Saturday, 19 May 2018

A new plan, again: Day 20

They're odd things, awards ceremonies. Pretentious circle-jerks for the representatives of companies who have spent enough on advertising to be shortlisted, bored guests sitting around trying to work up enthusiasm to clap for winners they hope will in turn clap when it's their turn on stage, some z-list host wiping the powder from his nose wishing he was young enough to still do the thing that made him just famous enough to be invited to this gig, everyone getting rapidly battered off cheap wine and taking photos of themselves with their own cameras and then going home alone and vomiting in their toilets and secretly hating themselves.

What I'm trying to say is that we didn't win Best Bar.

No, but all cynicism aside, it was a good night. If by "a good night" you mean "the worst way to spend a Thursday since the Hindenburg Disaster".

No, I'm joking, it was actually all right. We got free cake. We clapped Sean from Beer Central (though he didn't win). Mike made a joke at a woman from OHM while we queued for polystyrene trays of potato raclette.

"Is it Ohm, or O-H-M?" someone asked.

"I don't know," the woman said. "I say O-H-M, because customers always go 'ommm' and make jokes and it's like, fuck off."

"I bet there's some resistance to that," Mike said.

The woman carried on talking. I looked at Mike, and Mike looked at me, and then Mike looked at the woman and pretended to be listening. I think I'm in love with Mike.

After the ceremony I made is as far as The Old Workshop and Dev Cat and Wick, getting a contact high off the others, drinking vicariously through them, then when they were heading to the Harley I got Mike in a taxi and took off. Partly because nothing good has ever happened to anyone who's older than 30 in the Harley, and partly because I was working the open today, and also partly because Mike was trying to get cash out from a postbox and it really seemed time to get him home.

- - -

I woke up wishing I'd escaped three or so hours sooner -- I had not had nearly enough sleep, and had flaunted my "in bed by 2am" rule -- but at least I wasn't hungover. I'd felt sadness and isolation in the Wick, as the voices soared and the cacophony set in and the spirits of abandon began to come alive-- felt sobriety was one cold grey afternoon for the rest of eternity and all true life was the flame, the chaos, the lambent liquid glow in the bottom of the bottle when the strange music starts to howl. Christ I wanted a drink. To give myself away to the goddess of booze, incinerate all edges, rise reborn an angel of furious belief...

But shaking the mustiness from my brain and showering and travelling to work I was so glad of my choice, of the quiet path, of not burning up but letting an element steadily heat me for the whole of the week.

- - -

Paint-by-numbers Friday shift, then an Uber to meet Jake. We were off to see Missy's play, starring Dale also, written by Dreads, with stage management and props by Joe. Their little baby, and the fruit of months of hard work.

I wasn't in the mood for am-dram (is anyone, ever?), was tired and knew I had this writing to do. But I wanted to support my friends, so forced myself along. And it actually was fabulous, full of energy and mirth, and in contrast to the awards ceremony created for no reason other than inherent delight. There were some great lines, and Dale and Missy smashed it. A man played the part of a magical door. He made door-related puns. I was in heaven.

And Jake was at his best, on the way to steaming from an afternoon of Stella with Big Steve, now having to hold it together in front of Missy's parents and his grandparents and everyone, but and so just giving himself to love, the thing he does where he gives himself to love, talks to every person, sees them all as his friends, a world of friends either known or ready to be made, a jolly adventure, life nothing but an excuse to feel joy -- his boyish face beaming, unable to hold in the warmth -- And we took our seats and thirty seconds in he was roaring with laughter, the sounds escaping with only maybe the gentlest of nudges, no space for black feelings, for jealousy, for nerves.

That mindset is contagious. Come the interval I'm shocked to find myself weightless, sailing, buoyed by my heart. Who needs perfectionism, cynicism that it isn't Pinter or Beckett? Let it go and remember we're children riding a storm into space. Let it go. Live for a lark. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.

"It's great, isn't it?" says Jake afterwards, trying to articulate. "They've put on a thing. You know? We haven't put on a thing. They've put on a thing. For us. Isn't that great."

I nod. It is.

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