The sofa had seen better days.

The sofa had seen better days. Much better days. The filthy stains were from god knows what. Honestly I didn’t want to know.

I wasn’t expecting the venue to be in this state of disrepair but it wasn’t without its charm. It’s been a long time since I was at such a venue.

I had travelled down from Sheffield earlier in the day and St Pancras station always surprises me. I remember it in its former glory. The cold Victorian platform. Stains from a bygone era. The cooing of the pigeons in the steelwork. Pigeon shit all down it.

I was travelling back up to Sheffield one evening. It must have been winter as it was dark outside and a chill wind was blowing through the exposed platform. I remember it was Sunday. A day of rest. Gods day. WH Smith had a kiosk at the back of the station. One of the few. I don’t remember much else being open apart from the old Victorian booking hall. The Hotel had been closed for many years. There was little to do whilst kicking about waiting for your train.

I decided to buy a drink and the WH Smith kiosk was the only place to go. I picked up my drink from the shelf and joined the queue. The man in front of me seemed to be slightly nervous, agitated.  As he laid his purchases on the counter I could see why. In his arms was possibly the largest stack of porn I had ever seen.

‘That will be £108’, chirped the attendant. Not phased at all. Perhaps he was a regular. I contemplated that he may have been an academic undertaking research. Why else would he need so much porn?  He didn’t look like one. His demeanour, stance and crusty clothing indicated just another pervert. Then again, if he was off duty, why not dress the way you want. Whatever, I just hoped he wasn’t sitting next to me on the train.

This sofa, sitting on the landing of Limehouse town hall brought that memory flooding back. I could imagine that man living in such a place. If invited to his house he would be cordial. A perfect host but you just wouldn’t want to sit on his sofa.

I was in Limehouse for the Launch of Flat Track Fashion: The Roller Derby Look Book by Ellen Parnavelas. It was an excuse to go down to London for a couple of days and meet up with friends. Be decadent. Pretend I could live this life every day.

It quite pleased me that the venue was in such a bad state of repair. Buckets scattered in every room waiting to catch the drips when it rained. I could be happy living here. Just the right amount of squalor. Just habitable enough to be able to live in and stay under the radar of mainstream society.

As I left for the evening and headed back to my 4 star hotel in Bayswater I felt tinged with sadness. The hotel was safe and warm but after a few weeks I wouldn’t remember it. Just another deduction on my bank statement. Limehouse town hall will live on in my memory, tucked just next to that man who bought a stack of porn on a cold winter’s night at St Pancras station.


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