Weekend end

“Somebody say BOOM, yo.”

It’s twenty past ten on a Monday.

The party boats are still going past my window, stretching this weekend into a hell of noise and the memory of sweat.

I only left the house today in order to purchase vittels. Then I worked out my turnover for the tax return for the year just gone by. It was woeful. Then I tried to log into government gateway to apply for SEISS. To authenticate me they emailed me a code. I inputted the code. Then I put in all my numbers. They made me look for another code in my old emails. I found it. I put it all in. I felt triumphant. Then they asked me for my memorable word…

I set up my government gateway over a decade ago. I was likely in a hurry and my time was limited. They asked me to choose a memorable word, with no clue attached to it whatsoever. Just a memorable word. Not “First pet name” or “mother’s maiden name”. I reckon I probably put a word along the lines of “unnecessary” or “bullshit” or “pointless” but many years later I have no recollection of how exactly I phrased the sentiment.

This memorable word thing is a little better than it was the last time I tried when it asked me for the exact day that I first registered as self-employed, which there is literally no way on God’s green earth that I would ever remember.

It’s fucking annoying. I’ll be up and phoning them tomorrow at 8am, joining the millions who have come off the party boat and through the sniffles they’ll be trying to do the same thing.

How will they identify me over the phone? Who knows. Maybe they won’t be able to. Maybe I’ll have to send a photo of my birthmarks. It’s all ridiculous and I hate it.

The vittels I purchased comprised of a simple meaty pie and some carrots. I consumed them almost oblivious while trying to coax that fucking government website into letting me in. Imagine how shit it must be if you’re here because your home has exploded and you don’t speak any English and have no email address you can access and suddenly you’re faced with this atrociously designed 24 factor authentication mess of a government gateway. I’ve got WiFi and twenty years of consistent saved email history and I haven’t been able to get in for years.

I guess it would be awful if somebody could log in and say they were me and start changing things. But asking me for a phrase that was memorable decades ago? That’s not the way to ascertain who I am NOW. Ugh.

And I’ve seen nobody all weekend.

Once I’d given up on the government gateway I had a good few hours trying on some of the costumes I’ve won. There are some doozies.

And so the weekend went.

Braindump #46J656KE


I don’t know what to write about.

Everybody’s getting Covid.

Christmas 2010 maybe and I had terrible flu. Jo came to my flat and hung out with me even though I was drooling phlegm from every orifice. We staggered hotly to Chelsea Bridge where, accompanied by a small group of strangers, we realised that the river curves too much for the fireworks to be visible from there. We saw the sky flash a bit red and green. We heard bangs on the air and there was a cloud of smoke. We walked home, she put me to bed and got a cab home. Friendship. I was so sick and she brought the year in with me. Dear dear Jo. At the time we were both aware that she might catch my flu. She took the risk knowingly. She didn’t catch it.

I can’t imagine that now. The idea of being sick and going to a place with people. The concept of a friend coming to your home because you’re sick, hanging out with you and then getting a cab home… Inconceivable. But it was normal just a couple of years ago.

Remember sitting next to that person on the tube who was clearly close to death with flu? And you didn’t move. You just breathed really shallowly and looked away from them – maybe you took a vitamin C.

Remember your friend at work almost delirious with sickness but they showed up anyway. “Well done for coming in today. Fancy a beer?”

I’ve been on stage in immersive shows many times with my pockets full of tissues and my bloodstream full of Beechams. “Oh God I hope I get through this without collapsing.” “Knock ’em dead!”

Now if we’ve got a frog in our throat and we clear it, all eyes flick to us with soviet level suspicion.

I’m not looking back to the halcyon days of readily transmissible sickness. “Remember the good old days where we could get each other as sick as we liked?” I’m not looking back to them with nostalgia. But I am very very aware of how much stigma is loaded into disease communication behaviours nowadays. I guess we’ve all been slaves to this tiny little virus for so long now. We want somebody to be angry with.

