Thursday, December 29, 2005

Riccardi and Coke, Baby!

Riccardi and Coke, Baby!

Given that December wouldn't be December without a trip to the Bedford to see Riccardi, I ended up resembling a snail with all my belongings in a rucksac on my back (procured from Obi3, given that as I no longer ride a purple bike, I no longer have a rucksac) heading southbound. With the crutches. Which led to my least favourite discovery of the past few weeks - that escalators ARE VERY BAD THINGS. It is impossible to get on them with crutches and even if you do manage this extraordinary feat without losing a toe then there is absolutely no chance that you will end up still in possession of all of your limbs by the end unless you have the balancing abilities of an Olympic gymnast. As you may have guessed - not least by the fact that I went over on my ankle in the first place - I'm not known for my poise and grace. So I studiously avoided all escalators, only swearing loudly about them when London underground decreed that the only way out of the station was by such a monstrosity. If the crutches did yield one good thing, though, it was the discovery that they made me eligible for disabled seating on GNER. Which was all round much more comfortable than the normal cattle shed stylee offerings.

Once I'd negotiated trains, tubes and Nik's stairs (possibly the most difficult bit as this was the only point in the day that I ended up uncermoniously flat on my arse) and got a very-nice-lady-indeed to give up her seat on the tube on the way to the Bedford (Tuesday morning commuters on the Met line take note) Nik and I arrived to the realisation that for possibly the only time in the history of our Bedford outings there were no free tables and yet we didn't recognise a single person in the pub. Not one. So we settled instead for plonking ourselves on the end of a large table that was occupied by a South African who decided that I should tell people that the crutches and the Beachball were as a result of a particularly nasty skiing accident. At least in such a position we were confident that we could outlast the other occupants and claim the table for ourselves.

Post the most expensive double riccardi and coke of my life, it became clear that we were wise to plump for the bigger table as 3 fourths of the Riccardi boys came to join us, if only in the case of Ric to come up with as many foot related comments as possible and of Louis to act as Brand promoter of Sudafed (there are three different types apparently...). We meandered through chips, fancy photos, Griffin's new songs (even though Simon and I were the only ones to have heard them; our considered response being that they're more 'mature' than his earlier ones), Simon's mummy and other topics of randomness; being joined by Gayle and her Jamie Theakston luggage*. At some point the boys left, Billy arrived and we missed the start of the other music because we were too preoccupied with bar prices.

When we did cotton on to the fact that we should have taken our usual spot in the globe some minutes ago, we made our way there as quickly as is possible when one of you is - did I mention it - on crutches. More alcohol, more music and more comments from the Sound Guy who loves Nik and I (we "rock"), Riccardi were finally on. And it was lovely to hear the boys after what had unwittingly turned into months without me seeing them gig. The only down spot was that they ended up finishing rather abruptly and consequently didn't perform the encore the set list told us was coming. Never ones to hide our emotions all three of us made our disquiet known.

Afterwards the boys went to record a podcast (how Chris Moyles of them**) and we made our way back to the tube. The next morning, having come the closest that I've come to projectile vomitting on public transport in a long time (stupid tube), I got to utter the line "I came straight from London" when I arrived at the WYP for my 12:30 shift. It impressed maybe one person and I felt like someone worthy of a place in the Mirror's 3am column, so I think it was worth it.

*As a general point of information for everyone who doesn't know the story, we met Jamie Theakston (fake actor, former Live and Kicking host and now breakfast radio host for a london station that I don't know anything about because I listen to Moyles and Comedy Dave) in the summer of 2004. He was very tall, slightly annoyed with us (he thought that we'd come to speak to him. We hadn't) and was carrying the biggest bag any of us had ever seen. Thus whenever anyone has a lot of luggage it is known as 'doing a Theakston'.

