Yesterday was the longest day of my life. It started off in typical fashion, playing email catchup, packaging a few mailorders and listening to good music. At just before 1pm I heard a weird beeping noise which turned out to be the phone sitting next to me. The digits on the answerphone base unit were flashing and the voice was trying to speak, literally as if it was trying to use its dying breath to warn me. By the time I figured out the electricity was about to trip out, it was too late. Everything shut down. 1200 homes in East Oxford lost power.
I sat back and folded my arms. There's been a problem in the area for a few days now and this wasn't the first time the electricity had gone off this week. I'll just wait it out.
Nine hours later the lights came on.
I think the biggest difficulty I faced was the fact that I had no idea when the problem would be resolved. I had a small amount of charge left on my mobile, so could make calls and get online for an hour, perhaps. The same with the laptop which had enough battery power to last a short DVD or an hour of typing. But how do you ration when you don't know how long the issue will last? This must be what it was like for those lads in Alive.
I took to drinking warm beer, reading odd pages of books, peeing in the dark and walking slower than usual to delay the inevitable boredom when I reached my destination. It's incredible just how much you rely on electricity and it sometimes takes these moments to make you realise. I lose track of the number of times I thought "I'll put some music on... oh no, wait" or "I may as well make some lunch" or even "my phone's going to die soon, better just put him on to charge" before that horrible realisation sets in. I now understand why Fred Flintstone was always so damn angry.
By the time the power came back on I'd achieved a fair amount. The glory of hearing the buzz of those little wires crackling into life all around the flat filled me with joy and sent me into a technological overload. I flicked light switches on for fun, I watched TV, typed out emails and listened to music all at the same time, and I charged my phone so I could film the mess I'd created through the 9 hour blackout.
Dramatically soundtracked by Talons, here's how BSM HQ ended up on 16th September 2009: