John Walker's Electronic House


by on Jul.27, 2004, under The Rest

The tale, in some parts.

Thursday evening involved Leg One of the travelling adventure. From Bradford on Avon to London, to Mill Hill. The first section of this being the relatively simple train to London. I had a table to myself, and on the other side of the aisle, so did a pretty girl, henceforth known as Train Girl.

She was reading a Christian book. This evokes two responses from me.

1) A Christian! A pretty Christian. [Checks left hand]. And no ring!
2) A girl reading a Christian book on the train… is she a Weirdo?

But, because of my complete patheticness, I’ll never know. It would have been so simple. Just a, “Is that book any good?” would have worked. I display an interest in the Christian book, immediately revealing enough to at least hint I’m One of Them, and at the same time her response would be a great way to gauge whether she was a loony Christian. So simple. Never said. Exchanged smiles, but nothing else. And then one station later four American teenage girls appear and fill the seats around us. The chance is gone, the moment is lost.

Of course, the moment isn’t lost at all, but now I’ve a vague, if somewhat weak, excuse for being a big cowardy-custard. Arriving at Paddington we both gather things to leave the train, and as she stands up she gives me a big smile. I smile back. The End.

Sitting on the next train, I begin the embarrassingly futile plans for what I will do or say if she were, by utterly improbable circumstances, to appear on this obscure Platform 13 train. I will definitely say hello. At least hello. I will find out if she lives in London (which would be the sad ending) or if she is in the South West, visiting London (the happy ending). And we will get married. But of course, “The End” has already happened, she doesn’t appear, and she shall be, forever more, Train Girl. There are lessons to be learned here.

The night was spent at Nick and Victoria’s, my hosts for the holiday, which involved a trip to TGI Fridays and (later) a very quick lesson on how to play Texas Hold-em poker.

This was then made more concrete by viewing an edition of Super Death Poker 7000, or similar, recorded from Mr Murdoch’s Mailer/Hiley-funded Sky television. This is an excellent way to put such lessons into perspective, and one I remember from school days. It was all very well to be told that trees turn into paper, but there’s no concrete belief from me until I’ve seen it happen in 1970s-0-vision on a video with that old white clock on a blue background before the programme starts. And so on. But of course no such lazy nostalgia was offered by the contemporary craze for poker on the television. Like so many things, it ought not be watchable, but is about as compelling as television gets. I’ve long stated that should a Future World ever emerge, where we are given the power to create television channels of programming of our very own choosing, mine should be nothing but alternating episodes of Late Night Poker and Scrapheap Challenge. Of course neither are great programmes, and of course there are programmes I would much more immediately choose if asked to name an important favourite, but these two stand out as the very most perfect shows to stumble upon when flicking through the channels. No, you’d never set the video for them, but once noticed, the remote control can be safely lost.

It seems that many more such programmes exist on the more evil channels of Murdoch’s kingdom, tempting me toward it only further. Ones with whizzy graphics and explanations about what on earth is going on.

So it was late to bed, before the Big Push.

5 Comments for this entry

  • Tim R

    I think train girl was the one perfect, predestined girl for you; she understood that you were the one perfect man for her, and she tried desperately to catch your eye, smiling waving her book at you, but unable to speak because of course that’s for you to do. There you go. Life will be miserable from now on…

  • Kieron Gillen

    You didn’t tell the penis-grasping story.

    I’m disappointed.


  • John

    Look at what I’ve written Gillen – do you not also think it a little strange that I haven’t mentioned… Amsterdam?

    There’s a fair chance there might be some more to come.

  • Rev. S Campbell

    The Train Girl story was just to establish the fact that you’re gay, wasn’t it? Sounds like the penis-grasping story will be a real page-turner.

  • always_black

    I think it must be a law of the universe that you have to fall in love with the girl who is travelling alone next to you while you’re travelling alone. I do it all the time.