At the end of the summer I was lucky enough to land myself a neat little contract in London taking me through until the end of January, then they went and extended me to the end of March. As you know, I’d just spent six months living with Bones in Zagreb and upon reluctantly returning to the UK with JJ, I resolved to get my head down for another grim winter and prepare to rinse repeat.
I dread the winters, for every ‘this is top drawer’ point you get in the summer, you get one point taken off in the winter. Last winter in Birmingham was a wholly dull experience. No friends, no social life. I’d get home from work and if there was no hockey game to watch we’d have to satisfy ourselves with something on Netflix. No life whatsoever.
And so a few weeks ago I found myself back in London. I kicked off staying with my mate Dave Ravos in North London for a few weeks, just round the corner from that Xants off of that City DayGame site and close to a few good old non pickup mates, Arsenal lads, who I met when I lived in Islington in the early noughties, a long time before the pick-up days.
I’d do a day of work and on the way home I’d pop in to see Xants for a coffee. He was always offering to cook something, a few times lining me up with curries and cakes he’d made. I’d call round to see the Arsenal lads, all with wives and kids now. They all made a big fuss of me and I even helped one fix a financial issue that had been causing him and his family some significant stress.
It was great living with Ravos again. I’d look forward to getting home from work and catching up with him, having a laugh about some gossip one of us had heard on the grapevine regarding whatever mutual friend. (The pickup crowd are all such screamingly dysfunctional living cartoons that there’s always something ridiculous going on to have a laugh about).
I’m working close to Hampstead, close to where we all lived a few years ago. I’m back at the same bus stops, tube stops and coffee shops I always was. I even found myself having drinks after work in West Hampstead at Alice House, the same bar we’d call in at all those years ago.
After a few weeks I realised I was happy. I was happier even than I was in the summer. Surrounded by mates, money coming in, my phone was always ringing, some old face asking how I was. Suddenly I was living again and the next thing I know Lee’s back in London, he’s starting a new job and looking for a home.
Fast forward a month and Lee, Ravos and I moved into a little four man gaff in Finsbury. We’ve got one of the current day pickup trainers staying with us in the spare room and we’re all set. There’s four daft lads in a little drum just tootling along with our lives and the winter is better than the summer.
In the chase for the nomadic lifestyle I’d forgotten all the great things that come with being somewhere permanently. Even a shit-box like London. If you’ve got a bit of money, a decent job, a busy city and most importantly a few good mates close to hand then you’re a happy man.
As long as you’re looking at your bank account at the end of the month and there’s more than there was last month, then you’re doing alright son.
The girls in London still aren’t great but that doesn’t matter to me now. Now I’ve got a girl I’m sticking with, it’s a non issue. The girls can get fatter and drunker for all I care, just makes mine better by comparison. London is a whole different proposition to me now. Plus Krauser’s not here anymore. That adds a lot.
Saturday night just came and went. This little flat was a hub of life. Matt flies in and out balancing his job as a pickup coach with his other job working at a local bar, Dave’s band mates drop by and talk about BitCoin and girls, on Saturday night Lee and I got Fully Granted, tanked up on rum and cokes in the flat and went out to meet a few other good time boys celebrating one of the lads’ birthdays. We we’re having a ball, all out round Soho Fully Granted mouthing off anyone who walked past and having a rare old laugh.
So come the summer, I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere. I’ve got it pretty good right here in shitty old London for now.