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Thursday, June 14

Last Night

Last night was a hard gig. It was the sort of gig where something was wrong and it might have been me. It might not, of course. The other acts reported a similar sense that the audience were reserved, but, of course, that state of being reserved might have been caused by some poor MCing on my part. Conversely, it might be considered somewhat arrogant to suggest that my skills, which were weak enough not to raise a huge quantity of laughter from the room, would have been strong enough to destroy the gig for two very experienced acts.

So, probably just one of those nights. Though, to quote my late grandmother "If you'd tried a little bit harder, you could have done a little bit better". It's probably that I was clearly trying so hard that I didn't do so well, so now who's wrong!? Sorry. It's not her fault. She's had a much more difficult death to deal with than the one I dealt with last night. At least mine was only slight and, more importantly, figurative.

My ritual humiliation-by-audience was beautifully complemented by the presence of someone that can only be described as one of the most beautiful women in the world. So stunning was she that I was totally incapable of speaking to her, except as she offered me the chance to walk past her in a bottleneck in the room and said to me "After you, sir", I was able to reply, masterfully, "No. After you.". Yeah. Classy! I might just as well have said "I carried a watermelon". I was utterly reduced to a wimpering mass of inadequacy by the extremity of her beauty. Add to that my post-gig come down (a combination of slight disappointment, exhaustion and hunger), and other stresses that I'm presently dealing with, and I was left sitted bemusedly in the corner wondering why I couldn't pluck up the courage to speak to someone who has made the effort to speak to me at two gigs now, and can only be described as "someone I'd like to speak with". Yeah. That's me in the corner. And nobody puts Ashley in the corner.

I even managed to avoid a hug with a sympathetic member of the production team last night. She went in for a reassuring hug and I turned it into a dance. We waltzed, which is odd. I can't even dance the merengue.

I left the gig, unsatisfied in every sense, and went to a friend's place for tea. I don't drink tea as a rule, but the hot tea and company (I'd say sympathy, but I'm so self-pitying, there's no room for anyone else) was very enjoyable.

Then home, feeling like a husk, and sleep. I would have maintained my fast, but the car needed fuel and so did I. So I had something to eat at some point. It was low calorie, probably.

Understandably, I woke up this morning somewhat empty again.

To the beautiful girl at the gig, I say this:

Dear girl-whose-name-I-wish-I'd-had-the-confidence-to-ask,

I remember you from two gigs I did in Southampton. On both occasions we spoke in passing, you were lovely, and I wished we'd spoken some more. You've called me "mister", "sir" and even "lovely" - as a noun - which you did with grace and care as though I deserved it. I'll admit it, though, I've been too struck by your beauty to do more than smile and lose myself to my lack of self-confidence.

While some people watch the comedian performing, it's quite normal for comedians to watch the crowd. A room full of people laughing is what the comedian thrives upon. So, it's no surprise, then, that I was enraptured last night when I noticed your delightful smile, the glint in your eye, and the totally unreserved way you threw yourself into each laugh. It was like I was seeing the comedian, the crowd, and then just you.

It was a bit like staring into the sun.

I'm sorry I didn't find an excuse, any excuse to talk with you properly. I'm sure that it would have been a better experience than just admiring from afar. But maybe that's the natural order of things.

Maybe there will be other times. Maybe my neuroses and insecurities will stay away in future. I hope so, but I'm not banking on it.

Note: If some of the lines in the first part of this post make no sense, please watch Dirty Dancing approximately 5 times. This will make it clear how witty I think I am being.


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