oh fuck it's friday

Sunday, October 22, 2006

12th October

I'd been to my friend Rob's party on his houseboat in Canary Wharf. I spent a lot of time talking to a girl who worked in P.R who was posh and blonde.
Caught the tube at about ten past twelve, getting off at Green Park and changing to the Victoria line, only to see the last train southbound speed off. This gave me pause for thought. I hadn't yet completed an ofif project that evening. I was in the centre of London though.
The problem with the centre of cities though is that they seem to offer so much but don't always provide. Coming out of the tube station I looked over the road to 'Cheers' and saw swathes of people lacking in clothes queuing up to get inside. It was a bit of a depressing sight. I could join them. But then I thought that I could walk all the way back home - to Crystal Palace, a journey of 6 miles, since something was bound to happen along the way. An ofif project would be bound to fall in to my lap.
But then pessimism took over, as did a number three bus. I ran to catch up with it, and I succeeded. But seeing a mass of people trying to get on, I shunned the suggestion from my head and bimbled along towards the Thames.
Just coming up to Parliament Square, a couple of girls stopped me to ask if I knew of any hostels nearby.
'Yes, there's one in Victoria I think.'
'Oh' they chorused.
'But it might be either fully booked or closed now.'
'The thing is,' one of them said, 'we're trying to get back to Bromley where my Mum is staying, but we missed the last train.'
The ofif had landed. I grabbed it's horns and suggested that we:
'share a taxi. I was planning to walk back to Crystal Palace, which is on the way to Bromley, so I could get off then and you two could continue south.'
They turned to each other for agreement, which they both got, and said 'ok' to me.

But we really needed to get hold of a minicab. A black taxi would cost a small fortune, so we walked for ages - over the Bridge to Waterloo and then all the way in to Kennington. As we did so, the two Israeli girls, one of whom was called Daphne had the occasional private conversation, no doubt concerning why the hell they were trusting a man with an eighties leather jacket in one of the most dangerous areas of London.

But they didn't know that second fact. Anyway, we walked on, and couldn't find a minicab place. So, having realised my grip on the bull's horns was slightly less now, I offered them two choices. We could either 'go in to that bar over there, and have a drink whilst we wait for a minicab to come and pick us up or we could get the next number three bus back to my house and then you could order a taxi from there. This bar charges three pounds per head to get in.'

I've got to say. The girls were slightly odd. They looked about 17 but were actually (or apparently) 23 years old and I couldn't work out if they were very intelligent or very stupid. One of them was very pretty with large dark brown eyes.

Thoughts did crop up in to my head of suggesting we had a threesome. I wondered if they were thinking the same thing, and that's what this whole thing was about. They had stopped me in the street, asked where a hostel was, and then, my failing to get the 'gist' of what they were implying, led to their acceptance of us sharing a taxi - with the implication there being that they would come back to my house and we would have sex.

But then I realised my thougts were snowballing - and towards a very icy lake. So I asked one of them what the time was. It was half past two.

The conclusion of this whole story was not, obviously, sex. We waited for about half an hour in Kennignton for a number three bus to turn up, and then we caught it and were ferried to a point ten minutes from my door. We got out, I felt briefly like I was the kindest person in the world, then Daphne got a call from a fiercely worried mother asking why the hell they were going back to a random man's house.

A very good, but natural question from a mother.

We got back to mine where I gave them tea and toasted a couple of 'buns', and they commented on the size of my house, and then I found out that they were both incredibly rich and had houses about twice the size of mine. Then the taxi arrived, I wrapped up the toasted 'buns' in some tin foil for them, they scalded their lips a little after trying to drink their tea a bit too fast, then scribbled down their email addresses, and I said goodbye to them. We didn't hug.

