Unsung Heroes

Migraines are really shit. I wish they were yourgraines or someoneelsesgraines. I realise this joke only works if you pronounce it my-graines as opposed to the way lots of people say me-graines. Well if you say me-graines then here is a sentence for you: Migraines are really shit. I wish they were yougrains or someoneelsesgraines. Very little changed there but it made a big difference. What didn’t make a difference to my graine yesterday was…bloody anything! Anadins just made me absorb all the caffeine and be awake with a headache. Having a nap made me sleepy with horrible pounding behind the eyes evilness. Drinking loads of water made my bladder and brain hurt all at once. I was contemplating drilling a hole in my skull to let the demons out or breaking my own leg so I’d be distracted by a worse pain. Instead I hid under Layla’s slanket, in the dark, for hours, being bored. This was not my intended way to spend the day. In fact I was really looking forward to heading along to the comedian’s Christmas party that happened last night and I was also booked in to do a set at Josie Long’s lovely gig in Camden, The Lost Treasures of The Black Heart. I’d prepared a whole bit on unsung heroes which will now never be aired because everytime I moved it made me feel sick and my eyeballs throbbed as though they were trying to leave my skull.

Writing about unsung heroes made me realise I had a list of people who had done small things in life that I hailed at the time as works of genius and will continue to do so until the sun explodes, or I die. Which will happen first? Who knows. Who knows indeed. Anyway, while I don’t want to use the specific story I may have told last night, just incase I do find a way to place it within a set at some point later on, here are some of the people, who along my life path, I’ve decided are unsung heroes:

1) Tony at West One – Many a moon ago, me and my friend Mat worked as runners for a TV editing company just off Oxford Street. During this short period we learnt many an important life skill such as never to be a runner ever again, how to hold several cups of tea at once, where to buy a specific bottle of Purdeys from, that the woman from Superman 2 exists, how heavy an air conditioning unit really is, and how far good spinny wheely chairs go when on newly waxed wooden floors. But above all these, we learnt that Tony who worked at West One Cafe (which is now sadly closed) was a genius. Firstly he called me boss. I’ve never been and never will be anyone’s boss, so for him to automatically see that I am clearly the boss of everyone was an awesome gesture. I’m sure part of it was said tongue in cheek, but I’ll ignore that bit. Secondly and most importantly, you could buy a lot of nice food in West One, but the trick was to get a sandwich. For while it may not have been as grand as any of the salads, wraps, pasta or other assortment of treats, if you ordered a sandwich, you got to see Tony’s superpower. Huddle round people huddle round, incase the FBI hear this and want him for tests. Tony, could, using just one swift movement, butter a piece of bread from corner to corner. In one stroke of the knife. The knife that every time had exactly the right splodge of butter upon it. Round of applause please. That man was a genius. I will never ever know how he did that and I hope he’s somewhere now spreading condiments like a master.

2) Magician Busker – Once, while stuck in a dead end temp job and trying to while my lunch hour away in a sunny Leicester Square, a rather scruffy looking man approached me whilst I was eating my sandwich. I started to fumble for change expecting the obvious, but this man did not bring the obvious. No, he brought tiny moments of wizardry. He held his hand up to say ‘stop’ as I was looking for change, so I did. He then asked me if I believe in magic. I say ‘yeah, why not’, because I’m that kind of crazy care free rebel of the moment type. And I was sitting down and I was scared he’d mug me if I said no. He smiled and brought out two red sponge balls. He held one in his hand and gave me one and told me to put it on my hand and close my fist. He closed his fist too. I then had to shake my hand three times and say ‘I believe in magic’ and when I opened my hand, I had two sponge balls in it, and he had none. Now, I’m aware that someone like the wizard Pete Firman would scoff at a trick as easy as this, but I was merely a youth and it was a lovely moment of fun in my otherwise tedious lunch hour. The man then asked me to spare change if I could and I gave him one whole English pound. If he’d sawn a lady in half I’d have given him £3. No I’m not saying all homeless people should do magic tricks instead of busking, but they should.

3) Sauces Man – On a train home from the Edinburgh fringe in 2008, I was a broken and tired man. It had been a long month as usual and the train was filled with a horde of broken comedians. I decided to use my last few pounds on an overpriced egg mayonnaise sandwich from the buffet cart. You might note at this point that all my tales so far, have involved, in some sort or another, a sandwich. I’d like to say this is purely coincidence but I think that the Earl of Sandwich created something of genius when putting filling between those two bits of bread and I’m sure genius will always gravitate towards his creation. Also, I do eat a lot of sandwiches. Its possible that had any of these incidents happened on other days or times, I would also have been eating a sandwich. Anyway, I bought my sandwich from the tiny crouched Yorkshire man at the buffet cart, and as I did, he walked up close to the counter, and said ‘There’s some sauces for you there’, gave a wink, then put a tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard sachet in my paper bag. He then moved back to making tea, looking very smug about himself as though he’d saved someone’s life. I was baffled by this. You do not need sauces for a sandwich, least of all egg mayonnaise, the least sauce needing sandwich there is. I then stayed and watched him do exactly the same thing to the next customer, confusing them too. For a while I wondered if he lived in a state where all food needed all sauces at all times, and perhaps he assumed that others would be grateful for this lunch based extra. Then I realised he’d just figured out a way to confuse everyone, and to brighten up this constantly dull 4 hour journey. This man was a legend.

4) Sad Clown – Once, on the train back from somewhere, but nowhere in particular, me and Mat saw a man who looked like the most broken upset human you’ve ever seen. Except, he also looked like a clown that had just been fired. His orangey hair stuck out at the sides in the same fashion as Krusty or any other famous proprietor of clownery. He had a long jacket, very big shoes and a longish face with a roundish nose. There was a small flower in his pocket that perhaps, on a better day, would have squirted water at someone, followed by a cheeky laugh. Even his expression of sadness looked like it was an over the top piece of Komedia Dell Arte. Needless to say he made me and Mat laugh a lot. This may seem mean, but I think actually, that means even though he was sad, he was still excelling at being a brilliant clown.

5) Wolf Man – He collected the rubbish from my parents house and he looked like Wolverine. I’ll be honest, I’m easily pleased.

That’s all of them. I’m off now to take my cat to the vet’s. So she can hear some old war stories. Arf.

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