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Linen is officially out of season. - A Most Illuminating Tale
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Robert Wells or Mr Waters
Date: 5.15 am, Sunday 5th October, 2003
Subject: Linen is officially out of season.
Security: Public
Mood:cold
Music:They Might Be Giants - The Ballad of T. McSweeney
It's been a good night tonight.

Woke at 11:30 and checked the clock. 6 hours sleep? Had closed my eyes and was just drifting off when a text erupted angrily from the other side of the room. Lily. Replied and then she called me. So then I was awake. Cooked lunch. Listened to TMBG. Got dressed eventually. Decided on the blue linen suit with white shirt, oxblood campers and burgundy tie. While tying the tie I somehow managed to pop the top button off the shirt. So, feeling responsible I sewed it back on all by myself. Chatted to Emma on YIM. She's having interesting times. Booked tickets for tomorrow night. Called Bex to confirm. She'd almost recovered.

To the Barbican. Met Lily and Tom, her ex-tutor. Slice of cake. McSweeney's Vs. They Might Be Giants. First act. TMBG play a quick number (amusing followspot banter "Pick up John. No. Other John. Now Dan. No the other one. OK, the other other one. THe one with a guitar alright?") and then John K. Hodgman Jr. introduced the contenders. Mr. Eggars and Mr. Flansburgh made their opening statements and then Arthur Bradford began the debate in earnest. He read/played/acted out a story called Dogs, which was fucked up majorly and I loved it. He smashed a guitar on stage, which was funny. He was so cute and floppy haired and he looked somewhere between Nick Gill and Dave Grohl. Especially when he was singing the Muskrat song. Then he sang a song about how lovely England is and then with an apologetic "That's it. Thanks" he pootled off the stage. One to make sandwiches for. Then Mr. Hodgman introduced Zadie Smith, who told the tale of the girl with bangs, acompanied by TMBG playing an instrumental version of that song. The tale was sweet, and I had read it before. She was lovely. Then TMBG played the full song and I sang along. Next up was Dave Eggers. Who was fantastic. He told a tale about being in love with Mrs. G. He kept dropping out of 'character' to say things like "Oh, I always forget to say, I'm 13 years old." and "Do you see how we've intigrated the music?" And they had. I want to find the story now. He is a great storyteller, and everything he should have been. Then Mr. Hodgman had a little spot where he told you how to win. he brought a pretty lady out to demonstrate how to attack your enemies in adverts. He is to me the epitome of dry wit and I damn near widdled myself laughing. Then he introduced Nick Hornby who was surprisingly good. he read a story from the new McSweeney's about a haunted VCR. I could tell you more, but itwould spoil it. It sounds silly to say it but he's a very intelligent reader. Then Mr. Hodgman gave a speech to close the act and we went to the bar.

Interval. Met with Lily and Tom again. Then went and bought CDs. Probably a bad move.

Act 2. They Might Be Giants play a rock gig in the Barbican. The first thing that happens is they tell everyone to stand up. And they do. And stay up pretty much throughout. I dance like a freak in the front row. It's wonderful. I sing along all night. Even to fingertips. Beautiful moment when they held on before the crashing power chords and so did I and I'm almost sure I caught John's eye before dancing like a fool in perfect synchronisation. The gig finishes. I grab a setlist and pootle out. They didn't play First Kiss. Pity.

Post show. Find Lily and Tom, but then I go and buy books (very bad move) and queue to get them signed. The gig finished at 22:40. I'd bought books and was in the queue at 22:55. A couple who had been to the opera asked what was going on and I showed them the program. They were genuinely interested. The queue took its time, so I read some of Dogwalker. Cath called from Paris while I was waiting. I want to call her back, but it is obviously too late. I meet John and John and they sign my setlist, amending it as they go. We talk about the grauniad and Paris and jetlag. Then they track down the queue trying to get out to find sleep somewhere. Nick Hornby signs my new McSweeney's. Arthur Bradford is leaving and I grab him just before he goes. He's very sweet and we talk about Rosalyn's dog, the story in McSweeney's 6, and he signs my copy of Dogwalker. Everything I can do not to hug him. I give Dave Eggars the copy of A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genious that I am currently reading. He writes: "Robt- you beautiful BASTARD, (squiggle)". I laugh in a smug way. That will keep me smiling. Zadie Smith signs The Autograph Man with the words "To Robert, I need a wee at this point, Zadie Smith". They are obviously all ready to finish and glad I'm near the end of the queue. I go back to Lily and Tom who have been patiently waiting. We're about to leave when I see John Hodgman. I go to get his autograph and while I'm waiting, Dan Hickey walks past and signs my setlist. I hear the conversation of Hodgman in front of me. He says he'll be back next year and I say that will make it a leather anniversary of these events. And he says that's appropriate because there were people in leather next door. I said that'll be skin two's rubber ball. They look at me. I know these things. Don't ask why. He signs the setlist with the words "Whoever sold you this should be caught. That is all. J. Hodgman." then he signs "Other Dan" so I'll have the full set. He uses his own pen. And then he asks my name. Robert Waters I say. And he shakes me by the hand and we go our seperate ways. By now it's almost midnight. Run into Blob and she had backstage passes. Jealous.

We catch the last central line in to town and Tom carries on to try and get home. I walk Lily home and I talk too much and I think she wants company and I come in and have toast and I can't tell if she wants me to leave. I go at two, when the pubs are kicking out and the night buses pass without stopping. Walk up to Warren Street to keep warm. Definitely should have worn the thick black suit. Finally catch a bus. Home. IM with Emma. Still cold. Type this.

Furry Pyjamas telling me this is well past my bedtime.

Before I go though, I should say I've had two replies from yesterday's question. They boiled down to "it's you" and "it's them", essentially. Keep 'em coming. If I had a paid account I'd make it a proper poll.
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