Blogging is like “Life” as described by Monty Python: a game, where we make up the rules, while we’re searching for something to say.
The only guarantee of blogging is Spam- makes me think of Spamalot. I never actually saw the musical but loved the Holy Grail movie.
This country has so many varieties, its landscapes its people. I saw the power station above maybe twenty minutes before the Shire. It’s amazing: the diversity that exists from one town to the next, even if it’s only twenty miles away.
Travelling across this place, as I have, by train, it’s as though I’m seeing it from a great height. I feel close to it, but can’t quite reach out and touch it.
I sometimes feel as though it’s all a dream. Then I find myself waking as with every train station a little bit of the world gets on board.
We live in a bizarre symbiosis with each other. There are the annoyers and the annoyees (not a real word, but you know what I mean).
For example: there was this person who sat on our “quiet coach” (a type of train car which hopefully requires no further explanation) and loudly recited a monologue into a cell phone, regaling someone with every minute detail of life. (I sort of sound like the blog-pot calling the cell-kettle black, don’t I?) Anyway, I say “monologue” because it seems altogether impossible that anyone be willing to participate in such a dull “dialogue”. (To me, even if the person on the other end had spent their entire life trapped in an elevator, I’d imagine them hanging up.)
Tales of video games, quiche and croutons, mortgages, and the best choice of bottled water, after two hours became kind of an annoying thrill.
It’s unfortunate that this person looked and dressed in such a fashion as to resemble a muppet.
This person was like a television in a bar. I was hypnotized and utterly powerless to ignore it.
So this last week has been very much the hors d’ouvre plate of locales. I never imagined the subtle differences between Epsom, Barnstaple, Lichfield, Buxton, Newcastle, and Birkenhead. In some ways they may as well be from separate countries.
There’s been mountains and snow,
Shires minus the Hobbits, cities in name rather than in scale,
accents, accents, accents, and some theatres so grand as to humble me to my very core.
I’m never sure what’ll come next.
The memories are fleeting- I hope that there’ll be some kind of carry over of this experience to the rest of my life. Watching Canada win Olympic Hockey gold made the huge impression on me. That makes sense, though- touring is my job- the hockey is something that happens once every thirty years. Or if we believe Roland Emerich’s movie 2012, it’ll never happen again.
The Mayans knew it.
Touring it seems serves to remind me of the life I’ve left behind. Real life is so precious to me.
I remember an Oscar speech made by a woman who’d suffered greatly during WWII. She said that people today don’t appreciate the luxury of a boring evening spent at home. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but that was the gist of it. For my own part, I feel the truth of it, even though her life was terribly hard in comparison to mine.
I implore you, if you have the opportunity to savour an extra embrace with your loved one: do it. Take the time to smile at each other and make a joke. Phone a friend before the prospect of dodgy cell phone service plagues your day to day. Go visit your parents or grandparents if they live nearby. If you have the luxury of it, relish it. Ketchup. (get it? dumb)
What matters to me most is what’s left behind. If I could fly it all here, believe me, I would.
If anything, that sentimental feeling has made me empathize a bit more with this world I cannot touch. I am travelling through the lives’ of others. Even if I never meet any of them I can assume that this is their home and what matters most.
It’s like passing through the fields of sheep and pheasants, on the the way to Barnstaple, I remember how “quaint” it all seemed. Even the warring pheasants, battling it out over dominion of a small section of a field. How could it matter? What could possibly be the difference?
The lives’ of sheep and pheasants cannot be dismissed, they must be lived to be understood. I pass by in the train, yet for all the windows in the car, I see only an impression of it. I’ve spent so may years “just passing through” places that I’ve lost my ability to see any of it.
It makes me think of the muppet on the cell phone and the person with the lovely red socks. My meagre observations of them are as nothing. I’ve not revealed the underpainting, the textures, or their complexities layered beneath the surface. They’ve shared a part of themselves with we strangers. It makes me question why I’m bothered by it?
Is it because I don’t care to hear it? Or do I wish I was as free?
Part of my longing for home is that I know there are people in my life who care enough to listen about what I ate for dinner. It’s a comfort. (I promise never to tell you unless you ask, because it’s really boring.)
I’ve failed to appreciate that for maybe thousands of generations of pheasants, a mere passing field might represent their entire world. What appears to me as a squabble between birds may in fact be the passage of power. Unless I live in those fields (or wear another person’s socks), all I have is just my lazy observations.
I have begun to understand that touring is a gift that can’t take come home with you. It’s something like a long rite of passage, that after a while, it changes the way you view the world. It ‘s been a privilege that I haven’t necessarily earned, and for that reason, I will try to be worthy of the honour.
Last night in Newcastle, the show at the incredible Theatre Royal (one my favourite theatres in the world), it was rejuvenating.
I felt my blood happily race through my bruised body with slightly greater gusto. It helped that there were over 600 people in attendance and that they really got it. It’s the variable that can never be controlled during a live show: the response. Regardless of it, you have to keep going. Some days I wonder if the morgue has been taken out on a field-trip to see my show.
In Newcastle though, if was as if the embodiment of joy and youth found living expression in the form of my audience. I thank them for being so.
I spent today off in Chester, which has a quiet bustling beauty to it.
I had coffee in a Medieval crypt this afternoon,
this is just a local coffee shop. No big deal.
I was lucky enough to see some friends this week, and here they are in no particular order.
I also was lucky enough to have a night out in Barnstaple with Henry (my comic support) and Christine (my tour manager).
Lastly, I saw two funny signs that I wanted to share:
And, in Chester:
I’m an eight year old.
Thank you Pheasants.