The overpass of show tunes.

To get from Swingate, my default car park of choice, to Stevenage station, I must traverse an overpass that takes me through the Gordon Craig Theatre building and over the 6 lanes of Lytton Way.

For the bit where you’re in the enclosed overpass, Gordon Craig has noticed that he has a bit of a captive audience.

So why not use the 30 seconds or so it takes to get from one end to the other to advertise current and upcoming shows? Why not indeed. So now, if you haven’t got the iPod earphones wedged in your ears you’re treated to excerpts from Gordon’s shows.

However, late at night, it can become quite eerie. With no one else around, it evokes the spooky feeling of someone chancing upon an abandoned circus with a lone gramophone playing a crackly number from a West End show. Or a nursery rhyme in a minor key.

“Mack The Knife” was a bad choice.

I wonder if Gordon’s ever experienced this, because I reckon he might want to consider putting something more calming or reassuring on, like live police radio broadcasts or that frequency that scares teenagers away while the rest of us can’t hear it.

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2 cars, 1 park.

No it’s not a dogging version of ‘2 girls, 1 cup’ – though I must confess, I’ve never watched it. No really, I have not.

Today was a momentous day in my household and Swingate combined. I have 2 cars. One for my commute which encompasses parking in Stevenage,; the other is used by my wife for school runs, shopping and miscellaneous trips. Generously, the car my wife drives is worth 3 times the one I drive; however, I digress.

My wife brought the kids into London to the Science Museum, to see me in my swanky office and for a nice lunch. How does that affect this blog? Well, both of us Parked In Stevenage. Double whammy. Double bubble. Double or Drop (for those of you old enough to remember Crackerjack – didn’t think so).

Yes, today, Swingate played host to both cars. A Double-Parking in Stevenage. A first! Unfortunately I have no visual proof, so as incredible as it sounds, you’re just going to have to trust me on this.

Once again we are deeply ensconced in the original premise of this blog. For those of you who asked me to go back to basics: there, be careful what you wish for.

Chip coin collection.

For some reason, my season ticket isn’t working properly. It won’t let me into Swingate. When you swipe the card the display just says “Please wait…”.

Then it won’t do anything. I buzzed the help button and the guy said reverse out (does that really reset it?) And take a chip coin. This yellow token is what non-season-ticket-holders use to get in – then when you leave, you put the coin in the machine, you pay how much you owe and away you go. Except my card still lets me out. Which leaves me with a chip coin every time.

One... two... yup, that's three.

Granted, it’s a modest collection: 3 all told. But it does leave me with a quandary. Where to return them? If I try to put them in the machine it’ll ask for some massive sum dating back to last week.

There’s a Stevenage Council van sometimes parked in Swingate. I’m half-tempted to just pop them on the roof of the van and scurry away.

I’ve come back to this post a couple of days later. I kept meaning to make a follow up call to the parking chaps to get this sorted. But being busy at work, I hadn’t got round to it.

All that became academic when I opened an envelope in Saturday’s post to discover a new pass – thanks (Mrs) Phyll Walklate! And lo, it lets me in AND out of the car park.

Maybe I could take a leaf out of their book and use this whole mail thingy to return these chip coins. There might be something in this…

As a footnote I will add that at least one regular reader will be glad of this return to this blog’s core competency: the intimate and sometimes excruciating details of parking in Stevenage. Enough of this mission creep. Let’s get back to basics. Well. We’ll see.

Dave Bloke, Wembley Legend.

It’s happened again; I’ve done another thing. Regular readers/colleagues will know that I work on the English FA’s advertising account (among others).

So, they have this 5-a-side competition called FA Umbros Fives (yes, with Umbro). It turns out this is the only 5-a-side competition with a Wembley final. So even if your dreams of playing regular Premiership football have faded, if you’re a bit good at 5-a-side there’s still a chance to walk out of that tunnel and onto the hallowed (and admittedly controversial) Wembley turf. In short, you, YES YOU, could become a Wembley Legend.

And don’t just take my word for it. Witness a man who was once mortal like us. Witness a man living the dream. Witness Dave Bloke, Wembley Legend.

And then sign your team up!

Bit of background: all shot at Wembley in a day. Yes, even the kitchen, bedroom, recording studio scenes. Judicious use of various props, changing rooms and meeting rooms in and around the stadium, we managed to re-create Bloke-mania in a few short hours.

Unfortunately I was away on holiday on the day of the shoot, so I missed the chance to meet Michael Owen and Tim Lovejoy. Michael was by all accounts a real gent and Tim smells very nice. I did float the idea of my flying back from holiday just for the day (under the guise of someone else’s stupid idea) but my wife called my bluff and agreed it was an incredibly stupid idea…

And the music? “Widths and Heights” by Magic Arm.

An inspector calls.

That’s 3 journeys in a row. They must be having a crackdown or something but my last 3 journeys have had ticket inspectors doing the rounds.

And they’re thorough enough to want to see my photocard as well (not just me, the rest of the passengers too).

Ahh, them were t' days...

I’ve got a Gold Card season ticket which apparently affords me great things beyond simple permission to travel between Stevenage and King’s Cross. Like  a “34% discount on Standard Class Single and return tickets on participating train company services within the Network Area” , however, they’re not falling over themselves to bring them to my attention. Maybe I’ll go sniffing around.

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