Hooray for my brilliant wife (also a hard-working and dedicated mother) who slept in the nursery with Phoebe last night so I could catch up on my sleep. And I was back at full power (well maybe 80% but my battery is old and knackered and that’s about as good as I can get these days) for tonight’s gig. We had a fun trip to the Westfield (where in the supermarket a little German kid managed to get completely in my way in four different locations, even though his dad chastised him every time, he made no attempt to learn - I enjoyed his self-centredness) and then came home where I made some chilli for lunch and then we headed to the pub to meet up with the other parents from our NCT group and their babies. Last time I had seen all these ladies they had secretly been hiding human beings somewhere inside them and now those tiny human beings were sitting on their laps, looking quizzically at the world and occasionally each other. The more I stop to consider it the more freaky reproduction is. All these new people, all kind of similar, but already different and with their own vibe. Who have grown out of tiny bits of sexcrement. Do we just have to pretend that this is all normal because it would be too mind-blowing to have to keep considering it? Where do all these people come from? Explain that Richard Dawkings. Oh your cold science has no response.
I couldn’t hang around for long as I had to go to Portsmouth. I found myself singing “To Portsmouth, to Portsmouth, it is a gallant town. And there we shall have a quart of wine and a nutmeg brown. Diddle down!” I recalled the lyrics and tune from school, but then I half-remembered that the tune I was singing might have been self-penned. I think I was given these lyrics during a Music O Level lesson and this was the tune I had composed. The lyrics are from the 17th Century, as should be obvious. Because not only is it really hard to get hold of nutmeg on a Sunday here, but one of the facts I learned in my trawl through wikipedia was that the town had the highest reported incidents of sexual assault in 2006. Also they captured the last woman tried under the Witchcraft Act there (in the 20th Century).
Anyway I’d like to try and repopularise the phrase “Diddle down”. I guess it means cheat, or fuck or what the fuck or a combination of all of those things.
This was the venue that had made its own poster calling the show “The Lord of the Dance Sofa” which I had some fun with, but I also recounted the story of how I’d once worked at a summer school for foreign students and we’d come to see the HMS Victory. I’d been told that there was no student rate at the attraction, so collected the full price from the 40 or so students. But when I went up to the ticket booth to get the tickets I was asked “Are they students?” After a barely perceptible pause as the penny dropped I said, truthfully, “Yes, yes they are”. I got 99p off every ticket and let’s face it that would have been a complicated amount to give back to 40 people. It just seemed easier to keep the almost £50 bonus that had landed in my lap. I was super poor and all these students were super rich. It was a victimless crime. Though to be fair I was a bit more directly on the fiddle that summer too, as some of the students had paid for activities in advance and some of them paid me directly and it was up to me to declare how many students had shown up. I was making ones of pounds a week above my actual wages. I was like Robin Hood, stealing from the richer students and slightly rip-off Oxford summer college and giving to myself. Diddle down.
I think this show works best when I am relaxed, messing around and enjoying myself. It’s hard to get into that mindset every night and the relentlessness of touring can take the edge off, but in the last couple of nights it’s been loads of fun again. A group near the front had brought me some kinder egg toys, to the general bafflement of everyone else, and had also lost a couple of members of their party as one of their friends was in A&E. We joked about him, whilst acknowledging that he might be dead. But as he was a Schrodinger’s audience member and we didn’t know, jokes were still acceptable (I think we was OK in the end, though he had apparently thrown up next to a Japanese man in the hospital - it was unclear whether the Japanese man had requested or paid for this service). Diddle down.
I think he survived, which is good. I can’t afford to lose any potential audience members at this stage.