Something seems to be wrong with my mirroring scripts again. They’re unreliable. Gaah.
So, yesterday was the Red Ribbon Ball, an HIV/AIDS charity ball put on by “dhiverse.” Cadenza met at 4 to rehearse, then at 6 went to The Guildhall (where the ball was to be held) for a sound check. This turned out to be a problem, as I didn’t know where nor what The Guildhall was. I was also on my bicycle, which was seemingly at the point of disintegration. The seat bolt had come loose, so it tilted back if I tried to sit on it, and the gear mechanism would constantly jump gears if I applied more than the slightest pressure. This put me in the difficult position of riding standing up at low power in low gear, when one normally stands up only to apply more pressure while in high gear. I also have a fairly intricate locking system, which makes it unlikely that anyone without a welding torch could steal any component of my bike (except, I suppose, the handlebars and maybe the pedals). Thus, the group was well ahead by the time I started after them at low speed. At some point while dodging pedestrians and trucks I must have forgotten that we were going to The Guildhall, wherever that was, and thus I followed my nose to King’s College, where I got as far as re-locking my bike and wondering where everyone was before I realized I was in the wrong place. Assuming that I had passed them, I retraced my steps but found no Cadenzans. I found The Guildhall after about half an hour of cycling in circles and two nearly incomprehensible sets of directions from two different porters’ lodges.
When I arrived I raced up the stairs and vaulted volunteers to find Cadenza in mid-song, after which they expressed relief that I had not evaporated. After soundcheck I cycled back to Fitz, where I changed into my (brand new!) tux and switched into contacts. I searched high and low for my new cufflinks to no avail; I hope that I have simply left them home. I walked back into town fully dressed and met Cadenza at quarter to nine. We would not be singing until midnight.
As soon as Cadenza had collected (again) we went upstairs (again) and walked into the main room, where we joined the food line. As I’d had crew practice (Englishmen never say ‘crew’, only ‘rowing’) that morning and hadn’t had dinner, I was very hungy. Food turned out to be bread and cheese (but they’d run out of cheese), olives, and, bizarrely, tacos. By the end of the night I’d eaten a dozen olives and two taco shells filled with excellent chili, all without getting a drop on me. That’s never happened to me before.
The ball was set up with two rooms. One had either a live band or a DJ (in the radio sense, not the ‘scratching’ sense) at all times. The other was Cambridge student acts, mostly stand-up, singing, or somewhere in-between. I spent most of the night watching them, with a small bit of dancing and a dash to be first in line for dessert (I was).
We were the last act, starting at midnight and running for about 40 minutes. The audience was relatively small, with perhaps 40 people actually listening, but they were very responsive, excepting a few couples who may not have noticed that we were performing at all. When the music from the other room crescendoed until it threatened our performance, I saw two listeners run to the other room to try to make them turn it down. With inspiration from Ross of the Chorallaries, I had devised a gimmick in which I put on a pair of sunglasses (at 12:30 AM) at the beginning of one of our songs, and the audience actually laughed at my visual joke. It was nice.
By the time I walked back to Fitz it was after 1, and I set my alarm to 6:25 for rowing before going to sleep. This morning I biked down to practice on my even-closer-to-disintegrating bicycle, and afterwards I turned it upside-down to see if I could figure out what was wrong. Seemingly every person who passed asked me if I was all right, and one of the girls who seemed to be knowledgeable about bikes suggested that I get some oil (which I’d tried to do Sunday but the shops weren’t open). Instead of going home, I went to the nearest bike shop, where I bought oil and new brake blocks, borrowed some tools, and returned my bike to ridability. It was very satisfying.