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Friday, May 20

Another stressful day in the office. It wasn't bad stress. It was more the challenge of getting a load of stuff done and the excitement about the outcome. I haven't been this motivated about work for quite a while. The diet was also going reasonably well. I was trying to get through an entire week "on the wagon" and it was a case of so-far-so-good. I had been eating healthily, though, so that was bound to cause me problems somewhere.

Anyway, after work, quite frazzled after the late nights and the exceedingly busy moments during the day, I got myself some directions to the gig in Coatbridge and headed there. I didn't know how close I was for most of the journey and had guesstimated my distance wrong by about 30 or 40 miles. As a result, I constantly felt like I was going to be late for the gig. I pushed the car and myself and my stress levels did not subside over the course of the journey.

When I arrived in the town, reasonably early, I was able to relax. On the up side, I was in Scotland again and things were going to be relaxed from that point onwards. On the down side, I had a girlfriend due to arrive at my home in Newcastle (I'd hidden some keys for her - I told her where they were, she wasn't due to play hide and seek) and I was 150 or so miles away doing a gig in front of what would turn out to be a small but perfectly formed audience.

As is often the best advice in a situation where you've been stressed and need to relax in preparation for something where mind and body need to be on good form, I went and had a nice relaxing poo. The poo was mottled with yellow sweetcorn like stuff, so I must assume that it was a wholesome and healthy poo - undoubtedly, it was a poo born of healthy eating.

A couple of things threw me off key when I went up to perform that night. Firstly, the opening act (I was second) covered quite a few of the same bases that I do in my set. In fairness to me, he covered pretty much every base going with his eclectic mix of material. However, he'd pretty much done to death something that I would normally close on. I decided, in reaction to his particular schtick, to remix my set and close on the "racists" song. This is not the best of songs to end on, since it's not a banker. However, it is a big performance piece and I managed to find the energy from somewhere to complete the set with that. After the applause, I just sort of stopped. The MC had little notice to get back to the stage to back announce me. It hadn't been the usual massive climax that I do. In addition, I'd been tired and jittery and had stuttered my way through a few bits of set. In short, I was gigged out from the preceeding 3 gigs in four days that I'd done. The fact that the act before me had pressed on with the material which is similar to mine, thus robbing me of my usual climax, had been the icing on the cake of a tricky performance. However, everyone had enjoyed the performance (as far as I could tell) and I hadn't felt uncomfortable doing my thing - just exhausted.

After the gig, I headed off to my lodgings for the night. I had decided to stay at the Globetrotters Inn on the outskirts of Edinburgh. This is a youth hostel and costs something like £15 per night. I forget the exact cost. It was in sharp contrast to the big castle I stayed in last time I paid for accommodation in the area. I had specifically chosen not to dump myself on willing friends for free accommodation, since I didn't know what time I'd be arriving in Edinburgh and didn't really want to put them to the effort of waiting up for me, or whatever. I am perfectly capable of looking after myself and I think it was important to me to prove that I don't need a fancy shmancy 4 star hotel in which to do it.

The world of the backpackers hostel is a weird one. This particular place has a slogan all over its walls - "Stay Happy", which makes it seem a bit like a cult. Also, the decor of the place, coupled with the bunk beds and shower blocks make it seem a bit like some sort of opt-in prison. You never know quite whether the curtain on your individual bunk is really enough to keep out intruders in the middle of the night. I arrived at the place, exhausted and just wanting my sleep. I waded through the drunk revellers (stag nights on the cheap etc), avoided the smell of sick in the toilets getting to me, and got myself into my individual prison. It wasn't too bad. It took me a while to get to sleep, though.

Check out was meant to be 10am, so I set my alarm for 9. When I'd checked in, there was some mention of breakfast, but I didn't expect I would actually get breakfast. I also suspected that whatever they had on offer would be too high in calories for me on my first week of being on the wagon in a dieting sense.

I eventually dropped off to sleep. It took a lot longer than I expected, as I lay there exhausted, my girlfriend now nearer at 120 miles away. I think she had the better deal, sleeping in my home. I would have joined her (the extra distance not necessarily being a problem economically, as the gigs were well paying) but I firmly believed that I'd not make the distance of a return journey - sometimes one can be too tired to drive.

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