We are in Birmingham. We are playing at the Glee club. I’m not sure which of us is laughing and which of us the joke is on.
This is England…
Gus is stood at the entrance to the venue with a bought out coffee when a man approaches him looking for spare change. It is hard to decipher whether the man is in need of money for food and shelter or in need of fare for travel, either way it is apparent that his need is greater than that of my friend. He, after all, instigated the approach. It seems Gus has no spare change. As way of compensation the man offers to take the coffee. Gus complies and in spirit also offers a humble blessing.
Later. As way of a rider the venue provides us with 4 bottles of water, 2 bottles of coca-cola and 6 modestly sized bottles of beer. Oh and of course a triple offer pack of custard creams – this rider is after all for Liz Green.
Of course when our refreshments are depleted we are welcomed to quench ourselves at the bar. The drinks are not cheap, not even to performers and Gus soon finds himself, in the spirit of humble blessings, at the mercy of a £20 bar bill.
Later on after the show Gus and I are locked out of the building taking a post show cigarette. There is no one at hand to let us back in. In fact, during the whole course of the evening we see no sign of the meet the promoter – perhaps too busy promoting.
Outside a man wearing remarkable Nike air trainers approaches for us some spare change. He was angry that we didn’t have any and confused at our excuses.
“If you’ve just come of stage you would’ve been paid by now eh?”
In need of compensation for our lack of contribution he wondered if perhaps he should take Gus’s tobacco.
“All of it?” Gus asked.
The man nodded.
“And with it please take my humble blessings.” Gus added as the well-clothed man walked into the night with a full packet of tobacco and grumbling at our unjust denial of his personal allowance.
I followed his tracks innocently and hovered over an outside mezzanine looking onto a precinct of nightclubs. Young girls crossed the courtyard to and fro wearing nothing but shoes. I figured their compensating must have been, like Gus’s in the spirit of a humble blessing.