Running Cables

Today was the last day building outside the warehouse in Borough. The problem with using Gatsby is that we are beholden to them in terms of arrival time. I have to be there at 8am to fend off the trafficbastards, but they don’t really have to be there until 4 and they hold the keys to the inner space. And they weren’t coming in. No money is changing hands, you see. We’re there on sufferance. It’s a favour, and we can’t expect them to change their patterns for us, much as we wished we could today.

I had to reschedule my friend the carpenter when it became clear nobody was going to let us in. Now I’m worried we won’t get stairs made in time for people to get into the van which will mean fun with stepladders. Hopefully it’ll work out. But oh dear God it was a cold morning, until with the artifice of desperation we found a way to get a wire to a plug socket. We ran a cable through a hole in a window cage, then into the building through a gap in the window where the long dead ventilator should be, then through a working loo, up four flights of stairs in a working office building, and boom! Into the socket that the cleaner uses for their Hoover. Just as well I know the code to the outer door and that the loo was unlocked today. I got power to the van just in time for my friend Suzanne to arrive clutching an oil heater to lend us. Bliss. Finally.

The good news is, it takes very little time to heat up. Two hours later we are in a warm van, but complet exhausted from cold, attempting to string sentences together while instead getting fractious because we are both just shattered by shivering. But nobody tripped on the wire and died. That’s a win. And Holly came and got some photos taken of us in weird masks and stuff. So now we have images. And then finally, 8 hours into the day, Gatsby opened their space. We disconsolately shuffled in, returned some stuff, painted a couple of chalk boards, and stopped trying to pretend to be real humans because it was far too much effort. Mel left. I sat in the van and waited for the congestion charge to end, and then drove off too, causing controlled carnage in the back of the van. Barely caring.

The last thing in the world I felt like after that rancid day of ice and disappointment was an ecstatic dance class. I drove the van home full of emotions, mostly sad and weird and unvalued and low and heavy. I shuffled up into my flat, grabbed my tracksuit bottoms, and walked back out before my brain could stop me. I got on the tube, went to Camden, and danced like a maniac for 2 hours despite really really not wanting to do anything of the sort.

It sort of helped, sort of didn’t. I still feel sad but I don’t feel so tense anymore, or so cold. It’s a good workout and I was in excellent company. I think it’ll set me up better for the weekend, which will involve more cold vans but self determined now instead of in somebody else’s space. I’ll probably have to run cable down three floors through a window, but at least I’m expecting that going in.

And when I got home Brian had run me a bath. I’m in it now restoring heat to my bone marrow.

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LAST TWO YEARS

Trump is inaugurated and it rains in California

I get annoyed about Health and Safety but Melissa buys pizza

 

Treadmills

I’m back in my armour. I’ll be sad when this three-piece finally wears through which it will considering the amount of use it gets. Putting it on today has made me understand practically that I’ve been eating too many pies. Or perhaps drinking too many tasty sugary drinks. A couple of months ago there was a bit of flex in here. Now I’m stuffed into this waistcoat like sausage meat. I think I might have to turn my legendary stubbornness into an exercise regime and tie it to the blog. Obviously I won’t be smashing myself on a treadmill, but It’s around this time last year that I started my daily yoga routine, and I loved it. Admittedly that was in LA where doing yoga is like having milk in the fridge. Over here they make it much more expensive and those lovely sunny walks with my yoga mat to airy talkative spacious classes are replaced by slogging through squalls to a soggy reeking cupboard full of people that won’t make eye-contact in the changing room.

One of my friends has started an exercise regime recently. It’s inspiring. It’s tempting to copy her. I want to focus on making myself mister employable and that’ll help. Might help me feel more eligible too and to get off my arse about dating. But right now, because I’m mister not-freezing-my-tits-off-at-home, I haven’t the filthy lucre for classes or dates. And Gods I detest running.

