The gig at Wolverhampton was a lot of fun actually. There was a small but enthusiastic audience, some of whom stayed until the end of the gig when I was on. I tried to mix my musical stand-up with some newer straight stand-up. I almost got away with it. In fact, the only person who really spotted the joins was me. Me and my trusty MP3 recorder. Still, it was nice to experiment.
I seemed a bit scatty at first, but I drilled into them and stood up to any challenge there might have been from the crowd. This was a young audience that needed to be shown that they would get entertainment from me and that their energy wouldn't deter me. I used some simple tricks I'm not necessarily proud of, like joining the effort to name check the official gimp of the evening, but I had them mainly where I wanted.
Bizarrely, the news about a comedian, who has suffered a long-standing illness that he's had to joke about at the start of his set to calm the audience, having been cured of that illness, was met with "Oh no, what about his jokes". A comedian's response. My response, I'm afraid.
Up With The Lark
Home. Bed. Alarm set for 6.45. I had a bathroom suite delivery to wait for. I dozed for much of the hour of 7, even though I'd been called, while I was en-route to my gig, to tell me they'd be there between 7am and 9am. I was worried I'd miss the delivery.
I got up and played the piano and some guitar to keep myself awake.
At 9 I rang them and was told they were stuck in motorway traffic.
Arrival of the postman
The postman delivered my prize from BBC Radio 2. The competition I won was real. It wasn't just a mishearing. I now own a digital radio a Joseph DVD AND, more importantly, a signed photo of Elaine Paige. Happy days.
The postman told me the story about how his family used to own the house. I told him the story of the cowboy roofing contractors that they'd hired, whose poor workmanship was costing me about £7000 - he stopped being so keen on the story.
Eventually they come
After chatting to my roofer for a bit, who was up there working, and after knocking about the house and even clearing my car. Indeed, after I'd contacted the office a couple of times to apologise for the lateness caused by this bathroom delay, my bathroom people came and delivered and then went.
I could go to work. Late.
Working out what's missing
A slightly fresher view on the work and I took the list of problems and shared it with someone. We came to some conclusions and I realised how little is really known... and also how much. It was, in some ways, cathartic, and in others, totally demoralising. Do this unknown thing using a method that is unknown, but non negotiable, and make it work by this time, which we guessed at. It feels almost like it's a guaranteed success/failure.
Cutting the gordian knot at B&Q
I had a gig in Gloucester to go to. I also had to work later to account for the fact that I'd arrived later. I also had to go to buy some door furniture - locks, etc. Had I gone to B&Q at lunchtime, I would have messed up my resolve to do the hours. Had I gone after work, each minute at B&Q would have cost me 10 in my arrival time in Gloucester. The dilemma.
The solution? Go to B&Q in Gloucester. Arrive there a few minutes before the gig and no traffic problem. See, I can solve a problem.
I did. I came. I saw. I bought locks. I should be a professor of a university. Yale. They were Yale locks.
I sat-nav'ed to near the gig and then asked a taxi driver for the last bit of the directions.
Me: Do you know where the guildhall is?
Him: Course I do. I'm a taxi driver. I know where everything is.
Me: Can you tell me?
I've run out of things to say about my gigs of late. I opened. It wasn't a gift audience. The music stuff worked really well from the off. The change of gear to talking wasn't very smooth - reason: I'm a different sort of comedian, different attitude, when I'm talking and not singing. Generally, I made it work. Then I closed with some music and used a different bit to link back from the talking to the guitar, which worked better than the night before.
You can rate a gig on a few things. Did the audience laugh? Are they coming up to you? Are they deliberately avoiding you? Is the promoter happy? Are the other acts looking you in the eye? Most importantly, you just know. I had a fairly comfortable time up there, though I need to work harder on developing the new stuff and maybe not try to mix and match - or at least not so bluntly.
You're an ugly fucker
Walking away from the gig, mobile phone in one hand, chatting to someone who had called while I was in the venue, guitar in the other, some youth, whom I had to circumnavigate, looked at me and said "You're an ugly fucker". I would have retorted had it been important. However, I decided I wouldn't gain much from dignifying it with a response - he was just looking for a fight.
However, the correct answer would have been - "I know I look different to you. Look. Shoes. Look. All my teeth. Look. Money and intellect". Ah vive l'espirit d'escalier, even if it could have made you morte.
The ironing is delicious
So, one day someone's blogging about how they hate the sort of act you do, subtext being the fact that they hate your approach to comedy because they think you're shit. The next day they're suggesting that you are a vital member of the group for getting a gig because your musical stuff is just what's needed.
Ah. People can be so fickle.
I believe that it is common, in this country, when turning left on a green light, to go into a minor road, to have right of way. Thankfully I was watching the oncoming car, who was turning right. It turns out that they can sometimes be driven by people who don't understand how roads work. She got a shrug from me, and she looked at me like it was me that was about to plough headfirst into the side of a car, without regard for road safety. Still, I only felt disbelief and a little pity...
...I must be losing my will to have road rage.