Monday 8 February 2010
Dream: I drive to the station and when I get there it is pitch black, evidently the trains are not running. Undaunted I still park up and in the process I manage to get the best space in the car park. There is a problem attached to this as there is a group of hoodlums lingering around meaning I am worried about leaving my car near them in the sparse parking lot. Eventually I do so though and head to the entrance of the station along with other confused looking extras. At this point I wake up. What happened with the trains? Did they start up? Is this what is laying ahead of me for today?
Despite the dream I awaken pretty solidly this morning, emerging early and comfortably, napping until my alarm buzzes. When the inevitable blast of beeps arrive its not such a bad thing.
Due to the issues with the alarm yesterday (and me basically not being able to get into work upon arrival) I don’t want to get to work early today as I still do not have my alarm. As a result I take a leisurely approach into work, which is still a lot more effective than the majority of people.
As I prepare to leave for London (for work) I hear the Pig Personal Trainer on our landing leaving for work herself. Fucking nuisance.
This morning I find myself slightly late in leaving for the station which means I spot The Ghost for the first time in weeks. As ever he is walking his sweet little dog and battling the elements. I wonder where he lives.
When I drive to the station every car appears intent on holding me up this morning. When I get to Balkerne Hill I find myself almost racing with a little suped up Peugeot. I can beat him if I want to but I can’t be bothered, I don’t want blushes if something should suddenly go wrong and the little battery powered car defeats me.
Once at the station walking to the platform I realise that I have forgotten to put my watch on this morning. Hopeless. I cannot be trusted.
Eventually I find myself on a train and today people appear to be visibly ageing on the journey. The main example of this is a blonde lady that I found attractive when she boarded the train at Chelmsford but by the time we have reached London she now appears to be the age of my mum (well, maybe an aunt).
Arriving at Liverpool Street some guy decides to cut in front of me at the ticket barriers. Welcome to Monday. Then as I head towards the tube platform again I see the giant limping Asian man with the walking stick, which again I make sure I steer clear of the stick.
As I get to the tube platform there is already a train waiting for me so I run to hop on it and we are king. Seldom does my life (and public transport) run so smoothly for me.
Looking around and out of the window of the carriage today people appear to be taking on Daniel Clowes like characteristics and proportions. Should I be alarmed by this? Is this my imagination playing tricks on me? Have I suddenly developed an Eightball kind of awareness? I hope it doesn’t kill me.
Somehow my hair has fluked into a good place today, the correct bits are sticking up looking as if by design and for once I feel I actually look like an adult that has made an effort for a change.
Returning to work today it is without fanfare or celebration. Nothing appears to have happened/occurred while I was away Friday so thankfully there were and are no repercussions to deal with today.
This morning a text message at 7.20AM informed me that the boss would not be in this morning until 11AM and with that he keeps to his word. I hate receiving texts so early in the morning.
I struggle this morning to pull myself together work wise. Thankfully there is no word from the consultant which all equates to me being able to just poodle along for the time being. This is until lunchtime when the consultant then phones half flapping resulting in him pulling me off one project to resume work on another. This is yo-yo management and he isn’t even a manager to me.
At lunchtime I come up with another contentious Facebook Cull as I zap my neighbour because of the yoghurt pot lid that has been deserted on our landing (deserted – geddit?) Joking aside this is a bad, conjured out of frustration and anger that I have not felt before from a person living next to me or in our block. Suddenly after almost ten years of residence in the building I am suddenly up against (next to) the worst person to date.
I bond with the Filipino today as she tells me how she watched The Godfather on Friday night (just as I did). I would never have thought we would have this in common, these days I find I am liking her more and more with each week that I work with her.
My poodling continues into the afternoon. The IT Guy comes in and it turns out that he was supposed to be meeting with the consultant at this time but he has blown him out. Low priority I guess. The IT Guy is really cutting a forlorn figure these days.
Eventually the day comes to an end and annoyingly on a day when I have to wait around after work our boss allows us to leave early at 5PM. With this time however I make the most of it by putting some stuff up online.
In the end I leave the restaurant around 6.20PM with no sign of life anywhere in the building. From here I head straight to Camden and the Etcetera Theatre where ROBIN INCE is doing one of his work in progress shows tonight. Ordinarily the idea of heading to such a small venue on my own fills me with dread but ROBIN INCE is an act (artist) truly worth the effort.
