I am living my own personal version of “changing rooms”. There is that slightly nervous moment each time you arrive at a new venue, and are shown the possible spaces for your talk. I have already described the “space between two doors” at Brighton – this was followed by the “Harold Pinter” room at the Hackney Empire….a possible cameo for Vicar Chronicle: Simon, the promoter, told me that there was one available space, the Harold Pinter room. He took me up to the upper level…and then through the door marked “gents toilets”. My heart began to sink. We were in a small lobby, about one metre square. Surely not here, I thought. Simon looked slightly confused, and then pushed on the next door, which took us through to the toilets themselves, complete with a row of urinals. I know most Vicar fans are men of a certain age, whose bladders, like mine, may be getting a trifle weak, but a talk in the toilet…!!! Simon looked a little embarrassed and announced that the Harold Pinter room had vanished. It was as if we were living in our own Harold Pinter play. We circled several times, before he remembered a fire door from the lobby just outside the toilets, which led into….a very fine conference room!
A similar tale at The Lowry centre in Madchester, where I was originally offered a dull grey corridor just outside the stage door – which was fortunately changed to the Lyric Circle Bar, which proved a fine venue. On the first night, I asked the Front-of-house manager if they could kill the musak. “If only we could”, she replied. By the second night, she had thankfully succeeded. So thank you to all. Onwards and upwards.