Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A (slightly damp) Day at the Races

For once, I walked out of the racecourse ahead of the game. The system works thus: You bet on a horse in the first race that has a name containing elements of your son's name. It wins. You end up with a profit of £40. You then hand most, but not all of that cash, back to the bookmaker over the next four races, losing a fair bit of it but picking up a few scraps. And you decide to leave when you're still in profit. Voila. You're a winner. Of course, I was at the racecourse to work. This meant that I wandered around for the first hour carrying a notebook. I even wrote things in it. I watched a chap cut a ribbon with a pair of blunt scissors. I drank champagne. I ate a buffet lunch with some racecourse directors, other journos and various councillors wearing chains of office. I had a nice dessert. Then I phoned the office with some quotes, as the real HDM journos fled to edit their videos and write their page leads. Then I chose a horse with a name containing elements of my son's name. And won some money. As did the chair of East Riding Council. We shook hands in a macho celebratory display. We may have whooped and hollered as the rest of the room remained silent. I asked him for a tip in the next race. That horse came fourth. I met Burnsy from Radio Humberside and Simon Clark, from the BBC, off of the telly. Talked about Sully. Simon asked me how it felt to be a playwright. Felt a bit silly. How do you answer that? It doesn't feel real, that's for sure. Had a pint of Fosters in the new bar (poor people in the cheaper seats still can't take a pint outside, although they are served in plastic glasses. Apartheid rules, eh?). Left with £18 more than I had when I went in. I couldn't earn much of a living doing this. I was there for five hours, which equates to an hourly rate of £3.60. But it was fun. And we are reinvesting some of the £18 into a Chinese takeaway round the corner tonight. Tomorrow I will be office-bound and all of this excitement will be a mere memory.

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