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Tuesday, July 10


I left work last night in time to get home for a couple of hours' work on the house. I had thought that I might get some satisfaction from completing a single discrete task. The thing which has most been bothering me of late has been the bare wood in my bathroom - it's a moist environment, and the wood there is probably not going to benefit from being unpainted for too long. I also had some wood-filler to sand down. I've been part putting it off and part deferring to other higher-priority tasks. I wondered if I couldn't tackle it in between getting home and going to my gig.

To cut a long story short, I sanded, cleaned up the dust from the sanding and then primed the wood in question. This made me feel like I'd achieved something I could see. There's still more painting to do in there - in fact, the whole room needs repainting, as a combination of the installation of bathroom fittings, and the room being bashed about in in general, have caused the walls to deteriorate somewhat since I first painted them after they were first plastered. Maybe I'll only have to repaint some sections, and maybe only one coat. We'll see.

Still, I had just achieved something in the house and I couldn't hang about and bask in the glory of the job well done. It was time to go to my gig. I walked into town with my guitar in tow and took the train to London. I was due to perform in Stratford, which is East London, and had been told to get there for 9.30pm. I was hoping to be there for about 8.30pm. I prefer to be at a gig from the start.

Sadly, the journey took longer than anticipated, so I arrived nearer 9. I saw most of the show, though, and was in plenty of time to do my bit.

I noticed a piano on stage, and decided to incorporate it into my act. I can't say that anyone enjoyed that addition to the set as much as I did. I'm particularly proud of ending my first song, turning round and giving it a final clonk with the piano. I had a lovely gig with the crowd, though. They had a really powerful ability to laugh and I simply had to find the laugh and then it came with utter gusto. It was great fun. I arsed about a bit, and I also played it tight in places. There are some lines I can just throw at a room which I know will make a big laugh if one's possible. This audience got a really high-paced set from me.

Listening back to the recording, I discovered that my energy dropped at about 15 minutes in for a bit. The audience response dropped a little as a result. It was something to do with the fact that I had been going at it with high energy from the off, and that I'd done about 2 hours of DIY in my house before coming out. I only have a finite supply of energy. This is the risk you have when you use energy as part of making the laughs - the laughs can become linked to how much energy you expend. This is why I admire the deadpan acts, who can make it funny without the huge physical effort that I often expend.

Overall, though, my closing set was very very well received and will be one I look back fondly on. I wasn't the best-received act of the night. That honour goes to Gareth Richards, whose set was faultless and who made me laugh out loud countless times. I don't think I'd ever want to give myself "best act of the night" awards anyway - not in public. I've seen Gareth a few times and I've seen him do ok, not too well and very well. On this occasion, he blew away any previous notions I had of what his act is about. If I had a gig to book, I'd book him.

I returned home hot and sweaty. A bit of a chat with some lads outside the gig (who'd already seen me inside and had decided I must be funny) gave me a chance to fire off a couple of jokes and make them laugh. That's the stand-up comedy version of street magic, I suppose. Then I found my various trains and went home.

A taxi took me from Reading station to my house... it's all rock and roll in this business.

Then I got to get some sleep. I'd done a lot that night.


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