Wheely need a change

I’m feeling a bit down at the moment. A trifle low. A touch, if I dare say it, sad.

I hate admitting it. Not because I’m ashamed or anything like that. It’s the reactions I get to these statements that keep me quiet. I don’t know how it is for you, but when I tell people that things are a bit sucky in Maxine-land, they either brush it off with a series of dismissive noises, or they take the exact opposite approach, going into hyper alert, as if I’m about to off myself right then and there in front of them. When what I really want is for them to pat me on the head, agree that everyone is terrible, and tell me that it’s all going to be okay, because they are going to beat up everyone who has ever wronged me.

Okay, I hear it. You’re right. That’s not the way to handle things.

I can beat up my own damn people.

In the meantime, as it is mental health awareness week, I’m going to admit to you that the marathon is really getting to me at the moment.

It’s the relentlessness of the whole thing.

It just goes on and on and on.

For nearly five months, I’ve been going to the theatre almost every night. And then filling in every free moment in between shows with writing about them. Thousands of words. Hundreds of thousands of words. Three whole novels’ worth of words. I’m not even kidding. No wonder at least half of them are misspelt.

And, you know, it’s a bit lonely.

I don’t mean the going to the theatre part. Because I’m very often not alone. And, as someone pushing the limits on how far one can sit on the introvert scale, going to the theatre by myself never bothered me anyway. It’s the loneliness of the marathon itself. The fact that I am entirely on my own in this enterprise. The lovely people that accompany me on my trips don’t have to spend the evening desperately trying to recall fragments of conversations, or their intervals making notes on their phones. They don’t have to give up their lunchbreaks to writing blog posts. And their weekends to emailing PR companies. They don’t live within the confines of a spreadsheet.

I sometimes think about it akin to being jetted off on a solo mission to Mars. Thousands of people will be involved in the enterprise, but in the end, when it comes right down to it, no matter who is on the other end of the shuttle’s radio, they’re up there, all by themselves. But at least that lonesome soul goes in the knowledge that they have a place in the history books set aside from them. Somehow I don’t think they’ll be a ticker-tape parade waiting for me at the end of this year.

Anyway, all this maudlin moping is just a build up to saying that I was after something different. Something I hadn’t seen before. Something to shake me out of my funk.

So, I’m going to the circus.

Well, I’m actually going to Shoreditch Town Hall. But I’ll be watching circus. The new Barely Methodical show: SHIFT. I’m pretty stoked.

I even bought my ticket. With money.

Mainly because I just couldn’t face dealing with a press person long enough to ask for comps, but still.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love press people. I love especially theatre press people. They do a job that I in no way ever want to have to do (again). But putting in ticket requests requires being nice. And I’m in no mood to be nice right now. Wait. No. I don’t mean that. I am nice. Most of the time. I suppose what I mean is: positive. Asking for tickets requires a certain level of bouncy cheer and enthusiasm that I am not capable of at this moment in time. I’m too busy embracing my inner Eeyore to use the required amount of exclamation marks in an email.

Still, even after I’d made the decision to lay down my debit card in the pursuit of another check mark in my marathon spreadsheet, it didn’t mean I wasn’t in full money-saving mode.

And as I analysed the seating plan for tonight’s performance, I realise that the cheapest seats are all gone. Greyed out. Not there.


I click through a few more dates until I see them. There. Thursday night has some. Up in the balcony. Well, that was no good. I’d already made plans for Thursday. Oh well. Second price down it was then. I picked my seat and bought the ticket and then…


I hadn’t clicked back to Tuesday. My ticket was for Thursday.

As soon as the confirmation email landed in my inbox, I forwarded it onto Shoreditch Town Hall with an abject apology and a begging request for them to exchange it.

Nine minutes later, it was done. Ticket exchanged. Followed by a friendly command to enjoy the show.

Ah. Now that’s the stuff.

While I respect press people, it’s admin staff that I really admire. They are the real heroes in theatre. The ones who turn chaos into order, dreams into reality, and an outing into an experience. I would lay down my cloak on the wet ground before them if they hadn’t already organised for building services to sort out that dangerous looking puddle outside the front door.

I could almost forgive them for having e-tickets.

Not that this stopped me from heading right over to the small podium positioned just inside the very fancy foyer of the town hall to absolutely double check that printed tickets were not a thing that would be happening in my life tonight.

They’re not. But I take it with relative good grace, and do not in any way express contempt for the future of this planet we call home.

They do have freesheets though.

There’s a stake of them on the counter. I take one and go off to explore.

As former town halls go, Shoreditch must be on the more sophisticated end of the scale.

Where Battersea Arts Centre is all collages and finger paintings and a bee strewn mosaic floor, Shoreditch has oversized faerie-lights and light up screens in place of posters and a more geometric approach to tiled flooring. They even have a ladies powder room, which I took to be the loos until I saw that they did actually have loos. Accessed through an entirely different entrance. The door to the powder door was blocked off, so in lieu of being able to ascertain its actual purpose, I’m going to imagine a line of vanity tables inside, complete with soft pink lighting and deeply padded chairs, where ladies touch up their makeup with fluffy puff-balls and leave a trail of lipstick-marks in their wake.

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