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Monday, December 13

...all my troubles seemed so far away. It's irresistable, isn't it. One word and you want to complete one of the most famous lyrical phrases of all time. I like the song "Yesterday", we did an upbeat cover version of it at an acoustic gig during the Fringe. It wasn't funny, but it was entertaining.

Anyway, yesterday started with a lateish wake up. After I'd pulled myself out of my slumber, and come to terms with the variety of the previous day, which I described in my previous post, and whose end comprised the concert at City Hall (Christmas music) and then a curry in town, I had to prepare to head to Scotland.

In truth, any attempts I've been making to get healthy have come crashing to the ground with the bicycle troubles (still unresolved - it's a lot of money to have spent to then ignore the problem) and the fact that I've eaten out many many times this weekend. This is not a good situation. At this rate, I'll be my old size again in no time. Bad bad bad. They're making me a costume for Guys and Dolls. In other words, I'll be headed to Leeds in January for a suit fitting. They'll make it to measure. So, I can't afford to change measurements from early Jan. I should choose some measurements and stick to them. Aaagh. Pressure.

Anyway. With some petrol station nourishment for both car and me, I hit the A1, heading up to Scotland. I had a late lunch planned with a friend. I had the radio for company, and I drove enraptured by the Sunday show, hosted by Elaine Paige, all about the music of musicals and movies. Given that Mary Poppins opens this week in the West End, it received a huge amount of airtime. I have no problem whatsoever listening to the likes of Cameron Mackintosh talking about the latest show to come from his astoundingly successful stable. Given that the show was co-produced by Disney, it is unlikely to be anything other than stunning. It could end up one of those things that's powerful but rubbish. It is possible to produce something with a huge amount of impact, but no merit whatsoever - just look at some of the Hollywood blockbusters. However, I believe wholeheartedly that people will be enjoying Ms Poppins' antics for quite some time.

Arriving in Edinburgh, I managed to wave at the departing flatmate of my friend (she always manages to be leaving just as I arrive). A cup of coffee later, we were headed to the Theatre Royal Bar, which is next to the Edinburgh Playhouse. We ate lunch under giant posters of, and signed by the cast of, Miss Saigon. Musical-tastic.

The Gig
After lunch, we set off to the gig in Peebles. I had been contracted to do 15-20 minutes, but was told, during the setup, that I had to do a minimum of 20. The implication when you hear this is that you'll not be paid until you're clocked over the 20 minute mark. Luckily, I had a shopping list of things I wanted to do that naturally took me over the 20 minute mark. 20 minutes is fairly easy to fill if you know what you're doing. If the audience really go for it, then 20 minutes is exceedingly easy to fill. If you're working hard, then it can be a long stint. I was going on first, which meant that the audience weren't likely to be especially warm.

I finally decided to try my song about President Mugabe. It got a reaction, and the other comedians on the bill were positive about it. I'm still not sure. I shall have another go with it. We'll see.

I got something from the audience. I messed about a bit, but the structure of the set was also there, so the time whiled itself away and I easily exceeded the allotted minimum time. I felt that I could have done more time up there, but I'd equally reached a point where I felt that I'd done enough with the crowd. Some audiences are so nice that you never want to leave the stage. Some are so tough that you do your thing and get the hell away. Peebles were somewhere in the middle. Again, I enjoyed myself, so it worked out very well for me.

The other acts were, as always, a pleasure to watch. There's a nice wee group of comedians in Scotland whom I really like. They seem to like me. It's a good system.

After a drop-off in Edinburgh, I was back on the A1. I got home, a little wound up, at 2am and so did a bit more reading of the Douglas Adams book I have been taking to bed over the last week. I slept enough to get myself to the office (by car sadly) for 10 this morning.

The tetanus jab has been itching somewhat over the last few days. If anyone reading this has medical training and thinks that that sounds like a problem, feel free to get in touch. I'm taking it as a natural symptom of the immunisation process and I'm doing my best not to scratch and especially not to give it a squeeze.

