Blog: Anything Goes
With the HIKE added to my MALAISE I was KNACKERED when I arrived at The Star, which seemed to be one of those legendarily SWANKY pubs that are supposed to be all over London but which I rarely see - there was a ready supply of Young People Lounging On Sofas Reading The Sunday Papers, and a HUGE list of different WINES available. Feeling positively under dressed I went upstairs and, feeling that honesty was the best policy, said "I was at a wedding last night and am REALLY knackered, is there any chance of going on quite early please?" Hattie, the host, seemed VERY pleased to here this. "Can you go on FIRST?" She asked. I was DELIGHTED to do so, and did THIS:
The Healing Power Of ROCK, as ever, did it's work and I was feeling MUCH better by the end. I was making the setlist up as I went along, and after the first two songs pointed out the INK on my left inner arm, where I'd written out the words to "Sweet Child O'Mine". I'd done this the night before, just some KEYWORDS to help me out if I forgot the order of the lyrics (as they're VERY similar throughout). When it came to it my MAN SWEAT had erased them, but luckily there had been SEVERAL people in the room who weren't SO Indie they didn't know the whole song from start to finish. ANYWAY, i'd written them again just in case, and the mere MENTION of the song got such a good reaction I felt I HAD to do it. In retrospect this was NOT the best idea, as a big bunch of people came in just as I'd started and, hearing a cover version, talked through most of it, with me unable to do much about it. Lesson: LEARNT!
I hung around to watch the next act then made my EXIT, arriving at Upper Holloway to find I'd written the wrong times down, and had JUST missed a train. I settled down to wait for the next one, in half an hour, unaware that this wasn't the LAST or the WORST error I'd make on The Overground that night.
A couple of stops later two young lads got on the train, one a teenager the other his younger brother. The teenager had some severe facial disfigurement, so bad that it was quite a shock to see. When he sat down he asked me if the train went to Leytonstone High Road and, as I turned to answer I saw his little brother's give me such an INTENSE look it was almost more overwhelming - he clearly IDOLISED his big brother (as his mucking about for the rest of the journey showed), but also obviously knew how people reacted when they saw him. He so desperately wanted people to be KIND to him, it was a stare of LOVE, and CARING, and FEAR and HOPE and... well, it was fairly awesome to see in such a little lad.
For the rest of the journey they were just a couple of Annoying Kids, jumping on chairs and making a bloody racket, but when we got to Leytonstone High Road I kept thinking "Don't turn round and get in another LOOK, just get off the train." It was with this thought in mind that I got up early, stood by the door, and hopped off.
It was now only just after eight o'clock, and as well as feeling MOVED by what I'd seen I was also, I must admit, pretty PLEASED with myself for getting home so EFFICIENTLY, especially for having been in a pub with Interesting BEER but only drinking COCAL COLA, and so not increasing the hangover. I was just thinking how nice it was to do a gig like this when I realised... hang on... where's my guitar?
ARGH! I'd left my guitar ON THE TRAIN! AAAAAARRRGGHHH!!!!!
The train had GONE so I went and found the London Overground STAFF member who they have nowadays on all the platforms. WHY they have them there I do not know, as he was no use whatsoever. I asked him if he could get in touch with the driver, he said No. I asked if he could, in that case, ring Barking Station, so they'd know the guitar was there. He said he couldn't. "But hang on", I said, "Aren't you always on the lookout for suspect packages? Isn't there ANY way you can warn them about it so they don't panic?" He said all he could do was ring his manager... who wasn't on duty on a Sunday. "What if there really WAS a bomb on the train?" I asked, but all he could do was give me a leaflet with the number for Lost Property, which was only open in Office Hours.
DISTRESSED, I RAN home, where The Landlady and The Digits In My Phone Number SPRANG into action. All household phones were in use, as we tried to find a number for Barking Station. NOBODY would tell us what it was, and after 20 fruitless minutes The Bell In My Alarm Clock took charge and we dashed BACK to the Station. The PLAN was to check to see if my guitar was still on the train as it came back the other way, and if not I'd get the next train to BARKING to see if it was there. The platform attendant told me this'd be easy, as there was a 2 minute GAP between trains going either way. This sounded odd to me, as I was sure they both came into Leytonstone High Road at quarter to, and on checking I found i was RIGHT. He didn't even know the TIMES of the trains - surely that's pretty necessary?
We split up, The Times In My Timetable ready to interrogate the train to Gospel Oak, me ready to hop on to Barking. As expected, both trains came in at exactly the same time and I hopped aboard. Just as we left there was a call on my phone - she'd got my guitar back!!!
RELIEF! ELATION! JOY! HOORAH! I LEAPT off at the next stop and got a TAXI home, where I found The Hero In My Adventure PROUDLY holding my guitar. OH THE CELEBRATION! She'd asked the driver, who said yes, it'd got to Barking and (glowering) had almost caused the entire station to be evacuated. She did NOT point out, at this stage, that we'd TRIED to avoid this, as it wasn't the time nor the place, instead dashing down to the other end of the train where the GUARD had it in his possession, ready to go back to the station.
I cannot really BEGIN to express my JOY at this happy outcome. When i thought I might have lost it I tried to console myself by thinking "I can always get another guitar - a posh-ish new one, in fact, that might be nice" but this had been my Gig Guitar for YEARS, it'd been all OVER the place with me. I fully expected it to be gone forever, but there it was, back home in its rightful place. Thank heavens for The Roof On My House, she saved the day. HOORAH!
posted 6/10/2008 by MJ Hibbett
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