"There was something in my orange juice" said the man at the next breakfast table to mine, holding up his now entirely drained glass for inspection to the waitress. He had clearly hot noticed the unwelcome alien particle until, annoyingly the drink was over.
"Ah yes," she said brightly, as if cheekily wishing him good day with a saucy wink, "I'm afraid that's a bit of one of our blue kitchen cloths!" She didn't quite laugh, but nor was she overly concerned, "Would you like me to get you another glass?" she asked, possibly missing the point.
The man, clearly feeling slightly sickened that a piece of a cloth designed for cleaning up dirt had somehow found its way into his breakfast drink was not impressed by this offer. He gruffly shook his head and yet had been disarmed enough by the unusual response, or maybe just too British to dream of following up his initial and brave complaint. I don't know what he had expected. But to be offered another glass of juice from a carafe that could contain more particles of the same filthy rag was not at the top of his list.
What amazed me though was that that was the end of it. Somehow the nonchalant brightness of the waitress had worked. That should be Milan Kundera's next novel, "The Nonchalent Brightness of the Waitress." Have that for free Milan. My follow up novel to his most famous work is to be called, "The Unbearable Shiteness of Being". Should have thought of that Milan. But you didn't. Because you are shit and I am great.
I think the man was left feeling bad that he had not been more grateful for being graced with the bit of blue cloth.
Those cloths are pretty hardy though, it's hard to imagine what could have caused a bit of one to get in his drink. It wasn't, I don't think, freshly squeezed, but I suppose they might have popped some orange in a blender and the cloth accidentally fell in. Perhaps the rest of the cloth had blended to nothing. Maybe we'd all started our day ingesting tiny particles of a filth encrusted floor cloth. It made me feel a bit sick too. But I am keen not to eat too many massive hotel breakfasts on this tour (I'd even ordered porridge instead of bacon and eggs) so I was pleased to be put off eating.
Despite serving bits of blue cloth up in its juice, the hotel was OK. The room had been cold and the bed rather lumpy too, but none of that mattered as more relevantly, it was quite close to the Royal Spa Centre where I am playing on the 18th. So I booked to stay there again. If nothing else it was entertaining. Like being in an episode of Fawlty Towers. Except that when something unusual happened, rather than getting furious the staff just remained calm and the whole incident dissipated immediately, leading to no massive string of misunderstandings and farce. So quite a bad episode of Fawlty Towers. But if Cleese and Booth had got their fingers out and down more than a dozen or so of the things then I am sure they would have eventually been forced to write this one up as an idea.
I drove at a leisurely pace down to Bath, stopping at service stations to have coffee and try to write my book. The first one, a Welcome Break on the M42 had a Coffee Primo in it. I was amazed to see a group of quite high powered and bullish businessmen - the kind of people who'd talk about blind men discussing colour
- having what looked like an important meeting, with a laptop showing a presentation of some coloured chart. But they were in a Coffee Primo on the M42. Was this really the place for such an crucial sounding meeting? They looked like the kind of men who would want to exude class to impress their clients and yet here they were in the shittest possible coffee shop in the middle of nowhere. If it had been Cafe Ritazza I could have understood it. I kept looking at them and occasionally one of them would nearly catch my eye and I'd look away. I think he might have suspected that I was trying to steal secrets from them. But then again if they were so concerned about secrets what were they doing in a fucking Coffee Primo - a chain that can't even spell Cafe, not even incorrectly like Caffe Nero. It just gave up and put "Coffee" and then tried to look exotic by putting the second word in Italian. But that's not impressive if you don't know that Italian for coffee, you pricks. And your coffee is not primo, it's shit. You should call yourself "Coffee Shitto" or just drop the pretension and call yourselves "Shit Coffee". People might at least admire your honesty. And it's unlikely that businessmen would come to you to have meetings - "Let's congregate in "Shit Coffee" shall we?"
The only industrial secret I gleaned is that this company, whoever they are, have ordered drill bits of the wrong size, but this was only revealed once the people they were meeting had left. So hopefully one of those men reads this blog and has learned this fact and now knows what kind of fuckwits he is dealing with. If he hadn't guessed when they suggested meeting in Coffee Primo on the M42.
The drive down was absolutely lovely. The sun shone and Britain looked truly beautiful. Being on tour is still fun. Maybe it will continue to be so. Certainly having something approaching 400 people crammed into the Bath Komedia made for another great night. "It's great to be here, lovely to see so many of you," I said at the start of the second half, "Where the fuck have you been for the last four years!"
They laughed and the joke was a bit unfair because for the last two or three tours I have only played a 100 seater venue in Bath.
I drove home through the night, feeling weary, and remembered why touring gets a bit overwhelming. It's the driving that is the killer. I hope not literally.
Oh and Herring's Third Law seemed to break down immediately as I didn't get a chance to buy a sandwich and the venue provided me with a hot meal of lovely sausages and mash. Mmmm. But I didn't buy sandwiches and there were no sandwiches, so maybe it still just about holds up. And I would have bought sandwiches if I had found a Marks and Spencers. So.....
There is an extensive and in places revealing interview with me up on line from the guys at Mustard
If you're a fan of the Watchmen, and no one has sent you this, then I hope you enjoy this preview of the new film
. Might not have turned out exactly as you were expecting.