Ever have one of those days that was equally shit and brilliant? I had one yesterday. Ladywell Train Station have found it in their hearts to employ someone who suffers from being a major arsehole. His name is Sakesh and I hate him. I've hated him for about five long years for two very good reasons. One, he can't do even the simplest parts of his job right like handing over the correct tickets or handing over the correct tickets in less than 45 minutes. Two, he acts like we're somehow mates. He often "jokes" with me. Things like me asking for a zone 1-4 travelcard are often met with "no" and five minutes of gormless laughing while I stand there looking at him stoney-faced and thinking about where I'd bury him. I had to deal with him yesterday. When I asked him for a return to London Bridge it was as if that very question itself had given him amnesia and he couldn't work out where he was or how he got the clothes he was wearing. Everything confused his face and seemed to give him great pain. Good. He took so long that the train I had to get on arrived. I asked him to forget about the ticket just give me my debit card back. He looked at me as if the debit card was his only friend and I was taking it away to rape it. He stared at me and I felt then that I had no choice but to shout "CARD. NOW". He gave it back, very annoyingly slowly. I took it, said Prick and jumped on the train. I had to stare out the window and count to ten a lot just to get Sakesh's big idiot face out of my mind. I hate Sakesh.
Then I got to where I was going; The Great British Freezing Fucking Cold Queuing Experience. It was something I really wanted to show to my visiting American friends. If you've never been to the GBFFCQE then you really must go, it's fantastic. You stand there for over an hour and a half (sometimes beside a massive bin) while the cold tries to break your feet, you legs start to ache and foreign tourists, wearing ski sunglasses for some reason, constantly try to push in front of you. It lasts ages and it's free. At the end though you're given the option to pay to go inside The London Dungeon which we all thought we might as well. Queuing in the cold is a very relaxing thing especially after meeting Sakesh and, as happened to me on arrival at London Bridge Station, the HSBC cashpoint machine you tried to use blows up and keeps your card. Yeah, I was sooooooooooo in the mood to queue now!
The London Dungeon is one of London's slightly more fun rip-offs. It costs over £20 to get in and is far more disgusting than it is scary. The disgusting parts are the amount of pretend dead bodies lying around with their organs hanging out and the scariest bit is when one of the students who have dressed up as a plague victim want you to get involved in a spot of audience participation. That happened to me. I was led to a dock in an 18th century courtroom where, somehow, the Judge was a woman. It was there that I was tried for the crime of being a gay transvestite prostitute. I wish I was making this up but I'm sadly not. It was then that I was made to do a series of gestures that made me come across as both homophobic and racist, something I was planning on coming across as anyway. It was awful but I went along with it. I don't know why I did but I did. Maybe I was thinking of the poor students who have found themselves not quite working in London's glittering West End and if I put a bit of energy into it then maybe they'll be a bit happier. Or perhaps I was thinking of the other people watching, they've paid so why not put on a show? Or maybe I was thinking BRILLIANT! I get to be homophobic and racist again! Dad would be so proud.
After all the touristy stuff I felt like I really had to have a hefty amount of culture to balance it all out. The theatre beckoned. I got tickets to one of the best plays in London starring some incredible, respected actors. I say London, it was Bromley. And I say one of the best plays it was Cinderella. Oh, yeah, and I say actors, it was Steve Guttenburg and Helen Lederer. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a pantomime. The last one I went to (if you don't count the Portobello Pantomine in Edinburgh, and I don't) starred Rod Hull and a week after seeing him in it he was DEAD. So, I thought it was a good call to go and see this one. It was a lot of fun. Helen Lederer was really very funny in it, words I never thought anyone could write. The songs were all sing-along and jolly, the sets were all glittery and cartoony and the Buttons character was just as he should be, a fucking prick. All was going well until Guttenburg set his big stupid foot on the stage. It was amazing to see an actor doing what is basically a school play for five year olds and still look like it was too heavy a character for him to play. He looked utterly out of his depth and he has no depth. All his lines were crow-barred references to his career that was shot dead in 1988. "I'm having so much fun I hope I don't SHORT CIRCUIT", he said to children who had never heard of him and adults who wanted to kick his corpse down the high street. You know what? If you don't get something as simple as pantomime, Steve, then just don't take the job. Think of how happy we would have been if it was Derek Griffiths playing the role of Baron Hardup instead? That would have been magical. It's hard to get too grumpy about it because kids loved it. I did get the feeling that pretty much any of the kids near us wanted to join our little gang because we were shouting louder, singing louder and drinking more than their constantly texting parents were. Mind you, the parents looked young to so maybe they were texting 118-118 to see what Short Circuit was?
When we got home my lovely American friends, Heather and Scott, made me very happy indeed by asking for more Doctor Who. Considering a day filled with Sakesh, exploding cashpoints and Steve Fucking Guttenburg, it was just what I wanted to hear. Today is a very important day. It's the day that the BBC reveal who David Tennant's replacement will be. My money's on Johnny Candon. Or Paddy Considine.