Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday 17 January 2011


Monday 17 January 2011

Today is gearing up to be a very bad day.  As usual I wake up with a headache and as I slowly pull my shit together the results are not good.  Today is a blue Monday.  My apprehension is confirmed as when it comes to putting on my shoes and tying my laces the one on my left shoes snaps right off.  Someone is a bit tightly wound up it would seem.

Exiting the building outside the day is pissing down.  Also it is next to pitch black still at this hour as the misery seeps through the darkness.  From here the drive to the station is an ache not least for the P&O lorry that decides it wants to race me.  In these conditions?  It has fail written all over it.

When I finally step onto the platform the delayed 6.49AM train is only just rolling in.  Yup, a bit of rain and that’s the trains fucked then.  By Witham the train is already full and when it pulls into Chelmsford I watch as the extras have to stand crushed in the middle of the carriage.  Having to do that would mortify me.  The plate crowder sat next to me is bad enough but paying through the nose and never getting a seat would just be unacceptable to me.

In the end this train doesn’t stop at Ingatestone or Shenfield and pulls into Liverpool Street at 7.58AM.  I cannot decide whether this is a good show or not.

From here I head across town where I eventually emerge at St Johns Wood and into more pissing rain.  This is most definitely funeral weather.

A bad day suddenly becomes exceedingly worse as I step into the restaurant and into our office to discover that nothing has been done over the weekend with regards to what happened on Friday afternoon to the ceiling and light fitting.  I just cannot believe this disregard but guess it is typical.  The timing is so bad, we are so very busy at the moment with the monthly accounts deadline looming, the auditors hassling me every hour and the two VAT returns being due at the end of the month.  This is beyond unacceptable.

At this point I kick up a stink and throw something of a genuine strop.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) there is not an audience to experience me.  Why the fuck do I bother?  I’m in first and I can’t even safely switch on the light in my office in order to do my work (my job).  Before long I am kicking and throwing shit around the office, smashing a mouse against the wall.  It doesn’t make me feel better.  Neither does my mild screaming.  If anyone hears this they will think I am insane.

My gut instinct is to turn around and head straight home and wait there until my employers get their shit together.  Slightly more constructive though I stomp out of the building and head to Starbucks in the rain with view to getting a coffee and calming down.

When I get to Starbucks the time isn’t even 9AM yet.  So much for turning up late to make a point this morning.  From here the drink serves to calm me down marginally as when I step back into the wreckage the Filipino has now arrived.  She usually makes me behave myself, has a good affect on me but today I am irate.  Today I just cannot hide my disgust at the fact that our broken office has not even been considered over the weekend and remains untouched.  Why travel two hours to get to work if upon arrival I cannot even do my job?

As we sit in the darkness from being afraid to turn on the lights and get electrocuted the boss finally turns up.  His reaction is that of not giving a fuck which only serves to infuriate me further.  What gives?

With this the rain pisses down outside as I wait for The Girl to arrive in the hope that she proper kicks off as it is her desk (her side of the room) that is most affected.  Unfortunately annoyingly when she turns up she just shrugs it off and takes it in her stride.  Really?

Around this point it is unfortunate that the girl auditor comes up to our office and begins asking me questions and if I have dealt with various requests.  Still fucked off I just point at the light and gesture “what the fuck do you think?”  It feels a necessary bark but then I feel bad about snapping at her.

From here for the longest time I refuse to even switch my computer on.  Meanwhile as things get rolling The Girl, acting like a grownup, sets herself up at a makeshift desk.  If she is making the effort then I really should be too.

Finally late morning the electricians arrive to mend/repair the light fitting.  In the end it takes them ten minutes to do it.  Why couldn’t have this been done at the weekend?

Things fail to improve when I later discover that one of the 100 Days project people has unfollowed me on Twitter.  Again I take this is a personal insult when really this is all just trivia.  What did I do wrong though?  She follows 563 people which is hardly being selective but me, I stand out as somebody not to be followed for whatever reason.  Fuck it, I just unfollow her in response.  Tit for tat.  This is the modern world.

After this work deteriorates when on top of being snowed by the nuisance audit, the monthly management accounts and impending VAT figures the boss come in and begins requesting VAT returns for old periods.  I just cannot continuously be pulled from one duty onto another at a whim.  It’s unfair and the quality of work drops as I rush (cut corners) to complete tasks.  In a world where I can either do work right or quickly it would appear my bosses prefer the latter.

