Friday, 22 March 2013

The coffee goblin, the monkeys that push the train and people

Last night we took the train to Letchworth to the Broadway Cinema. Every time we go to the train station we have to pass the Tesco Express that happens to have a Costa Coffee inside.
Outside the shop is this enormous replica of a take-away Costa Coffee Cup. It is life size--well my life size as I am fairly short--and every time I see it I am overwhelmed with an urge to crawl inside the big cup and wear the plastic lid as a hat. I want to crouch down in the cup like some sort of demented coffee goblin and when people pass by, I’d like to rise up (with the lid balanced on my head) and saying “would you like some coffee?” in my best Keefus voice. If you went to high school with me, you will know what I mean by a Keefus voice. Anyway, the whole purpose would be to freak people out (in particular drunk people) and have a laugh.   There is an episode of Blackadder II where he gets drunk and sings the song about little goblin and every time I see the giant Costa Coffee Cup o’ Fun I want to sing (again--in the Keefus voice)

See the coffee goblin
Isn’t the goblin sweet
With his little nosey-wose
And his tiny feet

And then laugh maniacally like a crazy person. Mwa ha ha ha ha.

Spiderman can easily entertain me by using his Keefus voice to make up slogans for Costa Coffee (like it doesn’t costa much to buy good coffee) causing me to laugh really loud and people to turn and stare and he then pretends he doesn’t know why this mad woman next to him is making such a ruckus. Such is the history of our courtship and marriage.

When you get on a train here they make this peculiar sound like Ooooooo Oooooooo Ooooooo when they start to move which Spiderman explained to me is the sound of monkeys pushing the train. 
You’ve heard of horsepower? Well, trains are run by monkey power. FACT. You cannot see the monkeys, they must keep out of sight or they get fired. But you can definitely hear them. If the train is delayed then the monkeys are on a banana break. If the train is going incredibly slowly a monkey has fallen off and has to run to catch up. This make for huge amounts of speculation about what sorts of monkeys they are and how many you need to push a train. On the way home no monkeys could be heard pushing the train and so Spiderman said it was evil genetically engineered butterflies  with a poison dart attached to them pushing the train (this was based on a crazy dream I had had the night before) so I was a bit freaked out.

Anyway, the reason we had to pass by Costa Coffee and indulge my fantasy of being a coffee goblin and catch a train pushed by monkeys was that we were going to the cinema but not to see a film. What? What else do you see at the cinema? Well, hold on and I’ll tell you. We went to see a PLAY. A play at the cinema, are you clinically insane? Yes, but hear me out. The National Theatre was beaming to cinemas worldwide a live filming of a play that was being acted on stage. It was like going to London to see a play, but only going to Letchworth and having more comfortable seats and a quicker journey home.
The play we saw was Alan Bennett’s People about a beautiful old home crumbling around the eccentric owner. Her sister wants to turn the home over to the National Trust, but that would mean it would be open to the public and as it is said in the play--PRE--people ruin everything. It is a wonderful witty play about decay and redemption (whether you want it or not) which includes the most  creative staging of a porn film being filmed there as it is a “period piece” and they need a cheap location. There is also a magnificent scene where over the course of a song the crumbling, decaying house is cleaned, repaired and restored to its former glory and hoards of tourists wearing headsets listening to the AV commentary wander through. It was cleverly done and spectacularly poignant. The cast was outstanding, everyone playing their part to perfection.
What an amazing idea to broadcast live a London play--so many more people have the chance to experience good theatre this way. There were lots of rather old people there who looked too frail for a trip all the way into London, but were up for a night in Letchworth.

It was a blast. On the way back as evil butterflies pushed us homeward and we passed the giant coffee cup I hummed to myself (in my best Keefus voice) and thought about how lucky we are to live here. Truly all of my dreams have come true.  


  1. sweet. made me a little teary.
    with joy for you, of course.

  2. Oh my goodness! I step away for a couple of days, come back to read and get all teary-eyed in a good way, too! My wife often looks at me like I'm strange (well, I am actually) when I laugh at my computer screen with tears rolling out my eyes. You are awesome, Heather! I'll have to find your Blackadder song and record it for you.