Friday, 12 September 2008





I fucking hate hotels.

OK, let me qualify that statement: I hate hotels when I have to stay in them alone for work purposes, especially on a long-term basis. For four or five nights a week, I live in a glorified en-suite bedroom and my only conversation is with (mostly) surly hotel staff. When locally-based colleagues find out that I’m staying in some pretentiously-titled holiday camp, they make jealous noises and shake their heads. They obviously think I’m living in the lap of luxury, and while I might eat nice food and enjoy access to fabulous facilities, the truth is that I would rather not be here.

I’m not alone, that’s an undeniable fact, because I see the other poor sods every night, sat silent and alone at tables in the bar or restaurant with books or newspapers. None of them look happy. They glance around enviously at the old couple in the corner who laugh and joke about their recent trip to India, and then start stilted nervous conversations with nearby waiting staff about the weather or the price of goat’s cheese. Then there's the ambient music: We all hear the unspeakably awful Muzak that dribbles into the room like diarrhoea from hidden speakers. They're hidden for a reason, I'm sure. If they were not, they would be smashed into oblivion with anything that came to hand, including loaves of poncey olive bread. No-one should be subjected to the music of Lennon and McCartney played on pan pipes. It would be deemed inhumane to play it to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Possibly.

The worst bit about it is the separation. We’re all hurting inside because we have to be away from our loved ones; wives and young children who could be doing anything, from recreating the ceiling of the Sistine chapel in the lounge to fighting off sustained attacks from sexually-frustrated poultry. Imagination is the lonely man’s nightmare.

So why on Earth do we subject ourselves to this? We must be fucking idiots. Is there such a need to earn large amounts of the filthy lucre that we feel obliged to live out of a suitcase and watch television whilst lying on a bed in our pants. Of course, if we were at home, we would probably be watching television whilst lying on the sofa in our pants, but that isn’t the point. When we are at home we can move freely to other rooms in our pants. Doing the same in the hotel might get us evicted.

I never sleep well in these godforsaken places either. I am invariably given a room below what sounds like a herd of wildebeest in clogs or next to some nocturnal entity with impaired hearing who turns the TV up to high volume at the same time I turn mine off for the night.

After a night of broken sleep, I stumble into the shower and turn the tap to see if I get a freezing trickle or a boiling jet that knocks me off my feet, juggling tiny bottles of shower gel and shampoo all the while.

At breakfast, the over-worked waiting staff shove me in a dim corner with the other loners and forget that I exist for an hour or two before bringing me some cold toast and treacle-like coffee. I end up consoling myself in a full English breakfast, which on top of the comforting food and numbing alcohol of the previous evening makes for a rather large calorie surplus. I’m going to need some new trousers soon.


nzm said...

Cool - new blog - welcome back!

Where are you now?

littlejimmy said...

Hi NZM. Back in the UK for the moment, but who knows which way the wind blows!