But the party boats are back going past my window even though it’s a Sunday. Is it a bank holiday weekend? Must be. Thousands on thousands of people are gonna test positive after this weekend. Remember when we all got angry with Boris Johnson for his “herd immunity” plan? He’s still doing it. He’s just changed the way he talks about it so we can’t blame him when our granny dies.

We don’t get angry with ourselves for our own irresponsible behaviour, and perhaps we should. We get angry with others and the government and the situation. But everybody needs to take personal responsibility with this. We can’t lose sight of kindness. But the only person we can completely direct through this is us. We chart our route.

Some will be quadruple vaccinated wearing a hazmat with a mask on inside it living off deliveroo on an island in the middle of a swimming pool of hand sanitiser. Some will be pulling people’s masks off and licking doors and snogging strangers in crowds while sharing bowls of soup and spitting in their hands before shaking. Arguably both would be crazy. But the one in the hazmat is saying “I wish the one in the crowd was dead,” and the one in it crowd is saying the same of the one in the hazmat. It’s fucked. We are fucked. Decadence and ease has tipped us over and this is just another symptom of collapse. It’s gonna be very very hard to stop us declining into polarised misery and a hate driven society – and all this while we have the hopeful application of a generation of Afghans affluent and connected enough to have escaped the extremist intolerance now swarming over their country.

It’s coming to us. And it’s coming from within.

Meanwhile I have mushrooms growing out of my altar.

Dance boats

Well it’s Saturday night. On the river outside there’s a party boat. It’s the third or fourth boat that’s been past my window in the last hour. I remember those party boats all too well from my student days. Big loud noisy dancey boats with expensive bars where you overheat and try to snog that person despite the fact that both of you are drenched in sweat. They get so hot you feel like you’re cooking, and if there’s a deck it’s tiny and everybody is smoking and puking and kissing when you go outside for fresh air. You’re thirsty, but the bar only sells warm bottles of lager for £6.50 and they refuse to give you tap water as it’s not plumbed in. You’re trapped. There’s no launch to take you back to land when you suddenly decide you hate it. You’re stuck with the DJ and the heat and the shouting and the sweat. Everybody else seems to be having a brilliant time. The person you like is already kissing somebody else. There’s two more hours to go and you can’t really afford another crap beer.

Mm-cha mm-cha mm-cha mm-cha

Wa oh wa oh wa oh wa oh

There’s another one. Five now. They’re constant this evening.

From a distance you could almost mistake it for fun. I can hear people literally screaming over the music. Maybe it IS fun that they’re having. Or maybe they are the damned, forced to endlessly parade in circles around this tiny residential section of the Thames listening to DJ Urban repeating things he’s heard other people say through the mic while pushing play on any one of thousands of smug and forgettable party tracks. Oh God they’re doing some sort of a call and response. “All the boys in the house say ‘GET ME OUT OF HERE!’ all the girls in the house say “I WISH I WAS DEAD!’ ” aaaaaaaa

But yeah. There they are in a tiny boat oblivious and sweaty, living inside each other’s juices while just down the river at The National Theatre the latest play is going down with a half capacity audience, and in Scotland they are currently intending to tell us that performers have to put on a mask if they get within one metre of each other. What?

“A person who is performing does not need to wear a face covering if there is a partition between that person and other people or if there is at least one metre between that person and other people.”

Ok, at least here in London we can all dance in a boat or snog our secretary and the performers can all be on stage without having to don protective gear before they touch each other. But that fucks touring theatre. And makes every offering in Scotland much more sterile.

It’s all so hard to countenance. I want to get back on stage. And this distancing will at least help train a generation of actors. Nervous young actors love to grab one another. You feel pretty exposed up there. When you’re new you often precipitate towards others. I’ve been grabbed so hard it has bruised me. At university, I’m sure I bruised my fellow actors. Control takes time to learn but if you constantly go towards the other actor, you risk killing the scene. Sightlines, darling. So long as the people in the cheap seats can see one of the actors they won’t get restless. It doesn’t matter how much you’re fizzing with energy, if they can’t see you you’re already losing them. Plus it’s interesting to see the space between the lovers. The moment before the kiss is fuller than the kiss. Stretch that moment out.

