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Friday, August 1

Although gig related, this is not necessarily the story of a struggling performer. I think that something in this world is trying to teach me a lesson. That lesson is probably how to be confident without being arrogant. I admire confidence and usually find arrogance to be shallow and dishonourable, yet it's often hard to be the former without accidentally achieving the latter. Humility is important as the backdrop to any endeavour. This is why I play down my own achievements as much as I do and always strive to improvements in the things I pride the most. However, I do let my guard down.

Following Wednesday night's gig, in fact following the conclusion of arranging this week's activities (prior to going up to Edinburgh), I've been on a high. I've probably been oozing the joys of spring and boring people left right and centre about what I'm up to. The implication when you tell people of your exciting schedule is that you think it's wonderful and, therefore, so are you. The implication when you play down how good it is going to be is that you're using false modesty to make yourself sound better. It's probably better to keep quiet entirely, but I can't help it that I'm excited about what I'm up to - this has been an ambition and it's one I'm having a good honest go at.

I made the mistake, following a review of the recording I made of Wednesday day, of believing in myself a little too much - I think I raised my expectations a little higher than necessary. This can lead to complacency and it can lead to presuming how the next audience will react to your material. I was quite surprised, therefore, when last night's audience did not eat out of my hand the way that Wednesday's did. They were on side and enjoyed the show, but each small moment where it didn't work was magnified by my higher than normal expectations while on the stage - thus putting me under more pressure and straining the rest of the performance. So, I left the gig on Thursday feeling I'd lost it, compared with the all time high of Wednesday's performance.

The lesson of humility didn't end there. You see this was an expenses-paid gig. Indeed, with the cost of petrol, I was even going to have a couple of quid spare- for the first time. My expectations again... So, it was a surprise for me that I had to pull off the road about 20 miles after I started and check into a Travelodge - the reason being that I'd developed such painful cramps in my abdomen, that I could not safely continue the journey. The hotel room, of course, cost more than my expenses payment, and I ended the evening curled up in agony on a strange bathroom floor, doing whatever came naturally to attempt to rid myself of the pain. Over 48 hours I covered the spectrum of the performer's life - from the cheerful high to the "make the pain stop" low.

In fact, I woke up feeling a lot better, started my drive home, got stuck in tons of traffic, giving me time to review the tape of the performance - it was still one of my better gigs. I'd have enjoyed it more if I'd started with a little more humility and an open mind... and perhaps I should not have had that sandwich as I left Newcastle.

To anyone I've bored with tales of my forthcoming performances - I'm sorry. I think I've learned my lesson.


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