Monday 3 May 10
Picture the scene: it's the late show at Feinstein's on Friday night. The audience is a mixed bag of Regency Hotel residents, various other Upper East Side denizens and odd pockets of what you'd think more as my demographic. The only thing they all have in common is that they are all pretty smashed. The show doesn't start till 10.30pm, they've obviously been elsewhere in the evening, and let's not forget it's a Friday and a fair weather weekend is just beginning.
There is a table with two young girls who I notice immediately, not just because they are young (the majority of the Feinstein's audience isn't) and right in front of where I am on the stage, but because they are obviously a little wasted and are curled up in each other's arms and making out quite vociferously. I remember thinking how nice it was that my presence at Feinstein's might engender such displays of lady love. They were also a bit noisy, talking to each other using their outside voices. No, not just their outside voices, their drunk or high outside voices. At first it was cute, but when they talked quite loudly a few times during quieter bits of songs and in the middle of some of my stories, I stopped and talked directly to them and said that I loved that they were making out but could they try and be a little bit quieter because they were putting me off, the band off and people around them were sshing and tutting. They seemed to get it, mouthed silent apologies and on we went.
But they didn't shut up or stop making out. Sometimes they talked whilst making out. The audience were getting very annoyed and so I stopped again and said that they really had to quiet down, and if they didn't maybe they'd like to go over to one of the tables by the entrance where they could carry on making out but not bother the rest of us. I asked the rest of the audience if they agreed and they did, resoundingly. One of the girls said they'd stop talking and I took her at her word.
But they didn't and so I stopped again and asked them to move. Other people in the audience were shouting at them now, and right at this moment they knocked over a (thankfully electric) candle on the table. 'Sorry, girls, you're still being really loud and now you're knocking things over', I said.
'We didn't knock anything' said the blonde one.
'Eh, you just knocked over a candle', said I, suddenly feeling like a suburban mother dealing with her stoned kids. A staff member approached. I told them they were welcome to stay and sit near the door but they were probably too humiliated/out of it and they just left altogether. I'm sure the air did them good. The rest of the audience cheered and we all bonded in our democratic eviction. They were mentioned often in passing for the rest of the show to much merriment too. (After I sang Taylor the Latte Boy I said the song was written by two women called Marcy and Zina and what a shame they'd had to leave before they heard their song.)
Now these girls were obviously drunk and I sense because of their over-zealous physicality with each other, high on something else. But one of them, as they got outside, got stroppy with the staff member and said her Dad was a lawyer and she would get him to sue! The staffer gleefully thrust her business card into the girls's hand and said 'Here's my card, I would be delighted to speak to your father'!
I write this in the lounge at Johannesburg Airport. It is a bit cloudy and rainy and there are lots of brightly coloured planes taking off. The biggest difference I feel being in Africa so far is the light. Even in the rain it's different. Rather annoyingly it makes my hair look grayer. I am hoping that Cape Town, my final destination, will remedy this.
I am now in Cape Town, in a lovely apartment downtown. It's about eight years since I've been here. Everywhere there is frantic construction and preparation for the World Cup. I have had a wander and a shop and am now about to do what I always do when I arrive in a new place where I am going to be ensconsed for a while: make some soup.
here's a very quiet trailer for a documentary I did about Shakespeare...