Early morning saw me fighting the alarm clock, dragging myself up from the pit of dreams and into unfamiliar light in Hampstead. Coffee and I’m airing sheets and pillows, transforming a bed where I’ve just slug-slept rolled in duvet into a bed palace with oh yes that cushion just there completes it. Bleach the loo. Dust the surfaces. Check check check. All the things I never do at home. Then it was out blinking and swearing before rush hour into my Nissan for one last day. It has to go to Enterprise by close of play, but I have to go to Kingston in the meantime. Double bubble. I’m a driver, I’m a tutor. And I don’t have to get a train. Kerching.
I drive through the whole of London blasting Caravan Palace and bopping. Still a little confused about what is going to happen I sign in at reception and get a big sticker with “Al Barclay” on it. Grrr. I told them, use Alex. Then they can’t Google me. An hour later I’m interviewing 17 year olds on a fire escape. “Tell me about yourself. What’s your greatest strength? What’s your biggest weakness? How are you overcoming it? What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?” The last question isn’t on my laminated handout, but it’s revealing. The runners, the fighters, the hiders, the rescuers… I’ve never not had an answer that makes sense and there’s always one kid who says “I’ve thought a lot about this actually.” Job done, quarter past three. Nicola lets me sneak out early. I need to be at Enterprise Park Lane for four. Things To Make and Do by Moloko. Why not? It’s been years. Bring it back. That’s what I’m doing with the car. I bring it back.
Out through the subterranean tunnels. The Enterprise is buried in a warren of car parks under Hyde Park, where people leave their incredible whips. Classics and limited editions. Some even seem to have security guards. I’m in a hurry though. No time to goggle at cars.
Uber. It’s a Ford Galaxy. “Nice to be driven for a change.” *silence*
Eventually I’m out. Hampstead again. Wasn’t I just here? “Hi, welcome, I’m Al. So this is the boiler, here are the lights, this goes on like this. I left you nice things. Have a good stay. Leave my friend a good review.” And out. Shit I dropped that twenty quid note. Some happy child at that school. Ach. Bus.
God this bus is hot. I’m tired. I’m dressed in whatever the fuck I put on yesterday, in this heat. I didn’t realise I wasn’t going home last night. And it’s press night for Knights of the Rose. Everyone showing their wares. Me in a sweaty arrangement of T-shirt and flat cap and stained trousers. And I give 0.00 fucks. Anyone who goes the old fwafwafwafwa he could’ve made an effort can swivel on it. They’ll never be my friend anyway so they can do one. I’m here to support glorious people who do beautiful things for unusual reasons. I’m not here to try and hijack it with my own LOOK AT MY SEXY FACE bullshit, much as I suspect that a bit more of that attitude would see me being employed a bit more by the fwafwafwas. But that’s life if you’re an uncompromising individualist who looks at your heart and not your clothes. Red carpet! Oh fuck. Here we go then… fwafwafwa.