Cabs

My little Suzuki has got a load of chunks taken out of it. It looks like crap. The previous owner drove it as a minicab. His reasoning for giving it up was that the air conditioning doesn’t work. Which is true. It doesn’t. But it’s also full of holes. Plus it smells of fish. You can’t really take paying passengers in a fishy car. I’ve filled it with magic trees, a little bit like spraying febreeze on vomit. It sort of works. “It smells like laundry in here,” people say. ‘Laundered mackerel,’ I think, but “Yep. Clean sheets,” I say, gagging on the smell and my own mendacity.

I took my test a few times in The Isle of Man and failed. Then I stumped up for driving lessons in London. I learnt to drive properly in this town. I’ve been driving here for decades now. But with this car at this time, I’ve noticed that something has changed.

There are documents that place the idea of a “Hackney Carriage” in London from before the Norman Conquest. In the 17th century they were very much a part of how the city ran. That has been the case ever since. The drivers have to pass one of the most stringent tests imaginable about London routes and times. It requires years of work and a highly developed memory. They need to be able to adapt to the needs of the passenger in real time. To know the right street without having to be told, and to be able to predict traffic based on time of day. They spend years building towards “The Knowledge”, on scooters, down every road in town, with a big map between the handlebars on a customised board. Ten years ago you’d see them all the time, working – learning. It took years. Now you rarely see them. Because Waze will give more accurate traffic info, and get you where you need to go most of the time without a problem. And all that effortless hard won knowledge, so joyfully presented in their heyday – “No need to explain, madam. I’ve done the Knowledge. I know it well.” – has been supplanted by technology. Fuck. Fuckety fuck.

Suddenly anyone with a phone can get you home. That work has become redundant. The knowledge is still a wonderful thing to have but it doesn’t make you more efficient. So where does that leave the black cab?

Adapt or die. That’s the Darwinian rule. Software seems to be the way forward for now. Possibly the black cabs will be saved by a reasonable software platform to get fares, if they are willing to adopt something new, after all the work they did. But they haven’t yet, or if they have it hasn’t become apparent, and it’s not competitive with uber. I swore off them years ago. The amount they charge is beyond extortionate. Last time I got in one was drunkenly after the Notting Hill Carnival. We regretted it hugely very quickly, and got out at a tube station. They’re priced at luxury point, but they’re everywhere. Possibly they will find another way. Possibly they will die out. I hope they won’t die out, but uber made cabs worth it in London. Now I want them to have competition, as they are creeping up in price themselves.

But the black cabs are angry. The streets of London are currently flooded with bored men in their 50s and 60s driving great big expensive cars around all day without fares. They did a load of memory work back in the day, now nobody is hailing them. So they just drive. Round and round their old routes. Getting angrier and angrier. Surrounded by other angry cabbies. Honk honk honk. Shout shout shout. Moan moan moan.

In the month or so I’ve been back on the road I’ve noticed a disproportionate number of Hackney Carriages behaving as though it’s their job to police everyone else’s driving. And to shout at people. Apoplectic grey haired white men howling at cyclists or people at crossings or cars that are slow or “wrong”. Faded boozy Knights of the Road, slinging their corpulent bodies at perceived injustice. They hate bicycles. “Why are there so many? There weren’t so many in my day.” They hate minicabs for a multiplicity of reasons, many of which are connected to “my day”. This is their city, and anyone who isn’t them should be inarticulately raged at.

My old workmate Joe took The Knowledge when we were working on the boats. He’s a beautiful human. I wish him well. But recently, his fellows have been devolving. I hope he gets work out of it and a living considering he did it so recently. He was thrilled to have converted to a cab from skippering boats for Mammon.

When you think about the individuals you always wish them well. It’s why roadrage is so nonsensical. I wish Joe well, but I’m fed up of seeing these impatient devolved thugs shouting at people while presenting themselves as the gentlemen of the cab industry.

