One month to go. My only consolation is that Angus Ashman
is already in his 40s. The consolation is scant though.
I felt weirdly invigorated today. A bit like in American Werewolf In London
(not the bit with Jenny Agutter in the shower - amazingly I have watched the rest of it), but the way that the day after committing his atrocities the American Werewolf feels full of life and vigour. I had been in a fight, I had lived, I had been like a caveman and the non-intellectualised part of myself felt delighted and fulfilled by this. Even though it had been a pathetic girly fight which I had essentially all but lost and which had ripped my T-shirt. I still felt like a proper man and it made me feel good.
The intellectualised part of myself felt bad about feeling good about something that had humiliated me, but the instinctive part of me could not be over-rided. For once in my life, according to it, I had fulfilled my function on this earth, by committing violent atrocities against the genitalia of another man.
I found myself unable to fight the compunction to tell people about what had happened. The receptionist at the hotel asked how my gig had gone, and I said, "Good, though I was in a fight afterwards". Her shocked reaction made me feel even better about myself. What strange and primeval forces were at work here? Why was I being such an arse?
"Did you win?" she asked, with a slight hint of excitement in her voice. Perhaps I wasn't the only one excited by this Neanderthal activity. Perhaps my being a fighter made me more exciting to women - at least women who weren't there to see how bad I was at fighting and how quickly I resorted to below the belt tactics.
"It's hard to say really" I replied, shame-faced. But thinking about it I think I lost. I was in a headlock when we were pulled apart and although largely uninjured I did have my clothing ripped, whilst the trainee lecturer went out into the night fully clothed. My only possible victory is if the wife of the man happens to read this and puts two and two together - ie she is black, she has a trainee lecturer husband, who came back home last night drunk and covered in bruises (oh all right, had slightly sensitive gonads),then she might work out that her husband has been out chatting up other women and hopefully she will batter him for me. But be careful love, he's the kind of man who does not baulk at kicking a woman. Bad luck on marrying such a cock.
I arrived back at Euston and as I went down the escalators to the tube I saw sex thimble comedian and Edinburgh flat mate Lucy Porter coming up the other way. "Ooooh hello," I said, surprised, though she realised immediately it wasn't quite such a bit coincidence.
"On your way back from Liverpool?" she asked. Obviously she was on her way to perform at the festival too.
"Yeah," I said, "Be careful up there. I was in a fight last night!"
Again Lucy gave me a reaction of shock and concern, though slight awe. And then she was gone. Once again I had been bragging and once again withholding information to make myself look hard and dangerous. Maybe if I had had time I would have gone into detail and told her that the fight was an embarrassing shambles, but I knew I didn't have time as we were heading in opposite directions. I knew I would only get one sentence and why did I have the compunction to spread the news? Why not just not mention it at all? What was I becoming?
But I was bullish and swaggering, despite the facts of the case. It was a bit like a really pathetic version of Fight Club and I began to wonder if it was worth setting up a Girly Fight Club to give men who aren't very good at fighting, but still want to vindicate themselves and feel alive, a chance to fight over like-minded and puny men.
"The first rule of Girly Fight Club is you do not talk about Girly Fight Club.
The second rule of Girly Fight Club is you do NOT talk about Girly Fight Club.
Hold on, scratch that, I have just realised that rule one and rule two are the same. That was quite an oversight on my part. I don't know how that got through without me noticing it. Also by reading out rule one I am breaking rule one. So let's just forget about the rules all together and just get into a little huddle and try and punch each other's genitals or maybe we should just accept what we really want and forget the punching and just caress each other's genitals."
Later I bragged to the comedians at the CALM benefit about my fighting exploits. "You look pretty good considering," said TV's David Baddiel, "You must have had the best of it." Indeed there was no real physical sign that I had been fighting, which is perhaps a bit of a giveaway how lame the fighting was. But I allowed the others to think that I was unscathed due to my prowess as a boxer and not because I thought someone so weak and so drunk that they couldn't have caused any damage to a giant peach that they had taken exception to. "You should have seen the other guy" I told a friend later.
"Were they totally unharmed as well?"
"Yeah, pretty much."