There were a lot of elements of yesterday that should have deemed it a bad day. The sort of bad day where without self restrain I could have happily run around causing minor nuisance by kicking over bins and pushing over pedestrians. That level of rage where if you were to contain your fury there is a small chance the top of your head would shoot off in a volcanic eruption and your brain bubble out like mental lava. This anger would have been put down to two main things. The first was traffic. Now I deal with traffic a lot. I know it well. We hang out. I would say we’re like good buddies except that I hate it and its like the friend you’ve been asked to hang around with at school because your mum’s are mates, but he picks his nose and eats it and keeps trying to punch you. Yesterday, as they often do, the peoples in charge of road stuffs decided to close the Blackwall Tunnel. For those readers that don’t know the Blackwall Tunnel, it is a large stretch of, well, tunnel, that links North East London to South East London by winding under the Thames. Being that it is underground and traversing beneath lots of water, if such a thing is closed, you are trapped into undertaking a mighty diversion around the Thames and to the nearest bridge. Its not easy. Its especially not easy when all the other cars are doing exactly the same. Its even more difficult when one of the other roads you need to take on this diversion is closed for roadworks. And it is nigh on impossible when whatever you press on your satnav it seems to want to take you back to the closed Blackwall Tunnel meaning you drive in traffic filled circles of Hades for 45 minutes. This was made ten billion times worse by the fact it wasn’t the route I would have taken anyway, but I decided to trust the satnav this once. Stupid stupid stupid. This is where it starts. Wrong directions, slowing down the humans. Next thing, the robots will rule. If it wasn’t so expensive and useful at other times I’d punch my satnav in its directional face. So having left to do an hour’s journey at 6.45pm, I finally arrived at my gig at 9.30pm. I, at this point, had used up all my energy conjuring up interesting swears to shout from the confines of my vehicle – last night’s favourite was ‘shitzu fuck tornadoes’ – and duly decided never to go on a road ever again. I had completely overlooked that I would need to be driving home which ruined that decision somewhat. I should really think these things through. Luckily I’m not a stubborn man or I’d still be walking back from Caterham now.
Thing number two that nearly induced Hulk like rage upon thee earth was a man at the gig. It was a preview at a very nice arts centre in Caterham, Surrey. Dave Gibson had been on before me, and I would’ve seen his show if it wasn’t for the traffic apocalypse I’d been embroiled in. He warned me that the audience of 30 were very chatty, that there was a birthday party in, and that they all answered to the name of John because they thought it’d be funny. This rang warning bells. My show is very much about being nice and its not an easy show to perform to a rawkus bunch. This is something that slightly worries me in Edinburgh. Should I ever get a day with drunken twats in, I’m going to really have to struggle with dealing with them in the nicest way possible. Such heckle responses as ‘where’d you learn to whisper? At a high class private whispering school?’. And ‘the point of heckling is to make me look stupid. Well done you’ve managed it, what a nice chap you are.’ I can’t see that working somehow. I walked onstage anticipating the worst and luckily, it wasn’t the worst. There was one man who insisted on interrupting certain gags to tell me how wrong I am about them, but that was ok. I humoured him and moved on. The main culprit of despair creation was a man in the front row whose phone went off twenty minutes in. I warned him not to take it or to go outside. Instead he smugly answered it the front row and talked away. I stopped. I didn’t know what to do and I was so flabbergasted (yes, that word) that he would be so rude, that I didn’t really know what to do. I couldn’t be nasty as I’d been talking about being nice. He spoke for about two minutes to his granddaughter. Not an important call. Were he a doctor or Jack Bauer type agent it’d have been at least forgivable. But no. Something far less urgent and therefore just downright spiteful. I let him finish while pulling certain facial expressions at the rest of the audience to indicate I thought he was a despicable prick. When he finished I used him as an example of when people aren’t nice. It wasn’t quite enough revenge but it was all I could do at the time. I was fuming inside and wanted to release a barrage of abuse but I didn’t. The rest of the show rolled on ok, until, one straw away from breaking the camel’s back, the interrupting man spiked up during my attempt at being heartfelt and serious to tell me that ‘you’re a bit of a shit really aren’t you?’ Well done dickbag. Why don’t you just take that atmosphere balloon and pop it with a sword? It reminded me, though to a far lesser extent of listening to a bootleg of Kitson’s ‘Its The Fireworks Talking’ recently, where just as he builds into this amazing crescendo about his love for his parents, some arsehole in the room shouts ‘gay’. Kitson, rightfully so, goes completely nuts and demands the man is removed from the room immediately. It takes a few minutes but after joking about it, he gets the room back and finishes it nearly as well as he would have done before. I’m not in any way as good as Kitson. I just humoured the man again, and went straight back into it. Sigh.
But despite all that it wasn’t a bad day. After an enjoyable journey home with Dave, discussions about tattoos and a complete lack of traffic, I sat down and watched Heima. If you haven’t seen it, its a film about the band Sigur Ros and their return home to Iceland to perform a series of free gigs for the people at home. These gigs take place in some of the most scenic and beautiful locations you can imagine. Sweeping landscapes of mountains, lakes, black sand and sea. The film is a visual and aural joy to watch. Every minute filled with Jonsi’s incredible wails and the constantly cinematic music of the band. There are brief interviews with the band, giving great insights into their thoughts on the shows and how they work and compose. But the amazing bits are the shows themselves intercut with shots of Icelandic life at its best. It reminded me slightly of the Cinematic Orchestra’s version of ‘The Man With The Movie Camera’, which is a 1929 silent film about the Stalin five year plan in Russia and merely showing to a filmic rhythm the everyday ins and outs of life in such a society. The Cinematic Orchestra released a DVD of the film with their soundtrack to it, and I was lucky enough to see it live at the Barbican. It is nothing short of breathtaking. Heima is similarly incredible and even after a day of true wrongness, it was hard not to sit in a chilled bliss of joy as Hoppípolla is played as people walk to the show at Starálfur. Amazing. I am going to see Jonsi play at Bestival this year and I just can’t wait. I’m tempted to stub my own toe in the wall and drive in circles around the M25 for several hours first just so I can get maximum relaxed effect from it when I go. I fell asleep having forgotten all about phone twat and traffic mayhem, and instead envisioning walking through Iceland to the ‘Takk..’ album. Admittedly I’d be quite cold as I was only in my pjs, but again, I hadn’t really thought it through.