Saturday, 21 November 2009

No-One Expects A Spanish Inquisition

One of my guilty film pleasures would definitely be the Rom-Com genre, Brit-Rom-Coms in particular. I am sure I can in part thank my Father for this, the man who counts Notting Hill and Love Actually amongst his favourites. Our tastes diverge once the Westerns are reached, which is fine. In fact, I should probably be grateful as I usually used the television void for reading.

One of my favourites would have to be Sliding Doors. I think it is often overlooked as a film... Unsure in itself where it fits into the genre. For me it has everything: London, Gwyneth, Calvin Klein, a thought-provoking premise and an ending left for us to draw our own (hopefully happy) conclusions.

It is the premise that most fascinates me. The what-ifs of life can be all-consuming. The idea that the chance missing of a train/tube/bus/ plane/meeting/whatever could have such an impact upon one's life. The infinite copies of me who enjoyed better (or worse) fortunes than me throughout all the daily minutiae. I think it resonates particularly for Londoners. We all hurry, ignoring our fellow commuters (unless you're a potentially deranged Scot) rushing from A-B-C-A or worse.

Last night I had some very pleasant cheese and mulled wine at The Providores on Marylebone High Street, enjoying people-watching beneath the rather naff Christmas lights. We watched with bemused horror at rather hairy incidents of road rage (definitely not pursuing a career in taxi-cabs now), middle-aged, middle-class ladies falling off the kerb completely trolleyed and blatant attempts to ignore the polite queuing system.

Returning to Islington late in the evening led me to Bond Street station, where an infuriatingly inaccurate timetable board left me waiting amongst the vomiting (and probably worse) late-night passengers for far longer than tolerable. Finally, on the way to my connecting station, I knew I would be cutting it fine for the last Victoria Line tube.

Jumping out and navigating the jostling crowds, filthy looks from enormous, security-guard sized men, squeezing between people and the carriages and then a mad-dash though a labyrinth of tunnels amongst dozens of like-minded others. Breaking into a sprint up the stairs to the platform, there it was! The last train. And a seat too, so civilized. Of course I had to get through the closing doors first. Naturally it is not a wise idea, and is very bad for the trains apparently. Well-practised though, I sneaked through, only for the train to pull away from all the people who didn't quite make it.

It is quite iconic. The doors closing, and that very wicked sense of schadenfreude. Well possibly that is just me, but it certainly gave me something to ponder on the journey home (very unattractive passengers). What if I had missed it, how would I have got home, at what time would I have finally made it, would any good come of it, or something bad? The same for the journey I actually made, would I discover something awful, be mugged, lose my keys... Infinite possibilities for mayhem!

Thankfully, I returned safe and sound and even had a brief chat with my youngest brother. But one never really knows what will or will not be, which is - for me at least - a huge part of the joy. And the infinite possibilities this city possesses. Good AND Bad, but always exciting.

No comments:

Post a Comment