Dogsitting

I love animals. But much the same as with kids I prefer not to be the primary carer, so I can go be irresponsible.

Brian and I shared care of Pickle, with Mel bringing huge amounts of food and love to the table. That kitten ate well if eclectically, and had good playtime. The two of us would spend hours playing bellypaw on slow mornings and she was always the gentlest beast imaginable. I once saw her catch a big fly in both front paws, then open them up and watch it fly away again. Litter ended up being a big part of my job and I still hoard Tesco bags habitually and pointlessly because they were perfect for disposal. She was cute and reserved and unusual and eloquent and we deeply bonded. She didn’t like parties in the flat, we eventually worked out she liked to have privacy for the loo and to go in the bathroom. If we had noisy guests she would occasionally dirty protest plum in the middle of one of our beds.

Despite all the stinky poo I’ve been missing her terribly since she went off to live in Croydon. Her energy as a shadow, curling up in my heart as I slept, corridor sprinting, occasionally trying to sleep on my face…

When my friend asked if I wanted to dogsit in Barnes for a second night though I didn’t have to consider anything apart from Hex’s slow needs before I agreed. The habitual calculation about how she would be fed has not been necessary since she basically vanished from my life when I was in America.

I wonder if we were too bonded for me to meet her now she’s basically somebody else’s cat. I think I’d probably sit in a parked car and cry for half an hour after saying cheerful goodbyes. I once asked Mel if maybe I could look after her if she went on holiday. She proceeded to tell me what I knew already about how she doesn’t like to be moved and the physiological effect of stress on her, in order to basically say no in long form. It felt like a wall. Nobody has been able to go on holiday anyway this year so it’s moot. And I know she’ll be somewhere safe where she’s loved.

Once this pandemic becomes manageable and understood I reserve the right to suddenly decide I’m going to Peru so long as I can afford it. Or to jump on the Eurostar and start driving through France. An animal makes things harder even before all the ungodly administrative shit that we’re about to be deluged with when we cross previously uncomplicated borders.

It’s been lovely to hang out with somebody else’s doggie. We know each other anyway as he came to Chelsea for a few weeks some years ago. We know each other’s ways and can hang out well together. Outside of their personalities one of the great advantages of a dog is that you have to walk them. We’ve been walking each other on this fine late summer’s day, sniffing around the grassy bits and graveyards and ponds. We had a pub lunch with 50% off and we looked at loads of ducks. Now we’re curled up on the sofa together and I’ll miss him tomorrow and I miss Pickle every day. At least I can go to Paris. Eventually. Maybe. With the right visa.

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Mask Man

We all know him.

This time he’s by the door of Marks and Spencers, with that “artfully unruly” grey hair. That open shirted grey jacket, to make sure people know he’s formal but relaxed. Very very short very forward older perplexed male.

“It would be an excellent idea though wouldn’t it,” he tells the vexed entry counting man at the opening to the food section. “You can see that, can’t you,” he reinforces himself. “Masks at the door. You have to sell masks at the door, the people without masks have to buy them at the door then you don’t have people without masks in the shop AND you make profit from the masks.” His eyes are flicking round with rage at the people in the store without masks. There aren’t many. There is one he keeps looking at in particular. She is about ten years younger than me, and still visible as she’s in the veg section near the entrance. The tone of her skin is the opposite to the speaker’s tone. She entered the shop just before him, and I entered just after.

He is wearing his designer mask, which looks great on him. Even though his mouth is covered he is still talking lots. She has no mask. She’s silently and respectfully going about her shopping, away from people as far as she can. Meanwhile little designer mask guy gets right up in tall guy’s grill about social distancing.

I’m in my very involved fiberglass gasmask, curious about the dynamic with this guy. I go invisible, doing the “switch off” I do that lets me listen unseen.

