It’s the 22nd March, the time is 00.20 and I’m sat in a McDonald’s in Sheffield. I’m not enjoying a late night burger. I’m sheltering from the cold night. I missed my last train.
When I woke up this morning I wasn’t confident that I was going to have a good day. I knew that I had to attempt to get to the middle of nowhere on public transport to perform unpaid stand up comedy as an audition, but on the plus side, should it go well it would mean lots of nice paid work in swanky hotels. My morning started with my home WIFI going on strike and taking my computer hostage, it can only get better I thought and left the house at 13.00.
I knew it would take three taxies, three trains, a coach and a metro to get me there and back but i’d made sandwiches and I was determined to have a good day. Just before getting on the coach in Manchester I realised that I’d left the sandwiches at home. Just after the start of the hour and a half journey I realised that it didn’t matter because I was ill, very ill. Have you ever stood in a bus toilet trying to be sick? Actually scrap that, have you ever tried to stand in a bus toilet? I hit my head twice before I could miss the toilet. You want another ‘Have you ever?’ Have you ever tried to clean sick up from the floor of the bus toilet, while trying to stand, while trying to avoid adding to your workload?
I arrived at sheffield, bus station toilets, they were dirty and weirdly reinforced with sheet metal but they didn’t move. If I’m looking in my day so far, this was my favorite place to be sick it didn’t move once. I wanted to look around Sheffield but it’s raining, cold and I needed to stay close to toilets. I got on the train to small town that even the residents have not heard of, the sort of place that Google earth even takes a minute to think about. When I got there I opened my Uber app and it just laughed at me and closed. Which is not a problem as this place had three taxi services.
Phone call 1, “No sorry he’s busy”
Phone call 2, “Where are you going? No sorry can’t he’s busy”
Phone call 3, “Maybe 40 minutes?”
The station had a pub, I say pub, cupboard with four old men not talking. I instinctively ordered an alcoholic drink and then sat staring at it, as if it was trying to start a fight with me.
My taxi turned up, I hadn’t been sick in a while. This is where the day starts getting good.
Taxi driver “I’m not sure how close we can get, the roads are closed”. I spent the journey thinking that I was going to have to walk, turned out the road was closed two metres up the road from the hotel. The gig was okay the average age of the audience was dead and they had an old school comic on after me but they laughed at it was fun, I left. In fact after a long day I thought, this is it this is where I turn the day around.
Back in a taxi, back on the train, maybe I’m winning.
Not only did I miss my last train, it was worse. I got to it as it was still on the platform, standing there the doors locked mocking me. I stood on the platform and watched the last ride out of town show me its arse as it left. One minute quicker and I would have made it. It was 11.50 and the next train (luckily) was 3.25am. I bought a ticket and set myself up in the waiting room wondering if I would be able to sleep for four hours. Just before midnight East Midlands Trains informed me that despite selling me a ticket they shut the station between 12-3 meaning I had to wander lonely like a cloud kicked out of the train station and freezing its butt off. Then. I. Got. Options. Before my very eyes the contrast of contrast, two twenty four hour places. The first a PureGym, my first thought on seeing that was “I really have to remember to cancel my membership” The second thing I see is a twenty four hour McDonald’s. Now I hate the clowns food, I’m vegetarian and sort of part time vegan, so the choice between the gym or burger place was easy. So I was sat in McDonald’s.. What? I didn’t have my gym stuff. 24 hour Macci D, it’s you and me.
It’s the 22nd March, the time is 00.25 and I’m sat in a McDonald’s in Sheffield. I’m was enjoying my coffee and being sheltered from the cold night but I have just been informed that the 24 hour McDonald’s is shutting. I tried the old dark arts of pointing out that they are 24 hour but I was told “It’s because of monopoly” I wish he’d left it there, I would loved to have gone to my grave blaming the board game monopoly for me losing my foot to frostbite.
Out into the night once more, I find my PureGym code buried deep and unused in my phone and walk towards the.. What’s that? A casino, i’m in (nothing personal PureGym but you are the healthy snack on a pudding buffet). I signed up on-line on my phone as I walked towards the casino. I get in show my phone to the guys on reception says “Oh you signed on line, if you sign here you get £20” I asked “Is it okay if I fake it?” his silence said no.
Mental note for everyone, just in case you you get stuck in Sheffield, 24 hour Pure Gym, 24 hour Tesco, 24 hour Casino, 24 hour(ish) McDonald’s, I honestly don’t know why anyone in Sheffield bothers with day time.
00.40 I’m now a gambler, I have a pint of Guinness and i’m sat at a roulette machine placing bets. 10p bets as I still have hours to kill. Its fascinating watching people gambling, i was concentrating on them more than my own. 01.50am I cashed out my winnings, five pounds, well i say winnings I started with £5 and decided to break even after an hour or so. What i didn’t realise was that it gave me a ticket and I had to ‘cash out’. I stood in queue, the bloke in front of me cashed £800 and asked for it in fifties, so when I got there I asked for mine in fifties as well and handed him my five pounds. Rather than seeing the funny side he have me ten fifty pence pieces. With some time to kill I noticed that they did food, one portion of cheesy chips later and i’m ready to face the… toilet. Who in the name of whatever you believe in, is sick all day and then has a pint and a portion of cheesy chips, a moron that’s who. Whoever invented Tic Tacs i salute you.
03.00 I am allowed back into the train station. 03.25 I am on train to Manchester. 05.30 I am in bed. Now yes the day was not great, yes it had taken me fourteen and a half hours to complete the gig and cost about £60 but the gig went well and no doubt tomorrow would be a better day.
The next day I received this feedback from the people who book the gig.
Good Afternoon – firstly, please thank Luke for ‘auditioning’ at (removed) last night.
We received the following feedback:
We auditioned Luke tonight at (removed) and have to say what a brilliant young comic.
Original and very funny. He did get laughs but his act is more “comedy store” – small venues where he can really get close to the audience, than (removed)!
Sadly too clever and modern for our guests, but don’t want this to detract from the fact he was awesome.I spoke to Luke afterwards – he was such a nice guy ‘I’d pay to go see his show!!’
So at this present time for (removed), it is a ‘no’ we are afraid.
P.S. I don’t want to leave on a negative. Life is not about good days, its about good years. I will leave this blog with this great sroty I was told during this day about the wonderful Bob Monkhouse.
Bob Monkhouse was near the end of his fight with cancer he said to someone “I’m taking a lot of mud baths” they asked if that was something that would help cure his illness and he replied “No, but it gets me used to living in dirt”