Thursday, October 21, 2010

singapore pt 1 work in progress

The first thing that struck me about Singapore was a Bannister knob at speed.
It hit me above my right eye.
While Singapore might not have greeted me with open arms the intensive care unit was open and in lue of any formal greeting. They simply fixed the gaping wound in my head and put me to bed next to some old fellow who, it was explained to gaggles of med students who passed through, was going through a multi-organ meltdown and was on palliative care, pre expiry.
He was an indian guy, he’d toss and moan. Background soundtrack, dieing Indian.

I’d got off the plane and 3 of us, Andrew Elliot, Dom Ferry and myself met up and were taken to Sentosa. Sentosa is an island, apart from a bridge that connects it to Singapore itself. It has a musical fountain, caged monkeys who split coconuts, a very large sculpture at it’s highest point of a “Mer-lion” [mermaids back-end, attach lions head, mystical emblem] a marketing ploy .

It also had a golf course and a tiki-bar that faced the refineries across the water and an aquarium.
I’d done some research, it used to be the graveyard for Singapore, it’s name used to be, ‘place where you bury dead people.” or something close to that in Chinese but that was thought not to be zingy enough for an amusement park and so it was changed and a mer-lion invented.I saw on a poster in passing that Sentosa was having a treasure hunt event which I found deliciously morbid. Don't dig too deep kiddies.

We were being employed to work it, performing for a retainer as well as being the first performers we knew of who actually had permission to busk which made the small retainer worth the risk.
These were some of the astute business choices I was making before I got my knock on the head.

We get driven from the airport and were being housed for 6 weeks in ‘Holiday Chalets’
These are actually Japanese WW2 Officers quarters with about 40 additional coats of paint.
Another factor that was to become critical was that the stairs were all different heights.
Get there 11pm, chat til 1am, I get up about 3 to go to the downstairs bathroom which was outside the air conditioned humming bedroom we were all sleeping in, stumble on the stairs, put my arm out, get my underarm hooked on the rail and careening the length of the stairs before bashing my head on the large irregular piece of hardwood knob at the bottom and then falling into the landing twitching and having and extending puddle of blood form beside my head.
So no memories but Dom had heard a noise and investigated. He’d not failed to notice I was a bleeding, twitching shadow of my former self and had rushed the 200 meters or so to the island police bungalow and summonsed an officer who walked the distance back to look at me, still bleeding, still twitching before concluding, “Yes, I think an Ambulance would be apt.”

I wake up the next day, there’s some indian next to me fretting about in a coma. I have 26 stitches in my forehead, both eyes are swollen, I look like a disgruntled Panda. When I move my head it takes split seconds for my vision to calibrate the movement. I presume this means my balance is shot and wonder about my stilt career. I wonder also where the meter is that is recording the medical expenses and who will eventually pay it.

A doctor did his rounds, surrounded by a gaggle of students. I found out the guy next to me wasn’t expected to live out the day and that I had been brought in bleeding from the ears but they couldn’t find the fracture after repeated xrays so had just stitched the hole in my head together.
Good to know.

My employers, who I would grow to hate with a brooding molten fury but at this stage were the only link I had with reality, arrived. Calming me by covering all expenses and suggesting it may have been a drink related accident. I let that slide.
I was to be let out that day, The day I was supposed to begin working.

I was in scramble mode, I’d put makeup on over facial injuries before, the swelling was going to be problematic but with whiteface and a tankhelmet and glasses I might just be able to pull off that highly fashionable, ‘deformed panto’ look.
Stilts were out, I had no idea that this faulty inner ear thing of mine, where my vision was a moment behind my eye movement, would not be permanent and I had a 6 week contract to fulfil.

It was only later I realised this first day in the intensive care unit was the happiest day in the weeks to come.

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