‘The best laid schemes’ wrote an over-celebrated Scottish poet, ‘of mice and men gang aft a-gley’, and in this at least he was exposing a modicum of sense. Basically, what he was trying to get at was that shit happens, whether you like it or not. Perhaps if he had just expressed things more simply, more often, then millions of Scots wouldn’t spend one night a year talking utter bollocks, whilst dressed like the inside of a cat basket, hammered on Laphroig and filled to the brim with sheep guts. Yesterday afternoon, to prove wee Rabbie’s point, we went to the Hatfield Galleria for a bit of shopping, a bit of food and a lot of film, that being The Revenant. One of the benefits of not indulging in alcohol is that you can remember almost all of the details of such an experience. That said, one of the crushing disadvantages of not indulging in alcohol is that you can remember almost all the details of such an experience. I’m feeling a bit extra ranty this morning because ‘the wife’ has sprung yet another morning baking raid on me and that’s always a recipe for tension. At least it is for me. She’s ok because, unlike me, she’s not an OCD control freak, whinging, crap bag.
First of all, only ever go to Hatfield Galleria if you have to. I imagine it’s similar to having your prostate checked; a pain in the arse, a messy experience and at the end you’ll just stumble out, pale, confused and potentially much closer to death than you’d like to be. We set out a bit later than planned due to the chutney express stalling on the line (see yesterday) and my ‘the wife’ and I having a very different understanding of how time works. Anyway, when we got there we proceeded to the overspill carpark but there was no way to pay with a card and without cash we had to move to the multi-story. To do this you have to go back out into the dual carriageway system and round the block because the person who designed the parking is a clueless, pointless shit. Once in the multi-story we realised that parking there was limited to 20.00hrs even though it was attached to a massive cinema complex, most films in which finished considerably later. It probably wasn’t the same person, so whoever came up with this timing policy is also a clueless, pointless shit. We then shopped for a bit which at five in the afternoon isn’t totally awful because most tracksuit wearing, child overproducing, knuckle-draggers have fucked off home to call the police on each other following an incident involving Smirnoff and the X Factor results.
The centre of the Hatfield Galleria, as in the very centre of this enormous shopping mall, has been hollowed out and filled with a huge children’s play area so that people who didn’t really think their lives through properly could drop off their snotty little sprogs and sit round a plastic table waiting for them to start a fight or run out of energy. Or both. This is great for people who have kids. It is fucking nightmarish for the rest of us, as the soundtrack for the whole place is switched from The Panpipe Hits of Phil Collins to what sounds like an army of cherubs being slowly immersed in boiling tar while their teddies are decapitated in front of them. What kind of person would suggest this kind of idea for a shopping centre? That’s right, a clueless, pointless shit. Once we had reached our mental limits we then went to get the car so we could move it to the other car park to ensure we weren’t trapped forever in the retail equivalent of Jeffrey Dahmer’s fridge. Then we trudged up to find something to eat, or as it turned something to eat that was just pretending to be something to eat.
Nando’s was crammed and with a 20 minute wait dangled teasingly before us, just to get a seat, just to eat some chicken, we quickly established that only a total moron would stick it out. Which is why the fat family behind us stayed on. My preferred choice of Pizza Express (you know what you’re getting and that does count these days) was considered but somehow, through desperation and hunger we settled on a Chinese buffet place optimistically named ‘The Real China’ with the subheading ‘The Ultimate Eating Experience’. Needless to say it didn’t quite match that. In fact it wouldn’t even have qualified if the words ‘in prison’ had been tagged on. The waiter who showed us to our table looked like the result of a lobotomy gone very wrong and at one point seemed to struggle with a tray of two empty glasses, as if he were serving drinks on a rollercoaster. By now even hungrier I rushed up to get started but was immediately disappointed to see that the shredded duck had been substituted by grey looking shredded pork with hoi-sin sauce from a plastic bottle. Oh fucking dear. I’d like to say I sampled lots of things and finally found at least one choice which made me happy but that would be a lie. Every morsel had something very scientifically warped about it and it didn’t help that to get to it meant being pinned between two lardy people for whom serving ladles looked like teaspoons. The dessert selection was a bizarre collection of miniature cakes, none of which had any relation to Chinese cuisine, and the whole damn thing was just very depressing. I don’t know what it is about the fake Chinese food we get in Britain but it certainly fills you up, not in a great way but more in keeping with the way waterboarding makes you less thirsty. We paid up and lumbered out just as it was really filling up. No one else seemed anywhere near as let down and ill as us.
The Revenant was pretty good. Not AMAZING or SUPERB, just a good, well made film with nice camera work, decent acting and lots of blood. If it wins an Oscar it will be because it’s serious without you having to over-think it. However is it just me but is anyone else starting to get bored with Tom Hardy. As my Dad pointed out, he mumbles a lot and I’m forming the impression that he takes himself just a tiny bit too seriously. It is only acting after all. I imagine a night out with Hardy and Christian Bale must be a hoot; lots of being wound up and intense while pretending to be laid back and self-depreciating. I’m probably way off and this won’t help in the unlikely scenario that I should ever meet either of them. Anyway, give me a night out with DiCaprio any time, he seems fun except for all the work for charity. Sorry Leo, no sex please, I’m married.
That was pretty much it. We got home and went to bed where the MSG’s kept me awake for 3 hours before I started having nightmares about animals with big claws. The tension in the house from the baking interjection has diluted. We’re now back from seeing some of my family for Dad’s fast approaching 70th birthday. All went well apart from some slightly iffy fish and chips. That’s our weekend pretty much done, I’m sure your plans went more er, to plan. And I bet you won’t have to fart bad Chinese for the next 3 days.
Ooh, I’m writing again, how liberating.
G B Hewitt. 24.01.2016
We’re ending our weekend by watching Labyrinth. I really miss the 80’s – rubbish by mistake, not by design.