18 November 2007

And darkness and decay and the paper towel dispenser held illimitable dominion over all

By October, the leaves on Bermondsey Street had been mashed into shiny yellow flakes like fish food on the glossy pavement. Then more leaves fell. It’s the end of November now, and the inexhaustible store of continually falling leaves is accompanied by rain and the white puff of your breath as you walk, which is how you know it’s actually winter.

On Friday, we went to see a play called Human Computer at the Battersea Arts Centre. It was happening simultaneous to and directly beneath The Masque of the Red Death – an interactive theatre production which allows patrons to explore the dark world of Poe dressed like complete assholes.

Shortly before our own not-so-conventional but much-less-fussy play was due to start, I went to see a steward about a toilet. She said, “Here, you’ll have to wear one of these and pretend you’re part of the performance,” and handed me a frightening mask that made me look vaguely like batman. Evidently the theatre's only toilet is located squarely within the production of The Masque of the Red Death.

Now a freakish looking cat, the stewardess said, “I’ll take you there, wait for you to come out and then walk you back. Don’t be scared. And don’t say anything.”

She typed in a code and we entered into a dark, smoke-filled Victorian Gothic nightmare. An organ played low, long notes and a bell tolled the hour as we moved cautiously past a stationary figure in a spooky mask and came upon a blue-painted swinging door that bore a white plaque reading:


The carefully construed storybook world of Poe hadn’t made it as far as the loo, which was just as well. The bell tolled one and I flushed the toilet, washed my hands, took a sneaky photo of my masked self and returned to my guide, who delivered me safely back to the land of the living.

I’m quite pleased that I got to have the Masque of the Red Death and Toilets experience for free. Human Computer was pretty good too.

Prior to this, I’d bought myself a pair of these cheeky things, which I probably would have slept in all weekend had Bruce allowed me to.

My second spontaneous but necessary purchase – a fitted red coat - took place only a few hours ago at Spitalfields Market, which, had I known it existed only a short bus ride from home, I would have insited we visit every Sunday for the last year. Which is probably why Bruce waited until now to take me there.

Afterwards, we had the best sausage and mash ever at a cozy, warm diner called S&M, though the only painful part of the experience was realising my plate was empty of sausage and mash. We’ve made a pact to eat there every Sunday, which means I’d better keep up my walks to work unless I want to actually become a sausage.

Back at the ranch, we spent an uncomfortable few hours watching Code Unknown. Were it not for Michael Haneke, I think I’d become far too complacent about life. It’s good to remember that fictional characters much like us suffer, because. Well, why not.

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