So you want to be a professional entertainer...
Well, what you have to remember is that at all levels of this peculiar business, you have to keep putting money away not just for a rainy day, but for very stormy days as well.
Your expenses go on and on even when you are not working so it is hard to turn down any job. Sometimes you say yes to a job and then regret it...
The tour of Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, our current show, is going better than I expected and even more so now that I am over the various illnesses and accidents that have bedevilled the start of this year.
In the midst of the tour we had agreed to go and do a couple of shows on a P & O ship and just assumed that it would more or less the same as all the other cruises we have done in the past: fly out, do a couple of shows and then fly back and pick up the tour. Easy Peasy.
We had a really good show in Porthcawl and it was a pleasure to meet up with all the fans and magicians after the show. What they didn’t know was as the show was going on we were selecting which tricks we would take on the cruise trip, which was going to start the next morning. As soon as we were clear of the theatre I told Debbie to lay her seat down and I would head for home. This took just over two hours so we were home by about 0045 and then we unpacked the car and re-jigged the cases.
I decided my act box was too heavy and re-packed again into a lighter case, quite how I will work the shoe I will decide when I see the working area on the Adonia.
A few hours sleep and up again to pack the final few bits and pieces, print out e-tickets and all too soon there was a taxi guy knocking on the door. Off to Heathrow and we arrive at 0800 to check in and go through the horrendous procedures that we all have to go through before boarding. There HAS to be a better way.
1030 and we are on the way to Miami. British Airways looked after us and Debbie did a bit more sleeping. I tried but I don’t sleep well on planes so I do puzzles, read my e-book, walk up and down a bit as the flight goes on and on and on. Do you want some advice? Don’t fly to Miami. Waiting in line to get through passport control took TWO AND A HALF HOURS. There was even a 90 year old lady in the queue. Don’t they care? We have technology that would tell them all they need to know from the Heathrow check-in if they recorded our thumb prints or scanned our eyes. It was just ridiculous after a long flight and not only does there HAVE to be a better way.... There IS a better way.
We got through there and then sat in the airport for 4 hours waiting for our connecting flight to Costa Rica. We never fly first class, because I think the price is a rip off. We do, however, insist on Business Class but the company goofed and we were in American Airlines economy. I am small and felt great pity for anyone taller. Talk about a lack of space. Flight authorities should be insisting on minimum space distances.
After a few hours in the air we landed at Costa Rica and were pleasantly surprised to see the luggage had made it too. A taxi to the hotel because we couldn’t see any sign of the car that was supposed to pick us up. Ahhhh... a hotel bed. Hallelujah and we collapsed.
Foolishly we thought the worst of the journey was over, but the morning told us a different story. The ship was not in San Jose, it was in Limon. At 1030, the appointed time, we were in the lobby. At 1120 we started to phone around. The emergency number they had given us did not exist. Fun. We phoned our manager to tell him to sort it out. 20 minutes later a minibus arrived. The driver only spoke Spanish but that was not a problem. Off we go.... ‘How long to the ship senor?’ ‘If the traffic is OK, three hours’......’THREE HOURS????’
I wondered why he was turning off the main road and it turned out he had to pick up someone else from another hotel. This wasn’t a job anymore; this was a package holiday and we don’t do package holidays.
Anyway, at last we were on the road when the driver’s phone rang. Swerving all the time round potholes (Yes, they have them in Costa Rica too) he answered the phone and pulled into a layby to sort himself out. We had to go back. He had forgotten someone.
We made the long long long journey in the back of an old minibus with stained seats which I tried not to think about and a long long long crack across the windscreen. There are no dual carriageways. We go to the ship at about 1600hrs. Thank God I am not doing a show tonight, which sometimes happens, because I am now going to bed for two days.
Someone asked me recently if I still enjoyed doing shows. My answer was that I love being on stage but sometimes the travelling...