Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Roller coaster

Life is a funny old roller coaster. This evening I worked on a quiz. I don’t need to say where it was or who was doing it, but I will say that it’s vitally important to treat everyone you have dealings with in life with respect and courtesy. People can be heartbreakingly dismissive. As an indication of what we were putting up with today, I’ll give just one example. One of my colleagues went up to a table to collect their answer sheet and said “can I collect your answers please?” The man she spoke to said “no, but you can go and get me a slice of cake.”


I spent the day in Soho. We were pitching this morning for BEAM, a wonderful festival for new musical theatre which happens every two years. It’s quite an intimidating process. Llio, Laura and I sat in the bar at the Soho Theatre drinking tea and waiting to be called. Llio made me laugh. “I want to sing this song really well for you” she said, before chowing down on a bar of chocolate, which is considered to be one of the worst things a singer can do before singing! We laughed like drains. Our moment finally came, and we were greeted by the lovely Rosie Archer, who, these days, works for the company who organise the festival. It must have been a little surreal for her. We were pitching to do a performance of Em, and Rosie recently sang on the recording.

She led us down a dark staircase into the studio theatre in the basement of the complex, opened a door and ushered us in. We were greeted by a panel of six people, all sitting at a table, beautifully lit and looking rather terrifying.

We were introduced to the panel one by one. A million things were floating through my head regarding practicalities. Where was I going to plug in my iPod? Were there mics for the singers? Where would I stand? I was too busy panicking to actually listen to the introductions. They went in one ear and out of the other, but I gathered that they were all incredibly influential people.

Laura and Llio couldn’t have performed the songs any better. They acted their socks off and sang like true divas. I felt incredibly proud and grateful. It struck me that we couldn’t have done any better, and, actually, you only ever want to leave a pitch feeling that way.

Llio and I sat outside a cafe on Old Compton Street afterwards. It all felt rather Parisian and bohemian. We then went for dinner in Bistro Number One, which is round the back of the Palace Theatre. Lli wasn’t particularly keen on the idea of Mediterranean cuisine, but completely changed her mind when she saw the scores of beautiful lamps hanging in great twinkling clumps from the ceiling. They’re very souk-like in their deep oranges, purples and greens. It’s a lovely place to sit and while away the hours and they do a 2-course lunch menu for a tenner. There’s never a sense of being hurried along like they used to do in Stock Pot with such comic alacrity!

I did an hour’s work on Nene in a cafe on Wardour Street where a twenty something lad made a somewhat clumsy attempt at chatting me up. I was quite flattered. It’s been a while since someone had the hutzpah (or desire) to chat me up so blatantly! I answered all his questions politely whilst keeping eye contact to a minimum. I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea but I also didn’t want him to feel ashamed. God knows it’s hard enough to be a bloke at the moment treading the fine line between appropriate behaviour and sleaziness.

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