What a weekend...
An evening spent in the home - I know... how out of character was that. I ate chicken sandwiches with horseradish - the definitive radish if you ask me. None of these cheap pink salad radishes... pah! The horseradish - in the form of a lovely hot white sauce. That's what you call a radish. It has bite... it has legs. You can race it to the tap.
Part of Friday night was spent on the phone to a friend with whom I needed to spend some catching up time. This was achieved with alacrity. I also transferred the recording of our Manchester showing of The Musical!
to CD. While it was transferring I spend some time hooking up a DVD player in my bedroom. For reasons that do not require explaining, I now have a spare DVD player - installing it in the bedroom means I can now listen to CDs in bed and watch the occasional movie. Quite whether I'll get around to using the machine is anyone's guess, but I was in the mood to sort it out and I had a CD in production that I thought would be best listened to in bed.
Rigging up the DVD player required a couple of trips to the garage (that's the one attached to my house, rather than the local late night petrol station - they don't do audio visual equipment). The first trip was to get a lead I made in the early nineties for connecting my BBC Micro to the TV. This lead doubles up as a fancy phono to scart lead, ideal for DVD players - and they say technology moves fast. The second trip to the garage was with a pair of powered speakers and their power unit... which I'd previously chopped the end off. I managed, miraculously, to find a spare end in my box of spares. I then, heroically, managed to destroy this spare end in an attempt to solder wire to it. So I wired the power supply directly into the speakers - and I didn't do a bad job of it.
The DVD player is now rigged up, and I listened to the first 15 minutes (or so) of the show on it before my co-star/temporary co-habiter returned home. We then sat downstairs and laughed and cringed (in pretty much equal measure) at the recording. No, we didn't sit in my bedroom and listen to it... that would have been weird. I think we set a new world record in ratio of speed of performance to intended speed on the songs.
I slept and slept and slept. I also slept. Then it was afternoon and I had to go to start my weekend's jaunt in Scotland. Me? Scotland? Surely not? (this is sarcasm - I spend a lot of time in Scotland, of course).
I drove to Glasgow at a reasonable pace - reasonably relaxed and reasonably promptly.
Arriving in Glasgow, I met up with another comedian, who provided pre-gig company and was prepared to help me with the dash between gigs. I was due to perform at The Vault
, south of the city centre, and then immediately following at The State Bar
in the centre.
The gig at the Vault was surprisingly tricky, but I managed to get something out of the audience and keep my head. The other comedians were able to look me in the eye, which is always a good sign. Disaster struck - I've finally managed to lose my lucky plectrum... clearly it's not all that lucky! I have other plectrums... and there was no time to mourn the loss. I had to steam all the way across town.
Arriving at the other gig, we discovered that the football had managed to remove our audience from under us. There was no gig. Simple as that. No problem, thought I. There are other things one can do at night.
Saturday late night
So, I'm listening to a live band in a bar - they take a break, we chat with them about music and The Musical!
and then I'm spirited away to a nightclub. This was one of the weirdest nightclub experiences of my live. Similar to the last nightclub I went to in a small town, actually, but in a different venue. Over the course of the evening, we got to know various characters in the room - well, we came to understand the social dynamic of the room. Since I was driving, I was sober. Since I was in a small town in Scotland, I also had a height advantage over most of the other people present. I had a lot more perspective on the events that unfolded.
As is often the case in a small nightclub situation, I had a favourite co-partier. In this case it was a pretty blonde called Julianne. (I've no idea how to spell it, but at some point she introduced herself verbally... whatever happened to business cards?) It's quite nice to have a person like Julianne to keep an eye on over the course of the evening. It gives some focus to the night. Young miss J reminded me of someone - I think she reminded me of Renee Zellweger - similar facial structure, high cheekbones sort of thing.
After tiring of standing on the sidelines, it was time to get on the dancefloor. I'd been shown a very funny Michael Jackson move that I kept threatening to use on the dancefloor, but that wasn't necessary. What was necessary was to enjoy the atmosphere and try to make the most of the eclectic mix of music. There was plenty of female attention, but that wasn't all of a good thing - being grabbed by a female-human-sofa wasn't really high on my list of priorities, though I did my best to steer her onto someone else before she got "ideas". I also showed her respect. And she had her label showing - it said "another great discount from DFS"... human sofa... gettit!? ha ha ha ho. I showed her more respect at the time.
I started to feel like the pretty lady of the evening was looking my way a fair bit... oh yeah... the Ashley magic is working really well... I'm so... I'm so utterly... standing near the guy she was actually looking at. I'd noticed this guy when he came in (yikes - he got to me too... well, no) on account of his stupid hairdo. It looked like he'd been flushed down a toilet too many times as a schoolkid and it had somehow stuck. His plumage was a good 5 inches erect, which was probably for the best, since he was a total shortarse - shorter than the temporary object of my appreciation, Julianne. This lad may have suffered playground taunts for being a shorty. He may have had permanent follicle damage from having his head repeatedly jammed down toilets for being an uber-midget, but tonight, Matthew, this guy was going to be The Fonz
. He was just so totally cool. He stood on the edge of the dancefloor, not dancing. He had a fixed cocky grin on his face... and he was just watching... almost pointing to one side with his hands, his head lowered (I know... that's pretty low when you're a shorty) but his eyes looking up and to the side - a good modelling angle, if ever there was a need to be a model on a dancefloor. Maybe he used to be a model - perhaps for Ken from the Barbie and Ken range.
