I’ve started ruining songs again. You know when you hear a song you like and then you play it seven thousand times until you never, ever want to hear it again? I’m about midway through that with a song from the show we went to see the weekend before last.
Many people will be familiar with Once since it just made it over to London and, I gather, was on the news when they do that’no, we are cultured, honest’ bit on BBC London. It probably also has posters up everywhere. There’s no ticket lottery for Once, so that meant we had to dust off our inner theatre geeks and get up at stupid o’clock in the morning (Fine. 7am. But that’s stupid o’clock for a Saturday.) to queue for cheap tickets. Considering we arrived at the box office 90 minutes before it opened, we weren’t nearly early enough. There were 40 people in front of us in the queue – and the people at the front were fast asleep on the street. New York theatre fans go hardcore.
The only issue with standing a queue for an hour and a half is that your experience can be heavily influenced by who you happen to be next to in line. Fortunately we were next to the entertaining kind of idiot. The girl in front of us spent a lot of the time telling her friend (who was basically silent and, I suspect had never had a chance to get a word in edgeways anyway) about how she always dressed so that she’d be ablet o fight her way out of an apocalypse. I’m not 100% on this, but I’m pretty sure Will Smith did not wear a long polka-dot skirt and a lacy blouse in I Am Legend, but perhaps she knows something I don’t.
Once she’d finished telling her friend about her fighting ability, Rambo began drawing a portrait of her on the ipad. She stared at her really intently, obviously studying her features. It was like that scene in Titanic – y’know, the one where she tells him to ‘Draw me like one of your French girls’ and you wish he’d draw in a comedy beret and a string of onions but he never does. So, she studied her friend’s facial features and then drew this:
My Michael Billington-ing is about as good as Rambo Van Gogh’s portraiture, so I’m not going to try. Suffice it to say that everyone should go and see Once because it is great.
On Sunday a group of us decided to stop cowering away from the heat (for the record 35 degrees centigrade then, and it hasn’t let up since) and head out for the day. We chose Princeton because it’s in the same state and easily accessible by air-conditioned train.
It being summer break (American students have an insanely long one) there was nobody around, which made wandering around the nice, designed-to-look-older-than-it-could-possibly-be, grey stone buildings very pleasant. For about 15 minutes. After which time we realised exactly how large the Princeton campus really is, exactly how hot the weather was, and exactly how closed every food or drink outlet was. Not to be melodramatic, but we definitely nearly died. In desperation we took to following other people in the hope that they’d lead us to food and yet, depsite it being gone lunchtime, nobody seemed to be heading that way.
Eventually we saw a person with a takeaway cup, and decided to go in the direction they’d just come from. We wandered around, sweating and dry-mouthed, stumbling from tree to tree and spotting people carrying cues to the whereabout of a fast food place like hunters looking for moss on the rocks to, I dunno… track stuff, I guess. Eventually we found somewhere and I fell face-first into sandwich and four free refills of lemonade.
Princeton the town is pretty nice. It’s the same in many ways as a very middle-class English village – in that there are some very nice houses, lots of trees and a Jack Wills. (Seriously? We let him get all the way over here?)
We spent a pleasant afternoon wandering the high street, admiring the insane amount of Princeton-themed merchandise available (Princeton-themed divot tool ball marker, anyone? Seriously.) before heading back to the source of the only breeze available in what feels like the entire state at the moment – our favourite air-conditioned train carriage.
(My new favourite, and soon-to-be most hated song)