Monday, 26 July 2010

Pepys goes clubbing


It currently feels like I’m in some kind of dreadful nightmare. Ever since getting up this morning things have been going wrong. The bus was badly delayed on my way to the post production house in Wardour Street, and then I had to leave to catch a train before I’d found out the result of the alchemy process the film was having to go through. I then got trapped underground on a tube going nowhere for three quarters of an hour and had to sit and watch the seconds ticking by as I missed first one train, and then almost the last train I could have caught to make my next meeting. To make matters worse, I seem to have brought the rain with me to London and everything is sticky and wet. I’m simply not sure how much more of this I can take!


The good news is that I managed to make my train to Newcastle. I’m heading up there for a meeting with the BBC about another project. The annoying thing is that I have a train ticket to Leeds from London and one from Leeds to Newcastle but I don’t have one direct from London to Newcastle. Going via Leeds would add 2 hours to my journey and destroy any chance of attending a meeting. Leeds is on a spur line which branches off from the main London to Newcastle route, so it actually makes perfect sense for me to be able to use my two tickets to travel to Newcastle direct. Fortunately, a lovely official man standing on the platform agreed that this was the case and defined Leeds via York as a “permissible route.” Unfortunately, before he drifted like a guardian angel into my world, I’d been forced to deal with a veritable gorgon, who could see I was stressed, but insisted on throwing the the book at me to make it very clear that she was in charge and that no one should assume to be able to travel to anywhere without a valid ticket and that if I had to miss my train to sort things out, it would be my fault for arriving at the train station with seconds to spare. She was, in short, one of those people the world could happily do without!


What a difference a few minutes make. I've just had a phone call from Keith the camera, who has been in London overseeing the alchemy process, and early reports are good. I am tentatively relieved. Cautiously optimistic.


There’s now a bit of a palaver going on with luggage at the end of my carriage. Three enormous bags, which have been dumped in the aisle are being threatened with de-fenestration at Peterborough Station. No one is owning up to them. It's all very amusing... but what if they’re bombs?!


I've just spoken to Alison who has been taken off work for a week with sciatica; no doubt brought on by the ridiculous stress we’ve both been under over the last few weeks. I asked her if this meant she was going to miss the premier on Wednesday, “like f**k I am!” came the response. I think the plan is now to get drunk beyond any concept of the word. If all goes smoothly, there will be a wildly disproportionate number of hugs and tears and I will be the happiest man in the world.


The bags are not bombs. They belong to a rather charming family of orthodox Jews who stepped forward just as their suitcases were being unloaded onto the platform at Peterborough. How awful for them if they hadn’t managed to catch them in time. Losing all of their luggage would definietly have ruined Christmas... or Hanukkah.


I am slowly calming down. I have run around and sweated so much today that my black shirt is now covered in salty white lines. I pray to God that everything will now go smoothly and that the people in Newcastle won't mistake me for a scarecrow.

Thursday 26th July 1660

...and Montagu left the House of Commons to be admitted to the House of Lords. I assume his new title meant he could no longer be viewed as a common man. After watching his beloved patron taking his place in the house, Pepys disappeared into Whitehall and spent a day of gorging on plates of meat and “drinking hard”. In the early evening, he visited St James’ Fair; which had returned to the capital for the first time since the interregnum. It was here that he met up with some of his old clerk friends and a large gang of them then descended on their old haunt; a club in Pall Mall. This diary entry is important because it has become one of the earliest references to Pall Mall as an inhabited street and furthermore one of the earliest references in literature to “clubbing”. Bravo Pepys!

He must have been utterly plastered by 10pm because Will Hewer was summonsed to see him safely home with the aid of a link boy. Upon reaching his house, he found that the previous owner, Willoughby, had sent for all his belongings from Pepys’ new bed chamber; “which is a little disappointment, but it is better than pay too dear for them”. Pepys had obviously taken a shine to the furnishings he'd temporarily inherited, but was refusing to pay through the nose to keep them.

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