It took several days and a hospital visit, but I am now fully recovered from my trip to England.
I was graciously hosted by the comic who has a lovely flat and is a fucking ridiculous cook. RIDICULOUS I tell you. Also he has an absolutely enormous stereo, handy since music is why I know him in the first place. Also he watches Voyager, which is just flat out fucking awesome.
Speaking of Star Trek, I have a new best friend and her name is, for real, Sulu. I would have given her a blog name, but come on, the woman's name is Sulu! I met Sulu and her husband G on the first Wednesday I was there, at The Globe in Letchworth. Together we enjoyed an evening of acoustic music, and by enjoyed I mostly mean tolerated, with one notable exception. A slightly unhinged, attractive blond Iclandic woman took the stage with her band. She was quickly dubbed "Bjork Stefani". We were in awe of her. Not because she was any good, although Sulu did buy her CD, but because she was just so completely insane. She went off talking on these weird tangents about pictures of people holding up a fish in the newspaper vs. the murder rate in England, or her preference of vanilla over honey. She also yelled at one woman in the audience for talking because she couldn't hear her backup singers which was awesome.
The following day, Sulu and I attended a corset party together, thus cementing our bond as best friends as we have now seen each other topless. Trying on corsets is fun. Trying on waspies is funner (as explained by the corseter, a waspy holds in the bits you don't want to see and lets out the bits you do want to see. Or less britishly, it cinches your waist while your boobs hang out). I briefly had the waist of Scarlett O'Hara. This entire exercise led nicely into our Monday evening trip to the sex toy shop together. Sulu couldn't wait to get me there as there were huge walls filled with toys. The collection was indeed extensive, but I was more impressed with two other things: 1. The fact that Sulu is on a first name basis and received a hug from the proprietor of the establishment, and 2. That we were served cappuccino while we shopped. Clearly the best sex shop the entire world over. I bought things. Oh yes.
Apart from my time with Sulu I mostly drank a lot. Now, "a lot" by my usual standards is actually not all that much due to the fact that I am a wuss and apparently that I am an American, or as the comic calls us, "sipping losers" (to be fair, he has never been to Tai's on a Saturday night so he doesn't have all the information). But even by his standards it was excessive. This started with the discovery that Strongbow in England is twice as strong as it is here, but equally as delicious. It continued the next night with the fact that I never do shots being thrown straight out the window for four rounds of sambuca in 15 minutes. (As the fourth round was being poured I stubbornly refused to drink any more. This was shot down by the hairdresser: "You HAVE to drink it. You're in England now.") The next night, away went my habit of going to one bar and planting myself there, as my "official" night out in Hitchin (we'd been there the night before) took us to four or five pubs, including one in which we walked in, ordered a shot of sambuca, drank it, and immediately fucked off. The next night it was back at The Globe because one of my favorite bands from Punky! Radio, the New Town Centres was playing there. The New Town Centres make you dance. Dancing makes you need a drink. It was a vicious cycle that ended in me trying to walk home barefoot. The next night out in Luton where we stayed overnight in a bar was the final nail in the coffin. Operations in my liver came to a screeching halt and a moratorium on alcohol was called for the following day. (This did not work. We found a really cool pub when we were being touristy in London that was across the street from itself. It was obvious we needed a glass of wine.) The last night was the comic's new cabaret show in London so I took it easy with one cider and an amaretto graciously supplied by Nat the Evil Lesbian, who struck me as not evil at all, but then again I haven't known her very long.
The day in London was excellent. Aside from the pub that is across the street from itself, we also saw a man with a bright yellow ass and an assortment of odd street performers near the London Eye. I had started off intending to actually get on the Eye until I saw the line, which was clearly hours long. "Absolutely fuck off no way," I said. This being the first time the comic had heard me over-emphasize something for dramatic effect, he found it hilarious and retold the story a number of times. I also had a Flake 99. A Flake 99 is an ice cream cone with a Flake bar stuck in it. Some of you may be aware of my total obsession with this candy bar. It was like a dream come true.
The absolute top, number one highlight of the entire trip happened on the night out in Luton at The Black Horse and I have yet to shut up about it. The comic had played a few songs on the jukebox and we were sitting and listening to them before heading over to the California Inn (it has shiny, sparkly things, thumpy music and there was someone walking around in a giant bunny head - it is exactly like California). A song started that sounded oddly familiar but that I couldn't place. The comic said, "I played this for you," having no idea that I'd ever heard it before. The second I heard the first line "I've been going out with a gir-rl, her name is Julie" I freaked out. Jilted John is the cornerstone of the soundtrack to my childhood. Kelly and Simmy's dad had brought the single over with him when they moved here from England. The four of us were absolutely OBSESSED with this song. We listened to it constantly. We sang it ourselves when we didn't have the record handy. We included it on our fake radio station Power 8000. I was immediately overwhelmed with an urge to call Kelly, but couldn't because my phone doesn't work in England. I settled for leaving it as a Facebook status the next day and insisting that the three of them leave comments. It was fucking phenomenal.
I spent the flight home wishing I wasn't on it, both because I didn't want to go home and because of this weird back pain I'd started having the day before. As it turned out I came back from England with more than just a new corset, a new glass dildo and a bottle of Abbot Ale. But that's an entirely different story.