Monday, July 12, 2010


Monday 12 July 2010

Dream: I am at a Henry Rollins instore with Racton.  As he does his talk, Rollins keeps dropping hints about the ring on the second finger of his left hand (the ring finger).

This morning I wake up to a main story griping/moaning about the reaction Howard Webb got at the World Cup final last night.  On GMTV Evil Andrew Castle sticks up for him in his evil camp manner that suggests bad things.  Yes, a failed tennis player’s opinion is a most valid one.

I am slow moving today; it almost causes me to be late leaving the flat.  An impromptu decision to finish off trimming my beard proves to be an unwise one.  Why am I so shit at beard trimming?  Surely this is a god given talent to all men.

Outside I notice that it has been raining overnight.  Hopefully this will represent the end of the suffocation summer now.

The roads prove annoyingly busy this morning as I get stuck behind a huge construction truck, which slows everything down to a snail’s pace at a time when hustle is really required.

On the radio Chris Moyles is talking about Gazza turning up at the Raoul Moat incident.  The ham fisted manner in which Gazza arrived gets repeated with the ham fisted manner in which Moyles makes comment.  He complains about the voyeuristic nature of the coverage but evidently it didn’t stop him watching.  Does he not realise that it was aimed squarely at people like him, people who indulge in the hyperbole of life in order to be the loudest (the king) in the pub.

Against trend I make my train and the usual carriage with my seat.  Today Epiphany Girl also gets on my carriage, is she coming round to me?

From here it’s a pleasant journey with no explicit delays which kind of makes it strange when as I pass through Liverpool Street the time is actually 8.05AM and we have arrived into London almost ten minutes late.  By this point I am on autopilot as I head across town with the minimum of drama.

As per every Monday morning I slope into work in a haze, taking my perch/throne behind my desk and attempting to open my eyes in the process.  Where did the weekend go?

Today The Girl is back which should bring a bit of life back to the office.  With our summer revolving door system in place of her return this now results in our boss is now off in Turkey meaning that I have to do the bank.

The bank is an arduous task, a job of getting the bank statements from their respective websites and slotting then reconciling the figures into various cashflow statements/schedules and writing up a summary reconciliation to pass onto the other directors.  It’s not necessarily difficult, just very fiddly and as a result time consuming.  Two years ago I used to do this task daily but these days I’m not required to do them so when I pick them up now I tend to be rusty and with the boss having his own way of doing things, I also have mine.  I swear half the task involves me trying to pick up from his stopping point (and getting my own starting point).

Absurdly through a combination of various elements, more or less this takes up/consumes my entire morning.  Also on cue early on the boss phones from Turkey at which point I have not finished recording the bank so naturally this all catches me on the hop.

Eventually I get done and soon the majority of the morning has been wasted when really I have quite a tight schedule to stick to right now but already I am beginning to fall behind on it.

Soon we find ourselves at lunchtime and I have penne.  It’s always penne when I am feeling this way.

In the afternoon I struggle to get going and in the end I just scratch the surface of my tasks as 5.30PM quickly comes around.

Tonight is the first performance of ROMAN AROUND a one man show by my friend Ryan Millar who interviewed me for an article on the 100 Days To Make Me A Better Person project earlier this year.  The plan for tonight is some kind of 100 Days meet up to take place but with the show not beginning until 9.30PM nobody is showing any inclination to get there too early and as a result I find myself with four hours to kill.

Looking through the listings I spot that LONDON RIVER is showing at my favourite cinema (the Odeon on Shaftesbury Avenue) so I decide to head over to that.

As I emerge at Tottenham Court Road I find myself jonsing for a Starbucks frappucino.  Without missing a beat (but clipping a few heals along the way) I step into the TCR branch and struggle to order with some poor lad struggling with his English.  Initially I try to order a lemon frappuccino but they’re all out of mixture so I just wind up with another strawberry and cream tasty monstrosity.  I wonder what the poor people are doing.

From here I head down to Shaftesbury Avenue where I buy my ticket for LONDON RIVER.  I hope I don’t regret it.  With the cinema not yet ready for an audience I head down to Forbidden Planet to buy the latest two issues of Dodgem Logic.  Unfortunately once there I find myself falling foul of their no food or drink policy.  At the risk of suffering a brain freeze I down the remainder of my icy beverage and head into the store hoping that no one recognises me.

It feels like a long time since I have been in here and that can only be a good thing as this shop, according to Racton, is the realm of the damaged individual.  And I see what he means.  When I discover the copies of Dodgem Logic there is a girl draped across the section reading a copy; I’m not fully convinced that this is good for business.  Polite but embarrassed I ask her to move out of the way so that I can grab a copy of issue 3.  She only moves over as far as covering issue 4.  Then I proceed to really apologise as I request she moves again.  Geek love.

