LIFES different in London. Some of the people are great. Some of the people arent so great. And some of the people, lets be honest, are bloody awful!
Top of the bloody awful category come people who think that theres no such thing as culture outside the M25. Im talking about the people who think that, just because Tate Moderns only a tube ride away, theyre art experts. There are lots of them: theyre to be found barking out their opinions in restaurants, working on the principle that the more people that can hear you, the more right you must be.
Sorry if I sound a bit bitter here. I spent last night at a dinner party surrounded by guests whose opinion could be surmised as: City equals culture; country equals crass.
It makes me furious. I mean, just because youve got a London postcode, doesnt make you more cultured. If anything, it can make you less so. The people here have overdosed on culture. Theyve been desensitised to it. Theyve forgotten, simply, what is and what isnt moving.
In the country, people dont think something has to be abstract to be beautiful. It doesnt have to be clever or by someone from the right set or the right movement to make it interesting either.
Anyway, after a couple of glasses of wine (OK, a bottle), I tried to put my dinner companions straight about a few home truths. After another glass or two of beer (and, I think, some whisky) I tried to put them straight again. Then I got told to shut up and put in a cab.
Speaking of food, Ive had a few lovely meals with work recently. I never thought Id "do" lunch. (Is nouveau cuisine French for kids portion, incidentally?)
When youre working on a farm, lunch typically lasts anything between 20 minutes and an hour-and-a-half (depending on whether youre within sight of the boss), it comes out of a Tupperware box and is eaten in a tractor cab. These business lunches can go on three hours. Theyre great! You get to find out so much gossip…
After one of these lunches, all I want to do is sleep. And the whirr of the computer, the gentle bubble of noise, the heat of the office…what Im trying to say is falling asleep at your desk is something that could have happened to anyone.
I tried to explain to the boss, who had the job of waking me up, that I had been home the previous weekend and had worked my guts out on the farm on both Saturday and Sunday. (I chose not to mention that Id driven out of London to go fishing late the previous evening!)
I tried to tell the boss, too, that I often get to work early. The nine-to-five mentality is meaningless if youve been brought up on a farm. I even tried to get in the office at six oclock one day last week but the whole building was locked. The security guard thought I was a burgler.
That fishing trip must, incidentally, have been the first time for months Id been conscious of what season it was. Usually in London youre just aware of whether its hot or cold, rainy or dry. It was distinctly autumnal. I sat in the Surrey countryside and listened to the woodpigeons cooing and watched the mist settle over the lake and realised how much I missed the country. Rather have sat there than in the Tate Modern, thats for sure!