Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Tuesday 29 June 2010 – WORLD CUP DAY NINETEEN

Thankfully the sun relents today.  Once up this morning I soon pull myself together with gusto even though I feel strangely exhausted.

As I leave our building I spot The Ghost who stops me as I pass him in my car and he asks me if I use “top up oil”, promptly offering me a large carton of the stuff.  I politely decline not really knowing just what the fuck he is offering me.  Where did this gesture come from?

Today I board the train comfortably spotting the Sturrock Gang in the process.  They are pretty quiet compared to usual, did somebody die?  Later at Witham Stare Girl sits opposite me.  From here the remainder of the journey is eventless other than how by the time we near London it has started to rain.  This is a refreshing change, much needed to break the oppressive atmosphere at this time.  Fortunately by the time the train reaches London the rain hasn’t got much further than to resemble drizzle.

Much to my/our surprise The Girl returns to work today and it is a good thing, a relief to the system.  From here today I have my most productive day’s work for quite a while as a tear through and post an entire five-week set of bank transactions within a day.  For the win.

Soon home time arrives as I head down to Bond Street and across to Tottenham Court Road where I exit onto/into the most glorious summer evening.  From here I stroll to the Odeon on Shaftesbury Avenue to catch WHATEVER WORKS on a big screen before heading to the South Bank and the Udderbelly for ANDY ZALTZMAN.

WHATEVER WORKS improves with a second viewing as tonight I believe this is film seven in my efforts/plan to see every Woody Allen movie on a big screen.

Tonight I notice just how much Larry David holds/pulls this movie together.  For two thirds of it his cranky character is enough to keep things funny and interesting (more so than I recall from seeing it as a download last October).  When the twists start occurring however the laughs really do begin to peter out/off as the stories stretch too far flung (too tall) for even this movie.  The young girl falling in love with Larry David is pushing things to the point of breaking.

Meanwhile as the movie plays out I find that I am having/experiencing a genuine fucking nightmare with my left eye and contact lens.  As my eye pisses tears it looks as if I am genuinely distressed by proceedings.  This is demeaning for us all.

The movie ends around 9PM and I still can’t recommend it.  As I emerge onto Shaftesbury Avenue the London evening is still glowing and brilliant, it almost feels as if I am stepping into Woody Allen’s New York.  Nobody has ever done London in the manner in which he has done New York.  Perhaps it’s not possible.

Boarding the tube at Leicester Square I get down to Waterloo and the South Bank in very good time.  Unfortunately as I exit the station my £4600 Travelcard stops working.  Piece of crap.  Is this karma for my slight run in with the inspector a day or so ago?  Thankfully the friendliest tube employee in London lets me through the barrier.  Am I suddenly more appealing to people?

This evening the South Bank is breathtaking as the sun begins to fall on the Thames.  As I look up at the wheel silhouetted against the sky it is an exciting and humbling sight.  These are good times.

Swiftly I head to the Udderbelly, which appears some kind of party that I have not been invited to.  As many drunken lout wannabes gather around a screen showing the Spain v Portugal semi final thankfully entry is already permitted into the venue.  I have to admit/concede that inside the Udderbelly it is not as vast, spectacular or comfortable I was hoping and expecting.  Unsurprisingly it screams temporary.  Not helping the situation is that inside the venue it is very warm and the football commentary and subsequent crowd cheers of the Portugal v Spain game are identifiable.


 After a brief delivery from backstage ANDY ZALTZMAN takes to the floor inhabiting a room that is not necessarily full.  Tonight is dubbed “Political Animal” which plays out, more or less, like half an episode of The Bugle (without the John Oliver).  ZALTZMAN is a naturally funny man, his look and expressions alone manage to endear and amuse which perhaps/probably adds to his cumbersome charisma.

The jokes arrive in sharply topical fashion keeping the audience on their toes from the off.  This degree of attention then requires being maintained as he throws out to the crowd to see what issues are playing on their mind and what is thought of the new Conservative government (Coalition my arse), the credit crunch and just about every other hell that we are currently collectively experiencing in everyday life.  What, I am expected to come equipped with opinions in addition to some kind of knowledge regarding current affairs?  This is comedy to keep a person on their feet.

Soon ZALTZMAN has found an economist (by profession) in the audience who appears to take great delight in declaring that the best thing for a person to do right now would be to leave the country.  That guy does not sound optimistic.

Suddenly there is a shriek and cheer from outside as the audience of the World Cup celebrates a goal while unwittingly testing the standing of the performer inside the Udderbelly.

Not long after this ZALTZMAN introduces IVOR DEMBINA onto the stage.  This guy carries himself like a genuine member of the Red Wedge, a real throwback stomping about the stage like a weird hybrid of eighties Ben Elton crossed with Billy Bragg.  He is Jewish and seemingly very proud of it as he keeps reiterating this fact with his material.  Before long he is sniffing out fellow Jews in the audience, striking gold when he discovers an American variation although you sense she does not necessarily want to get involved to the degree that he pursues.  He is relentless continuing to grill her and invariably with his chosen subject he inevitably winds up on the subject of Auschwitz commenting how the real Jews did not appreciate have to share the camp with gays, gypsies and disables etc because it was “Ourschwitz”, which I have to concede does make me giggle in the worst taste.  Does this make me a bad person?

At the close of his set DEMBINA makes the admission that he was a last minute replacement for the real guy scheduled tonight (Dave Fulton).  This is hardly letting light in on magic.

Briskly ANDY ZALTZMAN returns for a quick link before DANNY BHOY bounds on stage filled to the brim with his Scottish humour launching into something resembling an amusing alternative history lesson coupled with anecdotes of his appearance on Letterman.  I couldn’t care less about the first subject but the second is fun although it does leave me wondering “how the fuck did this guy get on Letterman?” as I have never heard of him previously.  Ultimately his set is hard work, feeling long and exhausting in the worst way.

Relief arrives in the form of the return of ZALTZMAN who offers the opportunity for the audience to cover any subjects that have been missed off and out this evening.  When the question arrives “why isn’t John Oliver prime minister?” it becomes apparent that the night is done.

From here I exit the Udderbelly and onto a blackened South Bank evening where people are playing football in the shadow of the London Eye.  What a life affirming moment and place to be.

Eventually I find my way to Waterloo station and up then across to Liverpool Street where I wind up on the 11.48PM train meaning a 1AM return home for me.

It’s exhausting.

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