“Don’t you see! You shouldn’t let them in without masks,” spits our friend through his fabric. Our staff member is counting people in and out of the shop. He is literally twice as tall as this bulldog fellow. He towers over him, responding in the only way he can while at work – with non committal noises. He’s neither discouraging nor encouraging, he’s trying to count customers as this guy grinds away at his own self-importance.

“I’ll pass it to my manager,” he ventures in the hopes it’ll end the misery. “See that you do. You’re missing an opportunity here. And you’re letting people into the shop without masks. If you had masks to sell them you could make them all wear them or leave. You sell clothes here, don’t you? Sell masks.”

I find myself wondering who this conversation is for.

It’s not for the tall guy. He can’t affect shop policy. He is just trying to count customers while humouring a vocal customer who is deep into a triggerpoint issue about which he can be seen to have no official opinion.

It’s not for the customers without masks as they aren’t near enough for long enough to hear his exasperation with them despite his pointing.

Is it for him, this angry little chap? He’s clearly very comfortable in the life he’s carved out for himself, likely he’s in some sort of managerial role in the company his dad set up, shouting at people for not being him. He’ll get a few endorphins, at the cost of a lot of time and negative energy thrown at strangers. “I was right. How can they not see how I was right?”

Maybe next time he comes in to the store he’ll seek out the tall guy and ask why his ideas haven’t been implemented yet. Trade a bit more negative energy for a few more obscure kicks.

Or maybe it’s for me. Slightly broken dissipated artistic fool pretending to look at M&S orchids and doing a vanishing trick wearing a visible mask as he eavesdrops to sate his curiosity for human nature then writes about things he’s heard and learns nothing.

Maybe it’s so I can write about this familiar trope? Maybe it’s so I can issue this particular extremely valuable warning:

Don’t be the high-status-presenting person getting vocal with the low-status-presenting better genes person about your understanding of ideas.

Certainty is often mistaken for wisdom but it’s usually the opposite. There. Suck it, you small minded little … oh … the people that need to be reading this aren’t reading this. Ach.

As a listener, the little man’s whole monologue sounded dark. It sounded like there was no solution other than for the guy to go “yes sir sorry sir I will immediately have the maskless people pulled from the store by force and put into a gas chamber. That’ll teach them to wear masks ah ha ha ha ha ha!”

It’s hard for me not to write about masks in this environment. I’ll try next time. It’s front and centre thinking right now for all of us though. We think about them all the time. Going to the shop? Keys. Wallet. Bag. Mask.

I agree that they can help us stop infecting others. I think we should be considerate of each others safety. But sometimes it feels like extremism, in either direction. Both the “We should be completely wrapped in condoms” camp and the “let’s all get naked and spit at each other” camp.

The worst thing in the world is extremism. Extremists have to be impaled and skinned alive.

Yes that’s a joke. I’m hoping it’ll stop people piling into me for even broaching this hot topic without offering my standpoint on it in black and white. And green.

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“He’s got his thumb up! What’s he approving of?” This is an old photo. I’m approving of the morph suit. Go fish.

Food

My friend had food poisoning. Now she’s got a digital thermometer as well. I woke up to a worried message from her mum. I grabbed the thermometer at Boots and rushed it over in the car.

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I left it on top of her post box and rang her. Then I took her dog for a walk after encouraging him to walk the distance between us.

It’s easy to assume you’ve got the ‘rona. The symptoms are pretty universal. Looking down the list the ones that seem most persistent are the cough and the temperature. The strange taste and smell change is the decider as that’s rare in other illnesses and pretty common for the one we are all thinking about.

For me, with 20/20 hindsight, that’s the clincher for the nasty “flu” I had after driving the guys who had just arrived from Italy in early March. I couldn’t smell. Only for about two days. But combined with constant cough and general misery I think and hope I had this thing lightly in early March when I shut the doors for three weeks and lived off pesto, sweetcorn and Fray Bentos whilst wishing I was dead and rehearsing / performing The Tempest on Zoom with Creation and Big Telly, draped in a serpent, muting myself sometimes in scenes to do a bout of coughing, lucky that ‘rona didn’t choose to fuck me up and try to kill me as she does with some people.

