(Wherein our intrepid hero makes the trip from ‘nam flashbacks to drunken renditions of My Way in a single bound, taxi ride and some frantic running)
After awakening to discover a missed call from dearest mother, from 6am, and imagining that the only possible reason for a such-timed call is the sudden discontinuation of a beloved relative, I find that even my implacable, taciturn self in a state of panic as I attempt to remember the altered method of retrieving messages from message bank whilst overseas. Finally, I retrieve the message… ” Hi, we can’t get the internet to work. Can you give me a call when you get this?” Truly, this reaches, to my mind, the bounds of absurdity. Terrifying international calls for tech support notwithstanding, I begin my day by attending a shopping expedition, as I have decided, in the cold light of day that the t-shirt I purchased was entirely inappropriate, and entirely beneath my dignity – a fact rendered more curious by the fact that I was reasonably sober when I purchased it. (The theatre at which I saw The Phantom of the Opera, unlike the much more civilised theatre at which I viewed Rent, did not allow one to take drinks to one’s seat. Truly barbaric.) Thus I returned to the Times Square shop where I had purchased the shirt to return it, before heading to Macy’s, apparently the largest department store in the world, in the hopes of procuring clean clothes. Their complete lack of store directories did mean that yes, gentle readers, I got lost, and found myself in the furniture section of the eleventh floor, seeking directions. Eventually, I found my way to the menswear section, where after some considerable effort and time; I managed to find a pair of pants and a top that I could approve of. Informed by the helpful salesperson that out of town shoppers receive an 11% discount (the sales tax, apparently) meant a trip to the visitor’s centre, which I managed without too much discombobulation, however, naturally I found myself waylaid on my return by a discovery of linen shirts. Long story short (too late), I find myself the owner of garments which I have since learned are, apparently, the label of a rap mogul. A Mr. Puff Daddy, apparently.
I then returned home to drop off my clothes, shower, change and pick up my clean clothes from the Laundromat. All things considered, the shopping trip was probably unnecessary, however, it was the principle of the thing. I did my best, gentle readers, to have myself in clean clothes as quickly as possible. Thence I headed to Greenwich Village, once more to the Cornelia Street Café, where I had found out an open-mic poetry night was to be held. Truly, it was exactly as one would expect, with such splendid lines as “I am a phoenix, and each time I die I am reborn in a more expensive pair of shoes…”, finally ending when the last poet started having ‘nam flashbacks during his recital. Part of the poem? Hard to say .
After departing the poetry session, I called the box office, and was told there was a rather good centre seat available for Curtains, but the ticket seller suggested that I buy it at the box office, as I would avoid some fees. As I figured there would be a possibility of my not arriving in time, this seemed a wise decision. Thus I began a harried trip across town to the theatre district by taximetered cabriolet, with a mere half an hour to reach the theatre, eventually finding myself stuck in traffic, some five blocks away (That’s East-West blocks. The grid of Manhattan is made up of rectangular blocks, with the east-west lengths being considerably longer than the north-south ones, and, frankly, are a bitch to traverse). Thus I leapt out of the taxi, and ran the remainder of the way, arriving, sweaty and panting, to discover that once more, only partial view seats were left. So, I find myself consulting my guide book, asking the question, ” What haven’t I done yet?” The answer comes back: “Cabaret!” A trip to a nearby cabaret club revealed that it, like so much else in the city (even the subway, in fact, which I must admit was looking rather derelict), was undergoing renovations. Not to fear however, as a renewed consultation revealed a second club, Don’t Tell Mama, right across the street. My night was officially open-ended, as a call to NBC studios had revealed that Late Night with Conan O’Brien wasn’t taping this week. Thus began an evening of rollicking Cabaret, featuring, amongst the many classics, the Super Mario Bros. theme. I kid you not. Sadly, the pianist new neither Hold the line nor Be Prepared (from The Lion King) thus my musical magnificence went undisplayed, I’m afraid. I also found myself the recipient of the attentions of a somewhat older gent. Fortunately, innumerate demonstrations generously provided over the years by scores of the fairer sex for my benefit mean that I am well schooled in the art of tactfully and graciously deflecting unwelcome advances. At some point, my Australian charm was evidently working its magic once more, I found myself the recipient of free drinks from the bartendress. (This, too, would become a somewhat recurrent theme).
By 11pm our intrepid Orpheus had decided that a return to the apartment impractical – at best, 4 hours of sleep might be gained before it would be necessary to rise, if hopes of acquisition of Saturday Night Live tickets might be achieved, and such rest was as likely to prove a hindrance as a benefit. Thus, instead, cabaret would provide a warm, comforting bosom of accommodation ’til 4am, at which point our intrepid hero would make a meandering journey to the studio, to prepare for lining up for the tickets released at 7am. The three hours of waiting; an extravagance? Perhaps. But at least success would be all but guaranteed.
Or so he thought . Having written the preceding passage during my 6 hour wait at the cabaret club, it can be taken as a fair expression of my thoughts at the time. However, after shuffling out with the last stragglers at 4:30, (not before getting this photo in the bathroom – gee, I sure managed to make that sound good, didn’t it?) I made my way to Rockefeller Plaza, (on the way discovering important news) where at 5 o’clock, somewhat surprised that no-one else was waiting; I discovered one of the doors to the studios open. Intrigued, and with nothing else to do, I wandered inside. There, I met a surprisingly well informed guard, who revealed to me a drastic secret: Saturday Night Live is on hiatus until September – information which, I can assure you, is not presented anywhere on their website or phone service . What’s more, apparently by 5am (on actual taping days) there would already be at least 100 people camped out, waiting for tickets. Thus, resigned, I decided to return to the apartment for some much needed sleep. Whilst the idea of just soldiering on and experiencing a sleep-deprived whirlwind hallucination tour of NY over the next 19 or so hours did seem somewhat tempting, I felt I could probably leave that for another day.