Just back from London and I have to say I love the Soho Theatre more than ever, now it has moved downstairs to the cabaret space. I did miss Edinburgh Fringe which I unexpectedly fell in love with all over again by NOT doing a one woman show. I am sure I have bored you all about my happy time at Edinburgh.
London was buzzing last week and I did miss all my comedy buddies and the vibe of the fringe, but I do also adore Soho and its unique blend of madness. I saw my favourite transvestite, the man who dresses as a milk maid on Saturday but is a traffic warden during the week.
The past week in London was cracking fun, me and my pal Shirley caught up with my dear pal Monica and all my circle of pals in my fav city. The last night of Soho run I ended up partying very late and managed a disco night which included some awesome dancing with Bill Murray my favourite American actor – I know how bizarre? He was charming and a pretty good mover!
I also met an awesome wee guy called Starbuck Coleman who works for an MP and who carried a book called CHAVS and who was passionate about how the working classes are demonised by the word. He was so lovely, posh and so caring and was everything the name Starbuck wasn’t! I just loved that he cared about not labelling people and his name will stay with me always. Bless…his parents must have been back from Morocco and pretty high the week he was born….Starbuck!
Anyway on my last night in Soho, I decided that I would stay up very late, pack quickly at last minute and head to Euston train station at 7am and not worry about lack of sleep, so that’s what I did. All sounds so easy doesn’t it? Throwing computers and knickers into a case and dragging it through London! But me and Shirley arrived safely at a busy and cramped train station. The platform was announced and the crowd surged forward.
The problem was my friend has some mobility issue with her hip and when we got dragged en masse down onto platform at Euston we somehow got separated. I had jumped onto the first available – first class carriage and Shirley ended up way down front of train which was mobbed out and chaotic.
The seating plan went tits up and it was first come first served, so even my carriage was now heaving. So my pal Shirley was effectively isolated without a seat and yet I had two seats secured, so we called each other on the phone. Turns out she couldn’t walk down the train towards me here at the back of the train for two reasons, one- the train was over booked and people were all over the floors and two- the trains were separate trains that were hooked together up the front and no way you could walk through and so she had to physically come out of her carriage to get to mine.
So, after the scramble for seats, the train also broke down. I waited till the train set off again, checked Shirley was ok (she was sitting in the guards box up the front train) and I set off to ask the guard at the back about getting Shirley down to her seat.
“Where is she?” the guard barked at me.
“She is up the front, we got separated and someone is in our official seats, but I have seats for us both here” I explained and pointed to my seats. “She is disabled, so when the train stops at Milton Keynes can you make sure she will have time to walk down from the top train to here?”
“As long as she doesn’t doddle” he added.
“We don’t call it doddling, she is disabled, and we call it walking slow and carefully” I stated.
“How long will she take?” he infuriatingly asked.
I sighed out loud and said “well we haven’t timed her lately, we did mean to get round to it but we haven’t done it sorry” my sarcasm didn’t escape the bloke who was the train cleaner standing beside the pedantic guard. He snorted out loud and giggled.
“Well, we will see what we can do” said the train guard.
“Look, I need you to get to the point where you will say, ‘yes we will aid your disabled pal best we can for her to get from one over crowded carriage to this one’ can we do that?” I snapped.
Finally at Milton Keynes the train stopped, I jumped off and ran down the platform under the watchful beady eye of the guard and managed to help Shirley up to our part of the train, then at the last minute he indicated by shouting and pointing that we ‘get on there’ which was the door before the one we wanted to board. So we clambered onto the train with a suitcase and landed on top of heaps of people on the floor.
A baldy tall angry man and his wife glared at us, the man wiped his hand over his sticky forehead and shouted “There are NO SEATS in there” and he pointed at the carriage where I had two seats secured with my luggage and coats. I supposed he assumed we had just boarded the train at Milton Keynes and that we had no knowledge of the crushed train from hell and to be honest I couldn’t be bothered explaining. So he just watched me and Shirley board that train, climb over their cramped bodies and luggage and walk to a miraculous empty seat – let me tell you that annoyed him the whole journey and at every chance he got, he quizzed me about my seat. I never fully explained and left him seething.
I tweeted Virgin trains and explained the whole situation, they have suggested we get a refund and that’s exactly what I will be doing. Train journeys do make up a big part of my blogging and train companies need to know we have power at our finger tips, the prices we pay for trains and the general way we are treated is abhorrent and we should all complain!