Since I was in the area, I rang Tristan and as it happened he needed to get a lift back towards mine to start a half day, so I picked him up and we ended up on The Northcote road at lunchtime. He’s refurbishing a house that isn’t his and being paid money to do it. I’m thinking about refurbishing my flat and hoping I can find a way to afford it. Hell, I might try and employ him on a vastly cut rate to help get this shit done.

We went for lunch. We both have expensive tastes. We found a Thai place. It was going to be takeaway. The waiter got fed up of overhearing me prevaricate about price : “Hang on maybe I’ll just get the soup, it’s only lunchtime and I’ve got food at home.” He interjected: “The government “eat out to help out” scheme doesn’t apply to takeaway – only to dining in. “What’s that?” “50% off your bill up to £10.” “And I have to apply to get that?” “No we take it off here.”

We ate in. Tristan sent his curry back to heat up because it was definitely genuinely cold. It was struck off the bill, so we ended up paying a couple of quid each for a very tasty lunch with a generous tip. Lovely for those of us that can afford to eat out. Shit for anybody who can’t. Well, technically I can’t but I’m an optimist.

A judicious restaurant lunch for one this month is the same price as a Boots meal deal. And for seven quid you can get a three course meal.

If I book any work away from home I’m googling  the nearest decent eaterie. August though. Slow month? Let’s see.

Touch screening

A momentary break in the traffic and the unfamiliar silence it brings to my flat really brings home to me how far back to normal things are, even if the wheyfaced blubbering incompetents who we voted for are still switching things on and off at random whilst apparently dropkicking the whole 10.8 billion arts sector on purpose : “ballerinas can get to the back of the queue” whilst setting fire to the north. I’m seeing so much fear in strange places. So many people being reactive and angry and weird. It’s not a happy time.

In government in the UK are men and women who were mostly ripped away from the family unit as small children and then taught to hide their humanity whilst being inflated with self-importance. I went through that system. It’s not designed to make an empathetic human, and they are well minted examples of the faceless protective narcissist form. No surprise it’s easy to think they’re lizards. One of the stamps somehow missed my face a bit but it still left a mark. I can see their fear, these little men and women hiding behind easily learnt status signals and outright lies. It’s abject. They’re destructive. We really shouldn’t have a system where the people who want to be in charge get to be in charge. This and Trump is what comes of it. Blustering horror shows fronting silent staring monsters. Bojo covering for classic Dom.

We are losing our sense of community to fear. Touch is so powerful, and it’s stigmatised. We are covering our faces too, losing the nuance of expression. We are forgetting the invisible power of our olfactory system to help us negotiate emotions. We frequently smell fear, desire, pride, anger – even before any other part of us knows it. Zoom meetings lose all the silent nuance and can lead to deep misunderstandings that wouldn’t happen in person.

If someone gives us a present we might immediately douse it in alcohol and then demonstrably wash our hands. That’s a hell of a signal. What is this doing to us all psychologically? People who know for sure they’ve had this fucker already still feel they can’t hug each other or even shake hands in case we can get it again. But nobody even knows. The loudest voice wins. Because there are no hard and fast rules, and in the UK Dominic Cummings has demonstrated with no consequence that all the rules are optional anyway. So people are policing each other just based on their own personal rule sets. “It’s obedience training!” “It’s a common courtesy!” “Sheep!” “Murderer!”

People who were already suffering with OCD must be in hell with the fear and not knowing. I’m glad I’m free of that one. But I’m worried there’s more to come. And all the while everybody will be constantly angry about us going about things wrong because we aren’t going about things like they are. And the algorithm goes chop, and we block the person who triggers us, and we reduce as we isolate and retract further and further, first from people unlike us, then from people like us, then from ourselves, then from the world.

