Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Travelodge In Scarborough

Last weekend I had the pleasure of going to a good friend's wedding. It was the most fantastic of occasions and, on the whole, the weekend was amazing. Where I stayed, however, was another matter. The Travelodge in Scarborough's South Bay is pretty grim. The following bit of prose sums up my experience which was only mitigated by the receptionist on Sunday who was cheery, bright and, well, everything that hotel (and the dull receptionist on Saturday) isn't. I wish to apologise to the lady receptionist for this poem as I felt it wrong to include her next to all the other aspects of the visit.

Travelodge Scarborough

There are few joy to sample, I have to say
At the Travelodge in Scarborough's South Bay
There's a bed and a telly
But the towels seemed like rag
And the monotone receptionist
He'd have forgotten his name were it not for the tag

There's no soap in your room
They don't bother with that
But there's some in the reception machine
Just next to the KitKats

You'll get enticed in with offers
£19 rooms are ok for a dive
But it's just not acceptable
When you're paying sixty five

The breakfast was extra
And really expensive
And the face of the server
Was really offensive

You could ask for an iron
But you hadn't a board
So I ironed on the table
While the guy next door scored

He was there on a stag night
You must get loads here
For the only bedside gadget
Opens bottles of beer

I don't ask for much
Not expecting The Ritz
But, oh Travelodge Scarborough,
You were the pits

I'd rather get kneecapped
By hoards or marauders
Than step once again
Into your festering quarters

You made me feel ghastly
You made me feel dirty
And that's quite unusual
Before it's 8.30

Oh Travelodge Scarborough
Next to the suicide spot
If you'd only use it yourself
I'd like that a lot.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Getting What You Want

Tension will fill the air in a few weeks as GCSE students nervously prize open their results envelopes in the hope that they got the grades they wanted. I didn't get to take all the GCSEs I wanted and I'm really glad I didn't.

I remember the process of choosing which subjects to take being deeply frustrating. I was 14 and I played musical instruments, however I couldn't take music and "industrial studies" (don't ask) because they clashed on the timetable. All my school friends were taking the latter subject and I was distraught because I knew I wanted to do music and that it would be ridiculous for me not to play to my strengths. (For those not aware, GCSEs are exams in England and Wales that are taken aged 16, but you pick which subjects you will take at 14)

I ended up doing a GCSE in drama instead of industrial studies. I'd not picked drama previously partly because my friends weren't doing that subject, but also because I didn't want to give the bullies more ammunition. It's hardly a boys' subject is it? In fact I was only one of two boys in the class and it turns out that not being allowed to do industrial studies was one of the best things that could have happened.

In drama class I encountered 'improv' for the first time. I remember the liberating feeling of being able to let my imagination run free as I performed all sorts of weird and wonderful scenes with, amongst others, Fran Levett with whom I teamed up when we had our performance exam. The best part of this wasn't getting an A grade (although both Fran and I did), it was the sense that it was something I felt comfortable doing, rather than having to adhere to the dull conformity of peer pressure. I really resented peer pressure and when you're 14 there's a load of it.

Had it not been for that timetable clash years ago, I'd not have know how great improv was, and thus in January 2009 I'd not have joined the wonderful MissImp improv group in Nottingham and I'd certainly not have been over to New York twice to do training at the inspiring Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

In October MissImp start a residency at The Glee Club in Nottingham. Glee run amazing comedy clubs around the UK and when they saw MissImp's June show they offered us a chance to perform regularly in their new Nottingham venue. The fact that I'm a part of that is very much down to a timetable clash when I was 14, and an inspiring drama teacher called Mark Adams. I've not contacted him since I left school, but I think today will be the day I send him an invite to MissImp's first night at Glee.