So you want to know the real story behind why I’m skipping the country? Well, this may not quite be it, but it’s definitely a good enough reason. It involves a fella, of course.
Right. So. The other evening, I went for dinner with my friend before going to this random gig in Camden that she had bought us tickets for (and which I totally failed to check out before I agreed to go. Believe me, if I had, this may never have happened, and I wouldn’t be running away for the shame!). After far too much amazing sushi, a lovely bottle of vino tinto, and a good ole chatter, we headed down the road to the Roundhouse.
It was a tiny affair (I guess, it’s cooler to say it was ‘intimate’, but it doesn’t really deserve the kudos of being a trendy thing) in the bar and, when we got there, there was only a table in the back to sit at, and a really mixed ‘crowd’ of people… including this guy who I immediately started giggling at (in my semi-drunken, rather tired not-sleeping-for-fear-of-travelling haze). The reason for the giggles was that he was dressed in a very ‘interesting’, pretty geeky get-up – I think he was either 1) trying to look hip-hop (and failing miserably) 2) one of the Super Mario brothers 3) (my friend Cazz’s belief) wearing his PJs in public. Try and get that visual image – feel free to take a moment to work up the picture perfectly.
Ok? All set? Right. THEN, while this Scottish banjoist (I kid you NOT!) was playing, this guy – let’s call him Mario for now – is wandering round like he owns the place and is everyone’s best friend, and another fella turns up who looks like the Luigi to his Mario. I tell you, I was so confused by the whole thing and, as I was a little worse for wear, was probably staring a bit too much with a look of contemptuous ‘Who Do you think you ARE’ on my face, trying to not crack up and get chucked out.
Anywho (sorry this is taking so long, I’m trying to set the scene), after a short bar break, Super Mario only takes to the stage (having stripped off his Mario/PJ/Hip-Hop jumper to reveal a BRIGHT YELLOW tee with his OWN FACE on it!). I couldn’t look. I started scrabbling in my bag for a pen and paper, and said to Cazz: ‘Sorry love, I need to take notes because I’m going to HAVE to blog this.’ If only I had foreseen the unfortunate outcome of this, I may have just bitten my tongue and left my pen lidded and tucked away where it could do no harm…
So, I started noting and doodling and drew a little (quite good actually) cartoon of Mario, real name Gideon Conn as he was performing his little comic ditties – which were surprisingly amusing and fun, proving appearances CAN be deceptive.
After a few songs, he left the stage and the next guy started playing -not such fans of this one, so no name drop – and I noticed that Super Mario, too, was surreptitiously drawing pictures… but of the audience, and then giving the sketches to them. By this point I wanted to cry at the horror of the event I’d been lured to and, the fun having left the stage, thought it was time to leave. As we’d decided we were leaving Cazz says: ‘Before we go, Free, you HAVE to give Mario the picture you drew. He’s giving everyone else theirs…it’s only fair.’ Well, this seemed like a fair point while I was under the influence. So I carefully tore the picture out, making sure not to leave any of the possibly unkind scribblings I had made about him visible, and strolled over to where he was sitting with his bemused friends who obviously didn’t know who I was, or why I was approaching them with a slip of paper. Oh, you see where this is going, don’t you?
I handed Mario the piece of paper with the drawing and, for some reason said (CRINGE!!!!!) ‘My friend told me I should give this to you’. Oh sweet lord, as I said it, I knew I looked and sounded like a total fool… I have never scampered away from someone so fast, except perhaps from the crazy lady on Finchley Road who liked to shout abuse at my flatmate or I whenever we saw her! But that’s another story. I grabbed my coat so fast, the chair almost toppled, said ‘LET’S GOOOO’ to Cazz and ran away as fast as I could.
He wasn’t even hot, famous, or anything (sorry, Mario, if you ever happen to read this). I am still MORTIFIED, four days later. And so, I am beating a hasty(ish) retreat to a new continent. He’d better not be on my plane. It might lead to a premature skydiving trip…