Saturday, 12 November 2011


I looked at myself in the mirror yesterday and decided it was time to put the whooping cough behind me and get fit again. I don’t like being a big blob and am craving some facial definition, so I went running this morning. I ran to Finsbury Park and back along the Parkland Walk. I have to say, it didn’t feel very good – and I was particularly horrified to be overtaken by a fat girl... twice. I was also unfortunate enough to have run past a group of men from the council as they emptied dustbins designed for dog poo. I've seldom smelt a more disgusting pong and because I was taking great big unhealthy gulps of air as I ran, I got an absolute face full! Imagine doing that job for a living, and smelling that rancid stench all day long? I can’t imagine anything worse.

Unfortunately, I’ve had to work all day, formatting scores and things for the concert on the 27th. Nathan called me in the afternoon, and urged me to take an hour off before I went out this evening, more than anything else to put a bit of down time between a day of silence and an evening where I’ll be surrounded by loud people with rather large personalities. I’m going to Philip Sallon’s 60th birthday party. The theme is old aged pensioners, so I’m going as an undertaker, because I go to all fancy dress parties dressed in the same clothes. It will be lovely to see Philip, and celebrate such an important event, but I’m slightly worried I’m going to end up feeling a little bit like a plonker. I’m going on my own, which means I'll need to make small talk. I find meeting people for the first time cripplingly embarrassing, particularly if they’re constantly looking over their shoulders for more interesting people in the room. Still, I suppose if I get there and can’t shake off the agoraphobic tendencies, I can always come home and have a hot bath! Prematurely elderly? Me? That said, I do seem to have allowed my potatoes to boil dry for the past two nights running, so perhaps I’m actually going senile.

350 years ago, Pepys went to watch Ben Johnson’s Bartholomew Fair acted by puppets. He liked the play. He’d seen it many times before, but he didn’t like the puppets. I know how he felt. I’ve hated puppets ever since I was asked to improvise with a dirty sock with little eyes attached to it when I auditioned for a drama school in the mid 90s. A bohemian woman called Penny appeared in the room carrying a bucket full of puppets which she handed out to us all. Everyone else got something which resembled a proper puppet, but I was given the sock. I’m not an actor, I’m not an improviser and I’m certainly not a puppeteer, so the experience was one of abject humiliation. For some reason I pretended to be a giraffe and walked around trying to nibble the rest of the puppets from above like the reincarnation of emu. At one stage I nipped one of the other puppets so hard that one of its strings broke and its arm fell off and the girl operating it called me a bastard. I'm still not sure why someone applying for a director’s course in a drama school was expected to do that kind of rubbish, but there we go.

Pepys had raspberry wine and sausages for tea, which made him feel very merry, apparently.

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