Depression and biscuits

Tristan is in a show about friendship, love, depression and the human spirit. It’s on until the end of this week at the Tristan Bates, a studio theatre in the West End. Gin for Breakfast. It’s a two hander and it’s great. Stephen Fry is talking on a panel this evening after the show, so all the seats for tonight were sold on the first day. I was in the audience last night, and there were a couple of empty seats. If good studio theatre is your bag, you could fill them!

It’s good casting for Tristan, if not immediately obvious. He’s in a Stockport accent and he hates people that wear cufflinks, whereas in reality he usually wears cufflinks and sounds as posh as I do. But he’s the joker in the pack, and the embodiment of self destructive hedonism, both of which roles he understands well. The collision of Tristan and Stephen Fry in the same small room – that’s two people with a deep understanding and transcendence of self-sabotage. And his co-star, Jess, brings a poise and a deeply mined, complicated and layered humanity. I like watching both of these actors work, as they’re doing it for complicated personal reasons so there’s never any sense of smug about their power. Both of them are less “daddy look at me” and more “sod off and let me work, daddy.” My favourite type of actor.

I lost a lot of time to a depression brought on by grief so now I try to catch and derail it when I sense it rear its head. Despite watching that play, today has been one of those days. I’ve had to constantly remind myself to stay positive. After that threatening red sky day of the hurricane, the rain has blown in. My manager phoned to bring news that the job with the big buyout fell through. My bank is shouting at me. But all of this is about perspective. There’s beauty in a dark rainy night, there’s plenty of joy to be had without getting a ridiculous paycheck, and happiness is where you put it.

I’m catsitting this week. I just walked in for the first time to my friend’s home to find that Meg had pulled a jar of biscuits onto the floor, smashed it, licked the jagged bit to get to the biscuits and eventually, somehow, she’d totally broken the lid off, likely by rolling around with the jar. Then she’d spread biscuits and glass and bits of metal jar fastener all over the floor. She seems totally fine despite this. When I came in she was positioned geographically as far as possible from the evidence, as if to say it was all the fault of some other cat. I hope she didn’t swallow any bits of glass. I’ll have to keep an eye on her closely, as that’s a catsitter’s nightmare.

It’s the perfect antidote though to all these self reflective darknesses and indulgent concerns. Feeling weird about your own crap? Look after something that doesn’t think and licks broken glass to get biscuits.


Meg and I have a lot in common. We both want biscuits. We both know the biscuits are there. We’re both willing to hurt ourselves to get the biscuits. But sometimes you get the biscuits, sometimes you just eat glass.

Pickle in South Ken

Uber is in a pickle in London. And now Pickle is in an uber in London. And London is in an oober-pickle.


We are trying to cross town, but typically the person who has agreed to cat-sit for Brian and I lives in Finsbury Park. On a good day, that’s a horrible drive. Today it’s the seventh circle of hell. It’s not a good day to be on London’s roads. We have been trying to go north but after half an hour we are inexplicably in Waterloo. Every other route is closed.

There’s a demonstration at Park Lane by the Football Lads Association against extremism. That’s pretty evolved of them, considering their association is likely to be rife with extremists like the EDL and UKIP. (I’m being arch – they think the word “extremism” only relates to belief systems they don’t personally subscribe to.) They are all in the road so traffic has to get around them. But now something has happened in South Kensington, directly outside my brother’s work. Some crazy shit has gone down, most likely connected to the very form of extremism that will confirm the bias of the guys marching.

My sister in law was very close, and she reported hearing seven or eight gunshots, which have not been mentioned yet by the media. She grew up in Communist Russia and I understand that gunshots were a frequent part of her childhood experience. So she may have biased towards that. But she thinks it was an assassination from one car to another. All we know is that someone drove onto a pavement and some people were hurt.

There are police everywhere on the roads in London now. The radio is spewing conjecture. Ok, the road markings are confusing on Exhibition Road – it’s hard to tell what’s pedestrianised and what’s road. Maybe it was someone making a mistake? That’s unlikely though with the heavy heavy footfall in that area on a Saturday. It’s a target area.

Maybe the guy who has been detained was a spook who shot someone and then crashed. Hence “detained” not “arrested”. I guess we’ll probably find out in due course, but we might not.

From my point of view it just means a slower journey and maybe being late for work. My driver is mightily pissed off. “You know what,” he just said – “I’m getting off the roads. This is my last trip today. It’s not worth it.”

But life goes on because it has to. I’m going to have to get a tube south once I’ve dropped the cat off. Then I’ll be working in a crowded warehouse all evening. And I’m not that bothered because I can’t be. What’s the alternative? Stay at home forever? This is London. People want to kill us.

Still, I’ll be glad to go to Milan tomorrow, if for no other reason than for a change of pace and perspective. But also, this is too close to home. I like living in this town. But this morning I walked with Brian to pick up my car from the corner of Exhibition Road, exactly where all this shit went down. I was there two hours before it all kicked off, enjoying a morning with a friend and grabbing my car to pick up a cat box. My brother works at the Natural History Museum. His wife was working there, as she often does on the weekends. If this was a thwarted bomb threat, or someone trying to kill pedestrians, it’s troubling.

Stay safe and stay active. The whole point of these actions of extremism is to shake the people that you have decided you hate. Recent deliberate actions have led me to the expectation that it will turn out to be one. And that DOES make me feel shaky. So I’m going to go to Gatsby now with my party face and my trusty 3 piece armour on, and throw positive energy everywhere in the hopes that some of it comes back in my direction.