Yesterday was yet another lost day for me. Hangovers are just becoming more and more difficult to deal with it. It's as if I'm getting old or something. Still, at least I got to lie on the sofa moaning and watching Planes, Trains and Auto-mobiles. Mind you, I'd rather have watched a film (BRILLIANT! You can have that).
That joke actually isn't as awful as the joke I opened with at a gig last night in Canterbury. The great thing was that the audience were very generous in showing me how unfunny it was by giving me the loudest staring ovation I've ever witnessed. Look, there could have been a very good reason that I started so badly. I had missed my stop at Canterbury West and ended up in a dark, rainy crossroads called Sturry (that's really a place) and then I was unfortunate enough to get the most tedious cab driver in the world to take me to the gig.
The most tedious cab driver in the world. Just think about the competition he's up against with that title. I guarantee that no matter how awful any cab journey you've taken has been it was nothing compared to the 10 minutes I spent with the long slow ghost of death behind the wheel.
I wanted to kill him even if it meant taking my own life. It would have been worth it. "You don't get many people (five second pause) phoning for cabs in (five second pause) Sturry, of all (10 second pause) places" was his opening gambit and those pauses? They never, ever stopped.
"This weather is (five second pause) dreadful (five second pause) today"
It was raining heavily so, although I didn't need his weather report, I agreed with him. "Mm", I said.
Yeah, to be honest I had spotted the rain. It's that water that is falling from the sky and hitting the ground, yes?
"Mind you, better than snow, I (10 second pause) suppose".
"Mm", I excitedly exclaimed in anticipation of the next reason to commit suicide.
"Not that I hate the snow. I like (five second pause) snow. Driving in the snow is (five second pause) great (five second pause) fun. You know, (five second pause) if you're up for it. Not many cab (five second pause) drivers like the snow. I know of (five second pause) very few anyway, I don't know about (five second pause) yourself. I'll always work when it (five second pause) snows. He who dares (five second pause) wins. You know? As the (five second pause) man said. Del-boy Trotter. (five second pause) Lewis Collins".
My hangover was now laughing and pointing at me. I'm not sure how much more I can take. Surely if I don't respond to anything he says he'll just shut up.
"I got a call from a woman in (five second pause) Ashford once. Snowing very heavily (five second pause) that day. No one in Ashford would come out for (five second pause) her but I would. She was very grateful, (five second pause) you know? In fact (ten second pause) I took a man from Ashford to the place you're going (five second pause) to. It was very funny (doubtful). We got to the (five second pause) the (five second pause) the (five second pause) the (five second pause) venue and it was full. He couldn't get (five second pause) in. I took him to The Dolphin instead. (Ten second pause) Which is a pub (five second pause) in town, (five second pause) you know? (Five second pause) Good for drinking (five second pause) and that".
Where the fuck is this venue and why does it seem to be getting further and further away? The cab driver then changed the subject to football. Oh, Christ. "I have no interest in (five second pause) football". Phew. Thank fuck for that. He has no interest in football. God, that's good. That's great. Maybe now he'll stop talking.
He blabbered on for 72 decades about how his sons like football and one of them likes Arsenal and one of them likes Chelsea so you can imagine what it's like at his house when there's a match on telly. "Especially if it's Arsenal versus (five second pause) Chelsea", he needlessly and cruelly added.
I zoned out after that. He waffled and waffled and I heard next to nothing for the rest of the journey. Just in case you think I'm being needlessly cruel and the cab driver probably wasn't that bad then let me tell you one thing I heard as I drifted in and out of conciousness. "I tell you were I saw a big puddle". That was it. My mind switched off.
I stumbled out of the cab shaking. My hangover and his conversation were now lovers continually loudly and athletically fucking in my head. Then when I got on stage I opened my mouth and got nothing. I even left it five seconds thinking that maybe everyone round here leaves pauses. They don't. I was just shit.
Luckily, the gig improved a lot and the two new bits I did seemed to work even if I didn't. In fact, it was a really lovely gig. Next time, I hope I'm completely there to enjoy it.