Wednesday 28 May 2008

Suffering for not much in the way of art

14st 0lb (oh, for f***’s sake), despite a mere (by my standards) 4.0 units of alcohol yesterday; 1,347 days left, which is 1,347 too many the way I feel; not Gateshead.

I was awake most of the night with the sort of indigestion that feels as though a substantial demon has taken up residence in one’s stomach and installed a large coke boiler to keep himself extremely warm. He spends most of his time stoking it industriously, but fills every spare moment drinking industrial alcohol and performing crazy dances, in the course of which he lashes out randomly with his trident. Hang on, he’s just stolen one of those large cranes with a wrecking ball and … oh Christ.

It’s not your fault, Tom, really it isn’t. I’m just not equipped to eat dinner any more. Lunch is the only acceptable meal for a man of my age.

What is your fault, Tom, is not ringing me at 9 a.m. as you said you would, so I just cracked on and wrote my review without any firm guidance on length beyond a suggestion some time ago of “around 400 words, which could maybe be stretched a bit”. That would be “stretched” as in “compressed” as it turns out, as I wrote 850 words and the eventual answer from the paper was “Oh, we can’t possibly use more than 200.” Which did not even give me room to list all the dishes I had sampled. I might as well have stayed at home and got Tom to fax me the menu. As it is I have spent a night in agony, wasted a fair chunk of my morning writing and laid out £100 on food for three and a further £25 or so on petrol for the 80-mile round trip. With no mention of a fee or expenses, as usual.

I don’t think I’m going to be A.A. Gill after all. Still, all is not completely lost. Any resemblance between yesterday’s posting and an 850 word restaurant review is not entirely coincidental.

I felt steadily worse as the day wore on. While I was walking the dog before going out for the evening, it occurred to me that the last thing I wanted was the scheduled supper at my aunt’s and to sit through a concert at The Sage, even by the glorious Andreas Scholl. So I rang Auntie to see whether she would be hugely disappointed if we did not go, and it immediately became apparent that she did not have the slightest clue who we were supposed to be seeing. So I told her that it was the Grand Final March-Off of the Tyneside Juvenile Jazz Bands’ Annual Kazoo Playing Competition, which put her off a treat. Then I went and lay down on the sofa and put one of my many Andreas Scholl CDs on the stereo, where it swiftly lulled me into a deep sleep. During which I dreamed of Trooping the Colour being performed by juvenile jazz bands as a result of the latest defence cuts, and wondered why those enterprising people on Gateshead council had so far failed to continue their redevelopment of the quayside with a new landmark building called The Onion.

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