De-cattification

I’ve agreed to let a complete stranger sleep in my bedroom next week. I’ll sleep on the sofa. It just seemed the right thing to do. She’ll be visiting an unfamiliar town in an unfamiliar country, and money is tight for her. I know how that is, and even though I hoped and failed to find someone like me in LA last time I went, I still try to angle karma when I can. After all I’m waiting on a lucrative job, so any positive energy is good. Besides, she’s a vegan and I am back into another month of that sort of thing. I’m not very good at it. Today I’ve eaten lots of chicken, and mussels and red wine. Tomorrow I won’t. Over the last few months I’ve been smashing myself with everything I could find, and like the tide I feel the need to pull out for a while after a full flood, before smashing back in again.

My forthcoming guest is allergic to cat hairs, and Pickle has been in the habit of sleeping at my feet every night. Last night I was woken at about 3am by pain. I sat up until it was gone and she came and nuzzled my face. Then as I drifted back to sleep she curled up near the painful bit. As she goes about her ministrations she explodes hairs like a mushroom pumping spores. And not wanting to accidentally kill my guest, I began operation de-catify this morning.

First things first, I spent a good few hours at the launderette, washing all the towels and sheets and cushions and blankets etc etc. She loves to jump on the towel rack and spread thick chunky portions of herself all over the towels. If there’s a sheet drying she’ll make sure it’s covered in her. I don’t know how she manages. She’s tiny. Lady Macbeth says “Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.” I’m in a similar state of bafflement about her hairs. If I were to sleepwalk tonight I’d probably do it miming a cat roller.

Not having a tumble drier means that we have to hang sheets on doors etc. Then they look like cat toys or climbing frames. And they play host to yet more hair explosions, or get pulled onto the floor and rolled on. I love Pickle. But I have to look at space differently now.

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I took my laptop to the launderette and tethered it to my phone. As I sat in a coin operated launderette I still somehow felt like I was living in the future. Sure I probably could’ve gone online and paid about the same for door to door laundry with a sexy logo. But I’d sooner give it to someone in Pimlico with a shop front. I sat while the wheels went round and round and sent a load of invoices and emails that were just coming due. Then I read my book. People around me were doing much the same, and one woman was meditating.

Now I’m back at home. There’s a new hook and eye on my bedroom door, so you can lock yourself in now. I’ll consider doing that tonight so Pickle doesn’t sneak in, tempted by the freshly hoovered floor, and gaily explode hairy catastrophe everywhere as I sleep.

(Photo credit Tanya Feldman)

Accordion

Occasionally a photograph of me holding an accordion goes up on Facebook. Look at this beauty from Mike Shelford:

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This sort of thing might lead the credulous to believe that I am an accordionist. This could not be further from the truth. They’re just photographs of me holding an accordion. I got drunk one night after I’d been paid and I bought a cheap one on eBay because I thought I might like it. It surprised me when it arrived some time later. Since then I have occasionally hacked something resembling music together in front of people. The key is to play a tiny tiny snippet and then put it down. Leave them wanting more? Leave them without getting anything in the first place. “Oh, wow,” say the audience. “He can play the accordion too.” And they imagine all the other notes I can play. The poor fools. If only they knew that I’d played those three notes repeatedly for twelvety hundred years until my fingers and ears were bleeding, and there is still a very real chance that at any time I’ll hit a wrong one, lose track and have to style out an abstract cacophony.

A month or so I found a sticker on a lamppost near my flat from someone called Anton. He’s an accordionist from Slovakia looking to pick up some cash by teaching in my area. I rang him up. £35 an hour. Unlike when I was a child I actually want these lessons, so I decided to give it a go.

He’s in a bedsit near Battersea Bridge. I arrive and he’s leaning out the window. He laughs at my antiquated case, which I have to hoik awkwardly in one hand, whilst it hangs half open from a broken strap. I get it up the stairs, and into his flat. “You need a better case,” he tells me, showing me his. It looks expensive, the case. I tell him it’s nice, and I’ll think about it.

