I had heard that there would be a good sized audience for the gig, so I packed my video camera, thinking it might be a good one to capture on film. As the gig was in Cardiff Bay, and I quite fancied seeing the location used for some Doctor Who and lots of Torchwood filming, I set off a little earlier so I could absorb some of the atmosphere of the place.
My video camera also takes stills and I'm now the proud owner of some shorts of Roald Dahl plaza. Interestingly, Google Maps will show you the Torchwood hub on the map as though it's a real place. This is where I pity the archaeologists and historians of the future. Separating fact from fiction is going to be a problem.
After getting to a stage where I thought the night was going to be amazing, I headed to the venue - a casino - where we'd be doing the gig. After the Slovakian reception lady had repeatedly done the "you're a comedian; tell us a joke" line to me, I got into the body of the place and discovered the layout and the equipment.
In short, neither the equipment nor the layout were individually ideal, and they certainly weren't suited to each other. We got a certain distance in the direction of making the sound right, and then I went off to fetch my guitar. I parked the video camera idea at this point and I have no regrets about that.
Let's fast forward to the bit after the first act has been on. The show has started late, the compere has been faced with the confused responses of an audience that aren't focused, interested, or really able to hear him. The compere and first act have had a large stream of people walking around them as they stand in a performance area of some sort, trying to project to a distant bunch of people, only some of whom care.
It was really hard, the start of the show. Things weren't set up right. You could see it coming a mile off, yet there didn't seem to be anything that could be done to avoid it. I was getting giggly. In a silly way I find the impossible gig scenario quite funny. It's hideously pointless, yet fascinating.
I dispensed some of my trademark advice. This, I think, was taken in the good spirit it was intended. You can't lose with a bad gig, I said. If you get a laugh of any sort, then it's a win, because it's against the odds. If you don't get a laugh, then it's not a problem as it was inevitable in a gig with the odds stacked against you.
How appropriate to be discussing odds in a casino.
Fair play to all concerned, in the second section the audience were moved closer to the PA system and into a compact area, with only the people who gave a damn sitting there. Thus, the second section did pretty well.
Then the final section and my turn. I'd really enjoyed the absurdity of the night, and I went out there to have fun. I/we (the audience and me) did have some fun. That's a result. Though the point of the story isn't to show how I had a good gig. It's more to document that every gig is a gamble and you just have to make the best of it.