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Gloating Suits

Broadgate Ice Rink, London, November 2007
I wandered to where Broad Street Station used to be, now called Broadgate and containing offices of finance institutions surrounding an arena in the centre of which is an ice-skating rink, where at lunchtimes, certain of the office workers come to ice-skate.
This particular day was cold and windy and there were just three people on the rink. Had you put it on the telly, people would have said it was unrealistically absurd, and would have laughed, had the programme been labelled as comedy. For there was a young woman in sweatshirt and jeans, who skated round and round backwards, ie in reverse, like walking backwards, and every so often she crashed towards the side where she took a swig from a paper cup of coffee. Then there was a man in a red overcoat, who looked like he had his hands in his pockets, though in fact they were just by his side, and like the woman he was a proficient skater, but just glid around in his overcoat. And in the middle was a man in his blue office shirt and suit trousers, his sleeves rolled up and an inverted V of sweat-marks on his back, and he was trying to practise skating jumps. He held his arms out in a pose of balance, and when he felt himself suitably poised, he jumped and tried to turn in the air, landing uncertainly and with feet flailing and just about staying upright. Around the rink stood groups of gloating young office workers in their dark-grey suits, holding paper cups of coffee and some a flaking pie in a paper bag, and with their greasy hair and sneers were waiting for the jumping man to fall over, so they could all cheer and jeer and snigger. Lots of coffee and food stalls about too, but I didn’t buy anything despite it being lunchtime – felt a bit nauseous.
There are pics of Broadgate Ice Rink (though not this occasion unfortunately) on my Flickr photostream.


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