**Chris Moyles has the second biggest podcast download in Britain for anyone that might wonder about that reference (everyone except Nik then...)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tiramisu Chocolates, God's Way of Making Me Resemble A Hippo

Tiramisu Chocolates, God's Way of Making Me Resemble A Hippo

I was told off for my lack of blogging nearly a fortnight ago, post Griffin gig. Slightly scared [my friends are scary people] I promised that I'd rectify the situation. Then came Alice and her Never Ending Wonderland, and the Beachball foot still resembling a beachball and I didn't. Plus I'd stepped into one of those Harry Potter reading marathons that overtake me every so often and in the entire 2 hours that I haven't had to spend at the WYP in the last fortnight there was NOTHING more important in the world than getting through the series so that maybe, if I hoped and prayed enough, the inevitable would not happen, Dumbledore would not die - and most importantly - Snape would not be responsible. But it didn't change. And I still found myself sniffing into an extra large kleenex.

But this isn't supposed to be about Potter, or even Snape because I know there are at least a couple of readers out there who are rolling their eyes and making comments about children's books. This is more a post-it-note to say that - despite having eaten my bodyweight in chocolate, gotten my crutches stuck in several doors and developed a pathological fear of icy pavements [which culminated last night with one of the other attendants at the WYP having to push me up the stairs which lead to the building, which was not flattering in the least] - I am still very much alive and if not kicking then at least wiggling.

So a very happy - if somewhat belated - Christmas from DA and an even better New Year. And my present to you all? The resumption of normal service. I'm nice like that.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Where did you get those SHOES?!

Where did you get those SHOES?!

"Just pop up there"

I look at the large table - which in practical terms may as well be as large as Alice table when she's drunk the 'Drink Me' bottle and shrunk for all the likelihood I have of getting on it - and I know that there is going to be no popping going on. Long, labourious climbing, yes. Popping, certainly not.

Once I've scaled the feat of the x-ray table it's time to get out the beach ball that once upon a time was my right ankle.

"Oooo, it's swollen isn't it?"

I nod and don't know whether to feel pleased or worried that the beach ball, six days after impact, is big enough for radiographers to comment on its size.

Then comes the twisting turning bit in order to get the beach ball ready for its close up which hurts through a combination of the fact that my foot does not want to bend in any direction and my, not inconsiderable, ineptitude. If I can get my head around such things as The Waste Land, genetic engineering and the off side rule then it remains that I cannot get my head around being given directions on where to move my body. My brain refuses to process them, and even if the instructions do get as far as reaching the brain, those synapses of mine resolutely refuse to pass the message on to the corresponding body part. Thus it took five minutes for the radiographer to maneovure me - almost forcibly - into the right position. And if the fact that, at the reception desk, it took me a good sixty seconds to work out what my occupation was (I hadn't had enough to drink to instantly come up with 'writer' a la the Evil Eye) didn't point to the fact that I'm a bit simple, the inability to move my limbs as instructed did.

Close ups taken, x-rays in folder, I was instructed to pop (translate: climb) down. Just as I was attempting to put my right pump back on (which is difficult when its on the floor and you're doing a complicated one legged dance) the radiographer came over to me.

"Are they [indicating my pumps] from Office?"

Sienna would have been proud.

NB: The beach ball is still a beach ball, only now it's supposed to feel the benefit of industrial strength painkillers and crutches for the next few weeks.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Broken Foot!

Broken Foot!

With the exception of a couple of skipping rope inflicted-head-needing-stitching incidents and a dislocated shoulder aged three (which, apparently, allowed me to tell strangers on public transport that my grandmother had caused said injury) I got to 11 without - many - major accidents. Then one day - or evening - I fell off of a chair and broke my arm. In the next few years I managed another broken arm, a couple of toes, two fingers, a leg, a serious bout of concussion and a couple of rather interesting sprains (that these coincided with the Platform Shoe Years may not be a coincidence). I came periously close to having to do my GCSE's whilst brandishing crutches. I became a by-word for injury and general clumsiness. Certain people still mock me for it.

This all culminated during my first week at Uni when I tripped over the step in my room and broke my wrist. I became the first Fresher at St Anne's to visit the A&E department of the John Radcliffe that year and gained a vividly purple pot that makes a nice appearance on my matriculation photos. After this maybe I learnt to control the direction of my feet, possibly I started wearing less dangerous shoes, whatever the reason I managed to keep my limbs in reasonable comfort.

