Saturday, 19 October 2013


I'm currently struggling my way back from Canary Wharf to Highgate. The Piccadilly line was obscenely crowded and I over-heated rather dangerously. The Northern Line has been closed for the day, "for my own good," said the dismissive man in charge of bus replacement services this morning, "we're improving the safety of YOUR service." Hurrah! Or do I mean "f**k you?" Whatever I mean, I'm sure I'll be incredibly unlikely to notice any difference at all to my journeys around the capital! Besides, I can't remember the last time the tube has gone to Highgate on a weekend, and I'm now so used to hauling myself up the hill as a result of the escalator being broken that I barely notice the pain!

I left good and early this morning to take myself to King's Cross for my rehearsal with Roy Harper, but by the time I'd taken the necessary two separate buses which trundled through the streets like a milk float, I was almost late.

The rehearsal with Roy went incredibly well. The new material we're performing is sounding rather excellent. It's going to be an amazing gig.

I felt a little guilty for throwing a bit of a spanner in the works, however. There's a song called I'll See You Again which we performed last time round and it happens to be my favourite of all Roy's songs. It's anthemic and deeply moving. The musicians have the dots in their folders but it's not been selected for performance in this tour. I made a passionate plea for it it go back into the running order, but for Roy this will mean dusting off another song and it's quite late in the day to put that sort of pressure on his shoulders. Fingers crossed it'll be in his musical muscle memory because it's so so beautiful and I'd feel so excited to sit on stage waving my arms about whilst it's performed.

I went from Kings Cross via bus to Highbury to meet my parents, and we walked towards Old Street to find Sam and some mutual friends in a pub by the canal celebrating Sam's 40th birthday. Eek! The first of my school friends to pass the big milestone. The march to the scaffold is well underway.

From Old Street we staggered to Canary Wharf; a bus to Bank, a phenomenally long underground walk to the DLR, and then a walk from some curious Quay to Brother Edward's house, where we watched Strictly Come Dancing and ate the most stunning plates of food courtesy of Sascha who is an extraordinary cook.

Sadly, with the London transport network being official FTB, my joy was short-lived. One DLR, one tube and one astonishingly crowded and ferociously stinky bus journey later I'm in somewhere near Archway about an hour and a half after leaving Edward's. One man's BO on the bus smelt like vinegar sprinkled on a pink wafer biscuit. Sweet and sour all wrapped up in a package which made me want to chunder.

And it all starts again tomorrow... I'll have to get up 45 minutes early simply to deal with getting to my rehearsal on time! Well I guess at least the bankers don't suffer if they close all transport links on a weekend. Small mercies and all that!

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