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Saturday, October 4

Trying It Out

I would normally expect myself to sleep quite intensively on a Saturday morning. I had a visitor due over to my house and so should have woken up when they first called me to let me know when they were expecting to arrive. But I required more sleep. So I slept. Then I fielded a call from last night's promoter. Then I slept some more. Then another call from my visitor. Yet, I slept again afterwards.

Before I knew it, it was lunchtime and the visitor was imminent and the day was half gone and there was no time for DIY.

Oh dear.

However, there was time to get dressed up and go to see Bill Bailey in Brighton. I like Bill Bailey a lot. Some have said I love him. I don't think I have love for him. I also don't think I've been as close to him as I was, sitting in a good spot in row M of the stalls of Brighton Dome last night.

To put the gulf between my burgeoning comedy career as a musical comedian and that of Mr Bailey's in perspective, he had more people in his orchestra on stage tonight than I get in my usual audiences. He has fans. I have a mailing list - with a few people on it. He had the ability to do a show with a big orchestra. That's the main thing. He can play silly games with a bunch of serious musicians all dressed in tuxedos and everything.

I think one of the percussionists was George Washington.

The show was fun. It was quite close in many ways to the one I saw on my birthday in 2007. That show, Cosmic Shindig, was a first attempt at stand-up about and including an orchestra. Tonight's gig felt like a version two, with a lot more material about music in it, more cockney jokes and a general sense of development since last time.

Knowing Cosmic Shindig rather well from seeing it and having a hookey recording of it from the radio 3 broadcast they made, I spotted the changes. Many were for the better. I laughed a lot, though the onset of a cold also started to slow me down a bit.

An interesting element of the show was that this was clearly the run they were doing to get things working before the Albert Hall gigs in the middle of the month. Some of Bill's songs have had to change for their orchestral arrangement, and he sort of stammered his way through his encore song, clearly uncomfortable with how it felt. But how do you rehearse doing comedy with an orchestra to an audience? You can't turn up for a 5 minute spot at the Camden Tup with 40 musicians in tow!

All in all it was a great night out and I really enjoyed the show. Shame that the best catering I could manage was motorway service station food, with an additional late night M&S trip. I'm a rubbish host.

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