upside down in the duke of norfolk

Its cold. I mean its not Lake Tahoe with no shirt, drunk on a bike cold, just kind of a bit sort of cold. So I’m standing outside the city hall with about 200 other people who have just stumbled out of Argos with seasonal chavware (its a bit like middleware, but gold), and we’re all looking up at the roof waiting for French people to fall off.

This is abseil ballet. Scarabeus are a bunch of loons who hang off buildings dressed up like patients in insane asylums and kind of swing about to a background of Daft Punk-like ambience (which, in Daft Punk’s case is actually enveloped very swankily, but in this case just sounds like the audio is coming through a huge cushion). Occasionally, everything swings at just the right time, but mostly you’re just wondering what the hell is going on for about 30 minutes of your life. I think about taking a picture, but actually, I just can’t be bothered. You know when you’re about to take a snap that you’ll look at later and say “well, I didn’t think that was going to work”. I think about other stuff, but my brain freezes over and I’m just gawping at office workers standing there in shirt sleeves and smoking tabs, ready to go out for the night and get off their face, like I used to 20 years ago before I chose the ten o’clock news and a pair of slippers instead.

And then I remember how cold it is. Sam is just kind of rocking like a Weeble and Madeleine’s transfixed of course (it’s theatrical), but her breath is freezing, Mr Freeze style, as it comes of her wide-open mouth. I’m ready to head for the Forum to stand under a heater for a while, so Sam and I head off past the ice rink, avoiding the goths peering through their own hair, to find a hot-air hand-drier. Of course, as we round the corner past the police cars parked across the road, they go and let the fireworks off as a grand finale. There is mild excitement as the 2 sky ballet artists hanging from the city hall clock collide in a mock embrace from a Gaultier ad 100 feet off the ground and then a few limp flashes later it’s all over.

We head home to groom our colds and sure enough, by the next day, everybody’s coughing over each other’s fish fingers and leaving damp tissues in the sink. So that’s nice.


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