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Saturday, April 30

We had two gigs to do on the 30th. This was going to be more of a challenge. This is partly because afternoon gigs are tough work - afternoon audiences, especially composed of people who happen to be drinking in a pub in the afternoon (who would do that?) are going to be harder to reach. It was also going to be tricky as doing two gigs takes a lot more energy than one might expect.

I managed to wake up in time for a shower AND breakfast. I had a chat with "the fourth man" over breakfast and we got to know each other a bit better. He's one of the good guys, which is nice. The combination of the 3 acts on the bill for the tour was proving to be successful. In some ways, I felt a lack of response from each audience, compared to the others, in other ways, I was told to acknowledge that it was my job to warm them up and the later spots were simply reaping the benefits of my work as well as their own. Who knows if that's just baloney? It's nice to want to believe. I never actually felt under threat of losing the crowds all tour, so I guess it's worth believing. No gig went downhill after I took to the stage, so that probably means something too.

After breakfast, there was much shilly shallying and dawdling, but we eventually got to Inverness where the next gig was to be launched at a small but cheerful bunch of afternoon drinkers.

I did a reasonable-sized, but relatively tight set. I had to work to keep the half-empty room interested. But they went for my particular brand of shite and I liked them. There were a few opportunities to play off the crowd and I relished them. Weirdly - this has never happened to me before - I found myself out of breath part way through the set. I had been using only the high-octane material, in an attempt to set fire to the room to warm it through. The physical effort of doing that was a bit more than I'd expected and I had to change my delivery of some of my setups to give me a chance to get my breath back. I came off stage very very tired. I wasn't expecting that to happen. However, they'd laughed and the gig went, on the whole, very well.

Then we headed out to Forres. I have little to say about the place as I didn't see it. We went to a neat venue that is part of a farm. The venue is a converted barn which has a great restaurant in its basement and a beautifully well equipped performance space upstairs. The farmer is a polymath who was just as comfortable running the sound desk (like a dream) as he was running his farm or cooking in his own restaurant. It's nice to work among exceptional people.

We had hoped to get food in the restaurant. I think there was a little misunderstanding when we asked about eating - the owner probably assumed we wanted feeding for free and didn't think he could accommodate us in the restaurant. We were expecting to have to pay and would have happily done so. However, we were sent off to his house with instructions to get his fiancee to cook for us. Okay... we can do that. This lady was not unknown to half of our group, so it wasn't quite awkward... but it still felt a bit like imposing. As the lady of the house busied herself making us something to put in tortillas, we sat, chatted and watched a bit of Lord of the Rings - I have neither read nor seen these movies. Perhaps I should do - it looked worth seeing more of.

After food it was pretty much show time. I went on stage and had a reasonable start - it soon developed into a gig where I felt happy enough to do some of my riskier material - it's riskier because an audience may not get it, rather than because it's offensive. I'm talking about "Fluffy", one of my favourite songs, but one which can kill a room who don't know where the laughter points are. I'm learning how to show them.

I did my new "racists" song again - I'd done it at every gig since writing it, and part of the deal is to learn how to make it work. You have to just trust that you can make these things work, or that you can back announce them in a funny way that keeps a confused audience happy that you're still with them and that you're going to start making sense again. I accidentally threw a few insults at the audience during my in-between bits... and they loved it. They were my bitch and I was their pimp. It was fun.

After my bit, I went outside for air and conversation with the girlfriend. The battery on my phone died before the conversation did. The gig went reasonably well in my absence. Once I've done my bit, I can move on.

For sleep we returned to Inverness. There was late night conversation and we drank our host's beers. He'd left us keys to his flat, so we drank them, albeit at his recommendation, in his absence. They were replaced the following morning. Eventually, we went to bed to sleep, perchance not to wake up with a hangover.

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