Norwich, November 11th 2014
Heave-ho, we head out of Bury, swinging round the sugar factory which belches white smoke into the crisp blue sky. It’s a short hop to Norwich across the flatlands of Norfolk but the sat-nav takes us on a wild goose chase around half the county before we arrive at our abode, a country club type joint, all golf courses and spa treatments. I HATE golf. It’s the refuge of the respectable Nazi. I immediately order a taxi to ferry me away from this hell. The driver is a cheeky chappie from Larkhall in Scotland. He wears a black waistcoat with a silver pinstripe and tells me about his daughter’s graduation. She’s the first of his family to go to university. I congratulate him but he’s more concerned with what the do is going to cost. Then he tells me he just won £1400 on the football. Every week he bets on three victories with both teams scoring. He mentions Acrington Stanley and I drift off into a daydream.
I get myself orientated around the venue and go looking for scran. I see some rough looking folk lurking in the lanes – hard eastern faces bitten by the sea, Viking types with ten inch stares. Tinsel is creeping into the crevices now and a vile conical structure blinks in a square in a vain attempt to ironise the traditional Christmas tree. It’s not ironic, it’s just shit.
The gig is the old Anglia TV studio of Sale of the Century fame. I was here in the nineties miming on some Euro pop show but any other details are lost to me now. My memory has become unreliable. I can’t tell the difference anymore between what happened and what I’ve invented. In this way we all construct our own past. I have decided that I was a welder before I became a cosmonaut.
The show is enjoyable, the punters warm. In the AM we all dash back into town for a day off. I take in two films, neither what the critics cracked them up to be. Mr. Turner is particularly galling, featuring as it does acting by Timothy Spall that curls wallpaper from thirty yards. But the real hack is director, Mike Leigh. And Nightcrawler is not what it thinks it is – satire – it’s cheap creep-horror in King of Comedy mode. It apes so many superior thrillers (Internal Affairs, Collateral, The Sweet Smell of Success) that it’s positively simian. Riz Ahmed, the hero of Four Lions, is the best thing in it by far. So I wonder out of the fleapit of Norwich’s Hollywood cinema in a daze of disappointment and as I’m making my way to the taxi rank spot the rump of the tour entourage in a pub called The Lawyer. It’s a friendly joint and I join the fray, downing several pints of pretend Guinness in an effort to ingratiate myself.
In the morning I stroll vacantly around an empty golf course by the hotel and watch some ducks doing their thing in a little pond. They seem unfazed by the prospect of imminent golf ball bombing raids. I am less so and take my leave, getting my feet wet in the dew and tangling with some brambles in a ditch: the call of the not-wild-at-all, the call of the slightly overgrown.