A Bad Thriller....

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 28 October 2009

Cynical exercise or history in the making. It doesn't matter how it hangs thousands of people tuned in, turned up and turned on to Michael Jackson's 'THIS IS IT' the film of his last ever performance. 19 countries transmitted at the same time, with no respect for time zones. London turned on the projector at 1.00a.m. and despite my lack of cool, I was invited to the event.

My day started with me jumping on the Number 19 bus. I always sit in the front seats on the top deck, the better to survey the streets of London Over Battersea Bridge down Beaufort Street, right onto the Kings Road, which appears to lose another shop daily, left down Sloane Street past all the 'Gucci's' and the 'Fendhi's', the 'Prada's' and the 'Missoni's'. I've seen a great dress in one window that I want Shakeel my brilliant seamster to copy for me. Up Picadilly and off the bus on Shafstbury avenue. I had time to spare so I went and took breakfast in Pattisserie Valeries in Old Compton Street.

I had a bowl of mushrooms (too much lemon juice - why?) and a cup of one shot cappucinno with little froth and lots of heat. I sat and talked to my nephew about life and art then it was through China Town to Leiceser Square to make the show.

One of the topics we touched on was silence. We are so caught up in our own little worlds that we don't hear any more. There's a scientific researcher in Salford who is doing work on 'Listening' and sound-scapes. He's asking, whoever wants to, to make ten second recordings of noises all around them. A Belgian bloke sent in a little ten second nugget of a snail eating some lettuce. I can imagine what it sounds like. Tiny little snails taking tiny little bites out of crispy lettuce leaves the tiny sounds of a snail munching is too, too charming.

I like the idea of people taking time out to listen. After the show I took the Piccadilly line to Gloucester Road, turned left out of the tube and walked very quickly to visit my literary agent. He assured me that he was as patient as needs be, that all would be well if i just got on with it and that he would do the bit I hate which is structuring.

I left him feeling duly reinvigorated, walked against the wind over Old Brompton Road, over Fulham Road, down Drayton gardens, over the Kings Road across Battersea Bridge and down the riverside walk to the flat.

I then had to beautify myself for Michael's premiere. The heated rollers were hotting up, off with the dungarees, on with the evenings glad rags, in with the curlers. On with the makeup, out with the rollers, into Jim's car and off to town.

I needed to get to Ronnie Scotts as I was meeting up with BB.

Could I find anywhere to park? Round and round I went, permit holders only, no parking, bugger off private bay, more permit holdings, in the end I had to make a decision to pay for a car-park. The Chinese Car-park in Chinatown. Mid-way between Leicester Square and Frith Street.

Hot and flustered I trickled slowly down the ramp.

'Is this expensive in here?' I asked an elderly Chinese gent.

'Not as expensive as the scratch on the side of your car.'

Yes, I had managed to scratch the right hand side of Jim's car so deeply I knew the scar wouldn't heal with some paint spray and a payer.

I parked and decided to wait before I called Jim.

For some unknown reason I was let in free to Ronnie Scotts. Went up the stairs into the open session for emerging performers. B is going to make her debut there soon. After buying three beers and one diet coke I handed over 16. Was now the time to tell Jim of the added expenditure to the evening?

I went into the lavatory, found a corner and told him a minimum story. Blaming the ramp not myself he struggled to hear me, what with all the hot flushing that was going on so I got off lightly, I was going to say Ronnie Scott free, but I knew that I would have to face the music, not the cool kind that was happening outside the toilet door but the kind of discordant riffing that happens between husband and wife when she's just mashed up his very expensive car.

By my reckoning the car was already costing thousands to repair by the time I had put B in a cab, paid for the parking and bought two bags of pop-corn in 'The Odeon' I had wracked up the wages of four cockle farmers in Norwich.

After B reprimanded me for worrying about money 'Yet Again". We headed off to the red carpet in Leicester square.

The girls screamed at 'Westlife', the boys sighed for 'Mel B'. The security men nagged at me and my girl although we managed to slip past the photographers on the red carpet and take our seats in the balcony; Row 'O' 45/46. Mercifully we were on the end.

At 11.30 p.m we sat down. The place slowly filled up. By 1.00 a.m. the cinema was packed with screaming fans, weary critics, celebrities and us. A bag of popcorn and a bar of milk chocolate later and the film started.

By 2.35a.m. I had fallen asleep twice, the critic next to B had fallen into a coma, and a young dude in row 'M' had not only fallen asleep he had arranged himself across the guy in the seat next to him.

We crept out at 2.40. Marched brazenly past the paparazzi who were waiting for the 'A ' listers to emerge, bleary eyed. One guy took a picture of me that will probably end up in 'Tractors R Us' the limited version. It was cold so we jogged to the garage, I was so tired I could not get my bearings so I drove parallel to a cab and begged him to take B to Hackney. She had her second day of training looming, at HMV, and was looking at four hours kip as wells.

'Was it worth it?' I asked her today.

'Don't ask me that now.' she growled.

I'm not sure it was worth losing so much sleep over a man. At 3.18 I stepped out of my be-jewelled, premiere coat and crawled into my bed. I was so wired I didn't sleep till after 4.00.

The film? a money making venture that does nothing for me or Jacko. I would like to remember him as the lithe genius he was, not the stiff, convalescent he became.

I had to get up at 8,00, for a pre-recorded interview. After four hours sleep I was up, out and ready to take the 170 bus. I hadn't turned my telephone on, had I done so I would have discovered that my interview had been cancelled and I could have had another hour or so in bed.

In the event I walked down Wardour street and found a big Italian caff that sold the best yoghurt and muesli in town, with a one shot cappuccino worthy of Milan. I arrived at LBC earlier than usual and worked in a daze; the day had only just begun.

The show was good, thanks to my lovely contributers. I walked to Piccadilly and for the second time today grabbed the number 19, sat in the same front seat and watched the commuters going home. They have taken my lovely dress out of the window, Shakeel and I will have to go into the shop. Pooh!

Jim met me at the bridge and we argued for a few minutes about his no claims bonus and my inability to drive, his car or any car for that matter. 'Don't blame me' I said 'Blame the Chinese garage.' 'Borrox' he said.

Then I sat down at the computer started writing before I made a delicious quinoa and chicken stir fry with turmeric and cinnamon for my audio book producer and moi.

Ms G turned up, set up a microphone and for nearly three hours we recorded the new audio book. By the time we'd finished my mouth was like the inner tube of an elephants monocycle.

Jim took my producer to the Junction, I Skyped B, did my emails, and now at 23.20 I am seeking out a big bed with soft pillows and a mug of milk. The milk is to the left of me, the bed is to the right, forgive me if I leave you stuck in the middle....

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.