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Friday, June 15

Nutty Notty Ham

I left the office last night at 5pm, expecting a little traffic as part of my quest to reach Nottingham for an 8pm arrival. I pretty much know the traffic that can obstruct me on the way up north. There's the M3 (a 3 mile stretch), a bit just before Reading, a bit on the M4 on the way to the A404, a bit just before the M40 (though that may have been fixed by the new bit of road they've finished putting in) and then maybe a few random bits beyond. The thing is, the traffic should all be gone by about 7pm, which is when the Radio 4 comedy thing finishes.

That's the theory.

I was stuck in traffic for quite some time last night. (Note: the story I just wrote was entirely fictional) This was due to the flooding of Coventry, as far as I can tell. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for flooding Coventry. Make it into a water-slide-based-theme-park for me. However, don't screw up the roads. I left the M40 in the hope that some alternative route might sort me out. I think that, had I not left the M40, I would still have been there at 11pm.

The 8pm arrival time was not going to happen. I kept the promoter informed and he was very nice about it. He told me that maybe I'd be on in the section that started at 9.30 (the gig ended up running late in the end anyway). So I was under less pressure.

However, my alternative route, which took me around Warwick, I think, was also clogged with a ton of traffic. I think this traffic was largely caused by excessive volume, rather than anything actually stopping anyone passing. So, it was moving, but slowly. It was moving too regularly for me to really get into a book (I tried), but too slowly for me to feel like I was really getting anywhere. A poor combination.

The promoter, after I kept him posted of my increasing arrival time, said he'd let me go on last if necessary. So, I just had to arrive at some point before 10.30. Somehow, at about 9.20, the traffic started moving again. I had to take a quick wee before allowing myself to do the final straight, but I'd made it as far as the M1 and knew I'd get to the gig in time.

I had to do this gig. I had to sweep the previous day's gig away with a good performance. I had to be funny, nice, not needy, and just... well... have a good time.

So, I arrived at the gig at 9.55 - there was another act on stage when I got there. I tuned my guitar. The promoter asked me if I was sure I could just go on, after 5 hours trapped in a car, I said that I could. I can just turn it on. I walked into the room as the MC started to link between the previous act and me. He was talking to someone in the audience about the fact that she had been a recent X Factor finalist. I vaguely recognised the look of her, though I didn't watch the program she had been in. The MC/promoter slightly over bigged me up telling the audience that I was going to "ROCK" and that maybe I could form a singing duo with the star of the room - Emma. Mmm...

Thing is... I went out there with gay abandon and did my thing. I mentioned Emma a couple of times. It got a big laugh. I mentioned that mentioning Emma was like a free big laugh. That got a big laugh. I did my usual stuff. I snarled a few words because my brain and mouth weren't quite in sync and I had just been trapped in a car for 5 hours. I made some jokes about being trapped in a car for 5 hours, and that was sort of funny too. I even suggested that I'd done a wee in a coke bottle... which I hadn't... though I'd thought about it more than once.

Good gig.

I stayed for the headline act, because I'd agreed to run him back to London afterwards. Had I not stayed, and, instead, just turned around and gone home, that would have been a record. My current record was to drive two hours to Edinburgh, stay in the city for about 90 minutes, 30 of which I was performing. To have driven 5 hours to Nottingham to be in the place 25 minutes, 15 of which I was performing, would have been much more extreme and amusing to me.

As it was I stayed, drove the headline to London, turned right and got home. I even had some winding-down time once I had returned home. It's a crazy life I seem to lead.

I enjoyed my shower. That's the one in the house and not the life-threatening flood-style descending water that dogged the 8 or so hours I spent in the car last night.


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