It’s 3pm and I am in Costa Coffee on Wilmlsow Road in Didsbury, ostensibly to work on my laptop. Thinking it may be a creatively difficult afternoon I have a cup of coffee that is so American Fat it has 2 handles and I am slightly ashamed by its obvious greed.
I love it in here. Costa’s clientage always give inspiration. (Although as a liberal media Didsbury Dad I obviously support the independents and am an Art of Tea regular.) The staff here are corporate friendly and professional. The camp over decorated indifferent moaners so beloved of small coffee houses don’t last long.
The Costa day pulls in the village, strata by strata. In term-time harassed dads delight kids with overpriced smoothies and cakes to tempt them to school. Then at 9am come the mums, mums to be and pre-college kids swamping the occasional early business meeting. It is loud, competitive and marks out the territory of the surrounding playgrounds.
I am usually here about 10. It’s Freelance central. Strong coffees and laptops push the ambient temperature up as individual men grunt cautiously from behind screens that hold draft versions of scripts. Potentially impressive phonecalls are handled loudly. We all leave for a meeting, nodding supportively about the failure of commissioners/producers/editors/audiences etc.
By late morning it is the retired and comfortable (they also take the lunch/post lunch period) who remember Blaggs, the old Boots, Percevals and Tesco in the village.
They give way to excitable schoolies and students who share exorbitant drinks and talk whilst texting and tweeting with a speed and code that impresses and depresses simultaneously.
And then… At 6, the early evening brings first dates and Internet-arranged blind dates. I have been lucky enough to be “working” next to three of these excruciating occasions which made me thankful for Didsbury Wife and Son and for the self-delusion of those in here.
Time for a refill. What is the point of a frapuccino in England? Is it meant to be ironic?