I was taking part in the Hullabaloo Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon this evening and as I wasn't doing my full show I was able to travel light and go by train. And I think for the first time in my life I was taking a train from Marylebone Station. I've been there loads of time on the Monopoly board, but never in real life. I wasn't even entirely sure where it was.
It seems to cater for people who want to go to Birmingham or its environs and aren't in a terrific hurry. Which is understandable really. Reluctance is a prerequisite of any visit to the Black Country, right?
It's a quaint and old-fashioned station, so far resisting the 21st Century spurge of chain coffee shops and sandwich bars. There is an Upper Crust there, which is just delightfully 80s and a WH Smiths. My train, whilst having modern additions like power sockets and the internet, also looked like something from an alternate Universe. The tables had little pull out trays that looked like they might be for laptops, but were a bit too small and clearly predated such technology. The people o this Universe are clearly messy eaters and need the table to come right up to their stomachs. And the join where the tray met the table was full of gunk and grunge that looked like it might have been there since the 70s. I commented on it on Twitter and a couple of people speculated that it might be the detritus from a Texan bar. Which really made me want to eat a Texan bar. But I checked the internet and no one is making them any more. It's not surprising as they were really disgusting. But I'd still like to eat one. Back in the late 70s and early 80s when my family would do the weekly shop at Gateways in Cheddar we were allowed our one weekly confectionary treat. And for a while at least, if memory serves me right (and I am not convinved it does) my dad used to have a Texan bar. It seems an unlikely choice for a sensible man in his 40s as it was essentially an unpleasant chew bar covered in unpleasant chocolate. But then who am I to judge, as I am a stupid man in my 40s and I'd really like one now.
And I might be misremembering it. Maybe it was me who had the Texan bar. Though dad also favoured a Mars Bar which he'd put in the freezer so it became a solid and difficult to eat brick. So maybe there was just something he enjoyed about a challenge. Me too though. Those deep frozen Mars Bars were great.
Who remembers things?
Anyway, the Chiltern Railways got me to Stratford in time and without fuss or frustration. I had an enjoyable evening doing a couple of gigs and catching up with some of my comedy pals. My favourite bit of comedy came when Nish Kumar dropped his microphone during a routine about bad juggling and broke it. This was funny in itself, but the quietly fuming reaction of the techie in the venue was the real kicker. He was a wiry but scary looking man in a black bandana and was (possibly justifiably) annoyed by the comedian smashing his equipment. He made his way slowly to the stage to give him a replacement and there was a genuine tension in the air. Would he punch the comic in the face for his blase attitude to this expensive equipment? He didn't. But as he returned to his booth he did make a quiet verbal threat about what would happen if Nish broke this microphone too. I suspect he might get some similar reactions and the odd punch in the face if he carries on with this particular joke. Comedy is a dangerous business.