I walk back up to the high street and browse the charity shops.
After some debate I buy two Bunty annuals (1979 and 1988) and a 1970 The Return of the Saint annual with really useless illustrations. Alan Moore once told me why these annuals had such cal-handed illustrations, but I do not remember all the details beyond it was a way to make as much money as possible from the easily duped kids (like me).
I go to the public conveniences near the brewery as the combination of late nigh shortbread and wine has made my colon paranoid. The cubicle is busy so I wander off rather than waiting outside. I regret my decision as I approach the cemetery because I start to imagine that when I return the hop deliverers will spot me going into the gents a second time and presume I am there for some Orton-esque cottaging. These are the kind of anxieties that I fabricate hourly.
I am dropped off at Darsham by one of the many delightful festival volunteers.
Changing trains at Ipswich, I make a Greggs lunch of vegan sausage roll, vegan doughnut and black coffee. They were friendly, the coffee was good and it it was considerably cheaper than the neighbouring Starbucks. Starbucks omnipresence is a mystery to me. I have been suspicious ever since they started to ask if I would like to spend even more on my coffee by trying a rarer bean, summarised as “for a little bit more, your black coffee will be less distressing”.
With Katie Mack and David McAlmont
I spend 20 minutes in a tunnel between Liverpool Street and Moorgate, such desperation sets in that I leaf through a copy of yesterday’s Metro.
Before this evening’s gig I do an online gig for 5X15, an hour long conversation with Pippa Evans which will end 1 minute before the live gig at Kings Place starts. I walk from the virtual to the real (no simulation theory here) and we create a curious chat show with brilliant guests – Hugh Warwick, Helen Zaltzman, Helen Czerski, David McAlmont and Katie Mack. It is a highly improvised affair and all the more delightful for that. We cover Heracles, dung beetles, Kate Bush and the end of the Universe.
I risk a trip to the pub with pals and Rebecca is particularly entertaining (if you have never read her monologue Sometimes I Laugh Like My Sister or seen her TEDx Brixton talk about grief, you should. Look up “Rebecca Peyton”). We can stay until closing time as Jakko (who you might know from such bands as King Crimson and 64 Spoons) gives me a lift home.
Just before bed, I foolishly veer into miserabilism as I am overwhelmed by a sneaky sense of failure. It is a silly mistake , especially since I have stopped listening to Morrissey nowadays.
Tickets available for this week’s gigs at Toppings in Ely on Thursday night and Little Bookshop in Ripon on Friday night. Also, pop along to Imagined Things in Harrogate at midday on Friday – happy to put on impromptu show on stop of signing. All Tour dates here.
Order signed and dedicated copies of The Importance of being Interested here.