He takes my accordion and puts it on. “This sound is bad,” he muses immediately, as he tests the left hand. “I thought that was just when I play,” I attempt, but he’s right. It’s picked up a lisp since Christmas. Some of the reeds are damaged and make a constant sound. I must’ve dropped it. Damn. I need a better case.

He gives me the address of a shop in Lewisham which, he says, shouldn’t be too expensive. The right hand gets his seal of approval, so it’s only half fucked, much like its owner. It works enough for him to teach me on it, so we begin.

I like this guy. He’s patient, and willing to state things that are totally obvious to him. We do some isolated music theory, and he watches as my eyes glaze over, so adjusts to practically teaching the application of theory and watches as I perk up again. I know a bit more about how these weird noisy external lungs work. Probably about time considering I’ve played them in five different shows now!

It all started at Guildhall. With the only bit of third year show casting I got in the main theatre, apart from the musical. I was playing a 93 year old Patagonian domino enthusiast who could only express himself by playing “The Grey Song of Absence” on his accordion, until the end of the show where he has a three page senile monologue about memory, war and friendship and dies. Commercial casting that. Hell yeah. I still grabbed it with both hands and practiced that song for weeks and weeks and weeks non stop. By the time we got to performance I had a handle on it. It went fine in the shows. And I knew I had found my instrument. So I’m grateful to drunk Al for buying one many years later.

My fingering is all wrong on the left. That’s the first thing we realise. I’ll have to do some reprogramming. But the lesson has progress and now I’ve got homework.

Maybe next time I end up wheeling the thing out in a show I’ll be know which note corresponds to which button. Maybe next time I play to an audience, nobody will run from the room bleeding from every orifice and desperately howling in a language lost to the world for thousands of years, like the last few times. It’s getting wearing.

Plagues

This morning I was reading about bubonic plague showing up in Arizona. It’s treatable with antibiotics these days so it’s unlikely to be a problem. But it got me thinking about old diseases coming back again. Things that were horrendously damaging and wiped out millions of people, rearing their ugly heads again. It’s the silly season for news, August. I’d prefer cats with wigs. But instead we’ve got these people with tiki torches and hate, who genuinely think that it’s people like themselves who are under threat.

Then I was thinking about the tolerance paradox. I value tolerance highly. But where can I stand regarding people who have no tolerance? Surely if we are intolerant of intolerant people we will be sucked in by our own pursed lips. One argument, with historical precedent, is that tolerating the intolerant leads to the decimation of the tolerant by those unchecked intolerant people, and thus the destruction of tolerance. So tolerant people have to be intolerant of intolerance…

Then I was thinking about the language of self styled “intelligent” people regarding the intolerant people empowered on the right in America at the moment, and the man that is their rallying point. People call them stupid and ignorant a lot. It’s hard not to think of them like that if you value community over individual. But this is just a worldview clash. That orange dude can’t be purely stupid – he got himself elected. And if we call him names, surely we are just doing the same thing as the guys with tiki torches. Nobody thinks of themselves as stupid. If I publicly call him stupid to his followers, his followers know I think they are acolytes of stupid, and so they have nothing to gain from listening to my views, as they think they aren’t stupid, making me the stupid one. I’m just another liberal that doesn’t understand whatever danger whatever value they are concerned about might be in if they don’t hate whoever needs to be hated. They are being brave and having unpopular opinions for the good of the many.

I’m trying to get to the bottom of the thinking behind the hate, but I don’t want to. It can’t be just about preserving how it’s always been, can it? Adapt or die is part of evolution, but I guess if you also think we were made out of ribs on a flat earth by a bearded white dude, evolution is not part of the deal. Is it just a chance to be angry? A need for identity?

There is comfort in breathing as part of a crowd. You get it at the end of yoga classes, at the start of Hitler rallies, in assembly when you sing “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” We breathe together and somehow feel more connected. More complete. Part of an entity. But time and time again in our desire for unity we miss that the person at the front of the crowd is a monster. But of course. The bulk of the crowd feels fulfilled by being part of one big breathing community unit. The person at the front is never fulfilled. “I want more and more and more.”

