Saturday, 3 May 2008

The Trials of Life

Walking home along Oxford Road Thursday afternoon I see a sorry looking man, irreparably off his nut on something, lying in what might be his own piss on the pavement outside the something and Firkin (Fanny? Fist? Frottage?). Another guy is standing over him, holding a racing bike steady as he berates the prone man thusly: ‘I’ve been in a hostel mate, it’s not that bad. Fucking pull yourself together.’ Well he wasn’t very nice was he boys and girls?

I carry on walking and stop at the second-hand book man outside the Met Union building where I immediately spot something funny: David Attenborough’s ‘Trials of Life‘: Reader’s Digest Expanded and Enlarged Version. I think, surely you could have just left it as it was then, couldn‘t you? I reason I’m possibly the only person in the world who might find this funny and turn away smiling, only to find racing bike man glaring directly at me. I beat a hasty retreat.

At home the entire building is now under scaffolding with a platform invitingly placed right outside my window. The temptation is overwhelming, so much so that, distracted, I manage to burn the microwave popcorn that represents tonight’s dinner (I 'm usually much healthier than this). Moments later the fire alarm sounds throughout the building. This surely can’t be the fault of my few blackened kernels, can it? I finish eating anyway and amble down the back stairs and onto the street. Only half a dozen evacuees are waiting there so I give it ten minutes then head back up, somewhat guiltily. With the fire alarm still ringing I can think of no better opportunity to scramble out onto the scaffolding and run up and down. I could say I smelt smoke and panicked. Then I remember I have tickets for Sandra Bernhard this month and I’ve promised to feed the Pugling while Neil is in France and it would be mortifying to die like that man off the hilarious ‘Don’t drink and climb scaffolding’ advert. So I stay put. God help me if I come back to this flat drunk though …

Later the same evening I head to the Thirsty Scholar last minute to see my sister Clare do her stuff at the open mic night. (Managed to pop to the LGF on Princess Street first to exercise my suffrage. Green Party since you ask, I wouldn’t touch the rest with a sterilised knitting needle). At the pub almost the entire clan is in attendance: Ma, Pa, auntie Dee, Uncle John, sister Emma and boyf James. We accidentally get rollicking drunk and have a blast. Biased I might be but Clare utterly shines amongst the dreary boys with acoustic guitars and Melua-likes that tend to populate these things, although the couple with the banjo last night were excellent. Clare’s voice is huge and she knows how to control it, she really is preternaturally talented, it quite frightens me. She’s done a gazillion such nights now and is ready to make the subtle shift from open mic circuit to ‘unsigned’. Hopefully the forthcoming London gigs will be just the ticket.

Return home late, drunk and starving but resist the scaffolding.

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