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Friday, September 2

Yesterday was quite a mixed bag of a day. I almost made it into work on time. That was quite enjoyable. Once at work, we discussed the changing priorities which seem to act as the backdrop for what we're doing. Bizarrely, we find the changes in priority unsettling, despite the fact that the idea of our main working technique is to do something, see how people feel about it and then replan to aim better at the ultimate target - the perfect solution... which can never be achieved. So, what's the result of this? Changing priorities. We're sort of getting what we want. The problem, I think, is that the things which are changing are not the things we're expecting to change. There's still a lot to learn about how to work this way, but it needn't be the end of the world.

I'd brought my home-made pizza to work as a packed meal. I'd say packed lunch, but that would be misrepresenting the facts. We were taken out for lunch on the company as a celebration for everything that we've achieved so far. This is a good thing. Having said that, sitting for an hour in a restaurant waiting to be served was not a good thing. Given that it was an Italian restaurant and that I had pizza in the fridge, I wasn't planning to order pizza for lunch. I had a bizarre wild mushroom ravioli concoction and it was very nice. I also had a soup and a cappuccino in order to prove that I am, at least, not a cheap date. It was very free as far as I was concerned.

While my colleagues went on, after the late lunch, for drinks and celebration, I went back to my desk, via a quick trip to a guitar shop to try out a guitar I probably have no intention of buying (though I might be persuaded to buy it if the guitar which my insurance company send me proves to be quite different to the one it's replacing). I pootled around the internet in the afternoon - mainly on work related issues. I also agreed to trial some software that would cost $3000 to buy. That's expensive. Later in the evening I came to conclusion that we already own some software which could do the job a lot better. Ah well, one can always window shop.

After I was done in the office, I set off to Blackpool for the gig which I'd been booked for the previous evening. A last minute gig can sometimes be a curse in disguise. I remember a "booked on the day" gig I once did in Scarborough, which I came to regret quite quickly. In this case, I was going to a gig run by some people I'd giggde for before. The last gig, in the centre of Blackpool went pretty well. This one was in a small town outside of Blackpool called Poulton Le Fylde. It would involve the same bizarre trip across the country from Scotch Corner to somewhere around the Lake District. Never mind, I had the radio for company and my package of home-made pizza, sitting on the seat ready for consumption after the Radio 4 comedy half hour.

I have to confess that last month's experience of Radio 4's comedy output at 6.30 had somewhat lowered my expectations, so I was delighted when the show turned out to be I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue with Barry Cryer, Graham Garden, Tim Brooke Taylor and Ross Noble joining Humphrey Lyttleton at a show recorded in Edinburgh. This was possible the dream team and proved delightfully entertaining for its entire duration. Luckily, it ended just in time for the radio black spot to kick in (or more importantly I didn't miss any of it) around the Lake District.

Needing a wee, I found the venue (after a little jiggery pokery) and had managed to arrive significantly earlier than I originally planned. There's nothing like an office full of colleagues loafing on a celebration to make it seem reasonable to avoid a late evening stint. I had plenty of time for a sound check and to catch up with the organisers and other acts. The audience were slow to arrive and we were briefly concerned that it would be a quiet night. It turned into a largely full house.

I overran slightly when I did my set, but that was because I was having a lot of fun. I finished on Bridget the Diabetic Midget which is a song I rarely ever do. However, I have found ways of making work with a reticent audience, and I also knew that this audience, at the end of my set, would probably go for it anyway. I won't say how well, as it will look like bragging, rather than wonderment, but I felt that my set was well received. I didn't leave the stage and arrogantly remark "Follow that, ye bastard." to the next act. That would have been inappropriate. No, really. I didn't. I didn't think it. I was happy with the performance, though and I was also very sweaty. Looking back, I was also pleased that the majority of the material was written this year, though some of it was older - it had all been updated in some form or other. Best of all, I got to do The Counting Song.

I hung around after the gig, a bit like a bad smell, but a bit more like a needy performer. I wanted to be certain of a future booking. They said they'd ask me back to close the show in April sometime. I'd enjoy that.

Then I set off home. I managed to drive nearly 10 miles out of my way towards Kendal, before mercifully realising my mistake and then turning round. I got home at a not-entirely-unreasonable hour and managed some sleep.

Getting into the office this morning early, I still managed to get to my 9.30 meeting late - this was caused by extensive time wasting while making coffee and toast. D'oh! I also wasted some time trying out my new joke on a few work colleagues. It pleases me. The punchline made me laugh a lot last night as I chewed over it in the car. Rarely do I write a joke or routine that cracks me up, so I should really try this joke out. The rule for what's good in comedy is that it should make you laugh when you write it. Fingers crossed.

This weekend, I'm off down south again. The plan is quite ambitious. Tonight I'm at my girlfriend's place and then tomorrow we're going to Penzance, where we'll be staying for 3 nights (this weekend Penzance, next weekend Tunisia - spot the contrast!). We'll tour around Cornwall entertaining ourselves with Cornwall's bounties (probably two pasties and a sea view) and then on Monday night I'll do a gig in Penzance. Tuesday is "travel back up North" day. It'll be a day too!

Until next time I write...

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