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Monday, April 5

This is going to be a relatively restful period. Two public holidays mean that the next two weeks are 4-day working weeks. My gig schedule is also fairly lightweight. This will give me chance to work on other things - I may even do some gardening and cleaning of the house... and not before time!

Let's have a quick retrospective on what's happened since Thursday's post.

Thursday evening
Got the train to Edinburgh. Was picked up and transported to Musselburgh (where? - exactly). Opened the night in Musselburgh, watched the next two acts and then borrowed the promoter's car to drive them back to Edinburgh. Then I returned to Musselburgh where the evening closed. I had a couple of beers - one bought for me by one of the audience - a nice chap - and then it was back to the promoter's place for a night's sleep, via the naughty takeaway for some naughty taking away. (It was a real takeaway - this is not some euphemism for buying sex.)

Friday morning
Woke up feeling fairly bright-eyed, which was odd, since I'd only had about 5 hours' sleep. Got the train back to Newcastle, arrived in the office and managed to accidentally insult/annoy the two people I sit with within 30 seconds of arriving. This was similar, in some respects, to the round of applause I got within 30 seconds of arriving on the stage in Musselburgh the previous evening as I riffed with a guy in the audience - who later bought me the beer. Similar to a round of applause, except I then had to do some apologising.

In some respects, though, when someone asks the question "Is it still raining?" of a man, covered in raindrops, who has just said "That rain is pretty wet." - well, they're going to get something of a stupid answer back.

The decision for the Fringe venue came down to the 11th hour. After pressuring an offer out of a particular venue, I was left with an uncertain and expensive outcome. However, another venue, who had remained remarkably silent for much of the process, pulled a good offer out of the hat and we agreed. The scale of the show is larger than I'd bargained for - by more degrees than is comfortable, but comfort is not the mother of remarkable achievement.

After 90 seconds in the house spent grabbing a sleeping bag and using the toilet, I drove back to Scotland. The location was Aberdour (where?). After a lot of sitting around this gig went ahead and the audience, who were up for something, though they didn't quite know what, were very nice. At one stage a drunk guy tried to commandeer the microphone, but he was dealt with, and the short attention span crowd had some joy to give me.

After the first show, I zoomed over to Glasgow to do a gig there. Much of the room felt out of my range, except the front row. I made my performance as big as I could - to try to reach the guys at the back. This had the effect of nearly exploding the people on the front, who were bathed in my efforts - I wasn't sure where the dividing line between laughter and pain was drawn.

Then it was back to Edinburgh to my rather unusual hostel. The hostel was a bit like an opt-in prison. Lots of long corridors and bunk beds, you didn't use money in the place - you had a sort of smart card to buy stuff (not that I did) and you felt like there was a small, but tangible threat of being interfered with in the night. I wasn't interfered with, of course.

Met up with one of my comedy colleagues and went for breakfast and chilling out in the wake of the Royal Yacht Brittania. This was a most pleasant afternoon's conversation and relaxation. Then it was an evening meal and off to Bridge of Allan for another gig. I opened the gig and took all the weird goings on on the nose - warming the crowd as best I could. My mood was variable during that section of the evening and I needed to take some time to stand outside in the fresh air, whistling Gershwin, in order to get my head clear of anger/depression. Such is the necessity when you're trying to be an entertainer while tired and far from what might be considered normality.

After Bridge Of Allan, we hot footed it to Glasgow for another gig. This was a classic - a pub full of people who would rather talk than listen to comedy. As such, the laughter for the first act was limited. I was supposed to go on third, but I got myself bumped up to second. I wanted the challenge of trying to take the whole room on and shut the swines up. I shouted them down. I got them laughing and I told them to give a lot of support to the rest of the acts - I had a moral victory.

Then back to Edinburgh, where we spent some time in a pub I've been to a few times, making conversation with strangers as a favour. One lass approached our table in desperation because she couldn't return to her table where she'd be the obvious gooseberry, since the other two users of the table were in a clinch of some description. We kept her talking as much as her inebriation and insecurity could allow for.

Another night in the hostel of no interference. I was even in the room alone.

I needed some me time and so went for a Sunday lunchtime paper-reading in Starbucks. This was uninspiring, so I went for a walk. This was uninspiring so I went to the HMV sale. That worked well! Then I went to a bookshop who were in a state of denial over their two for one offer. I brought two books from the offer, they denied the two for one, so I brought two identical copies, which happened to have the wee sticker on, and I got the second book for free. I didn't even want the second book, I'd only picked it up, after I chose the first one, since I didn't see why I should miss out on the offer. Confusing, pointless... and moving on...

Then it was more time spent in 'bucks and then another meal. There's a lot of eating and drinking happens in the average weekend.

The final gig of the weekend was in Leith. A lovely room and lovely gig - shame that it was not better attended. I opened the show again and somewhat self-indulgently used the spotlight to honour a very important moment in my life - but I played it for laughs and got away with it. It was probably the longest set I did all weekend and I felt a lot more comfortable and appreciated than some of the larger spots I'd done.

Watching the wonderful headliner and screaming with laughter at his efforts was well worth the slightly later-than-planned stay in the city.

Back home
Driving home, I picked up a hitchhiker, dropped him off at his destination and got on with my life. It's nice to think that I gave something for nothing as the close of a weekend's efforts. I don't know what I want for myself. I don't even know why I'm doing it. Perhaps in some ways, I'm hitching myself. I'm jumping onto the next big adventure that takes me somewhere - whether it's the Ashley Frieze comedy tour, or "The Musical!" - there's definitely something to plan for and to journey through.

Ask me what it's all about in November, I suspect I'll have worked it out by then. If not, then there's no hope for me.


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