It’s ridiculous how much people pay for gym memberships, especially considering that the majority of them tick over month by month virtually unused. It’s a huge scam. They often don’t even list the prices so that some jumped up chunk in a T-shirt can use his limited empathy to try and determine what you’re worth and then ask for a little bit more than you can easily spare. Tip: Never get excited about anything when they show you round. If you’re in a job you hate that pays a regular salary you might just sign up to that monthly pound of flesh for the fantasy of a new you that looks like the model in the photo and doesn’t have to input numbers in a cell for 8 hours a day while an angry sociopath bellows at you about productivity.

A good thing happened to me today that will help keep me from those sociopaths a bit longer and might mean I don’t find gym prices quite so offensive a couple of years from now. I’m thrilled about it, but I’m going to do that annoying thing that people do on social media where they intimate that something lovely has happened but then go all coy about the details. I’ve got to do some groundwork before I can throw this news out widely. But apparently nice things can happen to bearded fools. I’ve been grinning all evening. It’s good timing too, just after my blogiversary and shortly after the turning of the year. All this combined has catalysed these thoughts about rendering out the bearded adonis version of Al Barclay so I can swagger into auditions, flex my rippling chinceps and shatter the lens with the dazzling smile of a happy man. Here’s to 2018.

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Year One:┬áDay 2 – Checking my privilege in a beautiful place

Yogaworks yoga works

Day 11. If I were to spend too long out here I’d lose the ability to understand what “cold” means. Everyone is bitching about the temperature. It’s about average early Spring London temperature, and yet I’m sitting by a heater. There’s a small dog attempting to burrow through my crotch, lemongrass oil diffusing into the air, and Bon Iver on Spotify. It hasn’t taken me long to start taking on the tropes of this place.

This morning as I was walking to Yoga I made a point of observing all the things that were different over here. The roads are comparatively huge, the stop signs take ages, the buildings are mostly bungalows or one story, there are pick up trucks everywhere, unfamiliar fire hydrants, odd signs for familiar things, Spanish as a second language, football is called soccer.


It doesn’t take long to stop noticing these small details, but they’re significant. I’m in a very different place and I can cement some habit changes. Like Yoga every day for a start. I’ve come to the conclusion that I should’ve been doing daily yoga for years. I talk myself out of stuff as I say I can’t afford it. But it’s great. My best friend does it daily and she’s my best friend. She knows things. There’s got to be a reason for it.

 

I go to Yoga Works in Larchmont. It was the first yoga studio in Los Angeles, opening in 1967. Which is nuts considering today there’s a different take on yoga on every street corner. I was leaving a coffee place called Go Get ’em Tiger. Great coffee, very LA name, dodgy internet. I’d been trying and failing to consult google maps for a yoga class and a woman with a mat walked right past. “Where are you going with that mat?” “David’s class, of course.” “Me too!”. Not technically a lie because I went. And David’s class is great. It’s Vinyasa Flow level 2/3 so my first class involved a lot of peeking at the people next to me. As it turns out I know a lot of it from back when I was at drama school and different teachers had assimilated different parts of it into their lessons. The body remembers even if the mind doesn’t. Now I’m addicted.

 

I’m one of the only men in the class. Sometimes I AM the only man. I wonder about this. The class is at noon. Maybe it’s that all the men are going to some crazyass martial arts yoga class in a different part of town where they can punch stuff and shout “Yah”. I’m not in a state of mind where I want to go to Cobra Kai right now. I want Mister Miyagi. David’s the closest I’ve found although the studio is in pretty good nick and doesn’t need painting or waxing.

 

I like the stricture of yoga, in that you’re essentially in a battle against your own cowardice, against your own mind. I’ve spent years letting my logical brain cripple my actions. It’s masterful at it. In this class I’m already finding myself doing things physically that I’d decided I could no longer do. And it’s coming from me, David is just facilitating. It’s a big class. Having moved my body in ways I thought were closed to me, I go back home and do things I’d normally talk myself out of, like make that phone call, send that email, ask for that footage. It only takes two weeks to change a habit. I have a month and a half left of yoga here. Once it expires I might find Cobra Kai and shout and punch stuff for the last two weeks. But this is just fine for now. Wax on. Wax off.