In the end things reach rock bottom when after taking a piss I exit the toilet after a think only to accidentally knock the boss’s unfinished soup bowl off the top off a filing cabinet where it has been stupidly placed on the edge.  With this soup flies all over the carpet and trickles down the cabinet.  What the fuck was it doing on there?  With this I kick off screaming “who the fuck put that there, that’s fucking stupid” at which point as I step back inside the toilet to collect some paper towels said boss comes out and says “I’ll do it, I’ll do it”.  Mate, you shouldn’t have done it in the first place.  I leave him to it and feel like I just bullied my boss.

After this the afternoon plays out in a more relaxed manner with only the occasional appearance by the auditors.  Thankfully The Girl is now helping them out with queries.  This is how it should have been from the start.

With mercy 5.30PM eventually rolls around and I run, not walk, out of work.

Tonight I am heading to the British Library for their first night of comedy as part of their WHAT’S SO FUNNY: THE LANGUAGES OF LAUGHTER event.  Both nights boast very good line-ups coupled with an all day conference tomorrow with lots of interesting talks and people that I would have loved to have attended but unfortunately I didn’t find out about it in time in order to take the day off work.

When I get to the British Library it is early and after the crappy day that I have just had at work (the latest of many) I am relieved to be able to just sit down with a coffee and chill out once more.  For the second time in a week this serves as my place of refuge.  I really could not have envisaged 2011 as beginning any worse than it has.

Eventually time arrives to step inside the hall where I take a decent seat with a good view of proceedings as things finally begin to pick up.

The show kicks off as DOC BROWN takes on compere duties.  It seems he used to be a rapper but thankfully possesses a humility that Richard Blackwood never tapped into (anyone remember him?).  Obviously he points out how strange it is to be holding a comedy event in such surroundings, not least with the audience being pretty far removed from the crowds he usually performs to.

From here the first act of the evening is SUSAN MURRAY.  Previously I have never heard of her and she doesn’t strike me as a seasoned or natural comedian.  To me it seems more of an ambition being fulfilled rather a career in full trajectory.  Perhaps she was somebody they pulled from the library back office.

With this on comes ARTHUR SMITH who opens his set by shouting from the back of the auditorium.  As he bounds down the stairs and onto the stage he looks insane, outpatient insane.  This is a point that gets reiterated when he unveils beneath his coat a garish green “I Love London” hoodie that he is wearing.  With this he asks, “does anyone from London actually wear these?”

Like the seasoned performer that he is, the customary grumpy old man thing kicks in as he makes many a fine point in the process.  For some random reason he picks on Colchester twice, first for being “the dogging capital” and then for “having too many roundabouts”, points that are not necessarily untrue but surely do not need raising in such troubled times of Essex identity.  Without question this guy is still incredibly funny.

Soon the curmudgeon concludes to rapturous response (probably helped by the audience on the whole being the same age as SMITH) as DOC BROWN returns to do another short bit before calling interval.

During the interval I do not bother to move from my seat (it feels like too much effort) so instead staying put I play with my iPhone.  Why worry?  Why exert unnecessary energy?

When the second half of the night begins DOC BROWN introduces the next act as IDA BARR who steps out like a cross between Dame Edna and Lord Charles with the “clever” twist of the material being urban.  It is awful.  I have never been one for men in drag.  The set seems mostly to consist of BARR making revolting comments on her hygiene before doing some songs and attempting to drum up crowd participation in the process.  The first cover is a Missy Elliott song and it is all downhill from there.  Thankfully it eventually comes to a close.

The night ends with RICHARD HERRING stepping onstage with his customary cheeky smile as he continues the theme of “just how weird it is to be doing a gig here n front of such old and bookish people?”

Tonight he plays it relatively safe, not necessarily bringing his A game, not necessarily looking to challenge his audience who very much resemble a home crowd for him.  With this he recounts the last time he performed here how he was heckled by a pensioner, an experience he is not keen to repeat tonight.

This segue helps him move onto his Hitler’s Moustache material as he bashes home his views on universal confusion that results in double standard and hypocrisy.  With a spark in his eye he condemns people for their accidental prejudices while at the same time going easy on them.  With his playful manner HERRING is one of the most endearing and subtly smart performers on the circuit and despite he regular statements/gestures placed to bait people he is tough to dislike with his warm delivery and sharp wit.

Soon the night comes to a conclusion and with this I bolt towards Kings Cross station in a rush for home and to get back at a decent hour.  In the end I miss the 9PM train by a few minutes and instead wind up on the 9.18PM Clacton train.  Tonight this is the ugly train containing many extras looking broken, poor and exhausted.  Eventually to my relief the train pulls into Colchester at 10.16PM.

After such a mixed pickles day, obviously when I get home somebody has parked in my allocated parking space at Hollytree Court.  I would expect nothing less.

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