Thursday, 13 May 2010
Suicide and burgers
Mel is quitting the newsroom before the madness sets in, so we have arranged to meet for a farewell burger (our hours make farewell drinks impossible, unless we go to a casino, members-only bar or strip club).
I have only been on the tube for five minutes when a familiar announcement is made... a person is 'under a train' at Barons Court. The passengers on my carriage (myself included) are a miserable bunch, wearing winter coats and thick black tights although it is the middle of May. We heave a collective sigh and file off at Hammersmith and pile on a bus heading west.
These grim announcements are all-too common in London. But they usually happen at rush-hour therefore causing maximum chaos on the underground, as if the sad soul in question is giving a final two-fingered salute to the city. 12.04pm seems like a truly bleak time to take your life.
I secure a seat on the number 27 bus, in front of a gobby mother who has a three-year-old daughter in a buggy. She is chatting away to a posh banker-type she has just met. There’s nothing like a suicide to get people chattering.
‘I wish they’d stay at home to do this kind of stuff,' she says. 'It’s so inconsiderate. I’m going to be late for lunch in Camden now.'
‘I know, or they should jump off the NatWest building,’ the banker guffaws.
‘Heartless cretins,’ I think, as I study my diary and calculate how many hours I have to work before my holiday - and what this is as a percentage of total time.
The mother then proceeds to gossip on the phone about the fact her husband is working at David Beckhams’s new London house.
‘....and a swimming pool and cinema, too! Yes, I know..... Oh, but he’s not allowed to say much because the press will all turn up, it's all top secret...’
I smile and text the information to a showbiz reporter I know.
On the tube home, nearly 12 hours later, I peep out at the station at Barons Court. There are no flowers. It is business as usual.