its way.

8th of December

Somebody has decorated my desk at work. Well, they have attached a length of tinsel to my divider with a bulldog clip. 

It feels like an intrusion. I’m tempted to call up HR, pretend I’m a member of an obscure religious sect who is deeply offended by Christmas tat and to explain that only a swift compensation payout will resolve the matter. I’m not sure I’d get away with that though.

And I do appreciate the half-hearted nature of it. It is better than proper office decorations. As much as I can admire people who manage to get away with mucking about for hours with baubles and fairy lights on work time, it all still feels a little too much like Organised Fun, which is, of course, the worst kind of fun.

There’s a certain honesty in my bulldog-clipped tinsel. It suits me.

7th of December

I pass through a shopping centre, one of the fancy, new ones. 

The Christmas tree isn’t a tree at all, more an intricate construction of scaffolding and lights. It dominates, not just through its size but by the way it multiplies itself throughout the space as it reflects off the various shiny surfaces that surround it. 

It doesn’t feel that festive though, more a totem to the commerce of Christmas, a place to worship the almighty coin, to pay your respects to finance. It is impressive, but more than a little unnerving. 

I don’t particularly feel like Christmas shopping. I keep walking.