Friday, May 15, 2009

Gorillas! Busking!

Do you live in Manchester? Do you have a job that allows you to work whenever you like or, if you so choose, not at all? Do you have an appreciation for crispy duck pancakes with a musical accompaniment?

If you have answered 'yes' to the above questions, then I really must insist that you make you way down to the pagoda in Manchester's glittering China Town at four thirty this afternoon. There you can witness me and my be-hatted companion, Ben, performing a twenty minute set of our own devising, to the rain-smeared streets and, I imagine, a certain number of bemused-looking Chinese people. (Although if you are not free then, there are plenty of other acts on around the city - have a look.) In spite of a small but fairly drastic hitch when we realized that there is no power for the loop pedal, we're excited about it. We're doing two of my songs ('Song for Lori' and 'Surrender'), one of Ben's poems ('Bullets') ('Bullets'! He's so street!) and a mash-up version of Summertime. In one of the verses of Summertime I am going to beatbox! Well, I'm not, not really. I am going, in fact, to sing the bass line while Ben sings the lead, but to me it totally counts.

The drastic hitch arose this morning, when Ben was scurrying about packing things for his workshop. He frantically texted about it, trying to sort it out, whilst I sat on the bed, said "um" quite a lot, and tried to compose my facial features into 'concerned but not panicking'. It is still uncertain whether we will get the extra power. If not then we will just have to not use the loop pedal (there is an amp and two microphones, so it will not be so bad).

Over the past few days I have been down to That London and back, singing at the Dorchester, seeing friends, seeing my Mum and Dad. I managed to cock up my travel arrangements on a fairly massive scale, which culminated yesterday in my lovely Mum* driving me to Milton Keynes to try and bypass the Peak Times Of Death. I had an off-peak return Manchester-London, but had forgotten that those arch-warlords at National Rail deem that anyone travelling after three-fifteen in the afternoon should be forced to pay double the fare. I remembered this whilst having lunch with my Mum. I sat bolt upright, clutched my head and shouted "PEAK TIMES!". (She later told me that in the thirty seconds before I told her the source of my considerable consternation, she thought maybe I had forgotten to buy a copy of some little-known publication centred around the goings on of a National Park in Derbyshire. "I thought maybe they'd done an article on Ben... or something.")

Being the wonderful and kind person that she is, she drove me to Milton Keynes, an expedition that turned out to be completely fruitless as they charged me a peak ticket there as well.

Feeling glum and carrying a big rucksack and a heavy amp, I trudged to the ticket barriers, which were being manned by two identikit, acne-ridden teenagers with mid-nineties haircuts and suits that they were clearly hoping to "grow into".

I put my amp down to retrieve my ticket from my purse. The one on the right barely glanced at my ticket, but took a big sidelong look at the amp. He took a moment to think of something witty to say.

"That's a big amp" he eventually managed.

I looked at him and nodded slightly.

"Yeah. It's pretty heavy, too."

He had nothing left to add, clearly having exhausted his mental capacities earlier on in the conversation. I sighed and made a show of picking up the amp again, and began to make my way to the platform. Luckily his mate was there to pick up from where he'd left off.

"Cheer up, love."

I turned and stared at his sullen, twatty little face and laughed, bitterly. As I walked away, I said (under my breath) "What would cheer me up would be an offer of help with what is, as was helpfully pointed out just a moment ago, a very heavy fucking amp. Not being told to cheer up by a spikey-haired little cock monkey like you."

Luckily I got a good seat on the train, bought a gin and tonic, and took my frustrations out by telling the woman across the aisle from my to turn her music down. I suspected that when I got up to go to the toilet she turned it back up again, but the initial victory was mine.

So I am off to decide what to wear for my busking debut! I suspect it will involve bright colours, as today the sky has chosen "Manchester Grey" for its palate. I actually wanted to find two gorilla costumes, although Ben's would have to be rather longer than mine. I would wear mine with stilettos instead of feet, and Ben would have to wear a hat.

I have three hours to make it happen.

*Look! My Mum's on TV! (She's the nutritionist.)

9 Comments:

Anonymous Rage Against The Dying of the Light said...

A rare specimen - a new and original Leonie-post. And, even better, it includes some classic Leonie rather than the Leonie-as-Bill-Bryson who was recently on show.

