Sunday 14 February

Desiring to clear my mind of a writhing barrel-full of red herrings I take to London with Licky to celebrate another of her twenty-esque birthdays (them were days) on a sticky Hackney dancefloor. Sadly the playing surface isn’t quite adhesive enough for Mimi Pixel who takes a tumble while promoting her new release: Single Mother on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdance (Penguin, £7 0s 99d). Mimi is fine and a credit to the small Manchester contingent we have introduced to a crowd only anything less than friendly when disappearing into the smallest room in their 30s (don’t we all – the old wine sack fills up quick these days). A bearded, beatific beardy – on the other hand – causes us some concern on the way back to our hotel. Lying several degrees below a Californian horizon he’s read about in an irresponsible novella, and with his white-toothed smile and glassy pork pies staring on up to heaven, this chap could be the opening shot of an artsy, indie Puppet Show of the American type or, strap an electric cello to the lad, and – behold – a wholesome alternative to Seattle-based ‘cringe.’ Fortunately, trained tooth fairy Astrid is with us and able to gently persuade the floppy young man into the recovery position or ‘whatever’ as would have called it, had he been able to speak.

Today it’s cross-country to visit the smallest member of Licky’s tribe – the tiniest of heartbeats soon quietly insistent that the throbbing bpms of last night exit our fragile headspace. And so to the tribe, and my ingratiation into it; if it’s not Ozzie Sheryl rampaging through Chorlton over New Year, it’s Licky’s birthmate Xah, and her partner Barthe, helping us live it up in London. All welcome to and welcoming of my world, but now – unaccountably – it’s time to smell the nappies and work beyond my core hours at the Warehouse...

...for not content with his fortune and good fortune the inestimable Dempson Makepeace has decided to try his hand at acting, and earlier this month we both cat-walked through an audition for parts in ‘1965’ at the Cotton Exchange Theatre. This week we learn that our names will indeed be up in lights – or at least somewhere towards the back of the program, near the small ads for used stockings, ageing muses etc. So now cometh the time to prepare for the stage, with not a little nervousness, nor – you know me too well – disproportionate pretention. The last time I trod the boards was with Swarthy Erick in an off-Broadstairs production of the ‘Tempest’, and we all know what happened then... (or do if we retain a copy of Coldly Strange Grammar School Ragmag No. VIIIII, and are prepared to wade through the small ads for cocaine-based revision pomades, after-hours tuition from desperate chemistry teachers etc).

Tonight I have mere minutes to check in with Porthole on his badly-moored boat and it’s just as well he has no words for me, which – on closer examination – neither does the somewhat bedazzling script for ‘1965.’

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