I don’t like this August. I don’t like where it is going. I feel so much self preservation in the air, so much greed, so much misdirected fear. I don’t want to dismiss the people swept up in it as stupid, even if I can’t agree with them. But at heart I fear I’m a hippy. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all just get along?

I’ve got a little pencil moustache because I might have a lovely job that wants it.

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If it comes in I’m going to spend as much as I can bringing loveliness to the people around me. That’s about all I can do, as an individual. To use my windfalls for good. To try to be kind, considered tolerant and generous and hope that some people who are swept up in misplaced fear and hate can see a kinder way. “Haters gonna hate, plague is gonna plague.”

Brothers

I’m the youngest of five boys from my dad. Max is the only other one from my mother. I was brought up to call and think of my half brothers as “brothers.” Jamie, Rupert and Jeremy-Norman. Joan, their mum, is still alive and living in France. My mum was only a few years older than them, which must’ve been really weird for them growing up.

It was around this time last year that I understood that Jamie, my eldest half brother, was not going to live another month. He had been suffering with Parkinson’s, and with his weakened system he got MRSA during an overnight stay in hospital. His wife sent me photos of the drips he was on. I sent them to my friend Tara, a nurse, who confirmed they were end of life palliatives. My best friend and I jumped in a car, and drove to the south of France to say goodbye to him. We missioned it through the day and into the night, and caught him in his hospital room near Poitiers the next morning. On his back, flat out on morphine. It was desperate. The passage of time is so cruel and inevitable. We stayed a couple of days, and then, as we boarded the ferry to return, the phone call came. Another person that I had childishly assumed would always be there, taken. Just a year previously he had been vital and happy. I had given him my grandfather’s stamp album in a garden on a beautiful summer’s day. We had told stories and laughed.

I saw another brother, Jeremy, this evening, the middle brother of the five of us. He’s a dreamer like me. He’s been in Hong Kong for the last few years, but has just taken a job in Cairo teaching art. Like my father before him he has multiple broods of children. He was there with his youngest, Campbell, who is off to art college himself in Aberdeen in September. Jeremy is looking forward to Cairo – “At least it has culture”, he says. To be honest, I’m looking forward to him being there too. I might take the opportunity to go!

But it’s been ages since I’ve seen Jeremy. About 2 years. He’s been out in Hong Kong, so it’s not been easy. But I bet I could’ve found a way to see more of him and his kids. Family is important. Jamie was sick for years in the south of France. Not that far – it took a day by car when he was dying. I could’ve come and helped out a lot more before he got sick. We can get so swept up in our own lives that we leave other people behind, and you only get one family. I remember when mum died I felt terrible about the fact that her period of sickness had been over my final year at drama school and then the filming for my first movie. I beat myself up over what I considered to be prioritising my career over her existence. It took me years to forgive myself. I still find myself habitually deprioritising my needs over those of others all the time to compensate from some imagined neglect I did her by caring about my own shit too much.

I want to see more of my family, more of my old friends, more of my new friends. There’s nothing to be gained from rolling through the same groove day in day out. Hopefully I’ll get the part I auditioned for today. It’ll be 12 grand for 2 day’s work (!) so I’ll be able to fly to Montreal and Cairo and Scotland and America and Australia and see all the lovely people I never get to see. Look after your family, and your old friends. But I guess it’s worth remembering that your oldest friend is yourself. And they need looking after too, with a mixture of nurture, forgiveness and tough love.

I’m not going to post a picture as the only pic I have of Jamie is him dressed as Madonna. Plus this feels a bit maudlin and if I don’t put a picture it doesn’t get so many hits. 🙂

X

 

Paid. Pride.

