I don't want to keep going on about this but I'm just so touched by the gesture that I'm not quite over it yet. My (tiny) illness is pretty much all gone now and I can't help but put it down to the nice things people do for you when you're ill. I mentioned Nobby in the last blog but I'm going to thank him again. It was just so nice to hear that audience shout "Get well soon" and it has given me a huge buzz ever since. Not only that it has shown me that there is more to Nobby that starting fights with people who have Leukaemia. He has such a tough geezer image but he's actually a very caring and thoughtful man. It was a lovely thing to do and I'm deeply touched.
Now the bad stuff....
I would never start a fight with a woman who has leukaemia, unlike some people, but apparently I can start fights with the disabled and the elderly. Great.
You be the judge, OK? YOU BE THE JUDGE. Have I done anything wrong? You tell me (better yet, keep it to yourself). I was happily on my way to the Los Quattros Cvnts rehearsal and waiting on the platform at Ladywell station was, for once, a pleasure. I knew that I was on my way to have fun working with the funniest people I know so standing on this grey, rainy platform was just a tiny blip on what would be an otherwise lovely day. The train pulled up and the doors opened and my shit day screamed Hello at me.
A girl, somewhere in her late teens, was sat in her wheelchair right at the door. She was sideways to the door. Not facing it or with her back to it so people could walk past her easily but sideways on. It was embarrassing as I basically had to step over her. Not my happiest moment and I'm pretty sure she didn't get anything out of it either.
Because of this really awkward moment, I hadn't noticed that she was listening to very loud music on her Mp3 player. No earphones, just letting it blast so that we can all enjoy her shitty, shitty taste in noise. I sat quite near her and looked around to see if anyone else looked like they were upset by the music. They didn't seem to be but then they never do. People are too scared to simply ask someone to turn their music off but I am not. Well, normally I'm not. This time I was. I'd never asked a girl in a wheelchair to turn her music off before and I realised that as soon as I would do it everyone in the world would hate me. She could be a Gulf hero, for fuck's sake. Someone who has fought for our freedom to upset everyone on a train. If she doesn't play Cheryl Cole loudly on the Hayes line to Charing Cross then the terrorists have won, etc. I really thought about it for a while. I mean, so what if she's in a wheelchair. She's a human being who is obviously in full control of her mentality (Cheryl Cole not withstanding), I should be able to ask her for some courtesy in the same way that I would to anyone else.
I checked with people on Twitter just in case.
Turns out that people on Twitter are fucking idiots because they all suggested that I just ask her to switch her music off, the fucking 140 character cunts. I turned to the young lady and said "Excuse me, would you mind switching your music off, please? It's a bit distracting. Thank you".
She screwed up her face and said "No". I was fucked really, wasn't I?
"It's just that this is a public place and I don't want to listen to your music so can you please turn it off?", I reasoned behind fury.
"I'm not switching it off".
"I'm pretty sure no-one on the train wants to hear your music. It's very inconsiderate".
That's when a man, who could beat me up, stood up and put his face very close to mine and said "Leave her alone".
I was confused more than worried. Who the fuck could defend someone playing loud music on a train? Wheelchair or no wheelchair? Who the fuck is this gut? Her care assistant?
"I'm just asking her to switch her music off. I'm not being rude", I said.
"Just leave her alone", he replied. "I'm her care assistant".
I was right. He was still very close to me when I tried reasoning directly with her again. He wasn't having it.
"Can you leave her alone now?", he said, very firmly.
I thought long and hard about my reply before stupidly saying "No, I can't". That got me nowhere. We talked in circles for a while and I just gave up and sat back in my seat. The girl in the wheelchair gave me a smile that sarcastically suggested she had won.
She had not won. Not yet anyway.
I took the earphones out of my iPod and played it loudly for all to hear. I even held it in my hand in the girl in the wheelchair's direction so she could get the full benefit. That's when other people in the carriage decided to hate me.
Some people shouted at me to turn my iPod off. "Annoying, isn't it?", I said to the girl in the wheelchair. A man told me that I was embarrassing myself (true but by now I was beyond caring) and others were giving me advice from "Wise up" to "Grow up". Advice I've heard a billion times and it still hasn't sunk in. I argued back that I thought the girl in the wheelchair should also turn her music off and was met with various leave-her-alone's. The totally pathetic part was that while she was listening to loud music I was listening to a podcast on a tinny speaker that you could barely hear but it was enough to upset these people on the train. It was the Collings & Herrin Podcast, to be precise and while I was being shouted at it was a tiny victory to heard Andrew Collins plug the Los Quattros Cvnts gig at the same time. Maybe, just maybe, they'll all come along to the shows next week.
I sheepishly, and pathetically, switched my iPod off and looked out the window, defeated. This whole thing lasted no more than two minutes but it was enough to upset me for the rest of the day even though it was basically my fault. I didn't start it or finish it. I just did the upsetting middle bit. As I got off the train, the girl in the wheelchair gave me another sarcastic smile as I climbed over her. Fucker. Why couldn't she benevolent and just like Ironside instead of evil and annoying like Davros?
I left the train station hating all ramps.
The bad stuff was far from over though. I got off the tube at Brixton and before getting the bus to Streatham I thought I'd pop into WH Smith. I grabbed a magazine and got in the queue. I knew I was in the queue because I know what a queue looks like. It was a line of people and I joined it at the end. Some other people then started queuing behind me. I was in the queue. I had been in the queue for a minute now, I reckon.
That's when a very old woman appeared.
"You took my place. Move over", she charmed.
"Excuse me?", I said.
"I was in here. You took my place"
This would normally never be a problem but she was rude. I'd already lost to a cripple, I'm fucked if the nearly-dead are going to beat me.
"Do you mean, 'Excuse me, please, but would you mind letting me in in front of you? I had been in the queue before but stepped away to get something. Sorry for the inconvenience.'?"
"This is my place".
I ignored her. That was stupid because she then started pushing me. Brilliant. I was going to have to fight an old woman. Dignity? Never heard of it....
"Look, this is my place. It isn't a very long queue. If you'd been nice about it I'd have let you in but you were rude. I'm sorry but I'm not letting you in."
A man in front turned and said "I've been in the queue 5 minutes. She wasn't there before". This was good news but I really didn't need another community of rage today. She got angry.
"I am 92. You should have some respect. You will be 92 one day", she grumped. "You should know better".
Well, considering I'm 41, queuing up to buy Doctor Who Magazine and have just started a fight with a crippled child I think it's fair to never ever consider what I should know. She walked to the back of the queue and continually said the word Bastard. Yeah, I'm a pillar of the community.
I finally got to Jeremy's house and we recorded a special Los Quattros Cvnts Sodcast to be put up as part of The Trap's Sodcast (thetrap.co.uk or iTunes) and later as a one-off Precious Little Podcast (preciouslittlepodcast.co.uk or iTunes) as well as working on the sketches. I'm really looking forward to these shows. They're going to be great. Just in case you've forgotten they're at The Phoenix, Cavendish Square, London on the 17th & 18th at 8pm. It costs just £6 to get in and it's a bargain because not only are we on but on the 17th we have Andrew Collins and Jason Manford and on the 18th we have Rich Fulcher. Don't miss these shows. You'd be a fool. And get there early because we want you to get in.