Following on from the last post, it's clear to me that it is good to do things for other people for no reward other than doing-them's sake. I consider my own behaviour to be selfish. I don't think that my selfishness necessarily requires that I take something for myself, or do things which make me look good in the eyes of others, but I know that I rarely do something that I don't want to do. So, I'm self-serving, but I enjoy being nice to others, so it doesn't do any harm. Indeed, I like to think of myself as generous and good-natured, so I choose to fulfil that role, or I would let myself down. I'm not too generous - too selfish to give too much, but requiring of myself that I feel like I'm generous. This is a rather cynical analysis of my own behaviour, but it's probably quite accurate. Maybe everyone is the same.
And so it was that our party of two on Monday became a party of three as a random person in a pub became our welcome guest for a curry. We offered friendship and hospitality and it was good. People should do things for people. It feels good.
You can't have it all
The folks in the sandwich shop downstairs are offering moderate quality food at slightly inflated prices. I have avoided patronising their shop as a result, but they are more convenient than walking further afield, so I occasionally give them a go. Yesterday, I went there and managed to get the sort of lunch I wanted, healthy and pleasant. I was also surprised by the courtesy I was shown by the person who served me. She was very friendly and took pains to say goodbye and thank me for my custom. I was so surprised, not accustomed to this sort of service, that I was actually on the way out of the shop when I realised she'd bothered to engage me. Usually, the staff in there thrust the change at you while looking elsewhere, seldom make eye contact and are generally incapable.
This new staff member seemed to have a willingness to be personable as well as do her job. The only problem was that she made the act of slicing open a roll and applying some mango chutney look incredibly painful. Any time I'd saved in going to a closer shop was lost as she made a meal of making my lunch (as it were). I think part of my reason for hastening out of the shop, having bitten my tongue at her sluggish and graceless performance in sandwich making. However, I regret my actions. If I'd realised she was going to be so nice about it, I would have stayed around to offer a smile.
Some musicals trivia
Yesterday I was listening to Miss Saigon, the original london cast, which included among its number, the very charismatic Jonathan Pryce. Miss Saigon is in many way a better musical than Les Miserables, by the same writers - Boublil and Schoenberg - which I'm presently listening to. I think that the power of Miss Saigon comes from the greater variety of emotions and numbers on display. You can sympathise with the principal characters more and there are fewer threads of story to be confused by. Where the tragedy comes in, it's a lot more focused and, perhaps, a little more tragic. Perhaps it's just less miserable.
The show will be headed for the Empire theatre in Sunderland next year and I think I'll make the effort to go and see it. I saw it in Birmingham last year and was impressed by it, but perhaps I wasn't swept along by the atmosphere, the theatre being so big that it was hard to become immersed in the action.
I've had a couple of listens now to the musical Weird Romance. I bought the CD of this on spec, as is often the case when I go shopping on ebay. This recording has the benefit of being written by Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors and a raft of Disney stuff) and including Ellen Greene (Little Shop of Horrors, stage and screen) in its cast. It has a good pedigree. It's a curious recording and, after a couple of listens there are some moments which stand out as favourites. I've said before that you can hear the hand of a writer in their work. Despite not orchestrating this recording himself, you can tell that the music is from the same writer as Little Shop of Horrors. Lyrically, the show works pretty well too, once you've forgiven the need for Americanisms for the words to fit together. Weird Romance is a pair of one-act musicals connected by being speculative fiction in which a male character falls in love with an artificial woman. I don't mean like a sex doll. I mean more like a woman whose presence is provided by machine in some way, though in both cases the spirit of the person is not artifical. In both stories, the woman goes through some sort of nurturing/training to be realised (a bit My Fair Lady like) and in both cases the love that forms is in some way pure, a connection of mind, rather than body. The stories end tragically and are quite touching. I doubt I'll get the chance to see this show performed. Shame.
The last night of the cave
Last night was a bit weird. I wasn't expecting it to turn out the way it did. I stayed in Edinburgh longer than I expected I would, opting for a very late night return trip on the A1, punctuated by a low-fat sandwich stop in Berwick. I was savouring the afterglow of the gig, but I didn't realise at the time that I was savourign the afterglow of the last gig of its sort. One of my favourite venues in Edinburgh has just closed its doors on its Wednesday gig. There will be no more comedy cave. We ended it in style, though.
As nights go, it was truly an unusual one. I opened the show and had my set punctuated by various random interruptions. I didn't get a whole lot out of the whole of the audience, but I did get something and I think I gave a reasonable performance. After the gig was over, I became deeply involved in conversation with the three best audience members, two of whom were newly-weds (to each other) from the states. It was a refreshing conversation and the four of us had a blast. It was a long goodbye, which ultimately ended on the street when we ran out of words and the harsh reality of my need to get home, get sleep and get to work hit.
We had, during the conversation, toyed with the idea of packing all of them into my car and driving back to mine in Newcastle. My reasoning for this being: I have this really big plant... and ingredients for a smoothie. It seemed to be attractive. I think I could have gotten away with it, though what I would have done with 3 tired strangers in my house is hard to imagine. In addition, though two of them knew each other, we had all only just met, which would soon have gotten weird if we moved the impromptu party.
I summarised the highlights of the road trip that didn't happen, so I don't think they missed much. I like to give of myself to my audience, but a post-gig celebration like that is unprecedented. If any of M, B or S is reading this - Hello! Do get in touch.