I take the train from King’s Cross to Newcastle to see my old flatmate John, who has been in the same boat as me but has managed to bail out to the north. And it only took him three years of twining and CV tinkering. He is proof that you can get out. But also proof that it can take a long time.
We toast his new life in his new house with mojitos and prawn cocktail Seabrook crisps while watching episodes of Cold Case (the soldier did it, but his boss covered it up. Soundtrack: Pearl Jam).
We discover the religious channel, God TV. They appear to be holding some kind of telethon, but instead of Lenny Henry they have a jittery preacher with a fake tan. They are trying to raise ‘urgent funds’. There is a large stack of orange papers on what appears to be a rockery. I am very confused.
I call the number at the bottom of the screen. A pleasant-sounding Indian lady picks up.
'Hello, God TV,’ she says.
‘What are the orange bits of paper for?’ I say.
‘They are prayers, maam. You can make a donation and we will print out a prayer for you.'
I get scared and hang up the phone. I wonder if they can trace the number.
We carry on watching God TV. We have another mojito. I call back God TV. The same lady picks up.
‘Hello, God TV.’
‘Where is the money going? Which charity?’ I ask.
‘We are raising $4million to keep God TV on air,’ she says.
I am flabbergasted. Across the bottom of the screen I can see that a man from Russia has just donated £1000. Someone from East Anglia has donated £15. I am getting annoyed. John takes the phone off me and packs me off to bed.
I forget to brush my teeth and wake at 6am with a bad taste in my mouth.