And I went upstairs to fluff my pillows, feeling warm that I had helped two random people out, and successful that an ofif project hadn't passed me by. The conclusion of this Friday was that it is good to meet new people, and that if you set off on a long journey home, things are bound to happen.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

6th October

I was at the Zetter Hotel in Clerkenwell to watch Adam Buxton perform some stand-up. It was very funny, and me and my three friends drank beer and five bottles of wine. We laughed a lot, and noticed that in the restaurant of the Hotel, if you look up, you will see what looks like a gigantic fallopian tube.
Anyway, there was a waitress there who was beautiful and smiled deliciously. I asked a camp waiter whether she was single, and he replied by pushing a bottle of wine on to my friend Miriam's lap, and rhetorically asking whether I thought a girl as attractive as 'beautiful waitress' would ever be single?. Anyway, she's going to South America with her boyfriend next week.
But I thought I should just ask her out anyway. Now, this is something I have never done. Never, completely cold (despite having had a few glasses of wine), have I walked up and asked somebody out. So I thought that it would qualify as ohfuckitsfriday material.
She came over to our table with another bottle of red wine for our table, and when she walked away, I jumped up -
'Excuse me'.
'I actually just asked the waiter whether you were single, and he said that you most certainly were not, but I reckoned that he might be obsessed by you, so I thought I'd asked you myself. And anyway, he's gay isn't he?'
'He's straight'.
A moment of embarassment, but, as I am beginning to learn, if you allow your thoughts to swirl, to snowball, they will make you rigid and nervous. So I let them go.
'So, are you single? Cos I'd really like to ask you out.'
'I do have a boyfriend.'
'Oh, ok, cool.'
'But if I didn't, I would love to go on a date with you.'
Wow. She's maybe just saying that, but, golly, this whole asking someone out is not difficult.
'Oh, thank you. Anyway, those glasses really suit you.'
'Ha, thanks.'
'See you.'

It was over. And it had been a thrill, I realised. I've often thought too much of failure - 'what if she says no?'. But actually, it was fun. For a girl to be asked out is flattering. Even if she might not want to go out with you, she'll appreciate your directness. Perhaps because it's so refreshing in our society, where indecision and hesitation is quite common.

I'm certainly not free from that at all. But I am, slowly, beginning to see that 1.) failure is ok, and 2.) too much thinking can hinder action. This is a problem because our life IS action. If we think too much before acting, we'll end up stumbling. I remember this quote - no idea where the hell it came from, but it was something like - 'walk, run, skip or jump. But above all, don't stumble.'

But stumbling is ok, too.

Monday, October 02, 2006

1.) Friday 1st September. I was very scared. I was at the UK Air Guitar Championships, held at the Carling Academy in Islington. I wasn't really dressed for the occasion. My fellow competitors were bedecked in streaming makeup, pink tights, leather trousers and what looked like lots of bottle. All I could find to wear was a waistcoat, so I looked very homosexual. Because my friend (and thisisaknife Producer) Tim was going to film me, we had to choose a piece of music that didn't have any copyright issues. This piece of music was by some friends of ours called 'The Mules'. They're good, but the music, I was certain, would not be recognised by anybody in the audience. A shame. For me. It was also a massive problem for me because the first time I had ever heard the music was about an hour before the event kicked off. The masters of air guitar know every little riff of their music, and strum their fingers accordingly. I wasn't even able to work out which parts of the music were 'guitared'. A pint of lager was delivered to me prior to my performance, which went some way to soothing my rising sense of unease, but I was still very nervous. When my number was called (19), and my name (for some reason, 'coo-coo cock'), I jiggled on to the stage and awaited my random music to play. It did. And far from a controlled, considered, artful performance, adrenalin squirted from my glands and my actions responded accordingly. I just went crazy. It was more tsunami tambourine than air guitar, and very soon I noticed the crowd were booing. Or they were silent, or throwing empty plastic cups at me. After about 15 seconds I felt sick and tired.

I got through to the second round though, because one of the judges thought I looked like Pete Doherty on drugs he had never tried before.

But the second round was awful. More fully drunk than before, I completely lost my relation not only to my environment, but also to my music. Lots more plastic cups came my way. My score was meant to be any number between 0 and 5. Instead, the judges drew a penis on a piece of card and pointed it in my direction. I was out.