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Hot London uber

Perinpanayagam and I are scooting across sweaty London. He is silent and looks a little angry, but he’s got 4.9 stars so we should get there okay. I’m off to the 40th birthday of a dear friend, still suited and booted having just shot another little corporate training video from the improvised green screen studio in my living room.IMG-20200801-WA0004

I’m glad that people are still making training videos, through the new medium of a recorded zoom meeting. At the time of writing, despite an iron promise, there is no rent in my account. It’s sitting on the overdraft limit costing me £8 plus credit rating every time one of my direct debits fails. I could’ve cancelled them but I chose to trust instead. Perhaps rash in this instance. I’m finding myself irritated with kk for the inconvenience she’s causing and for her apparent lack of contrition. I don’t think it’s occurred to her to say sorry.

The training video will help though. And it’s not like I’m the only person right now who is having to find new streams. It just helps me understand how fragile the existence I’ve carved together is, that as soon as a couple of those payments are delayed then the outgoings become unmanageable.

It hasn’t stopped me going to a party, with a bottle of prosecco in my bag courtesy of a credit card that is getting closer to the limit every day I’m given another excuse. But sod it, I’m going to enjoy this hot summer evening. And I’m gonna have nice drinks as I’ve decided once again to try to draw a line under booze after today for a while. Time and money are both more important than forgetting, and I don’t feel particularly inclined to waste either one until I’m out of this miniature pickle. If I wasn’t drinking I wouldn’t have to get this Uber as I could drive. That would also mean I wouldn’t have to wear this horribly sweaty mask over my beard. It all stacks, up with lack of means and discomfort as the outcome.

The traffic is atrocious and bits of South London are cordoned off with police cars. It’s the heat. People do crazy things. Still at least the delay gives me time to write the bulk of this before I inhale prosecco. I even had a cheese sandwich to soak it up. Cheap and absorbent. My face will be soaking when I arrive at the party, and I chose to remain in my suit which is all very well and I look nice but I should really be in shorts and a T-shirt like everybody else in the world today.

And it seems that bits of the country are getting shut down again. Even this party – there aren’t many people and we will likely all be standing around in circles.

And it’s only now that I’m told it’s an afternoon party, and it’s already pushing 6pm.. Och well. Probably for the best as it means I won’t get so drunk…

I miss Wilderness Festival

For ten years of my life, every year, I have spent this weekend in the grounds of an estate in Oxfordshire, doing something delightful but strange. Wilderness Festival. I guess I’m part of the furniture there now. The first year, about twelve of the performers and crew for this tiny festival stayed by the lake for a crew “no beats” celebration. Since then I’ve met one of the strangers I danced with that night. We have become friends. “You were the glowstick man!” No surprises we were brought together. Those trees, those lakes and that land – perfect on this weekend where the weather is always somehow glorious. Despite a performer armband I would always camp in public camping, eschewing the less crowded showers and free moisturiser in the morning in favour of community and being able to wake up and jump into a cold lake in less than 5 minutes.

It’s been a powerful and beautiful place to work and play, even though the moments of glory blend into one another now when I try to break them down in time. I remember standing with an old couple from South Africa, deep in the crowd for Rodriguez as he played hits from Cold Fact. They had bonded to his music decades before. They never thought they’d see him play. Watch “Searching Sugarman” for context. They had flown over from Cape Town and stayed in a tent just to hear him come out and play such a rare rare almost impossible gig in the grounds of a working stately home in Oxfordshire.

The orchestra on the Sunday night, so many musicians, and one year there’s DJ Boo up there rocking Top Gun on his electric guitar. Zoe talking about sex drugs and rock and roll highly medicated having just broken her ankle. Me sight-reading an unexpectedly injured neuroscientist’s lecture about performance enhancing drugs at the absolute last minute, and being cut into the legal cocktail of home made madness that had been prepared by himself and his neuroscientist friends – all older than me and with families. Becoming “The Cosmic Cow” that night. A year when I made a friend accidentally after being horrid to them for being late for work and they didn’t tell me they were the employer filling in. Another year, where Mel and I spontaneously became a late night Tarot factory on the last night and afterwards discovered that Helen had been taking donations as people left. So much dancing. So many little moments of joy. Hot sun. Late nights. Happy memories and so many friendships.

