Then it was off to the gig with the Sat Nav naively assuming I could join the efficient route in a weird place, and then deciding it was fine to direct me through London, rather than on one of the roads which neatly avoids much of it. D'oh. Still, I arrived at the gig in plenty of time.
Would the PA system be suitable for my guitar? Well, yes... but... not all of the leads worked, the connection from the desk to the power amp was held in place with, wait for it, cocktail sticks!, and I had to use one of my special techniques for linking a guitar to a PA system. This proved useful for another act, who uses sound equipment on stage too and needed my guitar lead.
When the call went out "does anyone have an extension lead?" I was ready willing and able to solve that one too. Such is the life of the guitar-based stand-up. A car full of handy bits of electronics and electrical cable can be a blessing or a curse depending on your point of view.
The gig was fun. I ended up running the sound desk for much of it, which was handy, since some of the acts really had a lot to learn about microphone technique. It was, as ever, a heady mix of different styles of act at different levels of ability. If I could have gone back and rejigged the bill, I might have promoted the act that closed the middle section to my spot at the end. They were clearly the climax of the evening and I love their stuff.
Having said that, one should never be afraid to follow an act. An audience will enjoy what's put in front of them if it's good enough. I would have to say that the feedback I heard about what I did at the close of the evening was wholly positive. Well, nearly. There are three reasons why, were I to be feeling insecure, I would be soul-searching about this particular gig-gone-by.
- The act who had been on before me started offering excuses for why the audience might not quite have been good enough
- Another audience member commented that the audience hadn't been as good as last time he'd seen me at the previous venue for this club
- I've heard the recording
Having said that, I feel I gave a reasonable account of myself. I lasted the 25 minutes allocated for my set and they laughed at the last thing I did. The previous two performances I've done have been absolute stormers by comparison, but that doesn't mean anything. Plus, there were some moments where I was saying and doing nothing in particular, but I was still getting laughs because I was "being funny". Oh, and I told two new jokes and they got laughs. And another joke I did was on its second outing.
Who needs to write the excuses. Saturday night was a fun gig. That's that.
Still, we're often tempted to ponder what might have been, and human nature always seeks to pass the buck.