Today (30th March) was a bit of a sad day. It was time to give my girlfriend/houseguest a send off. She was taking the coach back home to her family home in Reading. It was to be one hell of a long journey. Coach journeys are truly awful and long. I've already mentioned that they're a good way to disappear from the public gaze for a long time. If you're not careful, though, they seem to have the capacity to totally consume you and destroy your will to live. Luckily she survived, but only just.
So, I picked up the object of my affections and dropped her at the coach station. I saw her onto the coach. She spoke to the driver and showed him the online reservation thing. She was going to Victoria. I helped her with her bags to the luggage bay. The other coach-staff member there just looked at us. What was the problem? I pondered. Maybe, I thought, he might want to know the destination for the bag. He just stared at us, disapprovingly. I told him the destination - uncertain whether this would be the key to some activity on his part. He acted as though we were the foolish uncommunicative ones. "See, I don't hear what you tell the driver, so you have to tell me the destination", he said condescendingly. In the interests of harmony and peace, I didn't point out that he could have just bloody asked! Smug cock-monkey!
Waving off the girlfriend was a passable experience - it would have been preferable to keep her, but she was only going away for a bit and there was always the possibility of a return visit.
I had work to get back to and I had, by good fortune, a gig that night to look forward to. If tricky things like waving off a girlfriend are on the horizon, it's good to have something to look forward to for soon after. This gig was going to be an odd one. It was called One Big Laugh and was a charity gig. I was very early on the bill, but the gig wasn't to start until 12, so I couldn't expect to be on stage before about quarter to 1. This was sort of good. I got the chance to work as late as I felt was necessary. I then had a leisurely drive to Edinburgh.
On the drive to Edinburgh, I listened to two musicals. I listened to Titanic, which is the show to be performed in February by the same group with whom I performed Guys and Dolls this February. Rehearsals start at the beginning of may, giving a 9 month run up to the performance dates. For that amount of preparation to be worthwhile - remember the show only runs 7 public performances once it's all done - the show has to appeal. I had put a great deal of effort into sourcing the CD, but I'd not had chance to listen to more than some of the opening song. A long car journey was just the ticket. It's quite telling that I'd not found the time to listen to either of the CDs I'd brought back from America in the 20 days I'd been back in the country. I'd had long car journeys, but I'd been very pre-occupied and hadn't gotten myself organised to listen to two CDs I was particularly interested in.
I can see the good in Titanic - it's not a bad musical. It's modern, I could imagine it working quite well on stage... but it was quite depressing to listen to. Nothing really grabbed me. The words seemed to be arguing with the meaning and some of the language seemed wrong. Things "being staved" and referring to a natural disaster as "a day of wrath" seemed quite contrived. Words in musicals mean a lot to me. The music was ok, in some places it was very good... but the show didn't speak to me. I don't plan to be in it.
As I was dispairing of the purchase of one musical on CD, a musical that I was rather willing to end, the next CD came on. Avenue Q. Thusly, I would like to declare:
Wow! What a show. I wish I'd gone to see this instead of Spamalot earlier in the month. To summarise it, it's like Sesame Street, but for adults. The characters are all puppets, living among other puppets in a bad part of New York. The only non-puppet is Gary Coleman... well, it's a woman playing the part of Gary. The songs are consistently of a high standard and they're very funny. Songs about sexuality, racism, porn, sex... it's adult and it's inventive and brilliant. I laughed heartily. Indeed, the show put me in a top mood. When it finished, I put it on again. It's the business! I arrived in Edinburgh on top of the world.
It was also rather late - 10.30. I met up with some friends and we headed over to the gig. We were there before it started. I had time for a quick sound check. Then the gig started. The gig was intended to be record breaking in that it was meant to have the most comedians on the bill of any comedy show (I'd been involved in the previous record setting - 128). In addition, this show was to be the longest comedy show at 36 hours. They had 200 or so spots of 10 minutes to fill. However, comedians were either not properly booked or had dropped out. So the actual number available to perform had dropped quite considerably from the original plan. As a result, I was asked to perform for 30 minutes. I hadn't done a 30 minute gig since August. I had 30 minutes of material (sort of) then, and I planned out a long set for this show, using some newer and therefore better stuff. I wrote the set list on a piece of paper and placed it under the drink I put on the speaker to one side of the stage. It's an easy trick and it works. You get a drink - the audience don't mind that - but you get to read your set list too. Cool! and his gang.
At one point, I struggled to get the laughs, I did a song I hadn't done in ages and it's not all that good... at least, it needs working to make it funny and I was out of practice. Overall, though, I had a nice gig there. It's all on video, so I guess one day I'll see for myself whether my memory of the gig matches the reality. The audience applauded and cheered nicely, so it can't have been all that bad. I left part way through the next act, dropping a friend (our tour guide from the previous week) home. I then headed back home. I'd been in Edinburgh for 3 hours, one sixth of which I'd spent on the stage.
I got to bed late. Surprise surprise.