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Thursday, April 15

Last night's gig was... well... different. I've not done a huge swathe of new material in a set in a very long time and so I planned to do around 10 minutes of new stuff last night... I didn't really know how long the new stuff took and I'm still not quite sure how much actually new material I did last night and how much was just messing around. However, I do recall making the audience laugh and having fun doing it.

Unlike a lot of gigs, where I've been able to go up there with little rehearsal and preparation and have, therefore, felt totally confident and without nerves, I had more than a slight sense of anticipation about this one. I think I threw a wee strop in the office before I left it at some point late in the evening - the aim being to make sure I've covered my hours for the week, since the next two gigs are somewhat more distant than last night's trip to Sunderland. To add pressure, there was a film crew present at the gig last night. I don't know whether they filmed me - I doubt that they did, since I signed nothing in the way of a consent form.

I don't really know how well the new material did. I got some nice laughs during it, but I'm not sure if that was just the audience being nice, or whether it was luck... I've no idea. I do know that I felt very confident in throwing these new things at the crowd. In fact, it felt fresher, since I wasn't quite sure how I was going to end up saying it. With some of my other material, I pretty much know how I'm going to phrase it, word for word, breath for breath in some cases - I have a scripted swallow between some words... more habitual than actually written in a script - it's all part of the timing. But with the new stuff... well, I just played it by ear... I think I'll use the material again at some point. I suspect some of it will, inevitably, prove not to be as funny as I thought when I wrote it. Still, the challenge of trying new stuff was great and I filled in the rest of the time with what can only be described as fucking around with my guitar... and it was fun...

Basically, I went on stage with my Stratocaster and a guitar sound modelling pedal. Hit switches on the pedal and my humble Strat (not a genuine Fender, though it is a Squier and does have a genuine Fender... er... strap) can sound like the James Bond guitar, or maybe sound a bit like I'm a ROCK GOD... what I lack in talent and skill, I make up for in clowning around. The audience were happy to applaud anything they vaguely recognised... nice crowd! I hope they realised I was being ironic. I delivered one line which I'd thought of just as I was tuning the guitar and chatting with some of the other acts:

It's hard not to look cool with one of these... but I'm doing it!

I have a tape of what happened... I'm still not quite sure why any of it worked or didn't work. I suppose I'll have to try it out again and see what another audience does.

Tonight is my 100th gig - hoorah! so I should try to make it one I don't regret. I've left the electric guitar at home - I'm more comfortable with the acoustic. I'm not really a rock god. Just a folk legend!

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