Deadlines and LifelinesDate: 3 February 2011
There are certain days you just write off. The last two have been so despatched not in the cause of art but in the call of necessity (with a strange interlude at the National Theatre for the tiresome committee play on climate change).
First, it was time to change the car, trading in the old one in part exchange for a new one at the nearest decent Volkswagen garage, which isn't near at all. It's in Colindale, which is on the edge of the world.
What is Colindale, exactly? It's an agglomeration of warehouses, car salerooms, cash and carries and supermarkets. And people really live there, too. It's a bit less posh, in north London terms, than Kingsbury or Cricklewood.
So, that was the scene of car business, but of course resident permits and insurance and all the rest of it had to be sorted out too, and part of that involved a visit to one of the unloveliest buildings in London — where I happened to get married a mere thirty-four years ago — the St Pancras Town Hall on the Euston Road.
A bus trip on the Number 46 takes you past the inviting escape channel of St Pancras International (where I'm Paris-bound on Saturday for a mini-international festival at the MC 93 at Bobigny, with a debate on contemporary criticism) before dumping you at Kings Cross en route to the Farringdon Road.
In the middle of all this, my desk top computer finally rolled over and died — after just three years, the shameless hussy! — and I fled despairingly on Tuesday lunchtime to find a replacement in the Tottenham Court Road.
It was news to me that you can't readily buy a replacement PC in the separate parts of the computer itself — I'd really grown to love my slimline, freestanding Hewlett Packard box, and the monitor; the computer side of it now comes clamped back to the backside of its own screen, like a back pack. Of course this means the prices remain at a higher level than they should be, then you have to buy Microsoft, and so on.
While they set everything up for me and installed the programmes, I wandered around Fitzrovia, checked out a few stores and bookshops, and had something to eat. I then lugged the heavier-than-expected computer to Waterloo for the opening at the National.
Greenland in the Lyttelton is not nearly as good as you think it might be after half an hour or so. It looks like a play written to order on climate change, and the programme, and indeed the promise of all the affiliated Platforms and discussions, is far more engaging and interesting than Greenland itself.
The whole climate change topic was killed dead for me by Al Gore droning on about it for years until he evaporated in a cloud of personal meltdown. The man who would be king suddenly became the man who wasn't even a green king.
Climate change bores are the worst bores of all — pace, George Monbiot — and I know we're all supposed to care about the planet more than where the next meal's coming from, or where our children go to school, but the fact of the matter is — we don't.
Anyway, all of this took my mind off the car and the computer, and it was with great relief at the end of the evening that I hopped in a cab home with the latter and started the intimidating process of trying to make it all work in my favour.
And thanks to the gentle coaxing of internet boffin and WOS deputy editor, Andrew Girvan, I think I'm almost halfway there...