The phone number you have called is SWITCHED OFF

It’s a gorgeous morning. I race out of The apartment on the bike. There’s a 10.30ammeeting at Rivington Place,  the new face of Hoxton,  with The Africa Beyond team. Speeding through Hackney I catch a passing clock. I thought it was ten thirty and the time is actually 9.30am. Screech. Back wheel of bike skids. I’m an hour early. Make a phone call. Buy a newspaper. Use the sacred  time to get a coffee at the café next to HackneyTown Hall and it is just as I am finishing my coffee that I sense something missing.  It’s been ten minutes (tops) since I made that phone call. Shit. Where is my phone. I rifle through my bag my pockets once. And again. One more time in case I missed something. Another time in case my panic of missing something made me miss the obvious.

And so the day begins.  I retrace my steps through hackney since the last call. I retrace again.  Look in the bag. Check the bag. And the steps.  I find a phone box and call my phone only to hear the words The mobile phone you have called is SWITCHED OFF.   Thos ewords mean one thing – a dishonest person has picked up the phone. All this in ten freakin minutes.   Everyone I see is talking on a mobile phone. My mobile phone. Everyone is guilty. That old woman over there talking on her phone. GUILTY. Little schoolboy walking – eleven years old on a phone. GUILTY.  Mother talking on phone while pushing a baby in a pram. GUILT. Hackney, the whole of this town has conspired to steal my phone. GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY. The rant doesn’t go down too well with the security guard at the town hall who escorts me from the building in a headlock.   

I’ve got to get to the meeting a the unfortunately named Rivington Place. I say unfortunatelynamed because there was this Howard Bretton Play….  Anyway,  I get to the meeting. I arrive, slightly manic.  Nice chat. Nod my head. Lots going on.  Lots going on.  “You could call you’re your phone on my phone to check” says Yvette handing me the phone. I stare at it trying to make it not obvious that I am actually checking the serial number to see if it is mine “But there is no reception in here” . Meeting ends.  Nice people.  Ride Bike to carphone warehouse Liverpool St. I feel guilty like I am claiming on my phone insurance in some dodgy way. “You need a crime reference number” says the man serving me. I walk around the corner to the police station, report the loss or theft of my phone and return to the carphone warehouse. They take my details “we can’t give you a replacement ericcson phone they say “we re investigating your claim” .  YOU ARE JOKING. I’m a good customer. Average bill £200. YOU’RE INVESTIGATING MY CLAIM  

Thankfully they give me what’s called a Standby Phone. At Carphone warehouse I call Tmobile my phone service  provider. They block and lock out my mobile which has probably now been sold on for five pounds to a Vietnamese drug dealer in Hong Kong. They tell me to bike it to a T Mobile shop for an interactive sim card which will supply me with my own number. This I do. I buy the sim card. I put the sim card in. Will my new standby phone from car phone warehouse who are investigating my claim work! Not a freaking chance.

I meet Gil Lloyd at Artsadmin offices close by to Rivington Place at Toynbee Studios.  We talk of America (where I am going for a residency in a couple of weeks). Gil passes me the forests worth of paper documentation that I need for the US Consulate.  I bike home weighed down with the forest and with a dud sim card. It’s four PM. It’s been a hellish day. HELLISH.   The sim is still not working.  At home I root around and find my emergencyPAY AS YOU GO PHONE.  I have now got two phones charging – my STANDBY PHONE with a sim that won’t work and my PAY AS YOU GO PHONE with a number that noone knows.

In half hour I am back out of the apartment  biking it to the club CARGO coincidentally its next door to Rivington Place and round the corner from Toynbee studios. I am MCing an event for Apples and Snakes. It’s their 25th anniversary.  Say hello to Michael Rosenwho was on television just a couple of minutes earlier.   The event stretches from 8pm until 11.45pm.

 It’s a poetry and music thing – it’s a happening.  Lots of people who are sure to get themselves wrecked tonight. Good for them. These are hard working people, both the poets and the arts administrators. Disconnected. I work the stage from 8pm until 11.30pm introducing each poet onto stage with the musicians. I have one cigarette break  and missed introducing Sophie Wooley onto the  stage - feel bad about that -  but overall the job is a good one. The night is a success. Everybody is happy. The poets were brilliant. John Hegley was wonderful as ever.  I go home.      

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