On Monday I'd managed to successfully incorporate a trip to Argos to buy a birthday gift for my niece, as requested by her mother (my sister), which I took to London today to present to the wee tot. I had had my choice of item from a range that was given to me and I chose something which I thought would be fun for my niece and, perhaps, fun for myself too. This, I think, may have been the first error.
The toy, an electric train that you can sit on (if you're small enough) was met with the level of surprise and amusement that you might expect of a young niece, and all was going well. She sat on it. She liked it.
Then we put the batteries in. Why Tomy think a small child will like a machine which rattles and makes a scary noise in the name of rail transport is beyond me. Rather than joy and happiness, we got terror and dismay. She's a bright child and she made it her mission, in a quiet moment, to see if she could remove the batteries and thus disable this horrendous beast from doing its thing.
Such matters are not worth getting upset over. If she doesn't warm to it, it can be swapped for something she likes. It's a shame that, after the trying to get her something nice, it didn't necessarily work out.
I have also discovered that asking for stuff doesn't necessarily have to be done explicitly. I'd made some general suggestion that I wanted a wallet for Christmas. This was, I think, a "well, if I had to choose, then it would be..." rather than a hint to my "readership" to go out and buy me something or else disappoint me. Indeed, I could have easily gone out and bought a wallet if I were that bothered. I did need to replace mind, but I also need a haircut and to road tax my car, and both of those have been sorely neglected, so it would appear.
Anyway, it also appears that my mother reads this blog - perhaps not always, but at least occasionally, as she gave me a wallet today. That's what mothers do. Thanks. It reminds me of the time when a friend of mine's mother read that I particularly enjoyed a drink I drank and so she made sure she had some of that in the house next time I happened to be visiting. It's nice when people make the effort. Full stop. Having said that, perhaps not everything I write on here is in proportion, so if anything else I write looks like a plea, but is not really obviously a plea, then I really don't expect my desires to be fulfilled. Unless anyone really fancies doing some tiling...
Going back to the niece thing, I think that her reaction to the gift is a bit like my reaction to my own tiling. I like it all the way through the process until the end result, which I then look on with disappointment and regret. There'll be more of that to come in the next few days.
After my family visit, which ended when they all went out, and I wasn't in the mood to play mummies and daddies with the babysitter with my niece in the role of baby (Note - this isn't something which was offered, but it could so easily have felt weird had I hung around.) I went shopping. First I went to Brent Cross and visited Borders where I found some Beatles CDs for cheap. I have most of the albums, but these were ones I'd never quite justified buying, given that they're the singles collection and I have all the singles on the albums. They're worth having for car playing and also for the convenience of having them on the mp3 player without having to do lots of research and playlist creation - yes, that's lazy, but they were cheap in Borders.
After the book shopping, I went to Ikea. I had two missions. I had to buy some shit. I did that. I also wanted to work out what furniture I would get for my house when it's ready for furniture. I think I've come to some sort of conclusion. A three seater sofa and a couple of chairs seems the answer.
£60 worth of crap in the boot of my car and I went to my gig. It was a chance to close a gig in a chain of comedy clubs that looks good on my CV to have closed for. It was a nice looking room and the audience seemed to be spirited. I could tell a tale of how I turned the room round single handedly after the acts before me had a difficult time. If that were to have been the case and if I were to tell the story that way, it wouldn't necessarily paint me in a good light. Stories of one's own triumph could sound very big headed. Not telling the story of the night and suggesting it might have been a big triumph would also be fairly self-involved and big headed.
How shall I report the gig? I will say that it didn't get easy towards the end and that I went along, wiped the slate clean, dealt with the weird moments and had a nice time. The PA system was on the blink, so I did my last song kneeling down on the front of the stage singing unplugged. This proved to be a risk which paid off and I really enjoyed myself. For some reason, the riskiness of the gig made me more reckless and I was comfortable trying to hold a potentially tricky room from the kneeling position. This sounds silly, but it was sort of a turning point for me. I just did what I wanted to do and the audience stuck with it.
Maybe it was an easier gig than it looked like.