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Thursday, September 6

Higher Than High

Some people get high on exercise. I'm not sure that I'm one of them. Some people get high on comedy. I am one of them. Luckily, I had the opportunity to combine the pair of these, so I didn't have to choose between the two of these highs. There was a tube strike in London, I had a gig in Highgate to MC, and I had some family and friends coming to the gig. I didn't want to miss the gig or have to do something complex with transport, so my plan was fairly simple. I would go home from work, pick up my bike, cycle to the railway station, take a train to London and cycle from Paddington to the gig. It is about 2 miles (or less) to the railway station in Reading and was 5.4 miles (according to the Google route) from Paddington to the gig.

When I say simple, I guess I mean "not entirely too complex".

And so it was that I found myself cycling to the station while chatting to a friend on my handsfree mobile phone thingy. Well - you need some distraction from the effort of pedalling. Luckily, the Reading section of the journey was fairly low-effort.

After I learned about putting your bike in the bike bit of the train, I was on my way to Paddington, with a little more chat. Then at the other end, the chat over, it was time for the slog.

I couldn't have spoken to anyone during the ride to the gig - this was largely because I had to coordinate the bike, the map and my breathing. Largely, it wasn't a problem. The worst thing to happen was when I took a right, rather than a left and did about a three quarter mile detour. The final leg of the run - up the last hill - could have been a killer, especially since I hadn't eaten much all day. However, I didn't really hit the pain barrier and got to the gig only rather sweaty, rather than a total mass of water.

Luckily there was plenty of time to catch my breath and get some energy back. I probably should have eaten something. I didn't.

The gig happened. I MCed it. There were a few moments when I was just blethering stuff and making it funny. There were a few moments, when I was blethering and it wasn't making much sense. There were some bits of material which came out funny too. Not all 100%, but I was in the moment and making nice with the crowd and that's my job as MC.

The acts went down well. There were some key performances which stood out, but I'll only mentioned the headliner (rather than offend the one or two whom I don't mention from the rest of the line-up), who was as delightful as I had expected and hoped. It's great to book an act whose material is excellent, but whose persona and delivery make it seem all the more enjoyable. If you know the audience are going to love your closing act, you can relax.

I couldn't completely relax, though. I had a cycle ride home to worry about. I had to keep my energy levels up, which on diet coke isn't entirely feasible.

Still, I got back on the bike, revved it up, and myself, and then hit the hill. On the way there it had felt like some bits were down hill (much of the first section) and only the last bit was uphill. I knew the last hill would be dead easy to go back down, but wasn't sure if there'd be a long climb on the way back to the station - the long climb, followed by huge hill on the final leg of the way to the gig was fair enough, but to do another long climb on knackered legs, no food, and post-gig come down would be a big thing to ask.

As it happens, the journey back was really straightforward. I enjoyed it. The route was the hardest part, the one way system being against me as I retraced my steps. Note for next time: get a google set of directions to go the other way too!

I had a long train journey back, which I used to eat some food and stand with my bike. Then I cycled back to my house. Door to door, from gig to bed, was 2 hours. Not too bad.

A good inaugural gig for Highgate. Long may it continue. I may cycle some more!

Note: the tube strike, which I was trying to avoid by use of the bike, was called off. You can't rely on anything these days!


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