I’ve got a bubble friend called June,… lovely woman – likes purple, friends with Stephen Fry, and a complete bubble head.
Anyway, June (the month) is proving to be a bit crazy and it’s only 5 days in. It’s the beginning of season for me and the start of my summer bubble madness that tends to take me all over the UK as well as parts of the world – at the time of writing, I’m en route to 6 bubble shows in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to open their Summer Festival this weekend.
But it all kicked off last weekend with Wychwood festival in Cheltenham, UK. (Read a review on UK Festival Guide here - http://www.ukfestivalguides.com/review/wychwood-2014-review).
Our first festival of the season and the first of our new 2014 bubble toys for sale - see http://www.bubbleinc.co.uk/collections/new-arrivals
Not a massive festival, but fluffy enough and worth doing if only for the fact that it gives us a chance to dust down the stall, see what needs fixing and come out of it with a list as long as your arm of stuff to be done. That way, by the time it comes round to July, we’re organised.
It also happened to coincide with Reuben’s 4th birthday so plenty to keep my hands full (as ever!).
So, now it’s Saudi for the next 5 days, then next week I’ve got a gig for high ranking members of the British Royal family (hush-hush on that one), and the following week is chocka with a whole set of daily gigs for Microsoft and the various subsidiary’s (did you know it owns Skype? And Nokia?).
They’re doing this whole equal opportunities drive at the moment, culminating in a big presence at London’s gay Pride parade at the end of this month, which we’re performing in too.
And in between all that, there might be a weekend off! Probably going to be my last one for a while so I plan to make the most of it and do absolutely nothing but hang out with Roanne and the kids J
In the meantime, back to Saudi - this gig was unusually late confirmed . Once it was booked, there was only about two weeks to go, and Saudi Arabia requires a fairly extensive visa process. The clients (Hamza and Abdul) suggested I use a visa assistant company to help me get it organised and someone called Maria sent me the various forms. Alongside the various letters and documents I had to prepare, there were some unusual questions on the visa application form which I didn’t expect – “Religion” was one, and “Sect” another.
Religion,… religion… what should I put?
You may not know this about me, but I studied World Religions at college (in Bath) and unsurprisingly, learning about such a variety of different religions (a new one every 3 weeks) left me feeling agnostic, so that’s what I put.
Now,… sect… sect? what the hell do they mean? I googled it, and nothing came up except a lot of pages about what to put under “Religion”
It became clear that apparently Agnostic was out. And Atheist – they just won’t let you in. Less surprisingly, Jewish was out - the Government of Saudi Arabia wants to support the Palestinian Government.
I ripped up the form, printed another copy and started again.
It came round to the Religion question again - what to put? I put Christian, and under sect – CoE.
Something didn’t feel right. I just felt uncomfortable about it. I ripped up the form and started again!
Third time lucky, and I decided on Buddhist and Nichiren Shoshu (for those of you who don’t know, it’s a very western friendly form of Buddhism where you chant the first line of the Lotus Sutra and imagine the things that you want – then you get them and realise they don’t make you happy so you start chanting for nirvana instead).
Took me half the day
At least they let me in!
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo…..X