John Walker's Electronic House

by on Aug.04, 2004, under The Rest

Monday 26th July

It’s interesting to see what different people remember. It’s now over a week since the Monday I’m writing about, and I’d forgotten half of it. Asking Nick and Victoria separately, I got two completely different, but entirely accurate, accounts of the day. Anyway, compiling our memory resources, this is Monday.

We needed to be back at the train station around 5ish, so we still had a near-full day to fill. And for the first time in my life, what I really wanted to do was go to Lush.

I’m not quite sure what my aim was. I think it was all about wanting to not let myself always be the person who walks away without having said anything. Although I hadn’t the faintest idea what I’d say or do if I did go there. There were many digs throughout the previous 24 hours, about how I should have given her my email address. Quite what this would achieve wasn’t really clear. What it obviously wouldn’t achieve was a prospective marriage. But in hindsight, the motivation to return, to be brave, to do something, was really a token. A stand. A deliberate action to say, “I’m not going to be a complete wimp about this always”. So when we went back, she wasn’t there.

Nicktoria set about buying some other non-chocolate/icecream gunge, and I had An Idea. I took out the notebook that lives in my pocket, and scribbled a note. Paul, in the bar the previous night, had told me that the guy from dEUS who had formed Magnus had also made a film. Lush Lady hadn’t mentioned this, so I guessed she might not know. So I wrote that, thanking her for the tip off about the music, and then added my email address, if she wanted to swap any other band recommendations. Another nice lady in the shop pinned the note to a board behind the counter, and then we chatted about how Lush Lady had leant her all the dEUS albums recently, and how much she loved them. If nothing else comes of all this, perhaps people will check out dEUS.

She hasn’t emailed. I don’t expect her to. But I went the step of offering my email address. Hooray for me! Yes, I sound ridiculous. I am.

As we began thinking about lunch, we bumped into Vlad in town. We had now been in Amsterdam for so long, we were bumping into people in town. That bizarre time-paradox of holidays was in full effect. We felt as though we’d been in the town for weeks, and of course on getting home, it felt as though we’d only been away a day. Nick asked if he knew anywhere we could get some nice chips. A random request. (Please don’t think we were the sorts who holiday abroad, determinedly seeking out ‘British food’. Not at all. But Nick just fancied some chips). Vlad did. In fact, he chained his bike, and told us to follow him. We walked through a small shopping centre, out the other side, and then were pointed towards a small alley. “Down there, on the right,” he said. These, he assured us, would be the best chips in all of Amsterdam. He then left us to it – Officially the Best B&B Host in the World.

He was wrong. When we got there, the cafe we were expecting turned out to be a hatch in the wall, selling chips in paper cones over a small counter. And he was wrong. They were the best chips in the world. Absolutely incredible, with giant dollops of variously flavoured mayonaises on top. Atheroma in a cup. Joyous.

The afternoon meant the beginnings of the public-transport-a-thon again. The trains in Holland are weird – when the clock hits the time the train is due to leave, the train, at that exact moment, leaves. It’s not natural. Where is the 38 minute delay? SAVE THE POUND! And so on. Which reminds me – getting home, and finding the Euros that you’d been spending in France and Holland in the previous couple of weeks no longer work, is galling. We’re so rubbish. Please don’t save the pound.

ferry view
Night time. On a boat.

Final story: the ferry. We decided it would be “fun” to go to the Sunset Misery Lounge, to watch what was described as “the entertainment”. Promising “Our version of a popular television quiz show”, we settled down on the upstairs balcony area to watch everyone’s favourite TV show… “The Nostalgia Quiz”.

First question: How old was David and Victoria Beckham’s child Brooklyn in 2001.

Ahhh, that takes me back. Remember those days, eh? Brooklyn Beckham isn’t the age he was in 2001 like he used to be.

And it got progressively worse. Possibly peaking with question 11. “Who wrote the play Waiting for Godot?” Followed by the most incredible flow of gibberish from the man with the microphone, with an attempt to give a ‘clue’, saying “Existentialism”. At which Nicktoria entered a frenzied rage, stage-shouting “IT WASN’T AN EXISTENTIALIST WORK! IT WAS NIHILISM!”

I was more confused, as with every question, by how it was possible to be nostalgic for the name of the author of a play. This didn’t appear to matter.

We gave up soon after, although walked past later overhearing the answers.

“And who wrote Waiting For Godot? It was… Samual Becket. Or Backet. I dunno, something like that.”

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