Jerseyhouse 5

I always get to airports early. It’s part of what my friend Mat has coined as an ‘over developed sense of urgency’. It means that something in the back of my head panics that if I don’t get to the airport at least an hour or two before I need to, there is a chance that everyone else will have decided to fly earlier and I’ll get there to watch a pilot giving with the middle finger whilst speeding off down the runway way before he’s meant to. Ultimately this would mean he’d collide with another plane and I’d be glad I wasn’t onboard after all, but these thoughts only occur after the initial paranoid ‘missing my plane’ panic ones. There is little to do at an aiport when you’re there early. I used to enjoy watching people. Airports are great for people watching. You get expressions you don’t get anywhere else, such as huffing as their plane is delayed. That is huffing of a sadness and misery at life that occurs nowhere else. The one chance they’ve had to escape this godforsaken place and go on holiday for a finite amount of time, and some twat at an airline who’s probably just making sure the wings don’t fall off or something as reasonable, has made that finite amount of tiny even finitier. Yes, I’ve decided that’s a word as of now. Yesterday I also said the word ‘smasual’ as I was dressed smart casual. Let’s get these both in the dictionary. Go team! As well as the huffing there is also the amazing panics of people wondering where their passports are, only to realise seconds later they were holding them all along, and then the vacant stares of people looking at eau de toilette that they would have never considered otherwise, but the need to waste time and the surreal windowless atmosphere encourages them that smelling nicer is the way forward. I made the mistake of browsing the duty free and was subsequently launched at by a woman with a new Hugo Boss spray of some sort and she rapidly coated my arm with such things, like a well fragranced cat marking her territory. I wanted to mind, but my arm smelt a lot nicer than it had done before and so I couldn’t really complain. I wondered about kicking up a fuss stating that I had wanted a smellier arm, but I can’t imagine that many other people in the airport would have backed weird shouty smelly armed man over orange nice smelling lady.

Anyway, I found myself perusing the book shop, which I haven’t done for some time, and made my way to a book which was recommended by Paul Byrne a while back – Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve never read anything by him before, but new I had some time to kill and it wasn’t an overly big book so why not? To cut a long story short, I picked that book up, read half of it on the flight there and finished it on the flight back today, because it was a pretty tough thing to put down. I won’t go on about it too much as many of you have probably read it and I would recommend you do if you haven’t, but it’s partly about a man who travels back and forth through time against his will. I read this, and then got on a flight to Jersey and somehow went back to the 1950’s. It all felt rather poignant. I say flight. It sort of went up in the air and then immediately descended. Not in a crashing type way or divebombing, but nearly. The major downside of this is you can’t listen to or use anything electronic whilst the plane is ascending or landing and that meant no electronic things for the duration. Others looked panicked by this realisation. Having learnt from THIS I held by book smugly and imagined that I was giving an iPad a slightly aggressive knowing nudge as if to tip my hat to the old world of ink and paper.

The book, both in terms of its old school ways and written content was good prep for stepping off the plane into the self-contained world of Jersey. Most people seemed very friendly and relaxed but the first thing I saw as I walked out of the arrivals area was a coach driver shouting at an old woman to run for the coach, not helping her with her bags or anything and telling her its her fault he’s blocking the road. It appeared hospitality was not the main concern of the Jersey folk. Luckily I grabbed a cab and the cab driver, formerly from Aberdeen, regaled me such interesting facts as the best way round the ring road and why it infuriates him that there are more vehicles registered to Jersey than there are people to drive them. He then shouted at a ‘woman driver’ for going too slow before telling me about how over the years the ‘island has grown’. I started to wonder if was in an episode of Lost, but he explained its merely that they have expanded the coast of Jersey through building works and the shape of the coastline has changed. The island has got bigger. I didn’t know this was possible to do? Why aren’t we doing this everywhere? The sea is terrifying. Lets just make England a bit bigger round all the edges until we creep into Europe and can just walk over?

Everyone else I met – bar the snotty hotel staff who served me the most miserable looking poached eggs I’d ever seen this morning and tea but no milk. It looked like someone had brewed hate in a cup and two eyeballs on a plate – was lovely. The Jersey Arts Centre is a beautiful venue run by brilliant people and the night I had to host last night was something different to my usual gigs. It involved hosting four brand new one act plays that had been written by local writers and the performances were constructed, directed and rehearsed in a week. They were all very very good. In particular the third (A Weakness In Me by Hannah Patterson)and fourth (Happy Otter/Sad Otter by Ben Evans) plays, although not in detriment to the first and second but more because I was a tad more relaxed by then and could enjoy them better. All were about very dark and serious subject matter from political injustice and suicide to a boy who wanted to be a bird (not like that) and someone paying to have their leg amputated. So to inject comedy in between felt like it might be tough. It was not helped by the fact that everyone involved had been working so hard for a week, and I watched as they did drama warm-ups and pranced around remembering lines. Meanwhile I rocked up on the day, sat in a corner, looked at some notes, sniggered when people made silly voice warm-up noises and then had a beer. I realised I am definitely not a drama student anymore. Years of working by myself and not a team have beaten all that out of me and instead I am now just a miserable lonesome comedian. Which I much prefer. I can only imagine doing warm-ups would make tendons in my leg snap.

Luckily, me breaking the fourth wall like a clumsy demolition expert seemed to work quite well and it was a refreshing change to entertaining drunk loons on a Saturday. More of that please.

Quite a lot more to type, but have to go. So I will just leave you with the knowledge that I am still messed up by Inception. I fell asleep on the flight home and when the plane landed I woke up and yelped because I thought it was a ‘kick’. Such a loser. Now thanks to Kurt Vonnegut I’ll also be confused as to what section of my life is when and shall generally be living in a semi-conscious state for some time.

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