Five o'clock in a Friday night city centre is a special place. Picking your way across a road filled with snarled up traffic, you can sense a crackle in the air: energy, anticipation, expectation. Already, people are sucking hard on ciggies outside pubs and buskers by escalators advertise their MySpace pages on guitar cases as they seranade commuters with Oasis's best.
As you rush, caught up in the stream of humanity tasting the freedom of the weekend, you think how pleasant it would be if you too were on your way to the pub. You remember other Friday nights after work, fag in one hand, gin and tonic in the other. Friends and drinks and maybe dancing later. Or home to shower and change, TFI Friday on Channel 4, red wine, then out on the town. Bouncing along, buoyed up on the wave carrying you into the weekend; no time to stop to catch your breath.
Now, although I can feel those ripples of energy, they aren't strong enough to support me. I no longer have sufficient oomph of my own to sail into the weekend without stopping. Now at the end of the week, uncorking a bottle of wine is just about my limit.