Not that the people in those boats are thinking like that. Maybe I’m just bitter that I haven’t been to a party for over a year. At least I’ve found somebody to kiss so I’m not having that need pulling on my attention. But yeah, part of me wants to just dance until I don’t know who I am anymore. It’s been a long year.

Seeing barely anybody

It’s strange how things have shifted in our day to day. We just don’t see as many people as we used to before it all went to shit.

On a day like this – not the most eventful day – I would normally have at least come across somebody unusual. There are so many unusual people kicking around. Rather than detailing my reasonably uninspiring movements through today’s world, I could talk about somebody I met. But I barely saw a soul. I’ve got a car, which takes public transport out of the equation. That’s always an excellent source of unusual humanity. Pinter said his writing went downhill when he didn’t have to take the bus anymore. I know where he’s coming from.

I wonder how long it’ll be before the prevailing energy brings us closer to one another rather than pushes us further away. Perspex at the counters makes it feel like we are interacting through a screen. So much more is literally done through bloody screens. It must be hell for the deaf – you can’t see anybody’s mouth anymore. Everybody has to say things repeatedly. We all take information from lip movements to interpret things others say. I miss mouths.

I went from Brighton to London and can’t remember anybody. I bought a coffee and petrol through a screen. The only person I spoke to all day was Lou, and I dropped her off early in the afternoon to work. Then I drove off. Sometimes my interactions with other cars are the most complex social interactions I have in the day.

Lou was working at Glyndebourne dressing for the opera. She can’t actually help them put their clothes on. She just reminds them what to do from a distance. I think she’s wearing all sorts of protective gear while she does it. Singing is allegedly dangerous, as that was one of the reasons they gave to be so slow with getting the theatres back open. She at least got to talk with her co-workers and interact with the staff bus driver on the way home. I’m missing casual interactions. It’s beginning to feel like the things we thought of as normal will just continue to be rare for longer than we ever anticipated.

Here I am once again in my solitary flat. I’m in “the nice room”. Outside that door it’s carnage. The room I used to sleep in has no room to move in right now, and I took the bed to the dump. There are piles of clothes on pretty much every surface. I haven’t sorted them yet. I at least have a huge amount with which to keep myself occupied. Hopefully I can galvanise myself into action and start to reclaim my home before the inevitable thing that makes me so busy I can’t think beyond it starts again pl aa. In these quiet times I need to remember Willows and how it became my entire week. Tomorrow at the very least I should deal with the 23 capes, as they’re still on the sofa. Want one?

Frescoes and mills

Down Clayton way is one of those old Norman churches – consistent for the best part of a thousand years now. They know the names of the rectors going back to the 1300’s when it was rector Aelfric if I recall. A good old Anglo Saxon name. Clearly a convert.

Lou and I went there to look at the frescoes. Mostly they’re in red and cream with ravey praying Jesus and a tiny bit of blue lapis paint on the roof of what must be the Vatican. Busy and active devotional frescoes done skillfully with single strokes on plaster. Well preserved because somebody painted over them hundreds of years ago and they were only re-exposed recently. There’s probably still loads of gorgeous ancient art preserved for future generations under layers of crap emulsion and plaster across Europe. I’m glad they pulled this lot back to the light, although its very exposure will cause it to fade over time. The rest can wait. Surprises for generations to come. But it was a lovely peaceful place to stop.

Lou is convalescing a little bit today so we were taking it easy in her local area. She has a book of pilgrim places which has already inspired a number of excellent afternoons. Today was no exception. I was in Camino head with none of the walking. As we wandered the paths and roads near the church I was happily pulling early blackberries from the brambles.

