A snatch of a morning in a basement studio in Soho. The walls are painted white. The carpet is taped down with electric tape. The clock on the wall is broken. It shudders every second and goes nowhere. Next to me sits an Italian man, humming tunelessly. I wonder if he’s even aware he’s doing it. There’s a historic atmosphere of nerves down here. The plastic plants don’t do much to help. I am called into a room.

My car is parked at Harley Street. I emerge after another swift encounter with a camera and some friendly people. Who knows how it will fall. It will fall though. Come, fates. Bring this one to me!

Autumn. The light is good this morning. I walk through Soho with a spring in my heels. I did what I could. It won’t be the cut of my jib. It’ll be mine or its beyond my control. Fingers and toes crossed.


Coffee and a tidy up. A friend is staying in my bed tonight. He’ll be there on his own. I’m off to Brighton tonight. Glad to be of service.

He arrives. I let him in and we catch up a bit but I’m thinking about names and dates – half of my head is already in Hampstead.

Jack Straw. 1381. Jimmy Reid. 1746. Hamilton. 1712. De havilland. 1968. Slowly and steadily the specifics of these historic Hampstead encounters are beginning to stick in my head. It’s one thing to tell a good story. It’s another thing to be factually correct. I need to get the balance straight. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, sure. But I know from the old days on the river that occasionally there’s an expert who wants to assess your expertise. It was always satisfying back then to know all the things. I’m not gonna be doing this tour eight times a day on weekends thank God. And I’m not gonna have to do it at 30 knots in the driving rain with a grumpy old skipper who hates me. I’m the skipper, and I set the pace. The clearer I’ve got my stories, the more confident I appear to be, the more fun people have. I’m walking strangers through a dark heath in the cold. Best if they trust me. They’ll have more fun and I’ll have more fun.

Our tester audience is willing and entertaining. It’s made up of everybody’s friends but mine. Once again I’ve been remiss and haven’t really shouted “I’M DOING A THING!” We haven’t sold very well on Sunday evenings yet so do come on any of the next three Sunday evenings if you can walk and you like things. It’s a walk with pubs and stories, and happenings, and this idiot in a hat. It’s a pleasant way for me to spend my Halloween season weekends without risking jobclash, and might be a pleasant evening. My passport is being renewed so I can’t get that job in Bulgaria right now anyway. Here’s the ticket link. Tonight was the dress rehearsal. I was WARM. That was unexpected. I do need to think about rain, particularly as my incredible silk stovepipe hat will disintegrate in a rainstorm and it’s so striking and it fits perfectly so I would cry and cry if it was ruined. It was lovely weather today but it would be hubris to expect every night to be like tonight. It’s October, despite climate change.

Now I’m already in Brighton. To my left is the dark of a calm sea. To my right, the flat where Lou is already sleeping. I have to sneak in, so I’m writing my blog in my car as it ticks away the heat of spanking it. I’ve got a sneaky post dress rehearsal can of beer to help edge off the adrenaline that just helped me floor it from Hampstead all the way to the south coast. I think I teleported here. Once I’m in her flat it’s bedtime though, so now is my wind down.

I’m here to be her chauffeur tomorrow. Tonight I’m just the late night gentleman caller. I should probably have brought a box of Milk Tray. Glad to have made the journey, now its made. I’ve missed her.

This is me just before the show. My contact lenses were scratching my eyes so I did it with specs. Nobody seemed to mind.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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