I walked into the city and went looking for socks. I had no agenda. I'm dangerous when I have no specific agenda. I was glad to be able to go looking for socks, I've not found people selling pure cotton socks outside of Newcastle's Greenmarket. I've not looked that hard, but I was glad to get the chance to go back and seek out the stall where I knew they would sell me my socks.
The stall wasn't there. The market was closed totally.
Thrown, I went on a wander looking for an audio lead for my mp3-player/car-radio interfacing. This is a problem I've been meaning to solve, the lead I have being weathered with an intermitted connection in it. I went into Richer sounds. I explained the sort of lead I wanted. The guy tried to sell me a £10 lead and I didn't think the headphone-plug end of the lead would fit. He then tried to upsell me to a £30 lead. I said that was a silly price. He then turned on the "but surely you're serious about music angle". Given that I'd been gigging for 6 days straight, I wasn't in a mood to filter my mouth. What happened was something like this:
Ash: Oh come on. You can't sell me any of the gold-plated plug bollocks. This is a simple lead to connect an mp3 player to a shitty car stereo. Don't give me any bullshit about audio quality. The lead is a bog-standard thing - should cost about £3.
Shop man: (looks round to check nobody is looking) What about this? (pulls a lead from under the counter).
Ash: Yes. That's the one. How much?
Shop man: £4
Ash: I knew it. You were trying to upsell me. You're the sort of person who sold my mum a £30 gold-plated scart lead because "if you don't get one like that, it might suffer from erosion". Erosion!? The action of the sea against rocks!? In a scart lead!?
It must be said that this was all done in a jovial way and the guy was smiling along - slightly overfaced by the power of my delivery, but not offended. We had a laugh about the erosion. True story.
The guy in the music shop, where I went for a look around, was less impressed with my ballsy motormouthiness. However, I was on my holiday and having a good time. If I want to rabbit on about stuff and be very jovial and hearty, then I will. I bought a practice amplifier from the shop, which I used to frequent a lot when I worked near it. It's a nice bit of kit. I haven't used it yet.
Then I went to the office I used to work in. I pretty much told everyone how impressed I was at how much it appears to have improved since I left. The company has gone through a lot, but they have regrouped and should be proud of themselves for the atmosphere in there. Of course, 16 months of not working there has given me a great deal of distance and the ability to be dispassionate about it all. It was good to see people again.
I returned to the streets of Newcastle for more wandering. Trying to buy arbitrary items from shops proved a good distraction. I failed to find a box set of TV themes. Shame. I could really have used that for the journey home.
I stopped to buy the big issue from the big issue seller who had noticed my absence, and whose name I remembered. We had a chat. She's looking reasonably well, considering the fact that she works most hours of the daytime out in the cold of Newcastle. I'll probably not read the magazine.
I did a bit of director's commentary as I wandered round:
Ooh, there's that hairdresser's I couldn't afford to go in. Ah, that's the "shop that never used to be there". This used to be a fountain. That Starbucks is missing. That Starbucks is new. This piggy went to market (probably the Bigg one). Where's the pub I'm supposed to be meeting people at again!?
It was fun. I have missed Newcastle and I should return there again. How about a week on Friday for an hour? And again a week on Sunday?