We came upon a pair of windmills. Jack and Jill. Both very old but suddenly very different from one another. Jack is hedged and fenced off, private property now after a hefty payment of £3.5 mil. They’ve attached extra buildings to the base of it and it’s pulling people in for high end fashion shoots. I can imagine why. Good light at the top of the hill and period fixtures. “Just lie on that millstone there and hold this piece of corn, darling. You look great.”

We went to Jill. Steep stairs up to the door and a man with a red top sitting waiting for us. If he’s the owner, it’s a very different business model from the neighbor. £2 with either cash or his brand new izettle and you can wander around a tiny so space to your heart’s content, so long as you don’t mind being followed. The sails aren’t on, but he has some seeds and a miniature grindstone. “Oh look – so you make flour on the little one when the mill isn’t running,” I say. I’m about to make some flour of my own. “That’s for children,” he tells me, emphatically. “When children want to make flour I let children make flour on the children’s mill for the children.” It seems he doesn’t want me to make flour. Too much cleaning for £2. I get it. Next door in Jack they’re making tens of thousands of pounds a day and filling the place with people. There’s still absolutely tons of white powder in the mill next door I’m sure, but it’s going up people’s noses, and not into loaves. Here in Jill it’s peaceful. It’s ok that it’s not coining it – it’s just delight that such places are still artlessly open to the public. Just the occasional mill enthusiast, a few children who want to make the flour, and idiots like me who just want to look at the view from the top and get a feeling for how it would sound and feel when it was working. You know… For next time I play a medieval miller.

It’s not as late as it feels now here by the seaside. It’s quarter to ten but my body feels like midnight. I’m going to head outside one last time and let the wind hit my face in the dark. Back to London quicker than I thought it seems, so I’m gonna get as much sea air as I can first.

Distracted by cricket

My day was accompanied by the muttering and blustering of the cricket pundits, monotonising from my pocket for hours and hours and hours as I went about my dull business. A bit of cleaning, a bit of half heartedly trying to fill in Excel spreadsheets with numbers, trying on a couple of items of clothing, googling facts about Hampstead, preparing things to take to Brighton and then forgetting to bring them…

I neglected to check the battery in the fish-feeder, or to refill it. They’ll survive the weekend I’m sure. I’m back on Sunday night. I might have left all the lights on. I brought nothing with me. I blame the cricket. As the day went on the cricket got more and more distracting and I overlooked basic things.

I probably listen to more test cricket than I ought to. I love it. You can usually go about your business completely undistracted while it plays. Usually it’s just the same old voices trying to make it sound interesting when it isn’t. I find the monotony quite comforting – the duration and the internal mind game of cricket is my interest so I can listen to the nothing and appreciate the nuances. But today was one of those unusual test days when lots seemed to be happening, and it was all in England’s favour.

It was at Headingley, the ground where I played Hedley Verity back about five years ago in a one night only play about the last match before the players all went off to WW2. It was Dan being brilliant and me in a broad Yorkshire accent dying in a hospital bed. We built a stage in the nets out of truss, and I gave myself about three years of tinittus banging the pegs out with a hammer. Maybe I was more engaged with the play today because I feel closer to that cricket ground after tying blacks to the top of the nets from a massive stepladder whilst still dressed in a vintage hospital smock. Geoffrey Boycott did the post show talk, but mostly he just ground an axe about test cricket being the best cricket.

He’s not wrong. I ended up round Tristan’s place watching him mow the lawn while listening to our opening batsmen actually get more than ten runs between them. Then we went for a driving lesson where I mostly just refreshed the live score, astonished to see no England wicket fall. I let him take himself wherever he fancied until play ended. He’s got the hang of it now – he just needs patience and time on the road. We were mostly in a car park anyway doing maneuvers.

Now I’m in Brighton. I might not be able to listen to it all day tomorrow but I reckon I’ll be checking the live score pretty often as this match goes on. It’s supposed to be five days long but it could easily be over in three…

I’m lying here now though with Mao Mao purring beside me. I forgot my laptop so tax return is looking less likely by the end of the month. But hey, at least the English cricket team is making up for the pounding they just took at Lord’s.

