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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Attempting to be Social

This morning, I had an audition/interview for a reality TV show. My call time was 8AM, in central London. Earlier in the week, my artist friend, Jan, invited me to go with her to a house warming party that a friend of hers was having. At my suggestion, Jan agreed to go with me to the audition, then we would stay in London and go to the party. At first, I thought the party would be at night. We discussed what to do during the day, until the party. I suggested getting together with Tom, while Jan advocated going to some art exhibit or museum. Maybe we could do both. This morning, Jan informed me that the party was running from Noon until the night time.
When Jan arrived, early Saturday morning, there was some initial confusion over who was going to drive. Jan has a more economical car than I do, so I thought she should drive. She expected I would drive. I don't think she was thrilled about driving in London. I offered to drive her car, but she wasn't in favor of that alternative. Finally, I persuaded her that it would be better if she drove, as it would cost us half as much in petrol using her car, as it would mine. As she had arrived at my house early, she helped herself to some of Nando's coffee, while I finished getting ready. As is often the case, I was later than I intended, so when I was ultimately ready to leave, I was in a hurry. We pulled off thirty minutes later than I had originally intended. We had no cushion left if anything went wrong.
When we were about two miles down the road, Jan remembered that she'd left the directions to her friend's new flat in her A to Z atlas, in my house. She had originally removed the atlas from her car, because she thought we would be going in my car. She must have put it down someplace while she was having coffee and when I came downstairs, rushing to leave, she forgot it. Given how late it was, I informed her that it was too late to go back for it. Jan informed me that she had her friend's phone number and would just call him and ask for the address again. That problem seemed to be solved.
Traffic was light going into London so early on a Saturday morning. We arrived at the location for the audition with a few minutes to spare. There was no parking on the street the building was on, so Jan agreed to drop me off, then go look for parking. I crossed the street and walked to the appropriate address. There was one guy waiting outside. I went in, but a security guard told me to wait back outside. The guard followed me out and told the other fellow and myself to start a queue (line) down the side of the building. I was the second person in line. Soon, we were joined by a couple of women. The guard told us they wouldn't open the doors until 10AM. It was only a few minutes past 8. I sent Jan a text, warning her of the anticipated delay. I suggested she go find something to do and I would text her when I was finished.
When the auditions finally got started, we were led inside, seated in a room, and given paperwork to fill out. After I handed in my completed paperwork, a woman yelled at me, "I know you." She turned out to be fellow blogger and Myspace friend, Mucky Sarah. What a coincidence! We'd never met face to face, before, nor had either of us known that the other was applying to be on the series. We had only read each other's blogs and emailed each other on the net, previously. She told me I bore a striking resemblance to her father, which wasn't necessarily the best news. Sarah and I went through the rest of the process together. When we were about to do our final interviews, she suggested we have lunch together. I agreed, subject to the proviso that she had no objection to Jan joining us.
By the time we were both finished, it was around 1PM. I sent Jan a text. It turned out that Jan had gone to the British Museum, to entertain herself while I was auditioning. I told Jan that we would walk to the museum and meet her there, then Sarah and I set off. Once we caught up to Jan outside the British Museum, the three of us discussed where to eat. Sarah wanted somewhere inexpensive, which suited me and Jan just fine. Jan suggested we go to Mr. Wu, the all-you-can-eat buffet she and I tried after attending the world premier of "Traffic WARden" (see "Attending the World Premier," May 7, 2007). We all agreed and I asked the women if they wanted to take the Tube to Chinatown. They preferred walking, so off we went. My mother is always saying I should walk more. I was certainly doing my share today.
At Mr. Wu, we ate our fill. Sarah and I share an interest in talk radio, so we got onto the subject of radio presenters. Bill Buckley, Mike Mendoza, James Max, Chris Hawkins, Steve Allen, and Opal Bonfante came up in the conversation, amongst others. We also talked about Sarah's ambitions to be a writer. I told Sarah she's already a writer, as she writes a blog (http://www.naivelondongirl.com). After a relaxing lunch, we walked back towards where Jan had parked her car. Eventually, Sarah parted company with us. Jan told me that she'd not been able to get in touch with her friend who's having the party. Apparently, he wasn't answering his phone and hadn't returned the voicemail she'd left. She seemed happy to forget about the party, but I wasn't. I get to go to so few parties and this one was going to be attended by a number of astrophysicists, and I know so few of them. I urged her to keep trying. Meanwhile, I called my friend Tom. Tom didn't answer either, although I left a message. Faced with such a lack of prospects, Jan advocated going to the Haywood Gallery, to see Anthony Gormley's "Blind Light" exhibition. Reluctantly, I agreed. She'd been patient with me, so I thought it only appropriate to defer to something she wanted to do.
Anthony Gormley is a British sculptor, currently exhibiting at the Haywood, located on London's Southbank, near Waterloo Station. Recently, Jan had persuaded me to watch a documentary about the bloke. I was underwhelmed by him, on the documentary and I was underwhelmed by the exhibit. Once we'd both had enough, Jan came out with a new suggestion: going to see Blue Man Group. I had suggested that we go with Jan's daughter to see the show, but after a quick phone call, Jan was able to verify that her daughter had already seen it. Having my main objection overcome, I agreed and we set off for the West End of London, via the Tube.
At Waterloo Station, Tom called me back, on my mobile. I invited him to join us for Blue Man Group, but Tom declined. In Leicester Square, we got tickets from a discounted ticket broker. The next show started at 9PM. It was only a few minutes past 7. Blue Man Group is playing at the New London Theatre, on Drury Lane. At my suggestion, we walked to Drury Lane. Once we'd found the theatre, we sat at a table outside a pub, to kill time before the show. Jan was hungry, but I was still full from lunch. She ordered chips and onion rings for us to snack on. As we sat, I noticed a number of Freemasons wondering through the neighborhood. I nursed one beer, then it was time to go to the theatre.
If you haven't seen Blue Man Group, I highly recommended them. Their show combines music, comedy, and art, and is also very interactive. Their run at the New London theatre is due to end on 24th June, so if you haven't seen them yet, I would, quickly. Even though I had seen them before, in Las Vegas, I still found the idea of seeming them again appealing. Once the show was over, we went home. I was very disappointed that we'd missed out on the party at Jan's friend's flat. Meeting Muckey Sarah almost made up for it.

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