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Saturday, February 4

Waking late
Oh boy, was that bed good! I think I was being baked in there. It was amazing. I slept into the middle of the afternoon. I couldn't get up. I was too zonked.

It was probably a good thing that I'd done all of the painting. My plan for the weekend was to get the painting sorted out before my gig on Saturday night. Technically, it's still not quite sorted as some of the bits of wall that received their second coat close to the first now have brown marks where something hasn't quite worked. I was painting the walls pure brilliant white, which is bound to show flaws more than any other colour. However, PBW is the colour I've dreamed of having a room ever since I first painted a room totally white as an undercoat to another colour. In addition to the bits where the paint didn't take, some of my paper-coming-off patching seems to have created its own brown stains. However, a few minutes with the wee roller should sort it all out.

Starting to put the room together
I had a bit of time to start moving things around the room. I had to vacuum (something I couldn't do the previous night) some of the floorspace to ensure that I wasn't going to create invacuumable dirty bits with furniture on top. Once the edges of the room started to become ready for things, I started to rearrange things into the edges. I've left enough space in my floor plan for a second double-bed to fit in the empty floor available. I've no plan to do this and have big pillow fights or something - though that would be quite cool. But I do like to have floor space.

I'll probably fill the space with guitars or obesity.

Off to the Wirral
No time to hang about admiring the now-incomplete-but-looking-a-bit-better room. I had a gig to get to. So, off I headed a four hour drive to Wirral, near Liverpool. The time passed by ok, I suppose. I had the radio for company. The radio and the Sat Nav. I had my thoughts. The roads seemed to flow underneath the wheels of my car. That's how it goes, really.

Despite worries that I wouldn't find the place. I drove straight there.

The room
I wish I hadn't.

From the first moment I set eyes on the room - a function suite in a hotel/leisure complex, I knew it would not be easy. There was no stage. There was a dance floor in the middle of the room and a DJ setting up behind it.

There was no lighting.

The room would play host to some parties, who would be eating a meal before they then settled down to the comedy.

We had a hen night and 2 birthday parties in. No other comedians had turned up yet.

This would not be my finest hour. Or anyone's for that matter.

I took a breather in the car park - that's not a euphemism for smoking, by the way - I don't smoke. I didn't want to hang around waiting to see the audience come in, or waiting to see if any comedians turned up. After a bit of time and a chat with my girlfriend on the phone, I went back in.

The audience warm up
Well, we didn't have to warm the audience up. The DJ was going to do that. Overall, I think this was the highlight of the night for me - even though it probably contributed to the overall difficulty of doing the gig. The DJ got 6 people up, 3 men and 3 women. He gave them inflatable instruments and silly hats. The men had to mime along to a Blues Brothers
track and the women had to mime along to Shania Twain. Each contestant had a minute to strut their stuff. The winner in each gender would be decided
by audience vote.

The people of Wirral were, in this context at least, reasonably overweight. They were also prepared to do anything for a free bottle of wine. So, the first guy set about entertaining the crowd (I'll not mention the women, as they were simply repulsive mingers who scared me with their gyrations). He was the thin guy of the room and put a load of energy into his "act", ending up jumping on the tables and then doing a smashing slide-along-the-floor-on-his back move. Impressive. Hard to follow.

Man number two (after the 1st woman had done her fat-pole-dancer bit - don't ask) started out just kicking a bit. He looked a bit like John Belushi - in other words, he was stoutly built. We didn't expect the cartwheel. It wowed the crowd. Then, after a bit more footwork, he got the audience to bay for more and he cartwheeled again. Big lad, good mover.

I felt sorry for man number 3. What can you do to top Mr On-the-tables and Mr Wobbly-cart-wheel? He tried. He went over to his table and tried to rope his wife in. She had nothing to offer and ended up dancing with him and trying to unbutton his shirt to curry favour with the crowd.

The winner: Mr On-the-tables.

As an act, I've often wondered about following other acts, but I've never had to worry about following the audience before.

The gig from hell
We agreed (the other acts and I) that what
happened in that room would stay in that room. I didn't fail to get laughs, but it was not a pleasant experience.

In the toilet after the gig, I heard one of the punters commenting "Nobody told any jokes!". He was in fact mistaken. We all threw jokes into the mix, but not a single member of the audience was clever enough to get them. And they weren't clever jokes. Ok... so a few of the audience had an IQ of over 75, but the rest - a bunch of inbred miserable mingers.

It's gigs like this which make you stronger.

As soon as the night was over, I escaped. I drove at speed back home. I shouldn't have used the M25 - too many speed cameras. Some of which appear not even to have their yellow shell-suits on. Weird.


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