On Saturday, my wife and I went to see Lord Of The Dance at Wembley Arena. It finished at exactly the same time as the AC/DC concert taking place in the stadium. It only took us one hour to travel to Wembley, but it was close to four hours getting home again.
You couldn’t get near the underground station, so we wandered about aimlessly looking at bus stops. Could we walk to Brent Cross? Harrow and Wealdstone? Anywhere else with a station that didn’t have thousands of people trying to get onto the same couple of platforms. The AC/DC crowd were good natured, but there were so many of them, you felt claustrophobic.
London Underground will be running all-night trains on Fridays and Saturdays soon, which is good news (there was a race to get on a train before the lines closed down). I think it’s criminal, though, that London Underground won’t employ any more drivers and staff to cope with the increased schedules. I support the RMT’s (the train drivers’ union) strike this week. The same drivers who work through the week during day times are expected to then switch to nights come Friday. Furthermore, London Underground are already planning to get rid of staff from the ticket offices.
To be honest, I’m sick of people moaning about the RMT. It is simply looking after its members’ interests, as a good trade union should do. The trouble is, it’s the only union in the country with any clout; and so, when it does call a strike, it stands out. We should not criticize it but try to emulate it.
It struck me, as we were getting into a cold sweat about getting home, that no other venue in London abandons you quite the way Wembley does when the gig finishes. At Hammersmith, Hyde Park, the 02, you get the options of trains, buses and cabs (at the 02, you can even get a ferry). But at Wembley, after you’ve paid £100 for a couple of tickets and another £50 for programmes, tee shirts, popcorn and nachos, you are left to it when the house lights go up. Surely, with all the money that the stadium and arena make (and it must comes to millions), they could club together for a few buses, and get their audiences at least into the centre of London?
Possibly, though, because the stadium was built for sporting events, and the people who tend to go to those are working class (and the residents of Wembley are not especially well off, either), they are left to get on with it. But the audience for Lord Of The Dance had its fair share of OAPS in it, and a fair few children, too.
I’ve been less anxious this week about writing. The clue to that, I think, has been writing practice. You’d have to read Natalie Goldberg’s brilliant Writing Down The Bones to find out more about it, but basically you set yourself a time, say ten minutes, and a subject, say your childhood, and you write about that subject for that amount of time. Ideally, you do this each day, and you do it, not with the intention of completing a project (although it can often spark something off), but more as a sort of meditation.
I’ve made it a rule to try and write about real life. Things which have happened to me, things which I’ve seen or heard, things which I’ve said or done. I always feel resistant to start with. I want to do anything else but examine reality (my latest delaying tactic is to list all the ideas I’ve had for horror stories, which I tell myself is brainstorming). Yet the first sentence leads to the second, and before you know it, you’ve filled a page. Like going to Mass, you feel better afterwards.
I’m not, at this moment, working on a project. I want to begin a new one. I’ve got loads of first drafts of stories which need more work, and I really ought to get around to revising those and sending them off; but once again, I feel that resistence.