Feeling glum and carrying a big rucksack and a heavy amp, I trudged to the ticket barriers, which were being manned by two identikit, acne-ridden teenagers with mid-nineties haircuts and suits that they were clearly hoping to "grow into".

I put my amp down to retrieve my ticket from my purse. The one on the right barely glanced at my ticket, but took a big sidelong look at the amp. He took a moment to think of something witty to say.

"That's a big amp" he eventually managed.

I looked at him and nodded slightly.

"Yeah. It's pretty heavy, too."

He had nothing left to add, clearly having exhausted his mental capacities earlier on in the conversation. I sighed and made a show of picking up the amp again, and began to make my way to the platform. Luckily his mate was there to pick up from where he'd left off.

"Cheer up, love."

I turned and stared at his sullen, twatty little face and laughed, bitterly. As I walked away, I said (under my breath) "What would cheer me up would be an offer of help with what is, as was helpfully pointed out just a moment ago, a very heavy fucking amp. Not being told to cheer up by a spikey-haired little cock monkey like you."

Luckily I got a good seat on the train, bought a gin and tonic, and took my frustrations out by telling the woman across the aisle from my to turn her music down. I suspected that when I got up to go to the toilet she turned it back up again, but the initial victory was mine.
I chortled merrily away to myself, and successfully persuaded my pedant-brain to ignore the fact that "spikey" is more conventionally spelt without the 'e'. Turns out you can spell things however you like if they are included in a rant which includes the insult 'cock-monkey'. Who knew.

Your faithful fans (yes, yes, I know I've never commented before but I've read every single one of your blog posts (imagine that!)) would like to hear more of Leonie's take on random bits of day to day life. And nothing at all about double-parentheses used by commenters. Thank you so much.

1:44 pm

 
Blogger Léonie said...

Yeah, I thought about spikey vs spiky. To me, neither looks right. Spell check agreed with you, and yet in some flight of whimsy (whimsey?) I left my spelling in, even though I knew it was wrong. Fuck the system, man.

Anyway, thanks for saying those things. I know I have been a bit shit recently, it's because when I used to work in horrible office jobs nothing ever happened, so I wrote about nothing. Now that stuff is happening I feel compelled to document it, although I don't really know why, or who for. I appreciate your comment, it's kind of what I've been thinking as well.

Oddly enough I met Bill Bryson the other day. I didn't mention that I had been channelling him.

1:55 pm

 
Blogger Léonie said...

That was meant to be "or for whom". Obv.

(My inner pedant made me change that.)

1:56 pm

 
Blogger Miss Devylish said...

Oh I wish I lived close enough and I would bring you a pony in celebration (as well as for spectacle).. but alas, I'll just have to wait to read how it went! Break legs! xo

5:08 pm

 
Anonymous Rage Against The Dying of the Light said...

Obv.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the irony of using txt spk in a msg abt being a pedant was deliberate.

Pleased that you haven't taken my comment the wrong way. I just felt that this blog has become a sort of list of places gone and events attended and people seen. Whereas the reason I became a loyal follower was your very rare talent to talk about fairly mundane stuff in an exceptionally entertaining way (combined with an ability to mix that in with brutally honest writing about tough stuff).

That, and references to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (where does the apostrophe go in that title again?) and P.G. Wodehouse. Probably mostly the latter.

5:18 pm

 
Blogger Léonie said...

Miss D - How brilliant it would have been to see you coaxing a pony into China Town, hurridly affixing sequins and shiny pink bows. Thanks for your lovely wishes. x

RATDOTL - Well, it's 'Hitchhiker's', although I always thought it should really be 'Hitchhikers''. But, whatever. I'm not going to get all spikey (sic) about it.

I liked your comment. Thing is, sometimes I want to say what I've done and who I've seen. I know it's not as entertaining, but I just want to anyway. I have always felt that my blog is like my own version of Zaphod's Total Perspective Vortex, where my (little, Internet-based) world is centred around me. So I can say what I want.

I know you're right, though, and it's good to hear (read). I weirdly enjoy the criticsm. It's just fucking brilliant that someone cares enough about what I write to tell me when it's shit. Thanks x

3:28 am

 
Blogger Ellie said...

I love you just they way you are all the time ... but especially when you say cock monkey!
xxx,e

10:17 am

 
Blogger Jonathan said...

I haven't read any blogs for a number of months, and returning to yours today has reminded me why I love reading them so much.

You rock :)

6:55 pm

 
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5:46 pm

 

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