Unibus Rant & Fame Aftershow Party
(Before I start let me say that the rant does not include the party. The party was excelent, i'm just ranting about unibus and reporting on the party)
After we had cleared up from Fame! and everything had been de-rigged and put away, the tech crew involved all went to "The Bar" for a drink. This was quite fun and involved quite a lot of laughter and discussion about TSG (The people who provide technical stuff for the union, of which quite a few are in tech crew) among other topics. Anthony left early and said he'd get the 20:40 or 21:10 bus and see us there. After we had all had a drink and some people had had some food we went to Costcutter to get alcohol to take to the aftershow party. We all got Kronenboug as it is on special offer. Chris, Phil and Richard all got 8 cans each and I got 4 (I do have to get the bus home after this party, they just have to stagger down hill a bit). They went to catch the bus home and I came back to my room for some dinner.
After a quick Tesco microwave meal I left the front door at 20:38 to catch the 20:40 Unibus to Leamington. Thinking I was going to miss the Bus I ran from the laundry to the Piazza at which point I could see that there was only I bus at the stop and this was a 12 not a U1 and there was no bus that had just left. At this point I slowed down and walked the rest of the way to the stop. I stood around for a bit expecting the bus to come any moment but it didn't. I got fed up of standing there so I sat down thinking I had missed the bus and would have to wait for the 21:10. Someone asked me if I was going to Leamington and then asked what time the bsu was supposed to be. I said 20:40 and she thaught it was supposed to be that time as well. She was there before me so I decided that it must just be very late and I would stay there. It was bitterly cold and icicles were forming on the underside of the bus stop roof so I stood up and moved around to keep warm. There was a nice fog settling in and this was making it feel even colder. *
At 21:00 Anthony and one of the band members arrived to catch the 21:10 bus. We were talking and I found out that they had assumed that Costcutter would be open 'til 11, as it is on a week day, only to find that it had closed at 9, about a minute before they got there. Also, they didn't have a clue where they were going. The only information we had was that we had to get off the bus at the railway bridge and look for a blue door with the no 25a on it. Neither of them had even been to Leamington so it was up to me to notice where we needed to get off. The bus finally turned up at about 21:05 so we got on that. It was going to the right place but we didn't know whether it was the 20:40 or the 21:10. Looking at the ticket, once I sat down, I saw thet it said "Time: 20:40". That is a very late bus and the first bit of the rant.
Trying to see out of the stemed up windows of the bus was a bit of a problem but I was managing to recognise things alright. The only times I had been to Leamington before was to catch the train home for a weekend, as it is cheaper form there, and on a social where people drove in, so I had only ever seen the route into Leamington in the light. We went through Kenilworth which confused me a little and also the people sitting behind us (with quilts), who didn't know where to get off either. I was pretty sure we weren't in Leamington as I hadn't seen anything of the parade and where we were looked too small to be Leamington. A little later on I then recognised where we were and saw the tall white buildings of teh parade ahead of us. The 1st stop on the parade was right next to a Tesco Extra so we got off there for the other guys to buy alcohol.
In the Tesco there were no staff on tills, only the self checkouts were open. These are always a problem when buying alcohol as you have to wait for the attendent to notice and authorise the purchase. We had a conversation with the attendent about how they are not particularly reliable with the scales that weigh the stuff you've brought. We then got into a conversation about how in the future it is going to head towards the stage where you have a microchip implanted somewhere and each item has a microchip. This would then work by charging your bank account with the cost of the goods as you just walk out of the door with them. That is quite a scary concept and also quite an odd discussion to be having at 10 at night with a Tesco employee.
