I had a fun, if brief stint on the Richard Bacon show this afternoon, judging the moans of his listeners (from a man annoyed that supermarket trolleys lay untethered in carparks to another who resented coverage of sports events cutting to the family of the players) and then decided to walk home. As my absent cyst - and how I miss it now it has gone (I realise it was a little friend to me - what if that's where Me2 lived?) - means I cannot go to the gym I need to get my exercise in less stitch-splitting ways and a nice long walk would give me time to give some much needed thought to my play. I have put aside most of next week to try and get a first draft of that completed. It seems unlikely at the moment, but if I want a good cast it's basically got to happen. Wish me luck.
I made it most of the way without public transport and as always enjoyed travelling on foot and taking in the sights. One of the most interesting (depending on your definition of interesting) came in Shepherd's Bush, where my once favourite cafe is being transformed into a new business. It's where Andrew Collins and me used to go to briefly discuss what might be coming up on our podcasts (though usually nothing we talked about there made it to the air-it was always best to use fresh thoughts only). I fear that the loss of our weekly visit might have been the straw that broke the camel's back and forced the charming Italian family who ran it to sell up and ship out. But I noticed a reminder that our familiar cityscape is ever changing.They've removed the cafe sign now, in order to accommodate the new shopfront and in doing so have revealed that this premises was once a Midland Bank. This bit of living archaeology is only apparent to those who take the time to look as you can only tell this because of the shadows left by the letters that once hung there. I don't know how long ago this bank closed down (to move to new premises closer to the green), but certainly over 12 years ago and maybe many more. The Uxbridge Road is now so full of fried chicken shops that it seems somehow jolting to imagine something as formal as a bank in this location. Did the people who use it mourn its loss as much as I have done so with the cafe? Did the cafe replace the bank or were there other businesses in between? Nothing is permanent, buildings, businesses and people come and go. And soon the new business' sign will cover this ghost from the past.
When I see a modern building reduced to its shell, with hints of its past, it reminds me of Pompeii and how similar our lives are to those people's of 2000 years ago. As Collings and I drank our coffee or my wife and I ate a hangover cure breakfast we would never have guessed that the shadows of the past were banking amongst us (I said banking).
The letters for the new sign sat underneath the window the next time I passed the shop. Past, present and future. Things move onwards, even if our hearts stay anchored in the past.
Don't miss your last chance to see "We're All Going To Die!" live. Thursday and Friday night at the Bloomsbury. Free "10" DVD for everyone who attends. Plenty of tickets for Thursday, but worth booking now for Friday.
Here's this week's Metro column.