Tonight being Friday was always my least favourite night there, as the Oxfordshire lads with their one free night would all pile on heavy from the office and full of beer, looking for the PARTAY! But even so I miss being with the trees looking at the pockets of hippies and the pockets of people unwinding, and just getting stuck in and dancing like a total maniac for as long as possible even if they kept on refusing to drop the beat late – because of local legislation no doubt.

Next year perhaps, if things get back to normal I can be there. We have more bad news for my industry today and I’m constantly upset and blindsided by the news and the concern that it’s not going to get any easier for folk like me.

I helped a friend move office today though – to Knightsbridge. He’s turning over nicely and buying properties for himself. Not everybody is stuck, it seems. There’s always a way.

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Patches of wild

Back in Hampstead on this peaceful summer night. In front of me Hex is diligently suffocating a long dead mouse. Beyond, the city, red lights and windows, peaceful under the moon.

Today has been about different forms of nature in this urban jungle. First we visited the tame wilding of Chelsea Physic Garden. It’s at its brightest for July, with wild flower beds and sunflowers in full bloom, every flower crowded with happy honey bees. We were there in the early afternoon, soaking up the sun, not alone but not particularly crowded either. Sharp bright colours and movement and life. Patches of astonishing colour and beauty. These deep summer days where you’re happy to be alive and happy to be in nature.

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It certainly made a change from my attic, where I’d spent the morning in a fruitless search for those fecking Vogue sewing patterns – where did I put them? I’ll find them. And then I will kill them.

My attic is full of dust and as hot as a sauna on days like this. I was drenched and angry, short of breath in a mask that was finally being used for the purpose to which it was created. Dust prevention, rather than watching out for the ‘rona. I didn’t search as thoroughly as I might have as I was too hot. I came down with nothing but a teacup and no sewing patterns and all the sweat. I announced that we’d be going to the park. Certainly better than the living room which is now full of fans that I took down in order to photograph for an auctioneer that I wish would bloody get back to me as I really just want the things out of my possession before I fall over on them or throw wine on them or eat them in a dream where I think they’re kebabs.

We drove across town as evening fell. I wanted to spend some time with Hex, and the Heath is lovely on an evening like this. Hex and I played around on the balcony with Louise although she wouldn’t let him sit on her. He caught some sun, and had some gravity strength training. It’s been a couple of days. I’m glad he’s still as familiar and affectionate. We’ve got to know one another, that snake and I. But I had to put him back in his box as it was time for a walk again, having consumed a huge fat ribeye.

The heath in the sunset. It’s still more crowded than usual there. The underground bars in Camden aren’t doing their usual stinky gigs so the good people of London are still in pockets on the incline overlooking the city. It’s such a magical place to walk around and find the evening. We took in the sights and smells and the snippets of conversation and we saw the silhouettes of ancient trees and it was glorious. Summer is drawing on but there’s a good month to go. God I love these hot days.

I got back and Hex took a helicoptermouse so quickly he almost got my hand. Now it’s evening, wind down, Hampstead sleep and a good swim in the sea tomorrow.

On the bench

It’s been a while since I sat on this bench. The city feels like a different place now. Constant traffic behind me, runners and strollers on the pavement galore, the distant sound of a burglar alarm carried on the thick summer air. Another month or so of this before the autumn closes in, by which time I want to be trying to live elsewhere.

