Edinburgh killed my shoes. It killed my bag too.
The combination of rain and cobbles meant that my poor Chelsea boots never made it back to London. My bag came back with me though, I carried the cat in it on the way home – its head poking out, causing strangers to give me funny looks on the tube back from Kings Cross – but the shoulder strap had broken. This meant I had to buy a replacement bag from Topman while in Edinburgh (annoying because I already had a replacement bag at home). The bag I bought was exactly the same as the old bag, but blue instead of brown. An improvement, I think.
The zip on the inside pocket of my new bag is already broken. It broke during my last night in Edinburgh. I’d gone into a pub (The World’s End on the Royal Mile) for one last pint before heading home to pack and got asked for ID. I opened the inner pocket of the bag to get my passport (as a non-driver, I’m limited in terms of available forms of identification) and the zip handle (“handle”? The bit you hold as you open or close a zip. It must have a name) broke off. It’s still in my bag somewhere, I think.
I showed the barmaid my passport and enjoyed the pause before she realised that I was definitely old enough to buy alcohol. She ruined it slightly; saying the pub had introduced a new policy where anyone who looked under twenty-five had to show ID. Still, even this was quite pleasing. I haven’t been twenty-five for five years. What have I done with that time? Very little.
As she studied my passport, I bravely hid the fact that my bag – barely a few days old – was already falling to pieces. I should have suspected the quality of the bag when I found this tag attached to it:
I love the bravado on display there. “This is not a fault”. It’s a feature not a flaw. It’s like Quentin Crisp’s idea of “the trouble with you”. The idea that you should exaggerate and accentuate that part of your personality which a concerned friend might describe as “the trouble with you”. “Emphasise the flaws”, one of Eno’s mantras – included as one of the cards in his Oblique Strategies.
When you’re interested in somebody, and you think they might be interested in you, you should point out all your beauty problems and defects right away, rather than take a chance they won’t notice them. At least you know it will never become an issue later on in the relationship, and if it does, you can always say “Well I told you that in the beginning.”
- Andy Warhol
If, when you peer into your soul, you find that you are ordinary, then ordinary is what you must remain. But you must be so ordinary that you can imagine someone saying “Come to my party and bring your humdrum friend” and everyone knowing he meant you.
- Quentin Crisp
And so the Boring Conference. And so Edinburgh and The Quotidian Revue.
Oh, Edinburgh. On top of all the other costs, this jaunt has cost me a pair of shoes and a bag. But what did I gain from all this suffering? A resin statue of a cat, obviously. But what else? I’d gone to Edinburgh with one Dymo printer (used for our flyer and poster design – the receipt for £10.99 pinned to the notice board under our photos, only partially visible on the flyer, is for this Dymo printer. This stuff isn’t just thrown together, you know) and returned with two (the second being a present from Lewis who saw it in the window of a charity shop). A resin cat and an additional Dymo printer. This surely is enough for any man. But is it enough to make me want to go back again?
It’s too soon to answer that question.
In the meantime, I need to buy a new pair of shoes.