Wow. I had my first Ikea experience today. I had to get some things for my room, like a bedside table and a rug (cos I hate walking on polished floorboards barefoot!), and it seemed like it was going to be the easiest option. Well… lemme tell ya, irrespective of how inexpensive, and cleanly designed it all is, going to Ikea is some sort of weird nightmarish visit into the pit of hell.

For starters, I couldn't get that damn Tripod song out of my head… I must have spent about 3 hours in that store, and the WHOLE time I'm humming “Dmm, daa, da da da…”.

It was a pretty strange environment I think. It was sort of like LeCornu's, but SOOOOO not. When you walk in the first thing is that there's arrows on the floor. I mean seriously, they expect you to walk through the ENTIRE place ! It seems that there's no such thing as “a quick visit to Ikea”. I was a bit mystified as to where to go, because I'd already worked out what I wanted from the catalog I found in our lounge room, so now all I need to do was work out where to find it. But it seemed that trudging through the entire goddamn place was unavoidable. And were there people there ! It was worse than the Adelaide Show, and this was just a regular Saturday ! I paused for a moment to go thoroughly mental over the concept that there were 3 other probably identical buildings in London, and all equally as busy. Very strange. There's just too many people here.

In a way it's useful to see all the furniture and stuff set up so you can see what it looks like, however I've got to say it didn't really influence my decision in any way whatsoever. I was MORE influenced by the limitation of what I could carry back to the tube station.

After moving through the reasonably chaotic showroom, it was down to the absolute BEDLAM of the “market hall”, which is the bit where they set you loose with trolleys and you go around picking up the bits and pieces you want. Again, there's the floor-arrows to indicate the direction you're meant to go, however down here it's more ornamental than anything else. People are going in every direction, and this leads me on to a tirade about one of my pet hates in this city…

PEOPLE WHO STOP ABRUPTLY IN THE MIDDLE OF WALKWAYS ! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH! THERE IS NOTHING ELSE THAT SHITS ME MORE THAN THIS. It never used to bother me, but since being here, it just wears away at your patience day by day. People who get off the tube and then stop in the middle of the platform… people who step off the top or bottom of an escalator and then stand there working out what to do next… and now, people pushing trolleys along at Ikea who suddenly come to a standstill to look at something 40 feet away from them. Would it damn well kill these people to get the hell out of the thoroughfare before stopping ? It's just not that hard !

Anyway, that's enough of that I think.

After ammassing a trolley full of “affordable Swedish crap”, I moved on to the most gruelling part of the exercise – the checkout. Wow. It stretched out before me – a vast landscape of heaving and whinging humanity. Consumers in every direction. And there was no way through it other than to wait. It reminded me a bit of some sort of mass military enlistment, or something that belonged in Gladiator – I guess you had to be there really. I'm probably over-dramatising the whole thing, but I guess it was the sheer scale of it that really got to me. It was like the massive bank of checkouts at a Bunnings warehouse store, but 4-deep, and there were people queued back for about 25m at every checkout.

Anyway… I got my stuff, and my room's looking more like a bedroom now. And there's no way I'm going back there in a hurry.

In other totally unrelated news, Fi rang me this morning and provided me with a sort of brief audio linkup to Gang Show. I knew it was coming up, but I didn't realise they were going into the Theatre this week ! Wow, time flies. Pretty weird feeling – I think this is the first one I've missed since 1996. Wow. Better write an email and send it over.

Oh yes, and the other bit of good news is that I got a call back about my laptop warranty, and basically they're going to send a courier out to pick up my laptop and then investigate it to see what the problem is, and they've acknowledged that it's still under its original 12 month warranty. So now I guess it's just the waiting game. But at least it's progress.

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