Rather in the spirit of a certain Northern Scientist, I’d like to begin with a little submission of my own into Room 101. Y’see, on Friday I travelled to Sussex to see Lucy, which naturally involves passing through the joy that is London. Except it was a little less than joyous, because the Victoria line was closed and so the remaining Tube routes between King’s Cross and Victoria were unduly packed with people. But that’s OK – I’m not complaining about engineering work (vital) or crowds (even more so). I’m complaining about escalator etiquette. You stand on the right and you walk on the left. This is non-negotiable. This is at the very core of citizenship. And it is almost almost obeyed… which makes the odd tourist who decides to flout it by positioning themselves vaguely in the middle even more noticeable and annoying. Do not do this. Ever. Because one day you might find that it has been made a (retrospective) capital offence.
But never mind! Sussex was lovely, even if Pizza Express were shockingly lacking in the provision of chocolate fudge cake. (But I did still get a chocolate fix ) I’m also rather excited by the prospect of the group summer holiday in Newquay which Sanna deserves much praise for organising! And, of course, there’s Obama. Being a curiously old-fashioned sort, Oliver, Owen and I gathered around the
wireless radio to listen to his inaugural speech, which contained the expected tingling moments that reminded you how un-Bushian he is. “Non-believers” got included, note! Non-believers!
(And just like that, an old anti-Bush song turned up on shuffle. So say goodbye to Dubya, let’s all give him the push…)
Watching some news reports later, I also couldn’t help but feel sorry for Obama. We all know that you leave office less popular than when you enter it, that power corrupts in all sorts of non-sinister but inevitable and sad ways, that to be President is a terrible burden. But the difference this time is that Obama is smart enough to know this all too. It’s a bit like being able to anticipate your own ageing but still not being able to stop it… imagine having to look at a crowd of millions of adoring people and know that not one of them will ever be capable of talking to you as a person, rather than as a President, again. Lonely.