Monday, 29 November 2010

Sunday 28th November 2010: Quite a Long Blog About The Facts Of Life, Museums And Yazoo

Hey ho.

The moment I stepped out of the house this morning I, in a moment, I saw the first snowflake of the year, as well as a pound coin on the pavement. This was special in two ways. One. I seldom find things on the ground. Unless I dropped it there several days previously. And I'm in my house. That does happen. But this was special. Two. Seeing the first snowflake of the year is always a slightly magical occurence. I remember being about 11, and the teacher would be standing in front of the class talking about the Romans or something fascinating and new until one of us, usually one of the girls, would shout out with a total lack of inhibition and utter joy: 'Look! It's snowing!' Whereafter 20 heads would turn to the left, and with a heartfelt ahhhh in unison, welcome the winter in our hearts.

Yes we would. That was just the kind of school I went to. You think it's weird I've become the cynical prat I am? I dont think so. It's that kind of joy that turns one fogeyish before one's time.

So I had this small moment of epiphany and financial gain (the best of all the moments, I feel), but after half the half-life of a uranium-molecule (for those not in the know: not long) the next thought came along and laconically declaimed that this was all the luck I would have today.

Now, I don't believe in bad luck. Or fate, astrology, any kind of superstition (yes. Even as someone who went to drama school. Maybe that's why I dropped out! Humph. No) or anything other than the utter unreasonableness, comtemptible indifference and randomness of the universe. The idea that almost, all the time, almost everyone is always wrong, about everything, all the time (always need to keep room for exception). And the goodness in all dogs. But, like similar beliefs, they do still haunt the inner recesses of my otherwise uninteresting brain.

If there ever was a more effective put-down against a sentient brain it must be that it's uninteresting. My own brain is already annoyed with me for writing that bit, although it can see that it's funny. My brain may be uninteresting, it's not thick. Well, that's not quite true either. It's very thick. How else can it mock itself. ... This is getting genuinely odd. I'll continue now and stop the self-reflexivity. Yes. Sorry.

But I did genuinely have this thought, and although I dismissed it out of hand straight away, it is interesting that my primary association with any kind of happiness is the realisation that it only exists to mock me by showing itself to me, only to leave me straight afterwards. ... Gosh. 19th Century Romantic novelists must have chucked themselves in rivers for less. Ah well.

I spent the bike ride in the cold towards the station thinking about this, I had already bought a day ticket yesterday, so I could just walk in. And miss the train.

Half an hour later I did succeed in getting on a train to London Victoria. It was cold. But the train's heating was working overtime. I tried to do some reading but failed; too engrossed in the sight of the rolling hills and autumnal forests. A man boarded the train, and asked me whether this one would stop at Three Sisters (or something). I answered that it did, and after exchanging the limited amount of pleasantries one has to, to end this short social interaction, I continued listening music and looking out of the window far too wistfully. The man had said he'd never been on a train in the UK before.

As we rolled through the countryside, we arrived at the small station the man said he was going to. He got up, took his bags, stood in front of the doors, waiting for them to open when we'd stop. But nothing happend. Double U T F indeed. He tried pushing the buttons there, one by one, tried the other doors. Nothing. By now the whistle had sounded and he had nowhere to go. He looked up, realised the train was leaving and placed a perfectly timed resigned sigh. He took his bags and then walked, frustrated but laconically defiant, to the next carriage. Where he got out at the next stop.

You might wonder, Jorik, why didn't you help that man? What were you doing? Aren't you raised to be a helpful human being? Well, er, yes. But at the same time I was thinking: comedy gold. And I've learned to place my own gain before the prevention of misfortune to others. Boom.

I feel horrible now. Roald Dahl apparently said he preferred writing for children mostly because he hated grown-ups for precisely this sort of behaviour. I feel dirty and wrong. Does that make you feel better Roald Dahl? No it doesn't. He's dead, ok?

Right. This is getting worse and worse. But anyway. The British Museum. Yes. That's where I was going. I thought: 'well, if I'm in London anyway, I might have a little day out. Ho-hum, waggle waggle toot-toot! Madam.' ... This is what it's like to be in my head. You have no idea! Ahum. But! I was there. And I did enjoy it. I have become slightly obsessed by the A History of the World in 100 Objects podcast. And it was great to see some of these objects close by. The museum itself was beautiful. Although I was struck by the amount of shit the British stole from all over the world, I genuinely enjoyed walking around and looking at, for instance, an exhibition of mechanical clockworks from the 15th century to the present day. I have no interest in clocks. But I did like it. A lot. And that's what museums should do. They should make you interested in things you would otherwise not give a flying flip about. My favourites were the 17th century Gernan one, the Regency one with the Solar System on the top and the one from the 70s which would make you a cup of tea. Brilliant.

Also; it was free. For everyone that could speak English, that is. No signs in French, Spanish, Italian, German or any other language. The only signs in those languages were for audiotours around the museums. So you get to see people in their seventies with large iPod-like things walking around listening to voices in their heads. Hiring costs: 5 pounds. Ker-ching. Modern Britain: Tax the Foreign!*

I made my way to Richmond, to the gig. It was freezing, I had eaten a Subway Sandwich (the least embarrassing fast-food chain, I find. Not by a mile. But still. Best out of a very bad bunch**) and I was early. Luckily, one of the other acts was there already. Hm. Good. I got to help with setting up the room; while the compère and the gig-leader were worrying about getting enough people's bums on seats. Reasons aplenty: Cold (very), Tube-Strike (worrying), X-Factor (ditto) and I'm A Celebrity (worse**). But enough people did show up.

The night turned out just fine. The other acts were very good. I had to follow a very high-energy act who had been on fire (metaphorically speaking, although I wouldn't be surprised if he had actually set himself on fire during the gig), which wasn't easy. But I got there eventually. Just wasn't as good as last time. I rambled a bit too much, missing a few of my marks. Other things went very well, that hadn't worked as well in some other gigs I did. Odd. But that's the way these things will be, I guess. I do still like it though.

After the gig I walked back to Richmond station, for a train to Clapham Junction and a connection to Brighton. It was either this one, the next one or one that would lead to me having to take a bus from Three Sisters onwards and possibly arriving in Brighton at 3 AM, and eventually being found frozen solid in a nook, covered in light snow like a character in a Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale. So not that one, obviously. I had a Yazoo from a vending machine. I like the fact that I'm still of that age where the consumption of Banana-flavoured Yazoo in a public place is not actively frowned upon. Yet. In three weeks I'll be 23! No more Yazoo for me then!

Love you all! Except for all you creepy ones! You know who you are! Bye! :-D

Legend: * Satire. ** More satire.

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