I made a small discovery on my journey home last night. It was a sudden moment of inspiration that has now cured all further road rage I may suffer. I don't really get road rage as such, although I have a gag about getting it and like to pretend I do. I'm not an angry enough person to get properly shouty, even when other people are being mega road dicks. My philosophy is often 'well I'm not dead/maimed/Peter Andre, there's little I should be sad about. Mostly I just mutter really ridiculous insults under my breath such as 'pig stabbing clown fighter' and such. I tend to get more angry at people that have done nothing, just because I know they can't hear me. I also sometimes spend time doing subtle swears, such as holding a single finger up against the window as though I'm leaning on my hand but really I'm giving flipping the bird at everyone. No one ever seems to notice, but deep down they know I've laid the slam down. Anyway, last night I came the closest I ever do to getting proper road rage. Someone cut right in front of me, on an empty motorway, with no indication and one rear light out. They may as well have paraded naked around the streets of London Town with nothing but a florescent sign above them saying 'All hail, for I am the King of Bell-endia!' I hit the steering wheel a bit. I said some horrible things, and then for some reason I started singing the insults to the tune of the ska-beat that Mark Lamarr was playing on his Radio 2 show. I made a rather good song about rhyming things like 'car' and 'ska' and 'complete prick' and 'gearstick'. Essentially it was a beautiful piece of music. More importantly than that, I laughed at myself a lot, then forgot all about being angry as the other driver sped off hopefully to wrap themselves around a tree, and not in a peace loving hippie way. I then decided to get road rage at everyone I drove past, just so I could sing it in the style of whatever was on the radio. Highlights were a rocksteady ballad about a Peugot driver that wouldn't break till the very last minute called 'Peugot Dearie Dearie Me' and a bluegrass type song about a driver that was in the wrong lane at the roundabout, called 'you've got no fucking clue where you're going you huge piece of shit.' It really works. I hope I can market this as an efficient way of lowering all the stress levels.
I find that music generally alters how I drive anyway. I have to constantly stop my tPod from playing drum n bass classics when I go anywhere or I do have a tendency to drive much faster than normal. That's still no way as bad as if the theme tune from Bullitt or 24 comes on, and then I suddenly forget about red lights, as its far more important to catch whichever car I decide is the criminal. Ideally I need chilled tunes or podcasts. If I have no music at all I go a bit crazy and try and hit the rev pedal so it makes some sort of beat, which often causes stalling or at least very annoyed cars behind me as I go intermittently faster and slower. Unless they all have the same rhythm in their heads too, in which case it would be like a music video that is awesome for 20 seconds but no longer than that. Huge no-no's are anything by Onyx or most early Wu-Tang and hardcore angry early 90's hip hop. It does just make me want to drive into other cars and wind the window down and pretend to shout them all whilst shouting things like ' You'd Betta Recognize Biatch!' If a track that's one of Layla's that I've accidentally put on the tPod comes on then I have such a scramble to turn it off I don't pay attention the the road at all until I've sorted it out. It's a wonder I haven't had more accidents when I put the tPod on shuffle. I'm clearly far too easily influenced.
The journey home was much better than the journey there last night. I left London at 2.45pm and arrived in Exeter at 8.20pm. You do the math. Mostly because I can't. It was a lot of time anyway. I spent more time in that car than I did at the gig, or in fact at my house. I've started to think that I should set up a small area to sleep in on the back seats and perhaps some sort of fridge to keep food supplies in. The only things that stop me completely utilising our trusty VW Polo steed as a base of operations is that a) I've got a flat so it'd be bloody stupid and b) I really really don't understand cars. Last night the red light indication there was a lack of coolant started flashing. I had no clue what this meant. I tried describing it to Layla on the phone to see if she knew what it was. She didn't, but even if she did, my description of a stick, with three other stick bits coming off it, standing in some wavy water, was more cryptic than some sort of Mayan symbols. Eventually I pulled over, checked the manual and found out was the coolant. I didn't even know what that was. I had originally assumed it was just the most chilled of all insects. One phone call to my dad, a nearly burnt hand and some water later and I finally got the gig after traffic and rain did their best efforts to stop me. Its this sort of crap reason that means when I walk into garages they all give each other a nod to say 'ello chaps, here's a right gully bull chump.' They say 'gully bull' because that's what they think the word is because they are idiots in terms of diction and language. This is what I say to myself anyway so it hurts less when I hand over £600 for a rear disc swivel tentacle or something like that that I wouldn't understand but believe them when they say its needed to stop the car exploding and turning into a pumpkin after midnight.
As a consequence, when I got to the gig, my brain did not co-operate with my tongue and I fumbled over words and punchlines basically being a mega-toss compere. All the other acts had a good time but I struggled through and managed to make a paramedic really upset. Not intentionally but he got all angry when I said I understood the 'para' bit in 'paratrooper' and 'paralympics' and I wondered which qualities of those he, as a 'paramedic' had. He got quite upset and when he explained that the 'para' bit meant they worked in 'parallel to the other medics', I said did that mean he always had to stand completely equidistant from other medics at all times so their paths could never meet. Then he started heckling and got into a humph. So as they say, its all swings and singing swears at people on roundabouts. In Gloucester tonight. If you live there come along. If you don't, don't. Simple as pie. Not pi though. That's complex.