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Monday, April 7

Spot The Difference

I woke up late today. I had no idea what sort of a day was coming and if I'd have known, I would have probably stayed in bed. It's been a cheeky one, that's for sure.

Arriving in the office, we got ready to put out the latest version of our software. I had a handful of tasks that I'd written down on Friday. We got the lion's share of these done and I squeezed in a risk-management/contingency planning meeting. This was a chance to think about radical solutions to problems. It was a good session and one where I was suddenly free of the boundaries of expectation and allowed to suggest things which, had I suggested them earlier, might have been a damned good idea to find out more about. I never thought to. Blinkers on. Is that my fault? Or is it that if you're asked "What does one plus one make?" that you struggle to explain "two" rather than discuss whether the answer could be achieved musically (this metaphor may not being working for either the reader or the writer here).

Anyway, the time came to send my colleagues off to Heathrow with a mission. I had a machine to fix and we were awaiting the results of the next round of testing.

At about 4pm, reports coming in told me that the time had come to bring the contingency plans into action. Trouble was brewing. In addition, I'd been told that I would be going to Rome tomorrow. Last minute flight bookings were arranged by our new and highly effective (no I'm not being sarcastic - she's ace) administrator, and my life was about to re-enter the jet-setting.

During the meanwhilst, the gig which had been apparently cancelled last night, for which I'd sent the promoter an email, illustrating that my misconception about being booked was not a misconception, turned out not to be cancelled. While ill, he'd mistaken my texts for someone else's and thought he was fobbing someone else off. I was back on the bill. Oooh. And I can't resist applying for other gigs, so I put myself forward for a closing spot on Thursday - in Liverpool.

I think the 5.30 dash from the office was the hard one. I knew the project was in trouble. I could continue to talk about it, on my drive to Corby, but I might have preferred to be in the office. However, I do gigs and I will only cancel one for work if I'm given fair notice. That's only slightly true. I suspect I would cancel one for work if there was the right reason, but I reckoned I could do it. I had conference calls for 60 miles or so and explained problems and contemplated possible solutions.

Arriving at the venue, I did something which is becoming quite commonplace for me. I changed from work clothes into jeans in a dingey toilet. Yay. Showbiz. Then I grabbed my guitar and went into the gig room. I've played this venue before. It's a nice crowd. Worth taking a night away from the office for.

As I was waiting to go on, a text arrived. I was booked for Thursday. Could I be in Liverpool for 7? No. I couldn't. However, I rang the promoter and agreed a time when I could be there. For a 9.45 closing spot, a 7pm arrival is a bit unfair. So, given that I apparently have an 8am video-conference/job interview to preside over in Hungary (yes, I'm interviewing Hungarians by remote control), I reckon I can be allowed to slope off a little early on Thursday for a gig. Not that I'm sure exactly how I'll deal with the pressure on my body from all this no-sleep stuff, but at least I've got the weekend to recover... sort of... I'm busy on Friday night, Saturday day and all of Sunday. The DIY is out of the window at the moment, and I need to cook for the picnic I'm attending on Saturday - time will flex. It will.

Oh, and I just counted up. I've said before that 14 gigs is my breaking point - I lose my mind around then. March was a busy month, with a week off, which made it feel like a greater than 14 gig month. April has 16 gigs in it. Yikes. If I can do April, I can do anything. Spring is here. The sap is rising and so am I.

On 26th March I watched a gig after my speed dating. That was a Wednesday. Since then, my gig nights were Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, 2 days off, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun and then Monday again. That's about what a pro comedian would get done in a two week stint - all that AND a day job. More importantly, after so many consecutive gigs, I'm kind of in the zone right now. The audience in Corby need a firm hand. The compere gave them one. The first two acts gave them laughs, but didn't really break the fourth wall too much - which is more a genre thing than anything else - not every act is a big bouncy fucker like me. I went out there to make myself have a good night and bring the audience with me. I just want my gigs to be fun. I'm doing it for the hell of it, right? I'm giving up my rest and driving ridiculous distances to have laughs.

Before I describe how I won the audience over, I'd like to observe how people seem to be treating me. Reviews seem positive. People seem respectful that I'm putting the effort in. I'm described as hard working. Maybe I'm not described as funny, but you can't have it all. It was even remarked tonight that I'm a gig attender, when I'm not performing myself - this was from an act who saw me take an evening out on the Isle of Wight, on a whim, just because there was a gig on. In fairness, it was my friend's first ever MCing slot and I wanted to surprise her, but I guess it still counts.

So I took my can-do attitude onto stage with me. I made some jokes. I said some stuff that was wrong. I looked at some boobies - well, it was a cleavage, but it invaded my eye-space. I commented on boobies. The women didn't hate me. It was a bit like speed dating without the anxiety of not getting a text for a few days and then realising that you come across a bit mental by text. (Note: as I'm writing this on no sleep after a few days of gigging, I'm likely to put the truth across rather bluntly in utter self-destructive acerbic insight.)

Lovely gig. The laughter gave me a boost. I told them how nice they were. I was genuinely appreciative of them and this caused them to believe that they were genuinely appreciative of me. At least I wasn't faking it.

Then the drive back.

This week has barely started and it's already too tough to keep everything in my brain simultaneously. After the office crisis, I've abandoned the idea of going to sleep tonight. It can't be done. There's work to do. There's a flight not to miss. There are 6 spare hours every night that nobody is using. I've taken my 6 hours to do a gig - in and out, get the gig done and leave before the second half - and now I get to replace what would have been 4 hours' sleep with 4 hours' work. Then I get to go on my one-day long holiday.

It's times like this when I should really try to update the blog as I go along. I will not remember much about this month by the time it reaches its end. Too much is happening. I won't be able to live life at this pace in a few years' time, so best enjoy it while I can, eh?


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