April 17th, 2004


Life with Albert

All days have their various mythologies. Not just in their names. I wish Sunday was called Resurrection in English, as it is in Russian. What I intend to mean is that certain days of the week have their distinct feelings, expectations and disappointments. Thursday is the new Friday. Dean commented that current Bank Holidays feel rather like Sundays did back in the 70's. Nothing doing. Fridays and Saturdays obviously have a particular tone in Stamford Hill. What exactly happened to the Saturday night?

I think Arthur, Finney's character in Saturday Night Sunday Morning, says something about Saturday night being for the wives or girlfriends and Friday for your own enjoyment or uses. Sort of. Maybe I'm confusing the films. Anyway, tonight isn't shaping up to much. Personal finances have reached a particular nadir; the overdraft stands almost at its limit, the credit card is maxed, I've started to receive the more threatening form of letter from the utility companies. Of course, there is money due to me and it will settle all these debts and leave money to spare. That should be in a few days. Meanwhile... tap, tap, tap. It's free to tap.

For the second time I sat down to watch Fassbinder's Katzelmacher and for the second time fell asleep. In my dream I had ended up in some small private cinema and I was being used to portray the role of Mussorgsky in some video short. As I sat down to rest, a small woman started shuffling around on the floor ahead of me. What on earth...? As I spotted the teapot in her hand, I remembered the box office promise of tea being served. Suddenly the lights went up and there were at least forty or so women in those tea-serving outfits you never see anymore (maybe at Fortnum's or somewhere you might). Given there were only about five in the audience, this seemed like overstaffing, but they were providing a full geisha style service of pouring tea, making chit-chat, fussing over the customer. It was very flattering. This is what isn't generally understood about the geisha experience, it's so much to do with being paid attention to rather than sexual contact. You could have ten women of easy virtue in high school outfits for the price of a single geisha. Then with a rustle of silk they're gone and you realise what an enchanted world they created in that time. The illusion vanishes.

And so it was this evening, as someone was putting a bagel onto my plate and another was asking me my opinion of Mussorgsky. Yet another was enquiring "Which kind of armagnac would you prefer?". Several others were giggling in the background and then I was awake and it was Saturday night and I was alone. I lay there a few minutes. Looks like it's going to be another miserable Saturday night. Probably. I've got Fando & Lis to watch.

Saturday night used to mean something, as did Friday. I've never been one to go out on the sexual prowl at these times. I've never picked up anyone in a bar on Friday or Saturday night. I'm sure I might have tried at times. Probably under duress. Nevertheless, you still observe the conventions. I went down to Camden last night for a friend's birthday. I washed my hair, shaved and put on my cleanest dirty shirt. Why am I bothering, I thought. An okay evening and I came home with Jen and Russell as my guests and watched them wolf down all the cheese and houmous in the house. All that Saturday night is most weekends these days is the quiet period before church on Sunday.

It's nothing like Arthur's.