I knew where I was going to get to the railway bridge so we set off down the parade in the direction of the station. I wasn't sure about how far away it was so I estimated and got it very wrong. The fog was now supidly thick and the distance of visibility was about 20m ahead and behind. I thaught I saw the church that we had to pass but it turned out to be the Town Hall so we just kept on walking. In Tesco, Anthony had commented on the fact that the cans weren't in a fridge, but it didn't matter any more as it was like being in a freezer box anyway. We kept on walking and walking and eventually saw the river and then the church. After a little furthur we got to the crossroads under the railway bridge where the hardest part of the evening began, finding the correct door. I saw a large group of people go into a door next to a shop, but there was a much more obvious blue door ahead of us. When we got to that one it was a shop and not a house so I suggested we go over to the one next to the shop. Anthony said that it would be easier to phone Richard and ask him where to go. He did so and Richard then waved at us from a window above then shop then came down to open the door for us.
(Here, names go in the pattern "Actor name (Character name)")
The house is where Chris Warner (Nick) lives and it is really quirky but quite cool. Straight away there is a flight of stairs to get onto the 1st floor, up above the shop. We went straight into the lounge where there were some sofas with actors sitting on them, James Tarbit DJing in the corner and the techies sitting on a sofa bed in another. Someone said to us that there was fridge space in the kitchen where we could put our drinks but the other room on that floor was someone's bedroom. The kitchen was upstairs which seemed odd to me. On the 2nd floor was the kitchen and 2 bedrooms. There was a loo on the 2.5th floor and then some more bedrooms and another loo on the 3rd floor. I put 3 of my cans in the fridge and then made my way back down into the lounge and joined the techie corner. There were 3 destinct groups of techies, musicians and thesps. The musicians and thesps were already mixing and Anthony broke the tech crew trend and went to speak to other groups. This is because he is friends with some of the musos and does the same course as Aimee (Serena). The music was really good with Tarbs choosing some great old and new tracks and mixing them really well. Warner interrupted Tarbs to announce that they would be doing "Drunken Pony" later on so we needed to get nicely merry before then.
For those of you who don't know what "Pony" is it is very hard to explain. It looks like a kid's nursery rhyme with actions of a sort. It is a warm-up exercise that was introduced to MTW for this show. Everyone stands in a circle with 3 people in the middle. The band start playing the tune and the 3 people in the middle gallop round as if riding a pony while everyone sings the words. Half way throught, the people in the middle each pick someone in the cirle and dance with them, 1st front to front, then back to back, then side to side as the lyrics dictate. The band then speed up for the next round and so on and so forth, adding in the odd key-change for effect. This goes on until the band can't play any faster or the actors can't sing, move any faster. "I found a page about "Pony, it goes on about a load of other stuff but the lyrics are the same and the tune very similar. This uses Flash Video (.FLV) which is quite nasty so i'm trying to convert it to a .avi or .mpg so you can download it instead of trying to stream it. Go to my ''Pony'' explanation page. You can imagine doing this drunk, but that comes later.
At the news of this the tech crew all grimaced and resolved to stay out of the way at that point. The party continued and then there was an interruption for presents. The director and producer gave funny certificates to the actors, and chocolates and cards to the tech crew an band. The cast then gave presents to the director etc. of hats and deely boppers to make them look silly as revenge for having to look silly in 80's costume all week. The deely boppers were funny but the hats suited the guys quite well so didn't have the intended purpose. After this more drinking and eating of chocolate took place at which point more thesp/techie conversation happened. Anna (Mabel) came over to talk to us and Richard has photo evidence of this breaking of tradition (which I must obtain). While she was talkign to us the was also tucking into the chocolates that we had been given. Someone made a joke about here still being in character and following the see-food diet (I see food and I eat it). Incidentally she got the award for being the worlds thinnest, fattest dancer. I just finished my 2nd can at this point and added it to the tech crew tower beside the TV. I headed upstairs to get a 3rd can and found that half the people were standing on the stairs talking so I joined them for a bit and then headed back into the lounge for more talking and drinking.
