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Edinburgh. Usher Hall. Nov 2nd.

November 3, 2017

This morning, immediately after breakfast, I took a stroll.

Foolishly, I had left my coat in the car and, for quickness, had sported my Birkenstock barefooted.

The day was both bright and brisk.
I was not warm.
I was not clever.

I followed my nose.
Hard not to as noses always tend to lead.

I found myself at Edinburgh castle.

The view is spectacular, although so often I am too absorbed in my own thoughts to appreciate the beauty.

I have lately given over window seats to those who value it more.

In the forecourt the sun heats my thighs and I stay to appreciate that a little.

I visit haphazardly.

I go to Queen Mary’s birthing chamber, loving everything Tudor and Stuart as I do, where I am reminded of Samantha Morton who was truly blinding in that role.

In every role.

I am disappointed to discover Mary had only favoured that castle 3 times.

Regardless, it is a fine and imposing land mark.

I wish too I had remembered underground Edinburgh.
Underground cities are thrilling.
Like priest holes.

As I move to leave, I find a crowd of tourists in a courtyard, their phones and video cameras held high.
Perky as Meerkats.
Something must be happening.
Ah, yes.
That bloke is going to fire a gun.
Everyone expects it on the given minute.
Regardless, we jump like that frightened bird in the Catherine Tate show, and then all immediately dissipate.

On the way back to my room I pick up an avocado and crayfish salad from Pret.

I have a glorious bath listening to The Book Of Dust, and pack my show case.

Tonight I have people in, joined by some of their delightful friends and partners.
Coatsie and his husband Robin, our lovely chum Simon. Helen Terry, now a fine and impressive academic, who I haven’t seen for decades but have reconnected with on twitter and who has to leave for her train all too soon. Weaver James Donald, who has gifted me my most treasured scarves,
and renown crime writer Val McDermid with her clever wife Jo.
Again, people I have fortunately connected with on Twitter.

Tonight is the last in a run of three, which means I can allow myself company.
This is tremendous.
This will be only my 3rd social in 8 weeks.
I have been so silent and alone that conversation is proving tricky.
You become habituated living in your own head.
I have found this out even with my work party when we meet in catering.
I find it hard to vocalise sentences.
I have connected with my ‘Other’ again.
I feel safe and comfortable but sorely lacking again in social skill.

I am happy in my alone, getting ready.

My bluetooth speaker is set to stun.
Michael Sheen is a brilliant story teller.
The cold is in my bones.

I can’t really describe the venue other than to say it felt perfect from the stage on which I stood.
I felt close enough to everyone without being distracted by the whites of their eyes.
The lights that skated across the room felt magical.
The sound from my vantage was perfect to sing to.
Warm but with enough cut to pitch to.
I was able to lose myself in the song.
I was safe enough for that.
The audience held me.

There was the prerequisite fight.
Apparently two women were at loggerheads.
I don’t know the details but it seems both were making calls loudly on their phones mid-song.
Even amid the most cultured and thoughtful groups of people we find perennial cunts.
It’s just a societal fact.

Tonight I sang without reserve.

Afterwards, alone in my room, I changed quickly.
Dougie went to meet my guests.
I needed little time to gather myself.
There was a knock at the door.
That was quick, I thought.

I opened it to find a younger female with a shaven head.
From her accent I deciphered ‘journalist’ but she wasn’t wearing a backstage lanyard.

‘Would it be ok if I had a photograph with Alison Moyet?’

I looked at her puzzled.

‘Would that be ok? If she still is here?’

I wondered if my clean dress looked shit enough to have claimed disguise proportions already.
My head still looked the same as the one on stage.
I was sure of that.

I’m Alison Moyet. I said.
Feeling vain glorious.

Oh. She said surprised.

I don’t really want a picture, I said. I’ve just come off stage.

Yes, of course. She said.

My favourite song is ‘This House’, she tells me.

That’s good, I say.

That was very odd, you asking for Alison Moyet, I continue.

Yes, she says.

Goodbye.

Goodbye.

My guests arrive.
I have ordered extra wine and Gin for my room.
Robin makes for a perfect cocktail host.

We sit and chew the cud.
I get to speak properly with Val and Jo for the first time.
Strong, vibrant women always raise in me hope that the world will be well. I hope we meet again.

Steve sees to it that I don’t accept James’ invitation to head off to the Disco Fish & Chip shop.
He is my Jiminy Cricket in G’s absence.
My voice and future shows thank him for it.
Dougie turfs us out.
It is time enough.

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