This laptop has a number of ways to make me feel guilty about not writing as often as I should be. I can tell it’s been a little while because Microsoft Word has dropped off the list of recently accessed programs in the start menu, it takes an inordinate amount of time to open the ‘Writing’ folder in My Documents as if the laptop is making a big deal of creaking open a weathered and rusted door and it has taken it upon itself to forget my password to WordPress. Okay laptop I get it, I need to write more. And the fact that I have returned from my break in the UK to Hong Kong as of Tuesday this week only fuels the notion I should have something to say.
Sadly, whereas last time I was experiencing a journey I never had before and it was quite entertaining in its own little way this last one was as dull as a special episode of Hollyoaks where all the cast have been injected with a heavy dose of diazepam. Five hours knocking around the warehouse that is Schipol Airport in Amsterdam looking for a socket with a seat nearby and eleven hours on KLM’s budget, Super Tedium Service. I take it as given that I won’t enjoy a flight of that length unable as I am to sleep on any form of transport so I do enjoy the immense pleasure of those little screens in the headrest of the seat in front of you. With those little wonder-traptions you can watch all kinds of movies and TV any time you like and pause when you want a piss. KLM didn’t deem us worthy. Instead we were mocked with only over-screens showing Disney and Bruckheimer’s G-Force (maybe the worst film I’ve ever seen – official) and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince the latter of which I would be praising if I were to call it ‘mind-numbing’. A long time ago I made a solemn vow to never watch a Harry Potter film but that was broken in spectacular fashion when on a school trip to an IMAX theatre we were informed that the film had been changed to the third Potter fiasco. Not only was my vow spat upon but it was spat upon fifteen bastard stories high. At least it was just boredom that forced me to watch the sixth one on that flight but my god, if they want to alleviate boredom I would have taken a hard kick in the shins from a passing flight attendant instead. A bunch of horny adolescents in a magic castle? Sounds like the world’s best porn film premise but oh no! Nothing happened. Literally nothing. At the end of the film one of the insipid little knobs (I think it might have been Harry) even says ‘so all of this was pointless’. There should be embargoes on films that revel in their audience’s misery like that.
I slept not a wink. Well that’s a lie, when I did managed to nod off that very second a flight attendant would thrust a plate of food under my nose or something. I’m not complaining about people serving me food, but it seemed like I had eaten four or five meals. Let me sleep woman! There always comes a point in a flight when you become aware of how boxed in you are, that you are hurtling through the air in what equates to a giant coke can. These are the times a distraction is required, like sleep. Next time I’m either going to pour sleeping pills down my throat or get completely trashed, that usually sends me off pretty quickly.
Getting out onto the Airport express and into the open air again was liberating. I’d forgotten how excited I was by my first glimpse of Hong Kong. It suddenly dawned on me that for the last month I hadn’t been thinking about this place at all and only now that I’m back do I realise I missed it like crazy. It’s a strange thing to think about missing a place as soon as you return to it but isn’t it always the way that you don’t realise what something means to you until you have it again? I’ve certainly missed that view. I’m in a different room in the apartment to last time, across the other side so when I look out the window I can see Central and the bay of Tsim sha Tsui in the distance (conveniently called ‘TST’ by ex-pats because really, you try and pronounce that). As I type this I can see the building Batman jumped out of in The Dark Knight and the many famous bank buildings including the one my father apparently assembled single-handed. He’s included a helpful note on my photo below.
So now that I’m settled (almost anyway, the sleep pattern will come in time) what’s the next step in solidifying my English transplant status? A Hong Kong ID Card. Just the mention of that phrase has probably sent any number of Britons into a cold sweat. Indeed I find it strange how the practise of ID cards has been alive and well and with little opposition as I understand it for so long in Hong Kong whereas the notion is still hotly debated and earnestly worried about in the UK. I had hoped for some amusing bureaucratic story from my time in Immigration Tower yesterday but alas, fate once again conspired against me by refusing me something interesting to write about there either. I filled in a form and was told I needed to come back with my work visa. So… that’s that. Hopefully in about two weeks time I’ll have something I can spin into a ridiculous Kafka-esque tale. One can but hope.
One thing Immigration Tower did give me was the nagging feeling of hypocrisy. I considered the ID card and the way they were discussed in our politics a few years ago and I remembered the last entry I wrote and I realised while I’m out here I’ll miss the UK General Election. I have to admit the first thing I thought was ‘thank Christ for that’ because I really have no idea who the hell I’d vote for. At this point it seems moot as the Conservatives look almost a dead cert but even so, stood in front of the ballot box, pen in hand I would have absolutely no idea who was least deserving of my scorn. They’re awl as bard as each uvver int’ they? The smug satisfaction of having circumvented the election didn’t last long though. How can I use this site (and many hi-jacked conversations, let’s be honest) to preach and extol the virtues of a democracy when I’m willingly not participating in a process I actually can participate in? I’m still a UK citizen, I’ll have to arrange some sort of postal ballot or what have you. Man, my conscience ruins all my fun. Well nearly all…
Something to fill up space on columns where nothing much has been said, the new ‘Currently’ section. Consider all these highly recommended.
Currently reading: A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle; Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.
Currently watching: The Thick of It; Newswipe Series 2 (difficult to get a hold of out here but well worth it seeing as it is probably, no joke, the most important television series on right now); 30 Rock Season 4.
Currently playing the shit out of: Florence and the Machine – Cosmic Love.
Something more cohesive next week, scout’s honour.