It’s only Wednesday and the week has already included the following Great Moments:
1) Watching Tenacious D at the Hammersmith Apollo, which included Jack Black fist-fighting with the physical embodiment of METAL (a giant robot), a drum solo by the damned spirit of Colonel Sanders, and a rock-off with Satan. It’s good to see that some people still take music seriously.
2) Sitting in the house of a total stranger as she cheerfully told me about smashing her neighbour’s car windscreen with a shovel.
The latter was part of last night’s fantastic Strange Conjunction of Circumstances Evening. I only ended up having dinner with this slightly crazy but brilliant vegan skinhead (and her friend who lives in her driveway) because she’d volunteered to make dinner for the winner of November’s “Hammer & Tongue” poetry slam (http://www.hammerandtongue.co.uk), which I only even entered on a mad whim and somehow fluked my way to victory with a full-on anticonsumerist rant, which wouldn’t have happened if Jess hadn’t taken me along to the October one, which in turn wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t ended up in Oxford in the first place, which was only possible because everyone involved managed, against all the odds, to be born in the first place as part of the blissfully unlikely cavalcade of events we call human history after our species was somehow chosen by the whirling roulette-wheel-with-billions-upon-billions-of-numbers known as evolution to dominate this planet which only supports life at all thanks to some seriously freakish conjunctions of cosmic matter following the birth of the universe. Which made me damned grateful for that spaghetti bolognese, I can tell you.
I appreciated the company, too. My new friends live in Abingdon, in an apparently-infamous area with many fascinating local characters and a lively street life, as evidenced by the aforementioned shovel/windscreen incident. This was the result of some complicated events to do with transporting people to hospital, and led to the neighbour cheerfully smashing my hostess’s windows in return; the encounter ended with her sobbing in his arms and declaring “I only did it because I love you, you’re like my dad”. Later that evening she found herself accidentally streaking along the main road in a “Kiss Me Quick” T-shirt. This was actually one of her tamer stories.
I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong idea, mind you; she was a completely lovely and generous hostess, one of the most honest people I’ve ever met, and somehow seems to juggle looking after four kids (including home schooling), volunteering at a local community centre, and studing for a management qualification with a lively and unusual social life. It’s just that she also lives in a community that could rarely be described as dull, and on Tuesdays the kids are away and she’s free to drink brandy.
You kind of had to be there, really. I’m glad I was, and I wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t decided to have a go at the poetry thing, which might mean that the moral of this story is: grab every random opportunity that comes your way. I’ll be testing that theory tomorrow night when I try auditioning to be in a friend’s new rock band.
I just hope the spirit of METAL will be with me.