The home of the haikulator



My Stand-up & gigs
The Coding Craftsman

The Musical!
Incredible Productions


Previous Posts

Music Therapy
Flopsy Bunny
Money Money Money
The Reviews Are In
Too Busy To Blog?
Continuing the Cure
Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
Running Low

Blog Archives

October 2001
November 2001
December 2001
January 2002
February 2002
March 2002
April 2002
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
August 2009
September 2009
January 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
October 2011
December 2011
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
May 2014
July 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
July 2016
August 2017
January 2018
August 2018
September 2018

Global Domination

Locations of visitors to this page

Friday, May 4


Boy it's a weird one for me today. I had a slog at work, but I think it was almost productive. Then, running out of momentum, I left and drove to my gig. The Michael Bublé CD was a great mood turner in the car and I sang along, warming my voice up and cheering myself up no end.

I arrived at the gig exceedingly early. About 7pm for an official 8.30 start, which really meant sometime after 9. I chatted in my usual extremely chipper way with the promoter as he set up the gig. I helped him with the sound check. I then sound checked my own guitar and got spotlight frenzy, as I found myself on a stage with a guitar and so had to play up. Some punters for the night had arrived and one was keen to play guitar - I lent him mine and he turned out to be a good musician and played some. He was later to play on stage, as the gig was an open mic night, which allows for "floor spots" to play their stuff if they agree it with the promoter.

Anyway, the promoter was setting up a drum kit at the back of the stage and this chappie, after I'd had a lack lustre go on it, decided he wanted a go. With him drumming and me strumming, we formed a small rhythm combo and sang a few songs. He had the habit of getting over excited during the song and doing ridiculous drum fills and rhythms, which made me laugh. It was very silly.

My gig radar was telling me that this was a middle class pub which would fill up easily with nice gig goers. I was wrong. The pub gently waxed in numbers until it was fairly empty, save for the few kids hanging around the pool table. I wasn't entirely sure where the comedy would come from in that environment. I worried a bit.

The night started and I worried some more. The musicians were good, but there's a convention that people can talk over music. As a musical comedian, I've got an issue with this - if they don't listen from the off, then how will they ever notice it's funny. I contemplated how to cope with this. There was also the issue of the fact that the second act on the bill was very good and very upbeat - musically, next to him, I'd look not so good. Ah yes, all the insecurities started bubbling to the surface. A room with kids in, fear of musical inadequacy, people generally either not present or not paying attention. I was starting to worry a little.

But, there are some tricks up my sleeve. I've been doing this a few years and I've been in myriad different environments. I had a few devices I'd used before, and I even ran through some alternative material, which I don't do any more, but which might help me react to a failing gig. I didn't go out that to screw up. It was an open mike night, granted, near to home, so little risk, but I don't set out to fail. There's no job satisfaction in failing, I know that all too well.

So, I bolstered my confidence with planning and then the promoter said to me a couple of useful things. He said not to worry about the presence of the kids - they shouldn't be there, so I should act as if they weren't. I disagree with this in some respects, but for him to say that to me gave me license to do a set that didn't have to be family friendly. Ok, some material came online that I was seriously considering resting. Then he also said that he thought I'd do well. That counts for a lot, despite the fact that he hadn't seen my act... though he had listened to my recordings online, by the sound of something he said later on, after I'd been on stage.

There was a musical act before the comedy which really set me worrying - they were exceedingly laid back. Very good, but not a barnstorming sort of act. Their music encouraged you to relax and let it wash over you - without paying too much attention to it. Great for a Sunday pub lunch, but not a warm up for comedy. Now, this is not fair. I'm not the main act. I'm one of many acts. The point is that I'm trying to see how to hook into a room, so I have to treat everything that goes before as part of the room that I'm about to launch myself into.

How thrilled was I, then, when the other comedian, on before me, who had done 3 gigs by the END of his set, turned out to be the sort of comedian that he did. He was so new that he'd forgotten to write punchlines for much of his opening material, and was so interested in the concept of stand-up that he opened with a synopsis of everything he was doing wrong in his fledgling stand-up career. He was heckled, he was not in control, he was brash and ranting, and the room got odd. I was watching this, contemplating my own set, and felt like I was dying up there with him. Not good.

