Sunday, 24 January 2016

Lesta

Today started at shit o'clock once again with a gripey stomach and a tube journey to St Pancras train station. A man was "vaping" in the carriage which I found a little disconcerting in the same way that it gets a bit weird when an audience in the theatre is engulfed by clouds of fake smoke, which always has that slightly sweet, somewhat floral aroma. I'm all for vaping as an alternative to smoking. It's surely got to be a lot better for you (until they discover, of course, that it's slowly sending people mad, or giving them cancer) but I'm still not sure I want to sit in a confined space in the middle of a cloud of whatever the hell comes out of those things.

We took the train from St Pancras to Leicester and walked from the train station to the Curve Theatre where around thirty young people were auditioning for this year's NYMT season. At first glance I wasn't sure that many of them were going to stand out, but as the day wore on I became more and more impressed. A couple of the girls were terrifically amusing and it was lovely to see Jo, Harry and Matt, all of whom were Brassers and did really well today. Young Harry, particularly, made some very interesting, brave and insightful acting choices.

I ran acting and singing classes and hope I was able to impart some of my accumulated theatrical knowledge to the youngsters. They certainly seemed very attentive..,

I always feel a little bit odd when I'm in Leicester. It will always be a the place where I was forced to take someone to court: a period which remains one of the darkest and most devastating of my life. I think one day I will be able to laugh at the lunacy of the whole experience. There are some images in which stick in my mind as being thoroughly ludicrous in an amusing way. As I arrived at Leicester Crown Court, for example, I was greeted by an entire flash mob choir who sang a peace song angrily at me as I walked in. It was deeply surreal. Those who feel I must live my life in a Musical are right!

We travelled from Leicester to Leeds this evening on a train packed with Stoke City footie fans who'd been in Leicester for a match. I'd say, by their somewhat edgy behaviour, that their team had lost. There were police everywhere, even on the train, and there was a really nasty atmosphere, like anything could have kicked off at any stage. A man was bundled off the train at Derby and heavy-handedly arrested by way too many coppers.

We changed trains at Derby, a city which is surely only famous as the location of Simon Groome and Goldie the dog's farm off of Blue Peter. We arrived in Leeds at about 8pm.

As I approached the ticket barriers a woman's voice started shrieking in my ear; "well that wasn't very gentlemanly was it?" A rather stentorian woman then ticked me off for "pushing in front of her." I had, of course, done nothing of the sort.

We ate tea in the city centre surrounded by Leeds' finest, two of whom had inadvertently dressed respectively as a carrot and a pumpkin tonight. Same dress. Different builds! Leeds attracts some rather special people on a Saturday night, none of whom were wearing coats...

We're staying in the famous Ibis budget hotel tonight, which is renowned in these parts as a knocking shop. The rooms have something of a "wipe down" quality to them... The sort of rooms which get disinfected rather than cleaned. My wifi doesn't work. Nor does my telly, but the bed's lovely and comfortable so I'll sleep well tonight!

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