Today we finally got paid for the geegees. Considering the hours we worked and the care we put in it’s almost criminal how long it took. But it’s in today. Myself, Tristan, Will and Gillian all met up in Soho and went to The 10 Cases on Endell Street. Expensive but you can get very good wine. And having lived on toast and charity for the last few weeks I’m very happy to be in a position to pay my way for a change.

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We got a seat outside, as the sun was setting. We watched the world go by. We enjoyed good wine. And good company. Four friends who had been in a hospitality warzone. We bought a lot of expensive wine in the sunset. As we were talking, various people stopped at our table to ask for money. We politely rebuffed them. One guy stopped twice and we heard him out twice before saying we wouldn’t help. It’s noticeable how many people there are these days begging in Central London. This guy’s English was good, and he had the air of an addict. I’m not an expert and I have no idea of his circumstances. But when he came to us a third time I made the mistake of cutting him off as soon as he said “Excuse me,”. I said “I’m sorry, we won’t help you.” I looked him in the eye as I said it and spoke without aggression or tension. But I clearly judged it wrong. Perhaps he didn’t know it was the third time. He very quickly became aggressive. Which made him drool. Whatever he was lacking, he definitely needed it. But I was enjoying an evening with friends, not selling whatever he needed. So I couldn’t really help. I had to stand and calmly reiterate that I wasn’t being aggressive, that I had nothing against him personally. His response was that we were sitting in his chair and drinking his wine and this was his town. As he was starting to tell me this a long drool almost landed in Gillian’s wine, which made me stand up so as to move him somewhere he would only drool on me, himself and the pavement. But of course it looked like I was squaring up to him, and I’m a head and a half taller than him. So all the waiting staff came running out : “I’m sorry sir, he’s becoming a problem.” ; “I’m not going to punch him, I just don’t want him drooling in my friend’s drink.” Meanwhile I’m trying to tell the guy obliquely that I understand he’s a human being and I only cut him off because it was the third time I’d heard his spiel. I didn’t even critique the spiel. In the past I’ve slightly dickishly given people advice on the colour or layout of their sugarblood, or how they are directing my eyes to it, or the evidently bad detail of their story sometimes to very bad reception and occasionally to very good. Elements of the discipline I practice. With him I was just trying to undo the bad blood I’d caused by dismissing him before he’d started. Pride is huge, even in addicts who can’t stop drooling. Nobody wants to be dismissed before they’re heard, even if their short term memory is such that they can’t recall being dismissed twice before in the same night. We want to be heard. To feel like we are not just shouting “I EXIST” into the void.

I have no conclusion. No pat way of turning this. If I was minted I’d probably give everyone the benefit of the doubt plus change, and not be minted for long. I feel bad about not being patient with him, but also it’s interesting how the thing that triggered his rage was his feeling of dismissal. I struggle with being dismissed in my craft. I worry that my TV CV (or more specifically lack of it) causes me to be dismissed before I’m considered. Which concerns me as I see how television has unexpectedly become the home of the long term story arc. I want to get a piece of that pie. But drooling into people’s wine, and shouting with mad eyes – that isn’t going to get me the changing job I need. I’m not sure what is, but I’m going with sheer optimism and bloody mindedness, just because that’s what I’ve got left…

Swindon birthday

I enjoy driving. My dad used to drive long distance frequently. We’d often rush from The Isle of Man to Switzerland or various parts of France in a crammed Citroen. I got very used to being stuffed in a car going at terrifying speeds down long straight roads. As an adult I have periodically played with the idea of getting a private hire licence and driving an uber between acting jobs. So far, basic caution has prevailed. It would be an expensive venture monthly in terms of car and insurance and if I ended up doing a small scale tour for tuppence halfpenny a week I’d end up haemorrhaging money on an unused car. My insurance is already criminally expensive because I’m too honest and they know I’m an actor. The hoik up to cab drivers insurance would likely be excruciating.

I do find driving relaxing though, and I’m happy to talk to strangers so it might be a good solution for income top up if I could put in the hours. Although I still live in hope that that sort of thing will become less and less necessary as I start to book more and more work. Eternal idiot optimist.