However, from manure flowers can grow. Sorry if you're reading this, by the way, old chap, I'm just writing it the way I saw it. The guy's set ended better than it started and he had, in some ways, borne the brunt of a disinterested room, turning it into more of an interactive dialogue of a room, one where he received some ribbing, but one where he, eventually, received laughs regarding something filthy and vaguely satiric. Again, if you're reading, sorry... but I'm not a bad judge of comedy and I think "filthy and vaguely satiric" is a quoteable review for you. Good luck.

So, I ditched plan B and went back to plan A. Plan B was to try to engage the room at first with a song not intended to be funny. This is an old Ashley trick to turn a non-comedy environment round. It's the "double de-clutch" maneuvre. Not necessary. I went up there and did my thing. It worked. I even did the joke I wrote in the car. That worked too.

In the end the only tricks I needed to use was the opening where you do nothing - which was foisted upon me by the need to sound check the guitar again before song 1 - and the bit where you take any audience heckling on the chin and say SOMETHING that's on the ball. I even managed to make the whole "there's children in the room thing" perfectly acceptable by acknowledging the presence, making it clear that it wasn't quite right, but would be harmless. I even interacted a little with them, which was more for my own benefit, since their pool playing, directly to the left of me, was quite distracting.

Not a death for me, then. I was asked for my contact details by one of the other acts, for a night he runs. Nice. The promoter was happy. Very nice. I was pleased with my reception, turning the faked smile which hit my face when the comedy "started" (which the promoter took as good cheer and I had to explain was an instinctive mask) into a genuine feeling of goodwill. It was definitely a good move to use the local joke place as a target for a joke, and it was definitely a good move not to do the straight song first. In fact, in song 3, I really started to find myself funny, which helps.

Anyway, I got off stage and the come-down started. Physical exhaustion, a late stage exit (11) and not having eaten all added up to make this a bad come-down.

I stayed for the next act - three excellent musicians whom I really enjoyed and then set off home. My emotions were all over the place. It's just the product of the post-gig euphoria having nowhere to go and being met with exhaustion and caffeine. I listened to Mr Bublé some more and the emotions in his music were getting to me, pretty much at random. I've come to the conclusion that I'm not bi-polar, but random events in life are, at the moment, and I've few defenses against life right now. D'oh!

As I approached Reading I had an inner dialogue on the subject of food. I was hungry. Healthy food is a long way away, so I thought about saying "sod it" and going for a takeaway. I believed that I'd been eating healthier over the last couple of weeks, but my most recent weigh in was about 5 or 6 pounds heavier than my previous one - albeit partly affected by the difference between nude and non-nude weighing. I considered that a takeaway, with its particular brand of comfort eating, might improve my mood and energy levels. Then I considered that it might not affect my obviously failing weight control. Then I considered that my clothes seem to fit well at the moment and I've been feeling thinner in myself - so body image is not about facts - no shit! Then I considered other stuff I can't remember.

Then an annoying maternal voice popped up in my head - "if you want food, there's healthy stuff available 24/7 from Tesco". Damn. I couldn't justify unhealthy eating. I was starving - having had a small lunch from Tesco earlier - but I couldn't bring myself to go to the takeaway and another petulant voice in my head was saying "well, if you're going to be all nanny-state on my ass, then I'll just go without". So I drove home.

Missing a meal is no big deal. I've missed a few recently and it's had no effect on me - nor my weight, apparently. So, I got home, mood coming to a stable mediocre, and packed for the weekend.

I'll eat and drink whatever this weekend. I'm celebrating. I'll have got through another really tough week... oh, and I know that being cheerful and nice to people actually does win them over more than anything else. That's my other stage trick - tell an audience how much fun we're all having... it's hard to resist someone telling you that they like you.

So I guess, I'll like myself a bit, then. I made myself laugh with the new joke. I made the audience laugh with pretty much everything, including the new joke. I had a good gig. I even played some things stronger than ever, perhaps influenced by my recent forays into gigging without guitar... in short, tonight went well, despite the song "Always on my mind" bringing my mood crashing into deck like a wasp with a heart-attack.

Nope, those similies are still tricky beasts.


Post a Comment

<< Home

All content ©2001 - 2012 Ashley Frieze