You know those days when you just wake up feeling down for no apparent reason - at odds with the world, out of sync, anxious - and yet you don't really know why? I had one of those mornings on Saturday - perhaps the subconscious effect of a bad dream, or buried tensions from the week bubbling up through the release of the weekend. Whatever the reason, I was off-kilter. Often it can take the littlest thing to dislodge a disquieted mood – an unexpected phone call from a friend, a smile from a stranger – but there are times when I have to consciously steer myself out of it. One way I do this is to latch onto those little moments going on around me, borrowing from other people's joy to feed my own. So, as I was sat waiting my turn in Barber Blacksheep on Saturday, feeling a rising tide of unexplained melancholy washing over me, I decided to distract myself by making a list of things around me that raised a smile... A grinning dad with a newborn in a sling; reading the superman comic strip on the pants of the skinny gay hairdresser in front of me (and wondering if Superman wears gay hairdresser pants); Someone quite clearly thrilled with their new haircut and proudly prinking in the mirror before paying; a glamorous old lady on the street with a flamboyant scarf and huge retro shades... These little observations, combined with the vanity boost of my own well-needed shearing, started to put me back on track, and in turn led me to accept a last-minute party invitation on a whim, when I had intended to stay home and wallow. I was glad I did. Just as a black mood can descend without warning, so a spontaneous adventure brings unexpected mirth. Piling into the back of Nikki's car, with some of my favourite people also in tow, I began to shed the earlier gloominess and let the spirit of summer fun take over. Trying not to think about the bit where I'd have to sleep on the floor with a bunch of strangers later in the night (not something I really do these days), I embraced the opportunity that mingling with strangers can afford – the chance to reinvent oneself, with the conspiratorial collaboration of one's own 'gang' - and to observe, influence and record the interactions and dynamics of an unfamiliar social circle. Interactive People-Watching! Continuing in the observational bent, I also felt compelled to complement the usual photographic evidence with some written notes of the night's proceedings, the highlights of which I shall share here – make of them what you will...
“You can tell you lot are from Brighton, you look...alternative.”
“You can't get a haircut like that in Maidstone...”
“There were 19 badgers trying to eat my map of Surrey”
“The Amish beard is dead to me now”
"Are you married? Because you make a great cup of tea."
“What happens to those lost thoughts that evade one mid-sentence to float away and burst like bubbles? Do they sit in a corner, depressed because no one is using them, or do they just disappear forever?”
“The word 'jaded' sounds far more beautiful than the thing it describes"
“I tell you what is the great anomaly – the duck-billed platypus”
“Drugs are SO Tacky”
“I was reberellious once”
“There's a cruel space between the walls”
“The friendly gay with a guinea pig”