I make it to Camden and the pub (The Oxford Arms) in good time and for the first time in my life I actually feel relatively comfortable being a barfly, ordering a Stella while waiting to head upstairs into the Etcetera Theatre.
When the theatre finally opens up and head up some winding steps and into a very cosy and surprisingly nice little room with tiered rows of seats. Truly I sold this place short. As we take our seats each place has a CD awaiting us from the personal collection of ROBIN INCE where it sounds as if he is having a major clear out. You suspect with the well-known destruction of his record collection a few years ago now coupled with the necessity for space at home with the extension of his family he has naturally become less attached to such trivia. Personally hit pay dirt as the first Sleater-Kinney album awaits me on my seat, which is a CD I genuinely harbour. This is a true result.
With everyone in and at their seats ROBIN INCE trots out with gusto and his usual energy. Basically more or less this is as good as stand up comedy gets, an exchanging and exploration of ideas from a most rapid and quick fire mind that still manages to contain wit within.
Tonight is something of an ideas set, a testing ground for INCE as he pieces together parts towards his many new (polished) shows that will arrive at the larger venues for the less smart (informed) audiences. In other words tonight is a privilege and a treat. More than a few times he refers to it as a think tank.
He is the last angry man, somebody that would give Howard Beale a slap in the face for reality. INCE doesn’t so much rant and rave, he explodes as one idea enters into his head and quickly takes some kind of elevated and distracted detour. Every couple of minutes he picks up his notes for the set only to discard them as something new enters his focus. In a way it is schizophrenic but in a positive manner as it all churns away with view to assisting us all. Luckily tonight this is not a “what are you angry about?” type audience for him.
Impressively he trots around full of energy like a man that has royally been at the caffeine. This show (“this hour”) is his third of four ideas gigs and as a result is naturally spontaneous and neurotic, not really structured but still thankfully fun and tickly. Intelligent to the point of intimidation there are lots of mentions for Howard Zinn and Johnny Dankworth (two recent genuine losses to the world) but in equal measures there is material such as the kid from Mad Max 2 doing his grown up retrospective narration over reality television shows. It would definitely work, could even cause me to watch that shit.
Halfway through he takes a break to allow DARREN HAYMAN to perform some songs as he offers some respite in the form of tales from his project about people that have walked on the moon. I have to say I enjoy his solo efforts a hell of a lot more than I ever did any Hefner material.
When ROBIN INCE returns he is full of apologies for his ramshackle set as he endeavours to try out new material from print outs and postcards but invariably with each idea he has a fresh digression appears and one topic turns into half a dozen new ones. In a way I guess this is the comic equivalent of letting light in on magic but it remains very funny and entertaining for it. Is this some kind of happy breakdown?
Swiftly though he pulls it all together, bring an end to proceedings expressing a hope that we have been able to take something away from his set. As everybody filters out and leaves he hands out clearout DVDs to the audience but unfortunately he runs out. Not to be done out of anything as I leave I pick up a discarded Dandy Warhols CD.
As I head down to the stage there is a small group surrounding him where in the absence of missing DVDs to hand out he is offering up his the postcards that he has been writing ideas. Without shame a number of us pounce on them like flies, potentially stealing portions of his future sets. From here I manage to get into a brief conversation with him about Art School Confidential and he comments “when are you going to have something else for me to read?” Chuffed I try to tell him about the Facebook Cull but words fail me, not least when struggling to get a word in against the other punters. Eventually I get to ask him about what he is doing for the London Word Festival and although completely star struck in his presence I hold my own in conversation (I think).
While I am leaving he tells me that he still has my book on his shelf and he “picks it up from time to time.” Talk about the best-timed thing a person could possibly say to me at this time. For a while we get into discussing writing books and the editing process. As ever I get onto my fetish of word count while he explains/expresses concerns about potentially being sued by Ann Coulter. I think his concerns are slightly more important than my own.
From here he packs up and asks if I am sticking around for a drink but as ever I have to turn the invitation down as I have to get back to Essex. Why don’t I ever accept these invitations?
Despite this I bounce back onto Camden High Street feeling lifted, a lot happier now than when I arrived this evening.
I end up on a busy 10PM train home where a middle-aged couple sits opposite me staring at me and then when I get home The Virtual Revolution is being repeated on BBC2. All things have come together this evening. High times.