Two weeks ago, I went to see a gig in Reading. Run by "Big Jack", Jack Lin (whose name isn't even Jack), this was an intimate venue. The crowd were pleasant and it seemed like the sort of gig I might like to play. The reason I'd gone along was that Jack had, when I'd approached him earlier in the day, asking about gigs, he had suggested I go along and see what it was like. I had planned to do it incognito. Just turn up, watch the show, and leave. However, in such an intimate surrounding, the compere is bound to want to know all of his audience members personally. So, I ended up admitting who I was. It looked a bit like I'd turned up to the gig to ensure that I got booked by the chap. It wasn't meant to be that way.
The show was good fun and my girlfriend and I sat and enjoyed it. It was the first time I'd sat and watched a comedy show without being in it for some time. Given that I knew none of the performers, it was even more like just turning up to watch a show.
Anyway, despite my protestations that I wasn't gunning for a gig anytime soon, though "at some point" would be nice, I found myself being booked for the next one.
That was tonight - 8th February.
I turned up to the gig, alone this time, and prepared for the show. I had my trusty guitar - the one which wasn't stolen (obviously) and which I'd taken to the Edinburgh festival this year. It was also not the replacement to the stolen one, which seems a bit unfamiliar still and is a lot heavier. Show time came, and I was first on the bill. The plan was for me to do 20 minutes or so of my usual shite and then be off.
In some ways that gig was me at my best. In other ways things went completely awry. I have had the misfortune to snap a guitar string during a set before. It's happened on maybe half a dozen separate occasions. First time it happened, I found a joke to cover it, from that point onwards, I've never felt too bad, and just struggled on. Dependand on which string snaps, it's never that big a deal to the overall ability to perform. However, if a tricky string goes, relatively early on in the set... then it becomes a bit of an impediment.
A tricky (but not the trickiest) string went and sent the guitar subtley out of tune. It was about 7 minutes into the set. Never mind. The audience had been laughing from the off and it didn't have to make a big difference.
I've never had two strings bust in the same gig before.
I have now.
Luckily the 2nd string bust in the last song - on one of the very last notes. I managed to make a joke of it.
So, things had slipped through my fingers a few times during the set as the guitar seemed to be an obstacle, rather than a conduit for my particular brand of cheerful jolliness. However, in other ways it was one of my better performances. I remained totally cheery and relaxed. I felt at liberty to play things loose and I even managed to improvise in a bit of material which was really quite funny. I didn't even know I was going to do it - I just sort of channeled it. I like it when that happens. It's even possible that I may be able to put that bit of material into the set in future gigs.
So, all-in-all, I was glad that I'd done the gig. I can now add Reading to the list of towns I've played in.