I realised on my drive home today that it’s been a while since I wrote anything, or indeed saw people. For those wondering, I’ve started a new job in lovely North Wales at Theatr Clwyd. I think it’s important to say that as years ago I went off radar for a few weeks and a friend put “RIP Sam” on my facebook wall. This led to some people genuinely thinking I’d died which weren’t helped by people winding them up. So, anyway, I’m not dead, I’m in Wales. Or, well close to Wales, I’m in Chester.
This feels increasingly like one of those slightly awkward letters that you’d invariably get at Christmas from family or friends who lived a bit too far away to see. They’d include all the year’s events in one side of A4 and would always describe various member of the family as “getting taller”, “achieved the A-Level results he wanted” or even “flirts with danger”. I always wondered what the subtext to these letters, written by the matriarch of the distant family might be. Instead of “getting taller” you might read “needs to leave home”, the A-Levels quote could easily be replaced with “failed” and “flirts with danger” is definitely code for “Is a cock”.
The new job has been pretty intense with quite long hours so far. There’s that part of you before you start somewhere new that is always the optimistic planner – in week one I will assess, week two I will solve, week three I will rest with my work done. Of course it doesn’t quite work like that. I feel I’m still in the assessment phase, getting to grips with the quirks and oddities that are inherent in any job. There are some incredibly friendly, genuine people working at the theatre which has made life a lot easier and has made me excited about getting to work in the morning. It feels like a bit of juggling at the moment perhaps with lots of balls in the air and the VHS on fast-forward. I think I’ve definitely dropped a couple but equally have caught a fair few too.
The best moments so far have been when my team made a cool video for an upcoming show, getting file sharing working (it’ll work perfectly by the end of next week mark my words!), walking up the box office staircase every morning to the most incredible view of green fields, small mountains and endless skies, the green room keeping me alive with huge portions of food, and eggs. Yes eggs. There’s a lady who brings eggs round from a local farm and you can buy eggs, from your desk, from a farm. It made my day.
The driving hasn’t been too bad, not least because I’ve now managed to relax to the soothing tones of BBC Radio 4. 95% of what it has on is brilliant if you give it a chance, the remaining 5% is The Archers – but then noone’s perfect. I love the obscurity of some of the shows that are on offer. This week, as a sample, there was a show about puppets and puppeteers hosted by a presenter with a pathological fear of puppets. Melvin Bragg’s “In Our Time”, a show with perhaps the most misleading title of all time when we bare in mind 90% of the show was about events in 1000BC and the rest was about Plato. And finally the beleaguered journalists interviewing people about the EU referendum. One particular highlight was a fish monger who came out with this confused gem.
“I sell mussels, I sell cockles, I sell fish. We won two World Wars. We need to stand on our feet again so we should leave”.
I did slightly wonder whether the journalist had genuinely asked him about the EU or if he just said put 3 sentences together that offer no coherent argument about anything at all.
Anyway. Finally tonight I played badminton for the first time in 4 years. As I’m taking the break from standup I thought I should try and get fit again. I’ve had this notion in my mind that I have, what I describe as “residual fitness”. This is like a store of fitness that would allow me, at a moments notice to run a marathon, or throw a javelin, or walk up some stairs faster than normal. With this in mind I thought I’d be okay. And in many ways I was. The skill, the racquet technique and positional play wasn’t horrendous.
Turns out though that “residual fitness” is massive bullshit. During the warm up I had sweat pouring down my face, my chest tightened, I genuinely considered just crying on court to be let off this. It was like cross country, painful and tiring, just without an overweight gym teacher with psychotic tendencies chasing you. I managed 6 games in all. Game 4 I peaked and although I was struggling, started to enjoy it a lot more. Game 5 was the killer. About half way though I realised that I couldn’t see through half of my left eye. It was like someone had put a crystal over half of it distorting the view. It came back after I sat for 10 minutes so I had one last game, make my excuses and fled.
Slightly bizarrely another person who was attending the club for the first time was someone I played badminton with at Uni. There was an awkward moment of “are you who I think you might be”. He suggested he wasn’t sure it was me as i looked younger than he remembered. Now before you think “well that’s a win” i should also tell this, in work I’ve been asked my age three times. I’m always coy replying “how old do you think I am”.
33, 38 and 40.
So there you go.
Anyway, to summarise I’ve got taller, got the results I wanted and have been flirting with danger loads.