Being liked
It's quite clear to me that people don't like me. Not all people. In fact, probably very few people don't like me, but some people take a position of absolute opposition to me. This is a real shame. I'm sure that we all have people who can't stick us. Don't we? Is it just me? Maybe there are some people who are liked by everyone who knows them. Maybe these people are utterly charismatic and wonderful in a way I couldn't even understand, much less achieve. Maybe there are some people who are so innocuous that they cannot possibly inspire anyone to dislike them; maybe these same people can't inspire anyone to really give a damn either way. That's probably a shame.

I'm quite an in your face person. I'm big. I won't be ashamed of my stature - I'm frustrated by certain aspects of it, like my waistline, but I'm not ashamed to be a big guy. I have an assertive mind. I make my thoughts known. It's who I am. I'm naturally quite arrogant, but I'm also naturally quite self-deprecating. It's an odd mix. There are some people who fail to see how these two attributes can balance each other, they just see the confidence/arrogance and assume I'm a total ****. In some ways, it's a shame that that happens. In other ways (and I'm indulging my confidence/arrogance when I say this) sod the small minded ignorant muppets. I'm not a bad person. I'm excitable and self-obsessed (I mean... I've been writing about myself for years on this website), but I wouldn't intentionally set out to harm anyone. Okay, so I might exact revenge, or hot-headedly knock someone down, but it's not something I take pleasure in doing. I get off on pleasure, not destruction or suffering.

Sadly, I'm also able to see through a lot of the fallacies we humans surround ourselves with. My instinct to deconstruct is something of a problem. So people don't like me for various reasons.

Yet, I go on stage in various guises with the sole intent of creating a mood of goodwill with me at its centre. Oooh! Now who's trying to compensate for something. I've said it before and I'll say it again; I've a massive fear of my own mediocrity. I'm not sure how, but during my formative years, I've been taught to believe that I'm special and I still want to believe it. I do my damndest to accept the contrary, but the self-belief is still gnawing at my common-sense. I was standing outside my house waiting for a taxi on Wednesday night, clutching my injured wrist and imagining that I was probably going to be fine because I have exceptional powers of healing. I have no evidence of this. It was nothing other than my optimism and delusional self-belief that made me assert that.

Having said that, I do have a lucky life. I've had things very easy. I have material wealth. I have health. I sail through life unafflicted (notwithstanding foolish incidents with bicycles). Perhaps this is a reason for people to look at me in disgust. Maybe I'd hate myself if I weren't me. Maybe I do, in some ways, despise myself. Certainly my behaviour in respect of my self-control annoys me. Maybe I shouldn't be so self-absorbed.

This Christmas, taking a break from the real world, I should get some of my perspective back and be able to set out in the New Year recharged and ready for whatever life throws at me. I probably need to widen my circle of friends. I probably need to invest more effort in getting to know people. Maybe I need to slow down long enough to be able to meet someone whom I might like to date... or maybe I should totally resign myself to never dating anyone, given that it's always a surprising "crash bang alacazam" when the right person comes along and it can't be that if you're carefully watching everyone you meet to check out whether this person could be "the one".

I'm wringing every last drop out of the time available to me. I'm not creating too much of real life-altering worth, and I'm no closer to being a happily married family guy, which is what I think I'd like to be long-term. If people can't see me as the lovely warm teddy bear that I am, then that's going to have to be their problem. Sadly, I'm the sort of teddy bear, at the moment, whose owner has grown out of him and put him in a dark cupboard to gather dust. At least (continuing this metaphor beyond its pitiful pathetic conclusion) I wasn't thrown on a bonfire, or pissed on by a dog, or perhaps shredded at a fibre-recycling plant.

Enough navel-gazing.

Despite outward appearances and the slight melancholic (slight?) tinge in this post, I'm in a reasonably good mood at the moment. I've got a busy week or so at work and then it's time for the well-needed break. I've got four rehearsals this week, but only two are consecutive. This means I've time to do other things. Tonight I'm taking myself to the movies. Yes, I'm going on my own. As much as I'd prefer to have company, the benefits of being alone is that one can (and I always do) please oneself. Tonight I shall please myself with the company of the Phantom of the Opera (nobody wanted to come with me, so I'll happily go alone, and I won't cry... not even at the sad bits). Wooo!


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