by Park Theatre
I had been working at Park Theatre for a few months before I learned what was really going on. Jez leaned in - a nervous moment - and whispered to me, ‘can I tell you a secret?’ I told him he could, and promised that I’d never put it on a blog or anything.
‘The thing is’, he said, ‘I’m really only in it for the tennis.’ I nodded; yes of course. ‘It dawned on me that in most jobs it’s hard to find time to work on your backhand. And so I thought: why don’t I build a theatre, and that way I’ll be able to work on my game most of the day, and wing off a few emails between sets to maintain the appearance that it’s really hard work to be the creative leader on a construction project.’
It was a sad moment for me, I have to say. Not because I thought Jez was passionate about Park Theatre, but because his backhand is still quite rubbish.
Anyway, we were playing tennis the other day, and Jez did what he often does and hit the ball out of the court. (To be honest, it was becoming increasingly hard to lose to him.) The ball sailed away across Finsbury Park and we resolved to get it at the end of the game. But while I was trying to get my unforced errors in early in the following points, a young man walked up to our stray ball, plucked it off the ground and walked away.
Can you believe it? We called, whistled and Jez did his plaintive cry, which if you haven’t heard it is the approximate noise of a lion crossed with a dolphin and a puppy. It was a moving piece of theatre, but as so often in life, there was a wire fence between us and our favourite ball. I realise now that it was a ‘coming of age moment’, the climax of the first chapter of the (unwritten) ghost-written autobiography.
Chapter 2 begins here.