The plane trees look lush, and there are so many more gulls than usual coasting up on the ebbing tide. I hear them shouting in the morning and it – well it reminds me of home. Either fish stocks have replenished a bit, or the statistical likelihood of finding last night’s drunken kebab has dropped. The urban gulls have gone back to the river, echoing the fleets of removal vans I see parked outside all the expensive rental properties. Back to the seaside. “Why the hell am I paying this much to live in London when there’s no work?”

Flying ant day has graduated to flying ant week. Upstairs I’ve got a load of laundry in the machine, a load of washing up still to do, exploded boxes full of insane and random antique gubbins that have marched out onto every surface, and a great big fat ribeye steak sitting in the fridge next to a bowl of Desperate Dan style Bolognese that I cooked at Tristan last night after most of a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – (for the sauce, I told myself).

Cricket matches are back on, and they are testing it with 1000 audience members. No theatres are back yet, and Phantom of the Opera has closed. We will all need a new landmark on Haymarket. But people can get on planes. How long how long how long before we can stand on stages again and meet live audience? It’s another layer. I want a job. Does the casting director know me? Yes. Tick. Can I make the audition? Yes. Tick. Can I nail the audition? Yes. Tick. Am I the right shape / look / feel for the job? Yes. Tick. Is the contract reasonable for everybody? Yes. Tick. Are theatres allowed to open? No. Shit.

Dromgoole did Cherry Orchard with a load of blossom between the stage and the audience. Lizzie Clacher and Simon Stone put Billie Piper and co in a perspex cube for Yerma. It was great. I lucked into a ticket and watched it, and the perspex didn’t bother me. It enhanced it. I guess we can’t go and do all the classics in a perspex cube just for the hell of it though – that was a design decision about life vs expectation and putting people in boxes etc etc. It was unusual and made you think.

But there are ways to get my industry back on its feet without making us all play in boxes.

Surely the film sets are opening up again? Time to make more content. Especially if we think this might happen again in October. Only a few months for the BBC to make the period drama that’ll air on Christmas Day after lunch. I was in the German one last Christmas. I’m free for the UK one this Christmas… Guys?

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Impossible things

I have an incredible actor friend who is also an accountant. I’m really shit at maths and I’m not great at new technology. She is good at both which is what makes her such a good accountant. But she’s at the end of her tether with my long term bullshit. She wants me to do something to do with a garbanzo micturative CSV Excel splat in order to impossibl-open everything in a programme I don’t own because you have to pay for it.

If I can do these incomprehensible things then she might consider continuing to save my fucking life.

I stupidly recommended a complicated friend to be her client. She is as shit as I am, and the combination has clearly been too much for my actor-accountant friend despite my checkups.

“Are you sure you’ve got the headspace to deal with us both,” I asked back before the world exploded. “Yes, of course.” But no. No she didn’t. Fuck it. Hoist by my own petard.

I’ve spent hours again trying to work out how to convert PDFs into whatever the fuck it is she wants. I’ve tried so many times over forever. They just end up crashing. I first tried months and months ago. I think it might be possible to download in the right format from a non mobile device. I can only log in with mobile devices though.

Even with that I always hit one of a number of walls.

I overcame a few of them today. I downloaded all my statements onto my phone but my phone doesn’t store them anywhere I can find no matter how hard I dig. Wall one. So I did it on my iPad but they won’t send to another device due to some email security bollocks. Wall two. My laptop has never ever let me log into my online banking and if I try one more time it’ll shut down all my devices. Wall three. Can’t get over wall three.

The Coronavirus affected helpline is utterly fucking pointless. It’s probably the same dissociation that led to me being refused a payment holiday until I shouted at them. But my devices don’t talk to each other through my bank. And functionality in the app won’t let me get them in the requested format of Murklop Cavaniah Plinkton files. It’ll just let me download the PDF like forever. But apparently that’s no good.

I’m lost in it. It feels literally impossible.

There was a lovely day planned with Lou tomorrow where she was going to come up from Brighton and we’d hang out and look at fabrics and stuff from the huge antiques haul and fans and then we’d go walk on the heath and it’d be great and I was REALLY LOOKING FORWARD.

