Sometimes the future is short and sometimes it is long. One of the scariest things about the future.
Last week I went on tour with the Golden Hour, and presented a *short* (the scary kind!) version of the Future Show, rewritten for every performance. Below is the video and text from the first performance in Brighton. More to follow, later.
I will say “I will turn around in bed and hold him, and I will be glad, and start to miss what I have, and the dark will be warm.” As soon as I stop speaking, you will clap. Even those of you who were a bit bored will clap because it’s a comforting way to signal an ending. You will clap as though shrugging your shoulders. Those ten minutes are gone, now you can move on with the rest of your lives. I will put the pieces of paper that you watched gradually dwindle to the side, on that table over there. Ryan will stand up. I will try to blend in. Many of you will remember how at the beginning I had described this moment, after I finished speaking, and you will avoid eye contact because it will be a bit awkward. Robin’s band begin playing the music and quietly this performance will disappear. One of you will be incensed by the premise of my performance, and will decide to do something strange and unexpected. You will approach me boldly, and say, “You think you know about the future? I’ve got a banana in my bag. Check this out. You didn’t expect this, did you?” And that person will pull a banana out of their bag, and as they pull it out they will vaguely remember the moment that I mentioned the banana, so they will put the banana back and walk away. A few minutes later, one of you will come up and give me very helpful feedback, but I will find it too helpful, and this will make me cut the conversation short so that I can get a drink. I will then no longer want to talk about my performance, and I will only want to talk about my performance, but beer will dull this narcicism. The dancers will begin to dance and I will think about how much I wish I knew how. I will continue drinking until Ryan tells me it’s time to go home. Ryan, SJ Fowler, the dancers and I will walk together to the train station. I will pass the computer shop where I once bought a faulty memory card, and Running gear shop that I am told has always been called “The Sweat Shop”, even before Sweat Shop was a widely used term. I will consider buying chips, but immediately worry about my health. Ryan will also mention the chip shop, but somehow none of us will go in. We will walk past parked taxis, and look at the lit up board. I will notice how beautiful the roof of the station is, and how romantic I thought train station roofs were when I was a child. I will then become briefly irritated, trying to figure out if I should take the fast train to Victoria or the slower train to Farringdon, and how I will get home from either Victoria or Farringdon once I arrive there. We will collectively decide to take the slower train, and myself, the dancers, Ryan, SJ Fowler, Robin and the organisers will board the train together. Being in a group will make us feel younger and more excited, like a school group going on a foreign exchange trip. I will sit next to someone whose name continues to escape me, and across from Verity, one of the dancers. I will be a little disappointed that Ryan, who I have known longest, and Fowler, who I had a nice conversation with on the train yesterday, are both sitting on the other side of the aisle, with the musicians. The three of us will make small talk about the train, then the Guardian, then Canada, and somehow the conversation will morph into one about feminism, and I will become very engaged. Just as the person whose name keeps escaping me has said something that I strongly disagree with, Garrange will begin playing her accordion and Robin will take out his guitar and sing. This moment across the aisle will make it seem inappropriate for me to launch into an argument. I will begin saying what I want to say, and then realise that the person whose name I don’t know is not listening. And that Verity was only listening out of politeness. And that even I would rather sit in this conversational limbo and let the music, which will only last for around two minutes, become the main attraction of the train. We will hear a man’s voice, sounding both tired and drunk, begin to sing along from his seat, but we will not be able to see this man because his back will be to us. I will peer over and see the people sitting across from him in the four seater, who will be two teenagers, texting and defiantly chatting.
The train will stop at Three Bridges and as the doors open the musicians will stop playing. Our conversation about feminism will seem to have dissipated before it started, and it will seem that we have all very suddenly begun to feel tired enough that conversation is unneccessary. I will take my ipad out and attempt to read “Postdramatic Theatre”, a book which I am far behind on, and reading this will mean that I fall asleep, clutching the ipad. The train will suddenly stop abruptly and the passenger alarm will be going off. This will wake me up. The passenger alarm will continue and the person who’s name I don’t know and I will smile at each other awkwardly. I will put my ipad back in my bag, nervous about the alarm and worried that my Ipad will make me seem like a dick to these people. The alarm will continue for five minutes. A train conductor will walk down the aisle in a hurry. And then the train alarm will stop and the train will continue. None of us will know what had happened or why.
A long forty minutes later, the train will stop at London Bridge station. I will get out with Ryan, who will be debating whether or not to stay in my spare room or at another friend’s in East London. We will stand at the end of London Bridge, waiting for the 345 bus to take us up Shoreditch High Street. There will be a group of drunken girls from New Zealand also waiting for the bus and who will be loudly disparaging London, and Ryan will begin chatting with one of them, who will be wearing a hot pink skirt, asking why she and her friends dislike the city. The bus will arrive and I will walk up to the top deck. I will sit at the very front and pretend I am a tourist. The drunken New Zealanders will have followed us to the top deck and will continue trying to speak with Ryan, who will have lost interest in the conversation, but be behaving magnanimously. The bus will announce “Shoreditch High Street” and I will be excited to press the red button and to hear the ding of the bell. Ryan will say that he is going to stay at his other friend’s place, and I will tell him that Morgan, my husband, will be disappointed because he hasn’t seen him in ages. We will both agree that it’s late though, and I will see him tomorrow. Ryan will remind me that even though I’m married I am still too young to call Morgan my husband. “He’s your boyfriend” Ryan will say. I will walk down the steps, get out of the bus, walk past the entrance to Shoreditch House where I am still not a member, walk past the gallery covered in bad graffiti, the street corner where I once took an okay photo of a bike, and I will walk past the PR agency where I once interviewed for an internship by saying, “I really would only ever do a job like this for the money.” I will walk past young men and I will try not to feel more protective or defensive in that moment, and then I will take out my keys and open the security door to my flat very quickly, because I will be nervous. I will jump up the steps in the same pattern I have for seven years, making a bet with myself about the future that I will only win if I get to the top of the stairs before the door shuts. I will notice the two bags of recycling that are still outside our front door and I will feel both resentful at my flatmates and guilty that I have not yet taken these out myself. I will take off my shoes and put them on the shoerack, that I will regard with pride, because I will remember that it was me who assembled it, albeit with instructions from Argos. I will fold my boots into the bottom panel. I will open the door to our bedroom, knowing my husband will not be there. I will knock on the door to the spare room and he will say “One moment” before opening it. I will wonder what he was doing on the computer and see that he will be looking at funny pictures of cats. I will make a pouty face (I will ask myself to stop doing this infantilising thing, but I will find it impossible not to, irresistible not to) and he will say, “How was the show?” Like a child I will motion that I want us to go to bed. He will say, “Okay, one moment.” I will go to the bathroom, attempt to dab toothpaste onto my toothbrush from a dispenser that is definitely empty, brush my teeth with what I get, take off my clothes and get into bed. We will watch an episode of Parks and Rec. In the dark I will say a prayer, facing the window. In my head I will say “God bless all my friends and relations, deceased and living. Thanks be to God, Amen.” And then I will cross myself, even though I’m not catholic or christian or anything else. My love will be breathing and facing the door. I will turn around in bed and hold him, and I will be glad, and start to miss what I have, and the dark will be warm.
Prediction: The hurricane will not hit Toronto.