Dealing with baggage (the kind with handles and hard edges)
Oh, my god. Last weekend. So much grunting and sweating and shifting and thrusting. And that was just moving my baggage around!
I have a lot of baggage. Wait, that’s not … I mean, that’s probably true, but I don’t break my fingernails on that kind of baggage, and no one x-rays it before I check it in. I’ve got STUFF, when I tour in the UK, set pieces and props and merch and costumes and a typewriter, and yes, my one carry-on bag of personal effects, which this time had to carry a few props and some badges and a stainless-steel butt plug from NJOY. (It’s a giveaway for one of my Smut Slams, all right? If it had been mine, I would have taken it out of the fancy box. Buy NJOY! They do amazing work and they support mine!)
This is the same stuff I travel with in North America, but you wouldn’t notice it because it’s all in my car, The Deerinator, and I generally get pretty rock-star parking. Here in the UK, if I want door-to-door action I am paying through the nose for it with taxi service, and for the long hauls? It’s mostly me doing the moving—occasionally another passenger or a passing porter will help—and it’s strictly trains.
Mostly I end up taking commuter trains, too, which means short-haul lines, or a web of them, with an hour or maybe two between stations, transfer after transfer, unload and load and unload and load, from my little roadie cart. (Oh my precious baby, I will have a suitably epic name for you soon!) This cart has done amazingly under pressure, but even though it is pretty much top-of-the-line for its design features—lightweight, sturdy, adjustable, and collapsible—I don’t think it was designed for this kind of abuse: strapped to my table box for transatlantic flight, rumbled across 47 different kinds of paving stones (more than that in Edinburgh), folded and unfolded (I am going to do the math on how many times that will happen during this tour), dropped on concrete and wedged into luggage racks.
This cart is rated for 480 pounds. It could almost carry me AND my shit. But loaded up with my “kit”, as the Brits so charmingly refer to travel shit, the cart looks.. a bit rag-tag. It’s my custom-made set furniture, perhaps, all raw wood and scuffed paint and sometimes duct tape keeping it together for the airplane ride. I also rely a fair bit on those cheap plastic plaid shopping bags, one of which obviously contains a counter-top convection oven. So, all of those conductors cracking jokes at me about “moving house?” can be maybe be excused.
The jokes don’t make the luggage-lugging any more fun, for me or anyone, really. Although the cart with my kit can move astonishingly fast across marble floors and relatively smooth pavements, it doesn’t corner very well and does take up a little more width than someone pushing a normal airport cart. My loaded roadie cart is a little like me: totally, totally functional, but bigger than most people are used to seeing. People will look, whatever I am doing.
This tour I decided to at least take advantage of the visual magnetism of my travel cortege—translation: “people fucking gawk”—and have started taping laminated signs onto the cart: THIS IS INTERNATIONAL TOURING THEATRE, ASK ME HOW and then my website.
If people are already looking, I might as well get some proper visibility out of it.