I take the books up to the counter to pay where the guy at the till really scrutinises the £5 note that I give him.  Do I really look like a counterfeiter?  Fucking geek, this truly is a different world (different planet).

From here I return to the Odeon where I take a seat for LONDON RIVER.  Looking around it appears that I am the only male in the audience.  What’s going on?

Unsurprisingly LONDON RIVER turns out to be a heart wrenching experience.  Set amidst the panic and aftermath of 7/7 it is a French film that thrives from an astounding performance from its leads Brenda Blethyn and Sotigui Kouyate.

It begins with an English lady (Blethyn) now retired in France watching the horrible events and failing to get in contact with her daughter living in London.  As her repeated efforts bear no fruit she decides to head over to England and find her daughter.  Upon arrival in London she sadly experiences no joy in her search as she joins with many other people searching for loved ones.

As things slowly unravel she finds herself accompanied on her journey by a Muslim father from Africa (via France) in a similar situation looking for his missing son.  Gradually her fear and hostility to the man (Kouyate) begins to wane as some kind of understanding and realisation between the pair of them is reached/achieved, one that transcends their respective backgrounds.

Towards the end as the pieces come together a real curveball is thrown into the equation which serves to further up the emotional stakes, impacting the movie to ensure that by the close of the film it is awash with empathy and sympathy as it garners/elicits one of the strongest emotional responses from me in a long time.

When I emerge from the cinema the time is around 8.30PM lending me lots of time to get up to Camden where I soon find myself in the Oxford Arms looking around for 100 Days project types.

In character I get to the Oxford Arms slightly early and look around trying to recognise people that I do not know look like.  This is truly backwards, there is a definite hole in this plan.  There are people who could easily be 100 Days types but I’m just not sure.

Daunted I order a pint at the bar, alcohol/booze always helps with these things.  Thankfully not too long later I spot Ryan and it turns out that I have been at the bar next to Lizzie from the Plagiarism Blog for the last few minutes.

As Ryan heads off to prepare for his show ROMAN AROUND I try to scrape off some conversation with the girl while a pub quiz begins next to us.  This is turning out to be fucking hard work.

Not long after the introduction thankfully Soshanau from Twitter (and pretty much the organiser of this meet up) arrives and with it adds a smile to proceedings.  As the quiz questions get in our way (and vice versa) we head outside where things are quiet and we can hear ourselves speak.  This is an awkward group of people for me, they are nothing like the usual people that I hang around with and as a result I really struggle to make a good impression (or any impression for that matter).  Perhaps it’s a class or education thing.

  
Fortunately soon we are being beckoned up into the Etc Theatre itself where Ryan is waiting for us and ROMAN AROUND is ready to go.  ROMAN AROUND turns out to be a hoot.  With this being its first public run out in some degrees it is still something of a work in progress but such issues hardly serve to hamper as the fluidity with which Millar delivers the piece carries his tale smoothly at an excellent pace.  His delivery is accomplished and very confident which makes for a commanding performance.

The premise of the piece is a mock tour of Rome entwined with recollections and observations of his time spent as an illegal tour guide of the city a few years.  It is a very personal piece of work and the “tour” is caked in quirk and local knowledge.  The anecdotes are very funny, not least the culminating experience of being arrested in a foreign land.

Being a one man show there is no stage to speak off, so in the process of performing it is relied on the audience to keep in tune with the many sights that Millar is describing with view to setting a scene.  Again he successfully manages to paint mental pictures of scenarios and pretty situations.  All in all I feel myself being edutained throughout being charmed in the manner of a tourist/punter.  Ryan is a brave guy.

After the show we all reconvene downstairs in the pub where the quiz is still raging.  By now it is the music round and questions that I know several answers to and with this I try (and fail) to impress people I am meeting for the first time tonight.

Again before long we are stepping outside where the quiz does not impose on our conversation.  There is an air of triumph attached to the performance as we hand over congratulations to Ryan while he gets mobbed on a small scale.

Eventually I leave with the two girls and head to the tube station with them.  Things remain a bit awkward as I don’t really think I am winning any new friends.  With one person heading to Tooting and the other to Stanmore invariably I find myself having to make a decision and I wind up going south looking to change onto the Central Line.

On the tube journey I make one last effort not to sound too moronic but unfortunately it’s just in my nature.  My problem is that I am too keen to impress, to desperate to please.  It genuinely saddens me that I generally tend to fail to click with people.

Finally we go our separate ways and I get back to Liverpool Street and hop aboard a train to take my home to my bed.  In the end I get home later than I was expecting to be.  Fail all over.

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