I suppose I’m overdue for a post, given the fact the last one I wrote over a week ago was entirely about comedians (which is appropriate, because so is my life). Update on that front: on Tuesday I went with friends to Etcetera Theatre in Camden to see the absurd and delightful Joey Page, featuring a special guest in the form of the previously mentioned Andrew O’Neill. The latter is always an absolute pleasure to see, and we were thrilled to spot him in the bar prior to the show. Given this was my first time seeing Joey Page (outside of his appearances on a couple of my favourite TV shows), I wasn’t quite sure how it’d be. I assumed very good, but amazing is the answer. I was having slight difficulty breathing for the rest of the night because I’d laughed so hard.
Also, speaking with him is an absolute delight. He told us gripping anecdotes in the bar after the show, and was candid about his nerves surrounding his upcoming show at Edinburgh Fringe (for which our show was a preview). I had, for whatever reason, expected a conversation with him to be a bit awkward, but I couldn’t be more wrong. I’ll definitely be going to see his shows whenever I’m able (and hoping for an appearance soon at Old Rope, because I know he’s been there a fair bit in the past). Oh, Joey Page!
And heck, while we’re at it, here’s me the previous Friday with Andrew O’Neill, after his absurdly funny solo show at Aces & Eights in Tufnell Park, which I’m still frequently referencing over a week later:
“But Leslie, your hair colour’s changed between those two photos! What happened there?” you’re definitely asking at this point. Well, friendos, normally I’d just say I dyed it, making your question honestly sort of ridiculous, but you’re lucky because this time there’s a story. Goodness!
See, the thing is I get bored easily. Do you, Leslie?! (Also I’ve apparently hit the sarcasm section of this blog post. Bear with me and we’ll get through it together.) I do, though! I’d been terribly bored with my hair for ages, particularly as I couldn’t dye it while I was in hostels, and I had probably the most root regrowth of my entire hair-colouring life, not to mention faded colour. It was horrid, it was! And I figured I might as well wait until I got a job to figure out what I could get away with and decide my next hair colour scheme based on that. Of course I had an idea in my brain for what I wanted (I generally do), but I needed to find out whether a potential employer would allow it.
But then I got bored, and I can’t cope with boredom. I hit a day where I wanted to change everything about myself, not out of self-hatred or anything like that (it’s a lot more difficult to be productive under those circumstances), but because I was bored. And so I figured, oh heck, let’s go for it. It was Sunday afternoon and I went out to wander and buy Doc Martens and cheap clothes and, most importantly, hair dye! I didn’t end up getting any of these things, but the intent was there. Turns out the pharmacy closes really early on Sundays! Like, every single one in London! I looked!!
So then on Monday, I went to try again. I went out and bought boxed bleach from Boots, and went to a beauty supply store I’d previously stumbled upon in my travels to buy hair dye. I noticed on my way in that they were hiring, and figured I should probably leave my CV. I spoke to the manager briefly, and she informed me that generally they only hire people with salon/beauty product experience, but she’d keep my information on file. The exchange seemed to go alright, and I hoped I’d eventually hear from them.
The next morning I was hanging out with my flatmate Margie and speaking about money. I felt a panic rising up in my chest as the conversation progressed on, over six weeks into my adventure and having had no particular luck in my job search so far. I knew coming in that things would likely take a while, but I couldn’t shake the feeling right then that I was doomed to fail. I’d left my phone in my bedroom, since I had no particular need for it at that juncture, and when I happened to look at it, I noticed I had a voicemail. It was from the manager at the beauty supply store I’d visited the previous day, if you can imagine! She said she might have something, and could I call her back? Once I eventually got a hold of her, we arranged for me to come in at some point on Wednesday morning for a chat.
As of Wednesday afternoon, I had been hired. I worked on Thursday and Friday. I work again on Sunday, which is tomorrow.
… I have a job, guys?!
I have to admit that distinctly dislike the feeling of being new at a job, just because I hate to be any sort of burden on anyone. I’ve come from two and a half years keeping a coffee shop operational, which was something I was really good at, and this is an area in which I don’t have any huge level of expertise, although I do have a decent base knowledge from my many years of dying my hair every colour of the rainbow. However, I’ve only done two days so far, during which time I’ve started to get used to the cash system, anyway. These things take time, and everyone seems to understand as much. The coworkers I’ve met are all nice and very helpful, and I couldn’t help but absolutely adore my life yesterday morning when, overtired from a late night seeing Psycho Delia‘s first ever gig (quick summary: amazing amazing amazing, we hung out afterwards with Dee herself and Joe Lynn who’s made the documentary, all was baffling) and miraculously running early for work, I wandered through Piccadilly Circus on my way in. See, my work is right in the West End, somewhat magically right around the corner from my favourite place ever. I can wander through Soho on my lunch break. It’s ridiculous, and I feel so fortunate at the way it’s all worked out.
Because all the most important things that have happened to me in London have happened purely by chance. Meeting Margie who ended up being the reason I have a place to live, just because I wanted to buy a scarf! Meeting my friend Jaynie who told me about Old Rope (the meaning of life), because I happened to be asked where I was from during another comedy show we were both at! Applying for a job that I ended up getting, because I convinced myself it’d be okay to dye my hair purple! London is a city of weird and important coincidences. And yes, I included a weekly comedy night in the most important things that have happened to me in the last seven weeks, and I stand by that.
Imagine, then, how insane it was when the glorious comedian Tiffany Stevenson referred to me by name twice during Old Rope this past Monday? She came over to say hi before the show that night, at which point I introduced her to Margie and Marc, both of whom I’d invited along with me. She later ended up getting them to go up onstage with her while she rapped along with a song that was playing. It was terrific.
And because I know you’re desperate to know how my first international hair project went, I did the best I could on Monday. Unfortunately, by the time I had to get ready and go, there was a lot of dirty blonde left in there (two boxes of L’Oreal bleach didn’t do an awful lot, surprise surprise!). While I’d gotten the general idea across, I was fairly disappointed with the results. Margie and I dolled up for the show, though. Here’s us on the tube:
On Tuesday, after I’d spoken to the manager at the store and arranged to go in the next day, I started stressing about the fact my hair didn’t look as good as I wanted it to, particularly since my job interview was at a store that sells salon supplies, and so I fixed it as best I could. That’s where we came into the whole hair story. This was me on my way to that Joey Page gig:
Pretty good, right? But then my hair faded really quickly because I wasn’t able to get it blonde enough. But don’t stress, friends! I work at a beauty supply store now and was able to buy products that will actually work to sort it out. Yippee!
There are so many more stories to tell that I’m realizing might never actually make it to this blog, despite my best intentions. So many amazing things happen all the time that there’s no time for anything to sink in and even less time to write it all down. Trust me when I say that, for having been here less than two months, London is already being everything I’ve ever wanted it to be and more. I’m a bit stressed about money despite now having a job, because I only get paid once a month, but I imagine that monetary stress is the way of London (and I was stressed about money all the time in Ottawa anyway, so it’s not anything new to me). As I’ve said to my friend Jenni on many an occasion, as long as I can afford to pay rent, buy food, and afford £5 comedy gigs and a pint when I’m there, I’ll consider myself a tremendous success.
Because I’m here, and I have a flat, a job, a bank account (a new development!), and some excellent friends. And some of the people I admire most know me by name. That’s pretty damn good, isn’t it?