Moving things around

It seems that Al’s random object courier service and occasional uber replacement is in business…

Back in early summer with the Audi, an artist friend of mine was preparing for an exhibition. She’s intensely private so I’m not going to link to her work, but it’s wonderful to my eye. Her latest stuff is optimistic and colorful, full of life and personality. She was running up and down to the printers and so forth, and she has a small dog. Rather than have awkward negotiations with Uber drivers about the dog, she ended up paying me roughly what it would have cost her on Uber to be her personal chauffeur and walk the dog when she was in meetings. It was lovely to do it and to catch up with her while doing it. My only regret is that the exhibition was not well attended – she only sold one print and sold none of the originals despite them being reasonably priced. We both had high hopes for that exhibition, but it was in the middle of Covid. Art is hard, it seems. If I knew how to get her work better placed I would do it as it comes from a good place and is happy-making. So much in the creative art world revolves around the contents of your address book…

It was the beginning, for me, of the idea that I can move the thing for my friends and charge less than the likes of Addison Lee. They have AL written on all their vehicles. I’ve got it written by my number in your phone. Always worth asking.

Today I took some keys from Hampstead to Richmond. After sitting in front of a laptop doing maths it was a great excuse to get out into the weather and enjoy this light at the end of the summer. In my flat there is so much that needs to be attended to, but the car is for using and even a little courier job like that helps pay for the upkeep and the petrol. A Scooter, a Double Bass, an Accordion, some keys… It all makes a difference, and right now, painfully, the self tapes just keep on not converting into jobs. I might need to look at the formula. It’s depressing to spend so much hope all the time, not to mention the countless hours learning lines and building tripods and persuading friends to read etc etc and then to hear nothing and nothing and nothing again and again and again. Not that I haven’t got things lined up – I’ve managed to be resourceful and create chances for myself. But with the sets picking up I would very much like to pick up with them and get back into the rotation as an actor that is used for stuff. Work breeds work. Gotta start ticking over.

Meanwhile the courier is going back to Brighton tomorrow evening. And I’ll be up and down to Brighton like a yo-yo, chasing quality of life and admin and work and cats, and it’s always worth asking if you need to have something driven around. It’s not my primary joy, but it’s helping me tick over while I wait for things to improve on that front. And driving is a meditation for me.

I’ve got an exciting crazy week coming up in Jersey soon, hopefully making some work that will develop over time into a joyful thing. That’ll be a personal journey taking some of the blocks off. More of that anon… Right now I’m supposed to be doing my tax return. But instead I’m eating dinner with old friends in an enviable house that isn’t full of piles of clothes and random bric-a-brac. Just plants. Tons and tons of plants.

Admin and procrastination

I woke up this morning by the sea… Snored myself awake, carefree. No formal work today, but I set aside l a day of admin. Filling in forms and writing biographies and trying to predict the future. I’m off to Jersey again soon but this time it’s work related. I have to be a bit more organised and fill in a few more forms. Plus I’ve got to do my bloody damn tax return by the end of this month. There’s not much space left to be carefree. Nevertheless I dropped Lou off at Glyndebourne for work today and then frolicked around on the streets of Lewes with the abandon of a man who hasn’t got fucktons of work to do.

I didn’t really have time and headspace to take Lewes in properly but I enjoyed my moment. I get the sense there’s a reasonable amount happening there. A few of my friends are out that way with their various families and a bit more space than they had in London. I didn’t get to see any of them. I just looked into the window of a large number of closed shops, and checked out various estate agents showing eye watering figures in the window. I stopped at Bill’s, as I get the sense it’s an institution. Used to be a greengrocer, grew with the love of the good people of Lewes into a multi-million pound franchise. My waiter literally didn’t give a fuck, and it was kind of refreshing. I think we’ll see a lot more of that sort of thing as we realise the extent to which we have buggered ourselves for labour in the service industry. Although it seems we might be about to get a huge influx of workforce from Afghanistan…

Despite it feeling like a great deal longer I only actually succeeded in procrastinating in Lewes for about two hours, owing to the fact that parking there is insanely expensive. Then I drove back to Lou’s in Brighton and did some of the admin I had been avoiding whilst lying on my back in a darkened room with an incredibly fluffy cat to help.