After a short amount of time, Warner came in and got everyone in s circle to play "Drunken Pony". I can't remember exactly but I think it was Richard and Will who got dragged into doing it while the rest of us techies just watched. It was even more funny that the actors doing it on stage, the only bit that wasn't so funny was the feeling of the floor moving up and down by about 2 cm beneath you as everyone was clapping and stamping as they sung. Those of you who know Will Lewis will understand why it is funny seing him do "Pony". Having finished my 3rd can I then went upstairs to get the last one and met Jamie coming down who told me not to go up there as it stunk as though someone had let off a stink bomb. I could smell it from half way up the stairs so I went quickly back into the lounge. Looking out of the windows I noticed thet the fog was getting even thicker and it was gettign hard to see the railway bridge just across the road. A bit later I ventured upstairs again to get my last can and it still stank. On going into the kitchen I found Warner and some other people scooping dirty looking water off of the floor. It transpired that someone in the house had tried to do their washing near the beginning of term and found the machine to be broken. Ever since they have been taking their washing to campus to do it. Someone had then opened the washing machine and let all this 8 week old water out onto the kitchen floor, which is partially lino partially carpet.
I grabbed my can out of the fridge and quickly moved back downstairs. Soon, everyone had left and there was only me, Chris Hawley and a couple of drunk thesps in the lounge. Interested in where everyone else had gone I went back upstairs. Everone was sitting on the landing outside the kitchen and on the 2.5th floor small landing. They had decided to close the kitchen door and leave the window open, so there was no smell, just everyone packed into a rather small space, but the conversation was interesting. I stayed there for a bit and then someone came up and said that there was no-one left in the lounge, except the smokers on the balcony, and Tarbs wanted some more people to go and dance. Some people went but I stayed and talked with some of the people before realising what the time was. It was about 15 mins 'til the last bus so I finished my can, said goodbye and then left. Apparently someone had kicked a wine bottle down the stairs by accident and without knowing and it had nearly hit Aimee on the way down as she was talking to Jamie. As I was passing them she asked me to stnad the bottle up so it didn't fall any furthur. I stood it up and then left to go to the bus stop just across the junction.
I was about 5 mins early for the bus so I walked just up to the next junction about 10m away to see why there was a mobile CCTV van there. It was because there were police talking to some people just outside a club so I guess they just happened to be the closest unit. I walked back to the bus stop and sat on the bars too wait for the bus. It didn't come so I started worrying that I had missed it. I checked the timetable on the stop and it said that there was a 04:43 bus going to the University and I was definately there before that one was due. The next bus came which was a U1 but wasn't a pink double decker it was just a normal stagecoach bus and wasn't timetabled to go vis the University. I asked the driver if he was going to the University and he said no, as I had guessed he would, so I went back to waiting. I was debating going back to the party as Chris and Phil had said that I could stay on their sofa if I wanted or if I missed the Bus and this was the last bus back to campus. Eventually the bus turned up about 15 mins late and the old man driving took a long time to issue me my ticket (which costs 70p more than the normal U1 as this is the NU1, the night bus).
This is not the end of my Unibus rant, there is more. Not only did the driver drive quite fast, trying to catch up on lost time but he also skipped a stop. I live in Rootes and wanted to get off at the Arts Centre stop as this makes for a shorter walk in the freezing cold night. It says on the online timetables that that NU1 terminates at the Arts Centre stop so when he stopped at the Sports Centre I didn't get off until he told me that this was the last stop, rather indignently as if I should know. I was not too bothered about the extra walk, what really annoyed me was the fact that he then drove past me towards the arts centre stop. This made me wonder where he was going but I was only a little annoyed. It turned out that he stopped at The Koan, changed it's sign to the route going the opposite direction, picked up some people and then went back to the Sports Centre stop before heading back to Leamington driving past cold me on the way. Now why couldn't he have dropped me at The Koan instead of making me walk the distance form the sports centre stop to the end of Health Centre Road. I much prefer the 12 to Coventry. Cheaper, more reliable and easier to board with their no change policy and £1 maximum fare.
I really enjoyed the house party and am looking forward to the next one whether it be another after-show party or Phil's 21st party. The only down-side to Fame! and the party will be highlighted in the next entry when I write it tomorrow.