Sunday, November 25, 2007

Second Of The Twelfth

The second concert by Twelfth Night went down an absolute storm. Deptford wasn’t exactly a part of London I was familiar with. I missed the street to the Albany because the remnants of an outdoor market, which looked like an abandoned internment camp ready to have the bulldozers rumble in, was being taken down.

Inside I met up with a few people I’d crossed paths with before, watched the end of the sound check. The crew who had filmed the previous gig were already set up and ready, which meant I only had the roving camera to keep my eye on when it all kicked off.

Scrambling around between the lights and the speakers, blasted by the heat and sound, I knew I'd picked an interesting angle to film because the official photographers would decent on my vantage point, getting in the way. How it all looks we’ll know when it comes to the edit.

Last week I’d missed the end of the concert to make sure I got the train home. This time, there for the whole two one-hour sets and three encores, because of the filming and then some, I’d forgotten to check times back.

By the time I left the Albany, I figured there might still be trains but I wasn’t sure. Work Buddy tried to set me up with a lift with friends who lived north of London but they were sensibly heading east to loop around the city rather than try and carve a way through it. I told them I’d find a way home for sure and waved them on their way.

Just gone midnight, there was a chance the tubes were still running, just, but I didn’t know where the nearest stations were this side of the river. Apparently there was a shortcut to one, through a park, which didn’t seem like a good idea at this time of night. The only other option was a bus.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to get a night bus. I knew there was one that went to North Finchley. I presumed one went to Edgware. Living between the two, there’s a bus that goes to Central London from the top of the Broadway here during the day. That’s pretty much the only corridor down into the middle of the Capital I know. It may have been a night bus route for all I knew. As it turned out, it wasn’t.

At Elephant & Castle I got a second bus to Marylebone, skirting around Parliament Square where Big Ben was beautifully illuminated and about to strike one o’clock, then coursing its way up Regent Street, where the suspended Christmas decorations looked like the oddball alien props from a bad episode of Space:1999.

Amazingly there seemed to be more people on the streets than earlier in the afternoon. Then, across the Euston Road everyone evaporated into the night. After a wait I got a bus to West Hampstead Thameslink station, checking the timetables on the outside chance that there was one last train. In fact it had trundled through well over an hour earlier. There wouldn’t be another for about four hours, which was when the Sunday timetable came into operation.

With no cabs in evidence, nor any minicab offices, I started walking in a direction that took me out of the way, but was one I was at least familiar with. After half an hour I flagged down a black cab. The driver shook his head and pulled away before I finished telling him where I wanted to go.

Filming at the gig, skirting around the stage, it had been so damned hot under the lights, I’d prayed for the time I could get out in the cold night air to cool down. Talk about being careful what you wish for. Some time later another cab came along. Luckily the driver lived in Hertfordshire and was wending his way back home.

We had a good chat as he steered through the empty streets; about the different hours we worked and knowing when enough was enough. Perhaps most important was knowing for sure when the time was up, and having an exit strategy in place. It’s something I’ll have to remember for next time. Especially after a night without one meant not getting my head on the pillow until just after four o’clock.


At 9:18 am, Blogger potdoll said...

sigh. i'm definitely coming along to the next one. we can crowd surf together!

At 10:22 am, Blogger Good Dog said...

Hon, I'm sure you'd crowd surf better than me. Rather, I'd sink like a stone straight away. But I'm afraid that was your lot: just the two gigs and everyone goes back to the day job. As far as I know anyway.

At 1:29 pm, Blogger potdoll said...

aw that's a shame.

At 10:40 am, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

Watch this space, there may be more next year...

At 4:52 pm, Blogger potdoll said...

ooh! glee!


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