Biography. Portrait photo for social media. I need to start taking it all seriously. I searched through my phone photos looking for a snap of me that looked casual yet professional for them to use. They all came up character. It’s the same problem I had when trying to set up a dating profile. I’m not very good at vanilla photographs. If I’m not dressed like a pirate I’m on a carousel or I’m screaming. The only – frequent – exception is when I’m in a sharp suit with immaculate hair for an audition, looking clean and sensible. That’s what they pay me for, but since it’s miles from the truth of me I don’t really want it going out on their social media either.

I ended up sending a couple of character shots. Let them decide.

I’m back in my flat by the river. Happy to be home. I’ve been neglecting it here, and need to spend more time. Things are starting to back up, and things were already backed up so it’s getting untenable. Procrastination. So familiar, yet really not my friend. There’s a whole hell of a lot of stuff I need to be attending to. Sorting the costumes, making my spare room functional, working through life admin… I have a million things to do beyond what little I managed today. Best get up early tomorrow. Tax return is a major one. Oh God. Here we go.

One of the photos I thought of sending

Blue moon

It’s another full moon tonight. A blue moon. They don’t happen so often it seems. They aren’t blue. They’re kinda like the moon’s version of a leap year and they’re called blue for … reasons. I’ve only found guesses that are hard to get your imagination behind as to why they’re called blue. Here’s my theory… Sometimes, rarely, the moon appears to be the colour blue. This would have been an observed phenomenon – particles in the atmosphere etc. Blue coloured moons can’t be predicted, but were known to exist rarely and were part of folklore. Early astronomers tried to predict them, believing such things might follow cycles like so much else in nature. They had a couple of false positives on the “third in a cycle” theory. It stuck, despite later turning out not to hold water. Oh yeah – so the third in a cycle theory:

Normally there are three full moons in an astronomical cycle. Tonight’s moon is the third out of a rare four in a single cycle… This third out of four is astronomically called the blue moon – even if its red. Lots of astronomers get angry about how people have simplified this recently by saying blue is when there’s two full moons in a month. I get why they’ve simplified it – I haven’t got the best grasp of these astronomical cycles – they’re obtuse. You’re probably as lost in this as I am. But tonight’s moon is the second in the month AND the third in a cycle so it’s blue no matter how you look at it, even if it’s not actually the colour blue. Blue Moon!

Is it me, or is every bloody moon rare and important these days? Why can’t we just have an ordinary moon from time to time? “What’s this moon? Oh it’s a moon moon”. There’s enough crazy shit going on without it always being super blood blue wolf whatever blinking moon. When I were a lad, moon were made of cheese and that were that. This one’s blue cheese. That’s all.

Apparently tonight we have a blue sturgeon moon in Aquarius. It’ll help us align with the abundant energy of summer, darling. You will make the caviar of good fortune for yourself and those you love. Go fishing. Do stuff. Harness that busy Aquarius energy. Focus your creativity. Grab that fish by the horns. Go make magic. That’ll be £12.50.

Walking down the seafront at Brighton I caught a stain of moonish light trying to show up from behind the clouds. I guess that’s my lot. The clouds are thick. A few fingers of moonlight as I wandered home to play chase the tape measure with an old strange friendly pussy, but that was all I was getting.

The night air is still warm at least. Hell, we might have another good month before the darkness takes us back. It really hasn’t been the most dynamic summer. Nature packed most of the heat into one week and left a lot of the rest of the time to be grey and miserable. I’m hoping for a great September. It better be.

Maybe I should demand a great September of this sturgeon moon. It makes no difference but it’ll make me feel better. And if it’s a good September I’ll swear blind it’s because I asked the moon for it.

