As you read this blog, I must warn that you will find, honest thoughts, ambitions, and hopes from my mind.
I remember the primary school trips. We got to go to a field and stroke the sheep’s wool… Another time we spent an hour counting how many red and blue cars drove past our school. Those were the simple days…
Now I’m in ‘big school’, I can safely say trips have improved! Band trips to America, choir trips in Manchester, Art trips to Belgium… Today was no exception. Today, my tiny Drama set of 7 headed off to London to watch The 39 Steps in the Criterion Theatre! We were leaving half way through our last lesson, and so had to get changed before that lesson. I always feel quite pretty when I’m walking around in normal clothes and all the other girls are in long kilts and frumpy jumpers… I also love that look of envy you recieve from everyone when you walk out the classroom as they continue to work. You feel their eyes burning into you as you pack your bag and smugly strut out of the room… Yes, you all squirm with jealousy at my flaunt of freedom!
Normally, we get the coach to London, but today we were adventurous and took the London Underground instead. This meant buying a day pass. As you know from previous blogs, my dear readers, I seem to have a constant battle with technology – in particular, machines used by the general public involving money. I tried to buy my day pass, and no matter what buttons I pressed, there was no option to use my 16-25 Railcard. What is the point in getting this card if machines don’t allow them to get you discounts?! I grumpily paid my £10 note from Christmas, and the machine sucked up my money like a greedy vulture, before returning my measly £2 coin. Thanks, London Underground, thanks a lot.
We arrived at the Criterion Theatre and went through to our seats immediately. Of course, the seat fiasco occured, as expected. We had booked Seats C10 to C19 – my Drama teacher at C10. She took her place, then C11 had to climb over her to get to her place, C12 had to climb over them both… And so on. So, who was the poor sucker in C19? That has to be me, doesn’t it? Big old me, who had also been lumbered with the bag of 9 packed lunches. I took a deep breath and climbed past everybody, hitting everyone with the bag and getting to know what people look like at a closer proximity than neither of us would have liked… I eventually squeezed through to my seat, a couple of inches smaller, and flopped down into my seat, then passing down 8 packed lunches. Brilliant start.
Back in the day, theatre was for the upper class of society, who dressed to the occasion after paying out a lot of money to see an excellent performance. Nowadays, they let any old ‘riff raff’ in! One thing I love to do is people watch, and I must say I encountered a peculiar bunch of people today.
Behind me were 2 girls – 1 who spoke with a very posh English accent, and 1 with a loud American twang. They discussed cookery the entire time – had I made notes, I would now be able to make a superb lemon meringue pie and a divine hot apple pie.
Various people milling around reminded me and my darling friend of different characters from movies – we saw a Proffessor Tralawney from Harry Potter, Count Olaf from Series of Unfortunate Events, and “the adorable old man who learns to swim” from The Holiday.
My favourite stranger that I discovered today though was the man sitting just in front of me, in B18. He was wearing baggy, blue, faded denim jeans and a big, black ACDC t-shirt with a leather jacket that he threw to the ground when he reached his seat. He was completely bald, and had several ear piercings. His arms were covered in tattoos of barely dressed women and fierce animals, and he wore an angry expression to go with his thick moustache. Everything about this man terrified me. He was a punk rocker, yet sat in a theatre, about to watch an old-fashioned, satirical play. His girlfriend (who was fairly ‘normal’ looking) must have dragged him along…
The play began, and it was much better than I had anticipated. It was genius how they used multi-roling, and the comedy flowed throughout with impeccable timing. The fantastic performance only had a 4 man cast – yet contained so many characters. The whole play was hilarious, and I was kept thoroughly entertained – there was not a dull moment. However, I don’t think anybody has ever, or will ever, enjoy the play as much as the tattooed punk in front of me. He chuckled and laughed so loudly that the whole of my Drama set looked at each other in amusement. For this laugh was not the snide laugh of a thug – it was the high-pitched, girlish giggle of a pre-pubescent adolescent. He shrieked with laughter and couldn’t smother his giggles when the rest of the audience stopped laughing. If I hadn’t found the play as brilliant as I did, then I would have still had a fantastic time simply watching him. Sometimes, I love the public…
Then other times I hate them. Especially the ones on the London Underground. At rush hour, I feel so claustraphobic on the tube, like I cannot breathe. The tube is filled with awkward moment opportunities. I suffered multiple. First, there is that momentum when the train leaves the station and everybody surges forward, apart from the lucky ones who actually got seats. Unfortunately, I surged forward and brushed legs against a man sat down. He flinched, and I turned bright red. However, he seemed to understand, and let this one time thing slip… If only it was one time. This happened 3 more times before he stared at me in confusion and annoyance and I felt I had to move before I was charged with harrassment. Up came my next awkward moment. To stop myself rubbing up against any more strangers, I grabbed the bar to steady myself… Or at least I tried to. Instead, I grabbed the bar where a man’s hand already was, causing an extremley awkward hand hold, a weird stare and me letting go and nearly falling over. Awkward moment number 3 occured when I blocked people getting onto the train, making them squeeze past me before I jumped out of the way in shock. Number 4 was the “Excuse.me, sorry, sorry, excuse me, sorry!” as you fight through to the door at your station, pushing through in a panic that you’ll miss your stop. Awkward, awkward, awkward…
Of course, a man working on the London Underground decided to make my day completely worthwhile. He informed my whole group of 9 that today was the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, and, judging by our surprise, decided everyone on the platform should know too.
“Ladies and gentlemen, today is the 150th anniversary of the London Underground opening it’s railway lines. It is a glorious day, and one we should all know and remember for the rest of our lives. Don’t forget this day. Thank you.”
We all stared at him in disbelief – this man had the power of the tannoy system! We voiced our admiration of his gadget, and he offered the ginger from my previous blog the chance to tell everyone Happy New Year. She got to be on the voice over – incredible! Sadly, our train arrived, and Mahen (the Man of Tannoy) waved us off. What a brilliant tube experience!
By the time we were near school, it was nearing 8:00PM, so we stopped off at McDonalds. I prepare myself before I order so I don’t make a fool of myself by hesitating. I strode forward and confidentally requested:
“A Sweet Chilli Chicken Deli Wrap, please.”
I was satisfied with my order, and now my speech was done, I could just pay and wait for my food, without more humiliating talk with strangers… Or so I thought. The bored-looking teenager standing before me then asked:
“Is that a meal?”
I thought quickly. Yes, I was quite hungry…
“Uh, yes please.”
MISTAKE! Here comes the questions, fired down at unprepared me, who stumbled my replies like an idiot:
“Is that medium?”
“Um, uh… No?”
“What drink do you want?”
“Diet or Full Fat?”
“Uh, Full Fat… No! Diet! I want Diet… Please!”
“Uh, no, no sauces, aha…”
And it was over. I was panting slightly, ready for another round, but I was moved to the side to wait. It was scarier than a round of Mastermind, and I had unintentionally made a spotty, greasy McDonalds’ worker who looked a good year younger than me seem like Einstein next to me, a bumbling, stammering wreck. Still, the deli was worth the humiliation…
Well, my dear readers, we are comfortably seated in the middle of the 300s in the views stake… Isn’t this all going well?! Feel free to comment on your theatre experiences, tube moments, or idiotic moments where the power of speech has deserted you! Thanks for reading this post, I hope it was worth it! Much love to you all. Good night.