surinenglish

THE MUSIC MAKER

Swimming against the tidy

Tidy people are losers. Everybody knows this, including - indeed, maybe especially - tidy people. Putting everything in order when you could be doing other, much more interesting things like, for example, being untidy, is surely the road to perdition.

Imagine my surprise, then, when earlier this week I felt an all-consuming and visceral urge to tidy the kitchen in The Shakespeare. Just to be clear, what we call 'the kitchen' would have been a bona fide cooking space if someone with the slightest trace of business acumen had taken on the premises five years ago. The reality is, it was me who took it on with a vision that was largely based on pubs in 1974 episodes of The Likely Lads and thus it just became a place to chuck stuff into whenever the need arose, which was often.

Anyway, I descended on 'the kitchen' with a vim and vigour I'd not enjoyed since I lost a fiver down the back of my mate's sofa in our student days. Out with the old in with the new, then. It's quite extraordinary what had accumulated in the previous sixty months. All the things customers had found, and all the things customers had lost plus all the things we had found and all the things we had lost. To wit, I fully expected to come across a medium-sized box marked 'Peter's Dignity' at some point but, mercifully, nothing of the sort occurred.

Necklaces, bracelets, scarves and skirts abounded but that's enough about the blokes' stuff, this is an equal opportunities article. At one point, I came across a beautifully ornate book with 'Accounts 2015' written on the cover (this was the year we began the project). Tentatively, I opened it, only to discover that all the pages were blank. Not an inaccurate summary of proceedings to be fair. I'd clearly had some romantic notion - though I really can't remember having it, it's all been such a haze - about writing down the day's transactions with a sturdy quill by candlelight, in a Dickensian pastiche that only I were to be privy to. Like I say, the pages were blank.

But, really. There were so many ghosts scattered around that kitchen. It took me three and a half hours to do a half decent job and by the time I'd finished, I'd filled five humungous bin bags with burnished memories. Five years, five bin bags. Wasn't that the title of a song by The Smiths? If not, it should have been.