One long dream for today:
I am in a computer games shop in Shawlands, picking up a game that is bundled with a virus checker, a bottle of Fanta, and a 12-inch-long sandwich. Whilst in the shop, I meet a neighbour, who has come in for something slightly darker. I walk out of the shop, and into...
...Florida, where I ponder the amount of computer-related stuff that I will be able to buy whilst there. I am now in Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. It feels rather like Glasgow Zoo, however. I spot a northern man.
"This Animal Kingdom," he says. "What's in it?"
"It's quite like a zoo," I reply.
"O bugger, I 'ate zoos."
I walk onwards, and out onto a street, whereupon I am picked up by my Dad in a car. We drive down a street on which there is a sign pointing to a Travel Inn on the left and a McDonalds straight ahead. We carry on along the straight road until we are outside a converted church...
Which happens to be in Manchester. There are some elderly ladies outside, so I surmise that some serious bingo is going on inside. We drive around the back of the church, and into a cul de sac that is swarming with fans who are queueing for an ABC concert. We carry out an embarrased U-turn, and the car fights its way out of the throng. I get out of the car, in order to walk with a friend. We head for a footbridge that is in front of the church.
It leads to a series of convoluted of concrete decks, overpasses and underpasses, which cause me to believe that we are in Cumbernauld, just outside the Town Centre. My friend ages to become someone who could easily be my grandpa, but who curiously isn't. On the edge of a large concrete deck, we look down at a roundabout, and notice a large orange, wheeled device. It is being driven by a four-year old girl, who is being prematurely taught to drive. I look up at the imposing Town Centre, and ask the old man if we could go in. He agrees, and we skip over gaps in the concrete, in order to get to the front door.
As I enter, I wonder if it will be the peculiarly-complicated, dark and confusing masterpiece that so interested me as a child. (I have always been slightly fascinated by the place. Once, my Dad and I were looking for an office-suite that was at the top of a tower block there. In the lifts, we couldn't get up to the floor that the office was supposedly on. We eventually climbed up, via a series of rubbish-strewn ramps. When we got to the top, everything was as normal.) Walking through the doors, my eyes are shut, and I envisage 1950's, grainy film of people in technicolour clothes walking around in harmony. I open my eyes and see grotesque green tiles on the wall, and thank the civil planners that it hasn't changed a bit. I see a door, marked "Cash Machines". It reminds me (from real experience) of a remote atrium, somewhere in the centre, where few people were ever present. When I walk through, I find myself in an Italian restaurant. I walk across the room, in which people are watching TV, to some patio doors, which open out onto an external corridor. The corridor, high up on the side of a building, leads into another small restaurant. This one is more like a scene from a 1930's movie, in black and white, with perhaps a token hint of red lipstick. I rush through this one, and finally onto a straightforward snack-bar. There I am with my parents, and we sit down at a formica table for three, on vinyl seats. As we sit down, the restaurant starts moving, and we presume that we are in a revolving restaurant. On each revolution, we convey a small part of our order to the waitress. I plump for straightforward sausages and chps. I turn my attention to the revolving nature of the establishment.
It is not the whole restaurant that is revolving; rather our table, chairs and gaudy scrap of carpet are moving in a glass-walled carriage, which runs on an oblong track around the whole Town Centre complex. In the middle, by way of curiosity, I notice BBC Television Centre, in the centre of which stands a sculpture named The Toy; and close by is a see-through model of the Millennium Dome. There is also a modern, black tower block that has been built since I was last in the area.
The food arrives. My sausages are actually a white, rubbery piece of "meat", encased in pastry, and they are accompanied by two chips which are black-spotted, and curling up at the edges. I look again at the path of the moving restaurant, and decide that it is actually a Thrill Restaurant. There are points on the track, where it is supposed to seem as if another train might be about to crash into you, or a child is about to run out in front of you. They don't.
My Dad walks in, having earlier exited unnoticed. He has some photos of an old friend, whom we are going to meet to play golf. And meet we do, on the first tee of a golf course in Cambuslang. On the tee, my eye is drawn to a wooden fence with a gap in it. I see a group of teachers through it, including one who is a teacher who, a) I don't like much, b) is an assistant head teacher, and c) is a man. I quiz him about whether he is about to leave Williamwood for another school. He replies that the only open position is as assistant head.
"Well," I retort. "Perhaps it would mean a shorter drive in the morning."