We drove up to Ditchling Beacon dreaming of watching the sunset and the moonrise. We ended up freezing our ass off watching a cloud. For a glorious few minutes we caught the sun as it dipped below the canopy.

The sun. Not the moon. Yellow. Not blue.

Then it got cold. We zipped back to Kemp Town just in time to be told that the chip shop had stopped serving. I ate my disappointed curry. Now we are looking after our respective animals again. And as soon as I schedule this blog I’m gonna be carrying a pendulous and disconcertingly fragile co-op bag full of accumulated cat excrescence down three flights of stairs for disposal.

Maybe on the way to the bin I’ll catch this moon.

Laughter and bells

This bag has been in my attic for two years.

Contents: 1 pith helmet. A molded leather breastplate. A lion costume. A plastic thornbush. An improvised almanac. A wearable lino-printed wall with a hole cut in it. A Carthaginian Falcata, disturbingly heavy and sharp. A feather boa. An oversized black dress.

“It’s a show in a bag!” says Lou.

“That’s what we do!” replies Jon.

And it’s true. One light bag. Everything needed to mount a reasonably efficient piece of dinner theatre around the three mechanical scenes in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Painting Pyramus and Thisby in broad strokes, usually with half a rehearsal and plenty of goodwill. It used to go down a storm with an audience that gradually got more and more tanked up. Then Brexit started to dry things up and Covid killed the rest. It went up to my attic always with the expectation it would come down again in no time for another ridiculous outing. But no and no and no. And then suddenly the phone rang and it’s gonna be needed in Margate next week.

“It’s cool, I’ll drive up to London tomorrow, get it and then turn round and go back,” said Jon, condemning himself to a miserable four hours on the road. “Sod that, why don’t I come to Margate with Lou on Saturday”. Which was me condemning myself to the drive instead. But it’s a good excuse to see a less familiar place. Lou and I both enjoy seeing new places. I’m always one for a jolly.

This is the problem when your friends live out of town. Seeing them always involves a long drive. It’s hard enough when you’re at different ends of the tube network. But … I’m in the long drive mindset right now anyway. I’m basically commuting from Brighton to London. What’s another four hours on the road when Bergman and I broke 2000 miles together this afternoon. I can definitely handle a trip to Margate.

“The skies are amazing here,” says Lou as we drive into the Thanet evening. And they are. It’s wide and flat and you’ve got angles on the sea as well as on the land. No wonder Turner went there often to paint the light. Fog and shafts of sun through the roiling cloud that’s blown so fast by the wind that it’s only there long enough to surprise you before it’s just big clear sky over flat land with plenty of history – and then in the dark the Aquarius moon one day off full.

On the way back to Brighton we stopped in Canterbury and walked the ancient streets drinking in the weight of a past full of pilgrimages. We stumbled upon the fingerbone of Thomas a Becket in a reliquary just off the main drag, surrounded by the oblivious Saturday night crowds – shouting lads and lasses dropping glasses on cobblestones that were laid 800 years ago and more, mingling their momentary peals of laughter with that of churchbells that had been ringing every Sunday for 100 years before Genghis Khan founded his empire in Mongolia. Bells that have almost rung their way through a thousand years in that town.

Sitting among this blur of ancient and modern, we ate dinner in site of the spires and I thought about Jon and his friends in Margate, using that bag to mount their five hundred year old spoof of bad dinner entertainment as … well as a piece of dinner entertainment. I thought of all the times I’ve performed it and things like it just once and then immediately forgotten about it. The hundreds and hundreds of short jobs I’ve walked into worked into and walked away from. My work like that laughter on the wind. The words of the text is often like the bells. Long dead writers giving me a present. Ringing their meaning through the centuries and occasionally mingling their meaning with the wind of my laughter. I’m ok with being that laughter on the wind. But I wonder if I could also forge a bell or two before I shuffle off. It’s worth a thought.