I woke up this morning - after spending much of the night watching telly because I couldn't sleep - to discover the whole of the left hand side of my face had gone into spasm. I couldn't smile without looking like I'd had a stroke. I called my dentist, barely able to talk without dribbling and she immediately sent me to the emergency dentist in Kentish Town.
Who knew such a thing existed? Who would also have thought that there could be a huge modern health centre in the little residential roads running parallel to Kentish Town High Road?
Anyway, the dentist was a little confused when I opened my mouth. He prodded: "I can't see much..." He did an X-ray. Biting down on that little sharp square of film is a deeply unpleasant experience which always makes me gag. I tried to go all zen in the hope that the experience would end sooner. The X-ray revealed that my wisdom teeth were sitting at an odd angle, but he said he could also see evidence of "brutal and systematic" teeth grinding. He gave me some anti-biotics "in case" it was an infection but his preferred diagnosis was that I'd pulled a muscle in my jaw whilst grinding teeth at night as a result of a high level of stress.
How about that, then?! The body really has a habit of telling you when it's not happy doesn't it?!
We found out today that my wonderful union, the MU, have provided us with a solicitor to help speed up the complex and terrifying process of drawing up a contract for our project. We spoke on the phone and he was calm, helpful and incredibly knowledgable. I instantly felt better.
If any musicians are in any doubt about whether to join a union, I can expressly tell them that it's not just sensible (so one can take advantage of things like free legal advice) but it's also your duty. Without unions, creative people get taken advantage of, either because everyone thinks we should do what we do for the love of creating, or because we're not bright enough, or don't have the skills/time to understand legalese. When confronted with a contract which seems to stack the odds against you, it becomes difficult not to take everything horribly personally. A lawyer comes in, however, and everything seems businesslike un-scary. I can't tell you how grateful I am to the MU for helping us in this way.
If you're a musician; a performer, a writer or even a singer, you're reading this blog, and you're not a member of a union, do have a read about the MU
...So what else? I worked sitting opposite Philippa in a cafe in Highgate this afternoon. Plainly it was wonderful to see her. I've missed my friends so much lately and she always makes me feel calm. I read her one of the lyrics from our show to see if she thought it was perhaps a little bit misogynist. All but one of the rhyming couplets passed her scrutiny... and one line (sadly the song's title) got a sort of "so-so" gesture. I've changed the couplet. There's not much I can do about the title!
We came home, picked the car up and drove down to Kwik Fit to change the tyre that blew out about two weeks ago. It turns out the brake pads are worn away and something else has rusted over, so the bill kept getting higher (£500 and counting) and we kept having to go away and come back again.
Kwik Fit is down in Gospel Oak, which is a joy to reach by car, but absolutely useless to get to via public transport. It's still not ready. We're told noon tomorrow. Watch that not happening!