In the meantime, in case you were wondering what I've been up to, here's a sequence of somewhat random but nevertheless interconnected events…
Monday. Ah, Monday. A bit of an unusual day, really. I was in two minds as to whether or not I should actually write about this, but I've come to the conclusion that I don't see why I shouldn't because quite frankly it's my choice as to whether or not I want to share it with anyone, and seeing as it didn't hurt anyone I don't see why I shouldn't.
Crumbs, there were a lot of 'shoulds' and 'shouldn'ts' in that sentence, weren't there?
Where were we? Ah yes.
I had a job interview.
Writing that out actually makes it seem very real, which is a tad weird because I clearly remember sitting in a strange room in North London facing two women who were assessing my skills (or lack thereof). Anyway, I hoofed it out of work bang on time on Monday afternoon, swapped my trainers for posh shoes in the car (to add a little more oomph to my already heightened level of smart - which I'd had to deflect attention from throughout the day), and jumped on the tube into town. I'm not going to go into any detail about what the job was, suffice to say that I was genuinely very, very interested in it, and the two ladies thought I was perfect, but I also felt a distinct pang of guilt about going behind the metaphorical back of my current employers, who have been pretty darn good to me over the years.
I was actually invited back later this week - but have declined. Why? Well, to be honest, I was getting rather enthusiastic about it. The more I heard about it, the more I think I would've been sorely tempted to accept it if it was offered to me - and there were a number of negative reasons working against it. The reasons are *counts in head* predominantly two-fold (and not necessarily salary-based); firstly, the job is in central London, which would mean getting the train everyday, which would mean a considerable increase in my travel expenses (by a factor of - gulp - three); secondly, it would also mean a more rigid 9-5 working day, and this - combined with the travel situation - would mean no more popping in to see the family or Sparky Nan on my way home from work, both of which are very important to me. I also imagine that I wouldn't actually be getting home until about seven in the evening, meaning that I wouldn't have as much downtime to myself.
I honestly think it would've been a great opportunity (and there's still a little part of me that thinks I've been a complete doofus in not continuing on with the interview process), but while I think the job itself sounds amazing, the location and travel hassles are definite no-nos, and I really didn't want to waste peoples' time by going through with an interview when I know I'd turn the job down at the end.
If it had only been a few miles closer I think it'd be a totally different story…
So, posh shoes. Not. My. Best. Friends. At the moment. In the space of just a couple of hours wearing them to the interview, they completely and utterly ripped my feet to shreds. Which is bizarre because I've worn them quite a considerable amount around the house and out and about at the weekends over the last few months. The result of this is that I limped into Sparky Towers Monday night to find a gaping, weeping red-raw blister on my left foot, and two smaller, but equally excrutiatingly painful blisters on my right - meaning that I'm currently hobbling around like a heavily-damaged Terminator.
Which, of course, caused me problems on…
Tuesday. I was looking forward to Tuesday because Yazzle Dazzle and I were going to a gig for the first time in what felt like ages. The gig was The Walkmen, a band which I must admit I was not very familiar with, apart from one song that was on the second soundtrack to The OC (and, in fact, they actually made a guest appearance in an episode). It's these facts, combined with a ridiculously low ticket price of just 17 English pounds and 50 of your finest pence, that Yazzle used to convince me to go to the gig (I've come to the conclusion that I'll pretty much do anything if you can connect it somehow to The OC).
There were, however, a couple of slight worries that loomed into view by Tuesday afternoon:
• Firstly, it was bloody cold, and my iPhone weather report hinted that there might even be snow. I scoffed at this, because there's a difference between 'cold' and 'snowing' (I think you can all see where this is going, can't you?).
• Secondly, the gig was at ULU, a venue in the centre of town, which meant a lot of walking on my manky feet.
Help in resolving the second point came in the unexpected form of lovely boss lady at work. Her solution? Tape a doubled-over section of a plastic bag over the plasters covering the blisters. She assured me that this would help minimise any unwanted friction between wound, plaster, sock, and shoe, as the plastic would make everything glide. My reaction was to scoff in a "yeah, right!" kind of way.
After watching me hobble around the office in my socks, though, she basically forced me to carry out her orders. And so at about five o'clock I cut up and stuck a portion of a Ryman's plastic carrier bag across the heel of my left foot using plasters and Scotch Magic Tape; my right foot is less painful, so I made do with just a few sparkly plasters stuck over the existing plasters for added padding (because we all know the sparkly plasters have magic healing properties missing from the everyday variety).
And do you know what? It actually kinda worked in a MacGyver-stylee! I could still feel a degree of pain, but not quite as much as I'd felt earlier in the day, which meant that the trip up town was much more bearable than it could've been.
Here's some embarrassing pictures.
I don't think anyone needs to see any pictures of the gaping wounds on my feet, do you?
With my feet securely strapped up, Yazzle and I headed up town to Russell Square in search of ULU, or the University of London student union as it technically is. Unfortunately, the map I printed out proved to be complete rubbish, and we resorted to stopping people in the street to ask for directions. Embarrassingly, the first person we asked was a tourist who actually did seem to have a better idea of the lay of the land than we did, but still couldn't pinpoint exactly where we needed to go. Fortunately Yazzle struck gold with the second person she asked - a lovely lady who, bless 'er, went massively out of her way to guide us there in person.
The kindness of strangers, huh?
So what was the gig like? Well, bearing in mind my familiarity with The Walkmen was limited to the aforementioned one song, I thought they were bloomin' excellent. The singer has a really distinctive voice that reminded me quite a lot of what I imagine an in-tune Bob Dylan would sound like, and they had a rather cool, mariachi/old saloon bar-type sound going on. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and definitely think I'm going to extend my Walkmen boundaries beyond just the one song. In fact, I already have - I found this wicked website called Daytrotter.com that invites bands to perform live sessions, then puts the tracks up as free and legal downloads. The Walkmen are on there, as are a number of other favourites of mine such as Phantom Planet, Willy Mason, Patrick Park, and Cold War Kids. I highly recommend you check it out if you're so inclined.
In the meantime, here's one of The Walkmen's videos.
It wasn't all Walkmen-based fun, however; while the second support act were pretty good, the first one sucked massively; the singer barely acknowledged the audience, and instead spent the entire set singing to the guitarist. Seeing as she was ignoring us, Yazzle and I decided to ignore her, and started doing our usual looky-likey spotting in the audience. And among the throngs of students with their eccentric haircuts and unnecessarily tight clothing we made two major finds – a Napolean Dynamite looky-likey (dang, sweet!), and a Bette Midler!
Oh, and guess what? Yeah, it totally snowed as we left.