The Place: Beneath the clock, Waterloo Station, London
The Time: 11:04 am (BST), Sunday 28 June 2015
The moment that all of creation had been leading up to (in common with all other moments) finally arrived on Sunday. My blog soul brother and I finally met face-to-case, mano-a-mano (quite literally, hands were shaken) and what had only been virtual was physically instantiated. Men (and women and many of the great apes) will count their manhood (or woman or ape-hood) cheap who were not there to witness that momentous occasion. The earth itself was rocked upon its very axis – can it be a mere coincidence that today a leap second must be added to the day to restore temporal equilibrium?
As I waited ‘neath that clock (I will admit that one of us was slightly late – our thanks to Southwest Trains for making this possible – but even the most skilled of CIA interrogators would be unable to extract the name from betwixt my unwilling lips) – so resonant with previous historic encounters – I will admit that my heart rate was racing. Had one (or both) of us been using a body-double for our blog presence? Would we be able to live up to our screen personas? Could I reasonably offer to remove a smut from his eye in this day of third rail electrification and modern diesel multiple units?
At this point, in an attempt to build quite unnecessary suspense, I will take a brief digression into the realm historic. As research for this post, I discovered that our first encounter had taken place in late March when my brother followed GofaDM and I alluded to this fact (and his apparent lunacy) in the following post. However, it was only early this month that our literary bond was truly formed and the level of inter-blog interaction reached its current peak – a level which has (at times) now exceeded the comment nesting capabilities of WordPress and forced us, fugitive, into the arms of Gmail (and beyond).
OK, I shall release you from your tenterhooks and return from this narrative suspension. My blog soul brother and I get on ridiculously well in the flesh – and did so pretty much instantly. It was like meeting up with an old friend, but even better as it was an old friend who has yet to hear most of my anecdotes (and vice versa). Despite his protestations as to his conversational skills (allegedly atrophied by writerly isolation), he was more than able to hold his own against the word torrent that I am capable of generating. We must have spoken pretty much without cease for three hours outside the Royal Festival Hall (I’m sure the commemorative plaque is being fitted even now) enjoying first the fresh air and then hiding (and filming) the unforecast and rather heavy rain.
At this point we had to make our way to Angel to join the walk which was very much the inciting incident for this narrative. In Iain Banks’ novel Walking on Glass, one of the primary characters – Graham Park – walks from Holborn up towards the Angel on 28 June – and both being fans of the author, a replication of this walk organised by the writer of The Banksoniain (an Iain Banks fanzine) had given us the excuse to come together. The walk was moderately diverting, passing through many scenes in the book and in the life of Mr Banks (and also fragments of the life and works of Douglas Adams – and, indeed, mine own). I learned a number of things, but primarily that when it comes to climbing the mountain of literary obsession I am still back at basecamp (actually, I’m probably still at home preparing a day pack and selecting inappropriate footwear). We wound up at the Hope and Anchor (which Iain referred to using a name rhyming with Hopeless Banker) in the northern reaches of Upper Street (not far from a bar which once barred entry to my brother-in-law). I rather doubt that our fellow walkers imagined that we had only known each other for a small handful of hours when the walk began: I suspect some thought we were an item (and that I was punching well above my weight).
When historians come to write the history of the twenty-first century, I think they will recognise this first meeting as a turning point for humanity. Of late, geologists have been pondering when (or if) to switch to a new geological era – the Anthropocene – but I think this discussion has now been superseded. On 28 June 2015, we passed from the Holocene into the Blogocene era. It was truly an historic day – and at this stage, it was far from over!
The Blog Soul Brothers will return in: AWKWARD?