Right now I’m glad of my bashed up little Suzuki. It cost me nothing really, apart from those hideous insurance premiums,and it goes like the clappers. And since I’m not working today I’ve agreed to chauffeur Tristan to Swindon for his grandfather Michael’s 92nd birthday. 92 and still going strong.

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I’d like to think I’ll pull that off. I suspect I might have to ease down on cake and up on kale. And perhaps exercise more and drink less. Although red wine doesn’t seem to have slowed Michael down. And this evening it’s steak for me. I’ll start the diet tomorrow, guv.

It’s not so bad, steaming out to Swindon, there in an hour and a half, steaming back full of meat and coffee in the dark. Tristan has an audition tomorrow morning or we might have stayed the night with Michael and Doreen, although it’s a little much to put on them. Steak and good company, and the petrol was covered. That’ll do. I drove like a maniac all the way home so I might have picked up a few letters from the cameras. But so far I’ve always been lucky despite inheriting my father’s ways behind the wheel. I think it’s because when I learnt to drive they were always there. Those yellow buggers, and the little lines in the road – they were always something on my radar. With apps like Waze existing now, it allows you to drive even more safely despite them. Before they existed I reckon over half of my focus whilst driving was on the sides of the roads, scanning for them. I always point them out as a passenger. Now I have something on my phone that even warns me about police cars hiding on bridges. It’s a brave new world. I can focus on the cars around me, and perhaps get taxed less frequently if I do end up behind the wheel of a BMW full of paying passengers in the near future.

Tanya

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“Margaret, she’s smoking!” …  “Maybe she’s nervous.” That’s my friend Tanya’s mum and dad, when they came to our University production of Little Shop of Horrors. She was playing a prostitute on Skid Row and there was a pre-show where she smoked. Her parents had no reality conflict with the way she was dressed, but did with the smoking. Tanya had no desire to be an actor. She mostly got roped in, in this case by Mark Williams. Mark was very actively and comfortably fighting for a better understanding of gay rights on campus. But was still happy to persuade Tanya to dress as a pro. He went shopping with her, and helped baby oil her rubber skirt. He made the musicals for our drama society. I made the Shakespeares. We had a tense friendship. Looking back, it was remarkable what we had to play with.

Through sheer front, over a few years, we managed to build the biggest society on campus in terms of membership, so we could demand big budgets. Also the return on the budget was good. We would guarantee big audiences. We even stopped Chumbawamba from playing the union once, for Little Shop.

We got a huge budget from the union. Partly through hitting Freshers fair hard. Partly through visibility. We’d build summer Shakespeare stages in massively public parts of campus, and rehearse knowing we were going to get bombed by nudists, drunks, lads, and anyone else. We’d then, in the last week, close off the area with a scaff circle and drapes, seats, point a load of lights and make it lovely. Whiteknights Open Air Theatre. Beautiful bullshit. People paid. They’d jumped on stage when we were rehearsing. They felt part of it. They sat and watched us murder the classics.

I still look back and wonder how I did it, as President. I think I did it by just asking. And that’s certainly why Tanya got on stage, when she hated the idea of it. I just asked her. And she was my friend, and kind enough to say yes. I got her to be a mother superior. Trust the musical theatre guy to get her to be a pro… but asking… I was fucking great at it back then. Guildhall taught me humility. I needed that lesson. But now it’s time to ask again.

Right now I’m enjoying a beautiful evening with Tanya, and thinking how the years that have passed mean nothing and that I’m glad I persuaded her to get involved in my endeavours for the simple reason that I enjoyed her company. There are very few people from those days that I see regularly. I feel that I have changed almost entirely from the guy I was back then. But then perhaps we all like to think that of ourselves. I still feel like that kid that loved making stuff, that wanted to make things with people, that loved that feeling of seeing groups of diverse people come together and communally make things of which they could share ownership. More of that.