And so they stayed, until Friday. One moment I was walking along, thinking of nothing in particular, and the next thing I knew my ankle was making contact with the floor in a manner which CAN NEVER BE A GOOD THING. And because these things don't happen instantly and you always get that milli-second of realisation that, hey your leg is going to end up at a right angle to your foot and IT WILL HURT, I knew exactly what was going to happen. I was just powerless to do anything about it. So I felt the crunch and the immediate shooting pain and the next thing I was on my arse in a not very attractive manner. And, as I'd known it would, it hurt.

On the floor I had a temporary internal debate was to whether I could get myself to stand up. I wasn't too sure, but eventually reasoned that I couldn't stay where I was - unless I wanted someone to fall over me - so I pulled myself up. And immediately began to wish that I hadn't eaten quite so much of my lunch. In fact I wasn't sure whether it was the pain or the need to vomit that was bothering me most. I hobbled a bit, hopped around and finally reasoned that whilst my ankle hurt, it wasn't as bad as the pain when I went over on it during my one and only game of basketball and had to be carried from the gym.

It continued as a dull, thudding pain for a few hours, and I even forgot it a little as I let myself get swept up in the first half of Blood Brothers at York Grand Opera House. It was during the interval that I realised that I was starting to get uncomfortable. One broken heart - not to mention some rather embarrassing extremely loud crying from someone further down our row - and a couple of post show drinks later, I realised that my ankle felt twice its normal size. When I took my boot off back at Val's it was to the realisation that I no longer had an ankle. Something resembling a balloon, yes. But no ankle.

Almost 72 hours later and it's now a wonderful rainbow of colours and, if not the uber-balloon it was in the early hours of Saturday morning, still a not too shabbily sized beach ball. Bah.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The 'C' Word

The 'C' Word

After the initial possibility of getting lost in the bowels of the WYP - with or without a tray of ice-cream - my shifts there had settled into something that, more often than not, felt like I was getting paid to watch a play. Which is, let it be known, a very, very good thing. Getting in to a play for free had always been my target before. Actually getting paid to sit in is a whole other level. And very good thing indeed.

Having lulled me into a false sense of security (albeit one that involved multiple watching of the second half of twelfth night) my last six shifts have shown me the bit-that-they-try-to-scare-you-with-during-interview. Not my ending up with a tea-towel on my head, finally achieving something that Primary School never yeilded in the shape of a Mary-Nativity moment, because, as scary as that is, it's not something they could have predicted at interview. But THE CHRISTMAS SEASON OF DOOM. I've not had any vomit to deal with yet, but I can tell it's only a matter of time. Because we've had every possible food stuff squashed and ground into the theatre floor. And if even half of the amount that I've seen on the floor is making it into the stomachs of the under tens then WE HAVE A PROBLEM. And it's not a problem I'm looking forward to dealing with.

If the looming possibility of vomit weren't enough, then the fact that we're going to pull in around a thousand people a night might do it. Do you know how many toilet breaks those thousand people will have? Seriously, I'd say I've been to the theatre in excess of 150 times and I've never - EVER - been to the toilet in the midst of a performance. I've crossed my legs and bolted out of the upstairs at the New Theatre in Oxford, scattering a class of ten year olds in my wake, diving into the ladies the moment the house lights came on but that doesn't count. Intervals are made for loo breaks and ice cream. But I suspect that I'm in a minority here.

Conversely I rather love seeing a theatre so full (if not when I have to work the coffee shop during the interval), it's a very different buzz to when we're dealing with 200 people. And anything that gets people into a theatre ('We Will Rock You' aside because, let's be honest, that IS NOT THEATRE, it's badly strung together crap), be it Alice and the Cheshire cat, or a well known Poet's first full length play, I think is a very good thing (though I'm reserving my pronounement on said poet's play until next week when it will be finished and I don't have a responsibility to the WYP regarding the production).

We also have some fantastic Alice tat. And you know how I love my tat. Especially when it comes from Alice's shop in Oxford.

Just don't mention sight lines or E-numbers to me. At least not until March.