Tuesday, 6 August 2013


You’re at the beach, at last, and doing all
you can to try and get a proper tan.
Not for you the unnatural orange spray
that makes you look like Colleen Rooney on
a really rubbish day; that’s not the way
you Englishmen abroad behave. So what
if you’ve acquired a rather rubicund
complexion, laughably resembling an
embarrassing infection more commonly
referred to as: Lobster Face? Think of it
as apoplectic rage meets terminal
frustration and we have the general picture
of what you look like at the end of Day One. 
   Day Two arrives, and what is this we see?
Oh-deary-me. It’s not a pretty sight,
especially when the sunburn’s kept you up
for half the night. If anything, it’s worse
than Day One’s Lobster Miracle: you are
a beetroot. Look into the mirror for
the evidence empirical, and weep.
More sunbathing must keep until tomorrow,
but in the meantime, drown your sunburn sorrow
by drinking from the bar a beer
or nine or ten and then collapse upon
a sunbed for a sleep till God knows when.
And thus we leave Day Two: sunburnt, hungover,
The Quintessential Englishman Abroad.
   Days Three and Four and Five go by in quick
succession: drink too much, eat too much, sun
and sea and lack of sex, predictable
depression at the thought of going home
in two days’ time. But wait: at least you seem
to have what might pass for a tan. In Swindon.
   Day Six: the day before you travel back,
the day before you have to pack, the
on which you might have said, “Farewell,” to friends
you didn’t make. You dwell upon the post-cards
half-written, not-yet-sent, the budget which
you overspent, the novel which you meant
to read, the tourist tat you didn’t need,
and then the thought pops up from nowhere:
this week has been a microcosm of
your life. You stop, surprised at this rare bout
of insight. You reflect upon your life:
like five fifteen in the afternoon,
it's Pointless. This unwelcome rumination
starts to nag at you How did it come
to this? The highlight of your year: a week
of doing nothing, going on the piss,
and ending up hating yourself... because.
   Day Seven. Spare us all the details. It’s
too late to salvage anything of worth.
Another wave of clarity and you
decide to end it all; the holiday,
that is. You leave the hotel, catch the first
flight home and, once again, surprise your girlfriend
with a premature arrival. She looks
at you askance and tell you that you’re peeling.

(1st/2nd/3rd August Banbury-Cake-dels-Asphyxiate)

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