Saturday, 11 June 2011

Dans de la noire

Today’s the first day I’ve felt a bit down since the operation. The lack of speaking is now beginning to drive me slightly mad. I got very angry with Nathan earlier. It’s horribly frustrating to have to write everything down on a white board, and I’m irritating myself by needing to click or clap simply to get someone’s attention.

Yesterday, I felt quite Zen, I suppose. Being mute had become somewhat comforting. I once went to “Dans de la Noire”, a restaurant near Farringdon which operates in absolute darkness. The waiters there are all blind, and it’s a mind altering experience. One ends up eating with one’s fingers, because it’s almost impossible to know, without being able to see, how much food has become attached to your fork! It’s initially terrifying, but quickly becomes rather relaxing as the other senses begin to work over time. I was sitting next to someone I’d never met before, and it was a curious sensation to try and work out if I liked her without being able to see her. By the end of the evening, I found myself reluctant to leave the little safe cocoon I’d established in all that darkness. Going out into the big wide world became a terrifying experience.

I thought the same thing might happen when I stopped being able to speak; that I’d somehow lull myself into a sort of safe mute space that I wouldn’t want step out of. Judging by the overwhelming frustration I felt today, however, I’d say this is not going to be the case.

The gig last night was great fun. We were right at the front of the queue, and were almost the first into the enclosure, so set up a little picnic area close to the stage. Sadly, it immediately started raining like I’ve never known it rain before. I didn’t have a waterproof, and umbrellas, randomly, were banned, so we sat underneath my poncho, like a pair of tragic hobos, and very slowly turned into mulch. 4

The warm up act was Sophie Ellis Bexter. She’d been handed the mother of all poisoned chalices. Everyone was soaked through. No one was in the mood. All her songs sound exactly the same – nursery rhymes to a disco beat. It was ever likely that they would soon begin to become indecipherable from the soggy cardboard and watery baguettes that our picnics had become. That said, she’s a deeply attractive young lady, and with a combination of charming observations, a well-timed sunset and a complete lack of ego “I’m here to warm you up for Erasure, and that’s what I’m going to try to do...” she managed to achieve the impossible. By the time she left the stage, we were all buzzing like little bees.

Watching Erasure was a treat. The rain had cleared and they performed all of their hits. I’d forgotten quite how much amazing pop music they’d brought to the table in the 80s and 90s. It was almost impossible not to sing... so I danced instead, like a deep lunatic.

Tuesday 11th June, 1661, and Pepys and Sir George Carteret, drafted a letter to send to the Duke of York which said what a state their office was in through lack of money. This was a regular theme in Pepys’ Diary. The navy was completely underfunded, and it was only going to get worse.

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