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People-watching Diary - Vol 1


Happy couple jogging in the park. They’re drunk on a cocktail of oxytocin and protein shakes. They share a penchant for leisurewear. I bet they have a joint Instagram account, where they post pictures with caption such as: “Couples who run together, stay together”. I hope they keep running. Away from me, if possible.


Man who is shorter than me (this doesn’t happen often). He is dressed in black from head to toe. He is sporting a suspiciously fresh haircut and he’s clearly feeling himself. That makes one of us.


Man walking three French pugs (they’re all identical). He has a face tattoo (who did you kill while in jail?), tracksuit bottoms tucked into ankle-length sponge socks and a rolled-up beanie hat. I am sure there’s an interesting backstory somewhere there.


Mother of two accompanied by her ageing single friend. She is forced to push a buggy and engage in a conversation about poo-stained nappies. Her eyes are soulless, a permanently sorrowful grim is stamped on her face - she’s clearly wishing she had stayed in bed watching reruns of Frasier on Channel 4. Motherhood is a burden, especially when you don’t have kids. 


Woman walking a genetically modified Pomeranian squeezed into a leopard print gilet. The dog looks at me, defeated. I look at him, concerned. Bark twice if you’re being held hostage. 


Very blonde woman in black leggings having a passionate argument on the phone about a suspicious rash - “I want to die”. Be careful what you wish for (and who you sleep with).


Two bros running ridiculously close to each other, their hips move synchronically, their perfectly conditioned hair bounces rhythmically. They obviously love each other - they just don’t know it yet. 


The leopard print dog walks past me again. I look at him. He looks at me. He barks twice.


My duck friend Patricia is in a mood. Consuelo the Swan is being a dick (no surprise there). I know this is a story about people watching - ducks are not people. They’re better.


Man with man bun and faux leather trench coat and a New Yorker tote bag. He doesn’t know it – but today is trash collection day. You in danger, girl.  


Woman wearing a fancy coat and high heels on a Thursday morning. I look at her, she looks at me. It’s Versace, not Versachee.


Woman wearing an 'Is It Friday Yet' t-shirt. Omg Linda, you cray cray.


Park employee in yellow vest. We make eye contact - a blank stare, a stark warning. I’m not here to exercise – and she knows it. She’s drunk with power. I think about my history of conflict with figures of authority. I stand up and leave.

Victoria Park, Thursday, 25 February


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A friend of mine messaged me the other day about an opportunity to pitch a piece for a new magazine looking for articles about happiness and well-being. She swiftly withdrew her suggestion upon realising I had literally nothing to contribute to the subject. I can’t seem to shake off the ever so slight suspicion that my particularly abrasive brand of defeatist sarcasm is unlikely to go down well with an audience that’s after feel-good stories for a much-needed start-of-week pick-me-up (that’s enough hyphens for today). Life in the time of Miss Rona is predictably slow. Aside from the customary episodes of wretchedness which stud my life that I have already discussed at length on this platform, I have very little to write about. I am of course binge-watching the Crown (hence me casually using words like “wretchedness”). I have also decided to finally do something about my life-long shampoo addiction and reduce the frequency of my hair washing from once every 24 hours to once every 30 hou