The good news is that I finally got to watch Uncle Vanya, the bad news is that I had to spend two and a half hours shivering on the pavement outside the Donmar Warehouse on an exceptionally cold morning for the privilege. It didn’t really help that I’d rushed out of the house and forgotten my tissues, and my nose chose today to make the transition proper from its Suez-Canal-in-the-1950s impression to Ben Johnson in 1988.
I’d brought Life: A User’s Manual with me to read in the queue, hoping that such enforced commitment would help me make significant headway instead of the plodding progress I’ve been making lately. This succeeded to an extent – out of sheer necessity to concentrate on something other than the cold and my nose, I managed another 100 pages and am now almost halfway through its 500 or so. It’s still slow going because of the nature of the book – you’d have to read it to really understand, but basically it’s about a Paris apartment block and its inhabitants, and everything gets described in exhaustive, sometimes almost ridiculous, detail. There isn’t any sort of continuous narrative; we move from apartment to apartment, through entrance halls, up staircases, and every thing and person we encounter has a history. It’s definitely getting better now, and I’ll stick it out till the end, but I still wouldn’t call it absorbing reading, and sneaked a number of envious glances at the Economist in the hands of the friendly man behind me. (Hello, friendly man! You were friendly, unlike snooty man in front of me. I didn’t like snooty man at all.)
So anyway, I was queuing. It was either coincidence or sadism that as I shuffled past the doorstep of the Paul Frank store the music blaring inside it just happened to be the RHCP song with the lyrics Standing in line to see the show tonight. By the time I managed to get a ticket, my toes seemed to have ceased to exist, but the healing powers of eggnog latte (how very bourgeois) eventually nursed them back to health.