Pantechnicon

Off in the morning and over to Upton Park, driving the fabulous pantechnicon. We’re making a show in it, but it cost £80 up front to get me on the insurance so I’m not about to turn down a shot at filling it with furniture and using it for the purpose to which it was born – if it covers the insurance cost.

I can see why these guys are moving out. There’s a man that walks up and down all day outside their house with crazy tourettes. He’s evidently suffering. He’s wearing headphones, probably trying to drown it out, but his tic is a dark one. It’s pretty unsettling to hear him coming up and down shouting what he’s shouting. He came by a lot in the time we were loading. Jess Thom has become the acceptable voice of tourettes after somehow managing to commute everything into the word “biscuit” which she can utter up to 16,000 times a day. I’ve heard her on BBC Radio 4, live. They couldn’t put this dude out live. People affected by tourettes usually go to the darkest words they can find. This guy was combining concepts. One of them was usually “child”. The other definitely was never “biscuit”.

We were seeing how much it’s possible to get into the van. Turns out that’s a lot. These lads have one of the most robust board game collections I’ve ever seen, not to mention all the Lego. They also have a good solid pile of large comfortable furniture. As I was loading in I found myself wondering how the hell I’d be able to move out with all the stuff I’ve accumulated. They had boxes and boxes of stuff and yet I think my stuff would need about three van loads. We just about got it all in. Mirrors and lamps and tables and glassware and computers and multiple monitors and a full drum kit and multiple guitars and shelves and chests and… So much stuff. The accumulation of only a few years. We all accumulate so much stuff. And most of it just sits there, most of the time. Until we die and someone either throws it in a skip or leaves it in an attic or pays for expensive storage for decades before they die too and their kids have to foot the bill. No wonder some people clock out and wander around with earphones in, shouting bad things. It’s a tough gig, living in a culture that tells us that stuff makes us happy when actually it just makes us broke and fucks the world up in the process.

Since I got back from Camino I still haven’t worked out where I put my clothes before I left. But I’ve not really missed them. I’ve got the basics, plus all of my suits. Yet I’m still surrounded by junk. Unused things, many of which never belonged to me anyway.

Time is about to be my most precious commodity. I’ve got no time for all this stuff. The van opens in a week. We need to sell a lot of tickets to even come close to recouping our costs. I think they might finally go live tomorrow. Biscuit.

20190114_220641

LAST TWO YEARS

Blog: 14 January 2017 – Bumbling cluelessly around Los Angeles

Blog: 14 January 2018 – An anniversary retrospective

Year 2, Day 1. Here we go again.

It’s a year ago today that I landed in LA and wrote the Facebook post that kicked off this blog. I didn’t think at the time that I’d do it for a year, but sometimes we take ourselves by surprise. I’ve written 244,413 words. That’s a couple of novels-worth. And I didn’t miss a day. Which is remarkable considering both how drunk and how distracted I’m capable of getting.

Now I’ve got a habit, fully formed. Around 7pm if I haven’t blown out some kind of wordthing I get anxious – distracted. Like in a bar when you’re not drinking. I start trying to manipulate a bit of downtime. If it gets to midnight and it’s not written I extract myself temporarily from whatever company I’m in to get it done. Occasionally I’ve got swept up and then I guiltily write multiple consecutive loosely linked sentences in bed at 3am while the screen swims in my vision. Then I click “publish” if my finger can find it, and then I instantaneously pass out as if I’ve been tasered.

It’s 11pm right now. I’m sitting on a sofa with a cat. This writing habit might perhaps be put to better use than a blog. But I needed to engender the habit first. I’ve been skimming over my last year and it’s a helpful thing to be able to quantify the difference between last year and now. The days go by and we learn things. People (and animals) come to the front or momentarily retreat into the shadows. What is life but the day to day? I’ve had a changing year since I’ve been living in your face. Even though it’s been the usual disjointed rollercoaster, a lot has happened and most of it has been conducive to better quality aliveness. I met a cat, got a tan and a manager, saw myself on screen at BAFTA, discovered my heart still works, trained kids, played broken artists, was a broken artist, played a llama enthusiast, William Burroughs, King Mark, Scrooge, a green monster, the fool. I’ve been to LA on a crazy jaunt and Amsterdam and Milan for work. I’ve done Cosmic Trigger, worked with the KLF exactly 23 years after they burnt the money, eaten some mushrooms, worked on Dodgems and filmed at Dreamland. I’ve volunteered at Grenfell, got my motorbike certificate, and received gohonzon. I’ve consumed remarkable steaks, months of vegan food, powerful psychedelics, great theatre, too much wine. All these things have stuck to me in little ways, now they’ve been filed in the “done” box. I might not constantly think of them, but every little action effects our journey. And still I’m living every day present, although perhaps with a little bit more of an eye to the future than I was managing this time last year.

On which subject, for now I’m going to keep this blog up. Year 2. Let’s see how quickly I get bored of myself. But it’s useful to keep the pressure on to be accountable to you – oh constant reader.

Thank you those of you who have been dipping in and out of my journey – and any of you bonkers enough to have read the lot. It often surprises and pleases me to find that people I rarely see have a handle on my existence, my preoccupations and all the conflicting interior monologues. Relative strangers have expressed relief that I “finally got that boiler fixed.” Friends are pleased when they meet Pickle at last.

I hope for a changing, positive, interesting and challenging year. There’s already some auspices in place. But let’s see what time brings.

Last year I wandered the streets of a bad area, and stumbled into a church. This year, I walked a dog. Woof.

img-20180114-wa00031074899190.jpg


14th January 2017