Monday, 16 October 2006

Friday the 13th

I am not normally superstitious BUT I may have to reconsider after this weekend.

It started badly when my debit card started to play up. I wanted to credit my mobile and the automatic txt system wouldn't work. I called the bank (well, bloody India, actually) and on the third attempt I finally got through to someone who a) spoke recognisable English and b) knew which buttons to push so as not to cut me off! He (I think it was a he! How am I supposed to know if Mingita is a butch lesbian or a queen??) said my card had been locked because of a fault on the chip & pin terminal of my last transaction. He told me how to reactivate it on an ATM. No problem, I thought, I can do that now. When I got to the terminal the option wasn't where he told me it was. This meant I had to make an unnecessary trip into town on a day when I had little spare time.

The town centre was unusally busy for a Friday lunchtime with chavs and their sprogs cluttering up the rare spaces between roadworks and 'town centre improvements' to the pedestrian areas. I got to the bank and tried again to unlock my pin. To no avail. The option still wasn't where Mingita had said it was. I turned to the customer service woman in the bank and told her my tale of woe. She took me to the ATM and showed me how to unlock my PIN. It was not where bloody Mingita said it was. I remonstrated with the poor woman. 'Oh', she says, 'I sometimes forget where it is until I see it on screen' 'That is no excuse', I screamed, ' Bloody Mingita is sitting there with a f***ing script in front of him. He has no f***ing excuse beyond his inability to read English!' And stormed out. I cursed the day they replaced slammable doors with those automatic sliding ones.

Back home I packed my bags, loaded them and my PA system into the car and set out an hour early for the two hour drive to Garstang and a gig.

Previous trips up to the north west had regularly been delayed by the roadworks in Stoke and the congestion on the M6 between Stoke and Manchester during the rush hour. I decided to continue up the M1, cross country through Huddersfield, pick up the M62 and circumnavigate Manchester to the north. To hell with that smug voice on the SatNav! All went well until I got onto the M62 near Huddersfield where I found myself in the middle of a 30+ mile tailback. 1.5 hours later I passed the cause of the delay, a lorry had gone through the central barrier.

By this time it was about 8.30pm, my scheduled time onstage. I had twice tried to call the organiser and had to leave a voicemail message as she wasn't answering.

At 9.20 I called the stripper to tell him that I was 5 mins away.

On arrival I was very stressed. I hate letting people down by arriving late. Bless them, the organisers tried to be helpful but their fussing only served to wind me up and I snapped at them(very unusual for me). 'Get out of my f***ing dressing room and leave me to get ready!'

They had organised a room for me but it was too far from the stage for my quick changes so I decided to use a partitioned off section right beside the stage. Unfortunately it was only two panels against a wall. Hardly private.

I slapped my makeup on and was ready to go onstage at 10pm (by some miracle). That was when the real 'fun' started.

I have never, in all my career, come across such rude, pig-ignorant, disrespectful members of an audience (not the whole audience, just an uncultured 50% sitting on the left). First off one of them walked into my changing room during my act to change her clothes!! I only saw it when I went to do my first quick change and, I am ashamed to say, I threw her across the stage screaming abuse at her.

Then, as I launched into the live section of my act, several of the slags insisted on having loud conversations, thus disrupting the whole event. Even after I remonstrated with them (OK, I called them ignorant f***ing c**ts!) they continued. Unusually for me my entire first half turned into a foul mouthed rant about everything that had gone wrong during the day, right up to and including the section of the audience who were straight from the gutter and did not deserve to be entertained by a live act who they couldn't pause while they discussed important issues in their lives like what was on special in Lidl this week and how they'd got caught shoplifting in the Poundshop.

During the interval I chatted to the strippers, wondering if the bad time I was having onstage was merely down to the fact I was stressed after a bad day. They said that they were hating the evening, that the girls (no way could you call them Ladies) were ignorant and disrespectful.

Suffice to say we were all glad when the evening was over. The organisers agreed that the unruly element were out of order and apologised for their behaviour.

By the time we left all I wanted to do was put my foot down and get the 2 hour journey home done as quickly as possible. Doing 100 mph down the M1 was probably not a wise descision but, happily, it was after midnight and Friday 13th was rapidly becoming a distant memory as I crawled into bed some time after 4am on Saturday 14th.