Friday, March 05, 2010

Neither Mirth nor woe: On being told off by grown-ups

Neither Mirth nor woe: On being told off by grown-ups

To London with my charming wife for a visit to the theatre.

Theatre! Our greatest thesps treading the boards for the delight of the paying masses, the cultural pinnacle of our society.

Starlight Express, then.

Bless my poor, dead mother, but every year we would receive a pair of theatre tickets for Christmas, and we would make a day of it up it the Smoke. A bit of shopping, some tourist attractions, something to eat, then we'd hit the theatre.

So, come early afternoon, and things are not going particularly well as we toured the National Gallery.

My charming wife was unencumbered by heavy shopping, but I found myself weighed down by a large Chinese vase purchased from Mr Fayed's Knightsbridge Emporium of Tat.

We had taken a shining to the thing as soon as we had laid eyes on it, and the assistants fell over themselves to encase it in plastic bags and pass it to me looking like a gift-wrapped torpedo. With nothing to do but carry the thing around with us all day, it was beginning to look like one of our least inspired purchases.

Our attention is drawn to John Constable's 1816 painting of Weymouth Bay. Of course, when you see a picture of your local area, you are drawn to it like flies to a recently deceased colleague strapped to a radiator, just so you can see how the great artist captured where you live.

"Look – see that?" I say, pointing, "That's the area where our house was going to be built."

Except, as I was pointing, The Great Vase weight me down, and I found myself toppling forward, finger outstretched directly at Constable's priceless painting.

There was a "Noooooooooo!" from the curator, roused from her sleep as I plunged toward Weymouth Bay in slow motion.

At the last moment, I managed to twist my body, and I instead prodded the wall half a centimetre away from the frame.

The curator looked at me and said one word: "OUT".

We left, pausing only to defecate on Van Gogh's crappy picture of a bunch of flowers.

Our day was not over, not by any shot.

I still had to get our torpedo into Starlight Express, and sit with it through a two-hour performance of roller-staking, train-related high-jinks.

Not so simple. We were in the second row.

I was – it must be said – amazed at the ease in which I got the monster into the auditorium.

It was only as the performance started, and I sat with the thing between my legs like an enormous green phallus that things got difficult.

One of the performers, in his full dressed-as-a-train fig, skated out to stage front, clocked my throbbing bell jar and performed a manoeuvre that can only be described as "the baby owl". That train, I am certain, went on to become The Cat of Red Dwarf.

Other performers gave me worried looks as they staked past. It's not as if a man hasn't brought large pottery to a theatre before. Or something.

Half-time: "Excuse me, sir…"

They were very nice. I was allowed to store my bell-end in the manager's office until the end of the show, and hardly lectured me at all except the the words, through gritted teeth: "This is the third one this week. Don't. Do. It. Again."

And then, to Victoria Bus Station.

"There's no way THAT'S coming on my effing bus."


Then I was sick inna jar.

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