As is often the case when I observe male behaviour, it's not so much the behaviour that fascinates me as the effect it has on women. It was clear that this The Fonz
-like behaviour was working. This led my friend and I to develop our own chat-up line for the ladies of Bathgate - "Eyyyy Ritchie" and "Eyyyy" (and point with both hands) - this latter proving somewhat confusing to the ladies we used it on on the dancefloor... especially since it was followed by us laughing uproariously. Yes, The Fonz
managed one dance with the pretty Julianne and then left her to dance the night away unaided. I'm sure this confused her. Every so often she engaged the company of other dancers, including us - hence we discovered her name. I watched her behaviour on the dancefloor some more. Occasionally, she seemed to be paying my direction a lot of attention - but a quick check behind me and The Fonz
was lurking somewhere... fixed smile - "Eyyyy". If I ever find a lady's eyes on me, I shall always keep an eye our for Fonzie
- I'd recommend everyone else do the same. You might save a lot of embarrassment.
Foolishly, my friend and I were still in the thick of the dancefloor when they went into the slow numbers for the evening. This was an awkward moment. Everyone coupled up, except me, him and Julianne. I contemplated asking for a dance from my friend... er.. no... her... er... no... and so we got the hell out of the way. As we left the dancefloor, The Fonz
wandered up to his quarry and she was his. Quite what she sees in him, I don't know. Probably she sees mainly hair, since he's a fair bit shorter than she is. We left the nightclub and played the amazing new game "is there any part of my shirt that isn't soaked in sweat?" - the answer was "no". I eventually found someone to give me a free promotional T-shirt, which managed to cool me down and dry me off. Then it was time to retire for the night.
Running through some details for... guess... yes... The Musical!
(yes, all roads lead to that subject of conversation) took most of the morning and then it was time to head off to the afternoon and evening gigs.
The afternoon gig was Kirkcaldy. I can't say too much of note about my performance - it was up and down, it ended ok, I think I undermined myself a bit by teching the whole show - it didn't make me seem altogether very special. Still, we entertained the crowd and it was a good room in which to run a show.
The evening gig was in Dundee. Their previous gig was 23rd May, which seems centuries ago for me. I performed there - 16 gigs previously in my career. The original idea was that I was going to MC the gig, since they'd seen me last time. However, the overlap of audience was pretty small and those who were there a second time seemed to be keen to see me again. Therefore, I headlined the gig. Of all the performances I've given in closing a show (actually, overall), this was definitely one of my favourite performances. I was up there for quite a long time and I think I gained their trust... in that they were prepared to listen to me when I was trying to make funny with them.
My set started with a reference to the joke competition, which had basically been "give a funny song title" - I started by writing the song that won the competition. Had I just turned up and done this it would have seemed magically. Sadly, the MC pre-announced the competition with the fact that I was going to do the song-writing. This gave me one of the greatest feelings of "pre-match nerves" since everyone knew that I had to come up with the song. It needed to be better as a result. Spontaneity (or at least apparent spontaneity) makes comedy seem more magical. Remove the spontaneity and you need harder hitting ideas.
I got away with the song and postured, pondered and otherwise chuckled the crowd through my set. I had fun. Actually, I went a bit crazy on my ending and made the room scream with laughter... I also amused myself. Once I got off the stage, I had a giggling fit which lasted about 2 minutes (actually, it may have been nearer 5). I'd performed for about half an hour and I'd had a whale of a time. A part of me was hoping for an encore - I could have done another 10 :)
I drove back from Dundee at breakneck pace and managed to keep my neck unbroken. I'd made some sort of gag to the audience about me being more likely to die on the road than them - it's not my driving, just the string of hitchhikers I insist on picking up... ho ho ho. Apparently, our Czech friends, from earlier in the week, were right about the chances of getting berry picking work in Dundee.
Back to work on Monday
It's interesting how threads of this weekend's themes converge on this morning's news. I'll bring two together.
I mentioned the young lady in the nightclub whom, once I'd noticed once, I repeatedly noticed over the course of the evening. This is not a product of anything untoward, just something I've noticed about one's perception of beauty. Once you've seen a twinkling star, you continue to see it twinkling and maybe even navigate by it. In any group I'm in, I see those that shine and mark my way by them. It's comforting.
I also mentioned my comment that I'm on the road so much that it's a risk. Late night driving is tough and I'm going at speed in order to make the most of the bed when I reach it. There are occasional hairy moments.
This morning, I found out that one of my work colleagues died in a road accident over the weekend, and that colleague was one of those twinkling stars... well... words escape me. She was lovely. We spoke about 3 times - only once at any length and even that was about the show. She's not there when I walk past her part of the office.