In Berkeley Square, the only other people are working for “Supper”. The square itself is chained shut and there are no taxis, no buses, no cars, no pedestrians. Wind is blowing in the trees – milder than it has been but if there ever was a nightingale here, it’s not singing now. I’m just getting the staccato consonants of one of the drivers on his phone. I couldn’t guess the language. “Supper”. A new venture in these reduced times. Should I desire an entire Peking Duck with caviar to be sent from Hakkasan to my flat, he would get off the phone and leap on his natty little custom electric scooter. He’d take it to my door for £7.00. Or anything I want from Fortnums or even the Harrods food hall. Money for luxury. And we all need a bit of luxury. But I’m not gonna buy that duck. Not without a table to eat it on and friends to eat it with. Besides, I’ve done two unexpected jobs today and both of them together wouldn’t pay for the thing.
Garden waste. Two bags of it. That’s the advantage of having a car. It was only Chelsea to Wandsworth and they slipped me £20 to take four of them. Lovely. A little job like that and at least the day isn’t negative like most days are in these times. Didn’t have to touch any humans either, whether or not I’d have liked to. Then, as I was driving home, another message came in and I changed my route to Old Street. Now, hours later, having had the congestion charge paid, I’ve stopped in windy Berkeley Square to write this blog.
I exist in some people’s heads as the “let’s get Al to do that” bloke. I like to be able to say yes when it involves being helpful to others and paying me at the same time. I just drove past a billboard slowly about 30 times in a row while a friend tried to film it from the back seat of the Audi. The ad he wanted to film was on a ten second loop with a Sky ad, so I kept on getting honked and shouted at as I held up traffic, slowing down in order to get the timing right for him. I mostly avoided flipping people the bird but it’s almost reflexive when the windows are open and somebody is honking immediately. I must have performed about twelve illegal U-turns. This blog is a work of fiction. I hope there were no cameras. We got the shot, and nobody punched me. This is the Sky ad, because he didn’t want me prematurely blogging the ad he was filming.
Then I drove through London. Sleepy sad broken London. The theatres were dark at 9pm. Nobody outside them. Lights still cycling on some of them. Others just switched off entirely. Truly dark theatres. So sad. Seeing as I’ve never actually auditioned for the West End in twenty years it’s not likely I’d be on those stages if they were lit. But hey, the world is shifting. When it switches back on I’ll be coming on with it. It’s the hope that keeps us alive. The hope. Good food and the hope. I’m going to drive home for the food bit. I want that duck. I’ll make do with whatever’s in the fridge.