I had to ring her this evening to cancel her as tomorrow I’ll be trying again just to import the floof into a grumpungly file that can be read in GNARL. And I can guarantee you I won’t succeed at which point I need to go round the house of somebody that owns Excel and sight read twenty four months worth of statements across three bank accounts and PayPal.

I need to get better at the nitty gritty about numbers and computer programmes.  Her expectations are talking in a foreign language to me. It’s impossible.

Is it my business as an actor to understand who a CSV moves in and to renderise up an Excel book finely?

I thought I was doing very well using an app to draw rings around things on PDFs of my bank statements like the good old days but halfway through I was told that I can only submit garbanzos in flumpyfoo like I was told so now it’s basically just Game Over.

“You knew this was going to happen ages ago,” No. You did. You did. I didn’t.

The distance between what I’m told and what I retain grows longer in my head. I didn’t mean any harm. Maybe I was told ages ago that I had to do it in Furblat. It didn’t make sense then any more than it does now.

Unfortunately ultimately I think it’s one of those things where the impossible is asked for in order to burn the client. I really hope not as if I’m burnt here I think I’ll end up burying my head and it’ll only get worse. I’m gonna try to get this shit sorted tomorrow. I’m not holding much hope. But I’ll try.

I’m sad about not getting to hang with Lou. Just maybe I’ll be able to Crimp the Flompikloops as I’m expected to. “It’s easy, Al. I’m just asking for a CGF CH J file! You get one by Arbing the Flurk like we used to when we were in Gop.”

Just because you find something easy doesn’t mean everybody does. Useful general lesson, that one. Plink.

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Fans

Turns out my bank fucked up, so at least after however long on the phone, I got the payment holiday on my loan. I shouldn’t really have taken the loan out in the first place, but things weren’t very happy a few years ago. They aren’t happy now either but at least this time I’m in the same boat as most of the people in the world.

At least I have a car.

I drove across London to talk with somebody about how I’m going to go about cold calling a load of people in early August. Needs must. Fuck all else is happening.

Faced with the reality of having to do something I hate (cold calling ugh ugh ugh) in order to make ends meet, I went up into my attic and brought down a box full of antique fans that had happened my way a year ago. They’re too precious to be used in theatre, or they’d have already gone to Gatsby and the like. They’d disintegrate within a week of actor use. But they have beauty and some might have value to a collector. There’s an auction in October up North. I spoke to a fan expert who lives in France and who guides the auction, and now I’ve sent 21 photographs of 21 individual fans to her. Hopefully some of them will be worth something and I can get them to her in time for good photos before the auction.

But a lot of them have ivory, and the law might be changing about selling antique ivory. Still, she’ll know what’s what regarding them all and hopefully will be inclined to help. I’m sure that something good will come of sending all the photos. Even if it’s just getting another box of random stuff out of the attic and shifted.

I’m home and I’m hoping I won’t have another night of crazy dreams. My sleeping brain has been so wild and active recently that I’m usually wide awake by half six and dead to the world at eleven at night. I can usually roll my dreams but these dreams have been elusive. It’s like I’m sleeping differently.

I was supposed to pay the cops today for the insurance fuck up but I didn’t have the means and can’t find my credit card. I’m now going to have to ring them in a tiny window tomorrow in order to hopefully stop them from initiating court procedures and making life even harder for me. That’s enough to interrupt my sleep on its own. Add to that my nascent attempts to once again stop it with the alcoholic beverages and I reckon over the next few weeks my whole relationship with Morpheus and Hypnos is going into overhaul.

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Meanwhile the living room is full of fans. I’ve been sending emails hither and yon to all sorts of people about selling all sorts of things that would otherwise gather dust in the attic. Time time past time, especially considering I’ll spend the first three weeks of August trying to telephone people who don’t want to hear from me.