Feeling salty

I’m on my way to Sloane Square. I’m walking because I never learn my lesson on this matter, and I’m now in that strange and exotic hinterland between The Mall and Eaton Square, where all the buildings look like they are being kept as doll’s houses for a series of life-size, and creepily realistic, mannequins. They’re all too large and ornate to real.

I cross a road, and behind me I hear a whistle.

As in an actual whistle. The type blown by the games teachers in my nightmares.

It chirrups. Like a bird that only knows two notes. Once. And then again. Followed a few seconds later by a repeat performance.

I turn around just as a police motorcycle squeezes out from between the traffic, twisting around, and stopping right in the middle of the crossing. The officer puts out his hands, stopping the traffic.

We all wait, me and the cars, to see what happens.

A truck emerges, pulling a car behind it.

In the distance, I hear sirens.

Oof. That must have been one hell of an accident.

The truck and its tow pass through.

Another motorbike emerges from the other side of the road. A civilian one.

The police officer blows on his whistle with an angry chirrup, and raises his gloved hand to point accusingly at the motorbike.

The motorbike slows to a stop. I can almost see the rider’s embarrassment as he receives his telling off through the medium of hand gestures.

They’re not letting anyone go. We’re stuck, as surely as if the road had been covered in treacle. Waiting for the chirrupy whistle to release us.

Just as I decide that if I don’t get a move on I’m going to be late for my play, another bike putters into the crossing. Followed by a car. A very fancy car. A car with a flag on the bonnet. A diplomatic flag. Wait, no. Not diplomatic flags. Those are royal flags. I’m not a fan enough of the monarchy to be able to tell you which one, but it had a lot of yellow and there was definitely an HRH-type in that vehicle. It’s followed closely by a rather more pedestrian looking minivan, with a small crest on the door, and a panda car.

I turn around to leave.

To my right, I hear a strange clank. I look over. The bus driver is opening his window.

“That’s the closest we’ll ever get to that,” he calls over to me.

I laugh, and he wrestles the window closed again before moving on.

I head in the other direction. Towards the Royal Court.

The irony isn't lost on me.

The show in the main house has already gone in. The box office is empty.

I give my name to one of the ladies sitting behind the counter.

“Is this for salt.?” she asks.

It is.

“We're trialling e-tickets today,” she continues breezily, as if this statement were not an attack on everything I stand for. “So they'll be waiting for you upstairs to be swiped in.”

I stare at her, unable to formulate a response that isn’t laden with either swearwords or desperate, tear-filled pleas.

“Right,” I manage at last.

“It’s on the fourth floor. Up the stairs.”

Four floors. That’s a long time to mull things over. I make my way up them slowly, unsure what to make of this whole thing. The Royal Court, the Royal fucking Court, has fallen victim to this plague of e-tickets. If even the Royal fucking Court cannot withstand this onslaught, what hope is there of getting a proper ticket at a fringe venue?

Is this it? Is this the end of the printed ticket?

2019. The year I attempted the London Theatre Marathon. The year of the Ticketpocolapse

By the time I hit the balcony level, I’m feeling a little wobbly. You might think that this is due to climbing three flights of stairs after a three mile walk across the city, but I know better.

This is the end.

Once printed tickets have gone, it’s only a matter of time before programmes go the same way.

Result: unemployment, hardship, debt, penury, and death.

The Royal Court is literally killing me here

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