2.) Friday 8th September. I'm actually not going to say a lot about this one. Suffice it to say I met a woman somehow on the internet, who had written some things that I thought were very sexy and funny. So I emailed her and two weeks later, she drove over to my house. I cooked some food, and we drank lots of wine, she got scared of the spiders in my shed, so we sat outside, which was cold for her, so she put her jacket on. I complained about a graze on my hand, which she touched. We both then got quite hot, so I took off her jacket, and went to bed. I mean, we both went to my bed. It was fun, and very nice of her to sleep with me.

3.) Friday 29th September. I'd promised to do this one. And it was a big one for me. There's a 'unisex naturist spa' down Kentish Town Road called 'Rio's', where naked men and women walk around and sexual acts are initiated in saunas and jacuzzis and continue in private rooms upstairs. Before this one, I needed to get a bit pissed, so I joined my friend Dave at a party in Pimlico where I was inspired by a chap who told me Alan Bennett lived on his road so he invited himself over for tea that night. The story fuelled my conscience to live up to the OFIF proposal. So, after nicking a couple of cans of Carslberg, I hopped on the last tube back up to North London, and arrived in Kentish Town at about 1:30am. I knew from various experiences that in situations like this, you cannot allow yourself time to think about what you are going to do. I went to the cash point and took out £20. Straight over to Rio's I went , as if I had been there numerous times before, and paid my money. This being a Friday night, it was £18 for a single man. I was given a towel and made my way to the changing rooms, where I changed. Into my nakedness, save for the towel, which now felt like a life vest.

I had seen pictures of naked barwomen on their website, so I made my way to the bar where a lot of black men were sitting around. There was one bar lady but she was far from naked. I asked for 'a glass of wine please', but she said they don't serve wine, so I pointed over to the whirring plastic tank of blackcurrant squash and asked 'for some blackcurrant squash' and then remembered that you can get free cordial, tea, coffee and biscuits all night. Wahey! I then saw the tin of biscuits and ate seven rich tea ones and read the Times, again pretending that this was something I did every Saturday night.

Folding up and placing back the paper, I jaunted past the jacuzzi and towards one of the steam rooms. Opening the door, I entered a world of steam, which came as a bit of a surprise, but strictly speaking shouldn't have been. There wasn't a lot of space in there, so I just sat down by a woman's head. It was immediately very hot on my bottom, and it was only when a jamaican voice called out in the hot foggy distance that 'you're sitting on the steam mechanism man!' that I realised he was correct, so I moved away and sat next to a man's leg.

This steam room became my sort of 'safe haven'. Whenever I felt like I was looking like a prowling homosexual, or my penis was shrinking from too much nervous tension, I made my way to this hot den of potential iniquity. A problem occurred on my return to the room, as I couldn't seem to open the door. I carried on pushing very hard, and reminded myself that the door to the first class carriage on the Thameslink train is EXACTLY like this, and after a while, that budges. But this didn't. But still trying to keep up the pretence that this place was just as much my place as any others, I continued to push. The steamy voices within were beginning to murmur and curse. A hand pressed itself against the glass and before my seventh push, pushed the door towards me. I entered, sheepishly, and sat down in the corner, and listened to a conversation about meningitis. A man was telling us that his daughter had died of it. Instead of sympathy, one of the woman lying down just said that she knew SO MANY people who had suffered from meningitis. With that, he and two others left. Then she fell asleep and started snoring, leaving just me and a jamaican man. I waited a bit, before leaving myself.

I tested the swimming pool, the jacuzzi and showered naked with a woman next to me. But I didn't see anything implying sex was on the cards. It's couples night on Saturday, and I've been reliably informed that that is when it all kicks off. There was certainly an air of sexual tension about the place on a Friday, and to that extent, perhaps this OFIF assignment was 'disappointing'. I wanted to be scared, to see things that would have shocked me. But this is OFIF, not OFIS. As if.

Most people think Friday is the best day of the week. But for me, it brings with it not just the end of the week, but also a sense of impending doom, for every Friday I am going to do something that I feel very scared about doing, but for some reason, feel that I just have to do.

In actual fact, I've already completed three OFIFs. Let's hear about them, shall we?