Wedding Sonnets

IMAG1599If getting married is the sort of thing you like, you could do a lot worse than to do it in The Balcony Room at Shakespeare’s Globe. Particularly on an evening like this. The river is at the height of a full flood, and St. Paul’s is radiant in the light of the falling sun. Happy tourists flood the pavements below, tipsily holding hands. The puttering of boat engines mixes with the laughter on the streets and filters up through the balcony to where Beatrice and Avery celebrate their union with a few close friends. It’s idyllic.

I’m in disguise as a wedding guest, sitting by the river as the real guests eat, enjoying the evening sun. I’m technically at work so I can’t take one of the tempting champagne flutes at the reception. Myself and Ffion are getting to do beautiful things for money on their special day. So far we’ve shared some sonnets, delivered simply to happy people, and a Shakespearean call to dinner. In half an hour we’ll do some Beatrice and Benedick and then have a squabble, and then we’ll fall in love, finish with a shared Marriage of True Minds, toast the bride and groom and eat a burger. Nobody will be watching us eat the burger, I hope, but they’ll be there for the rest. It’s a delightful way to spend an evening and earn a crust and we’ve been doing it together here for long enough to have peace about it and focus on nuance and making it fun.

I hope we make their day more pleasant. A hell of a thing to do, getting married. It’s so far from my experience it seems another world. In my 20s and early 30s I was in long term relationships and that sort of thing seemed possible, but now it’s been so long since I’ve shared my existence with anyone but my friends.

I bet it’s going by in a blur for them both. I wonder what they’ll be able to remember tomorrow. They’ll be pumped to the gills with endorphins so probably very little. We haven’t finished yet, so one of us might make it more memorable by exploding or dropping dead, but most likely we will just be a little more colour in a colourful day.

They are hoovering up their dinner, bless them. Eating like hungry piggies. The faster they eat the sooner I get my burger. I’ve been on again already. One more scene to go. I just did a load of Benedick, which is really just an opportunity to flirt with the guests. It speaks to me, now, Benedick’s character journey. I’ve done Much Ado thrice, first as Don John, then Borachio and then Don Pedro. I’d like a crack at Benedick. I’m curious to find out if I fall in love again some time. I think I can now. I took my heart out of its box a while ago and I’m trying to remember how it used to work. Right now it’s flapping around on the table and occasionally barking. But I’ll work it out. “May I be so converted and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not
be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster…”

Ha ha geek

Desperate to sleep. Friday night in the West End. It’s ridiculous. Thousands of people shouting. Desperate constant grunting. I’m walking through it and nobody makes sense. Everyone is too cold. Very few of the people who are talking are using it to do something other than complain about the temperature. I decide to get an uber pool.

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My Prius arrives. It’s always a prius. And suddenly it’s Kiss 100 and a shitawful cover of “Let’s talk about sex” and people sharing an uber pool. I prefer to take pool because you have to share with randoms. I like sharing with randoms. It tends to make things more convivial. But not for this evening.

 

 

This evening I had a chance to explore the depth of my geekiness. I like to think that I’m a low level geek. I believe that I can go about my daily business and not sabotage myself because I don’t prioritise my geek. But today I learnt something. I met up with people who I geeked out with at school. I spent hours seeking their geek. As a result I have a good understanding of the various geeknesses.

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I went to Star Wars Identities. It’s an exhibition at 02 containing many of the original props, models and costumes from Star Wars movies. I grew up with that stuff. Joseph Campbell’s work as script supervisor on the original trilogy fits with my fascination with the hero’s journey, and the basic mythological tropes that Lucas was curious about in his work. He created a playground, a frame for our pretend. In a lovely way, George Lucas shared his childish imagination with a generation of children and we owe him for that.

 

The exhibition is essentially a piece of sociology. You get to decide the strange details of your existence. You learn about peer pressure, self Identities, time. I’m glad that I created a character that comes close to what I think is important. We can all do that! He was checking the bank balance. Double Zzzz. We need to get computers to each other. Night. Yay. Zzzz z