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Saturday, May 21

I awoke woozy and disoriented. I was too tired to get up in time for the official checkout time. I reckoned that the worst thing that could happen is that they could ask me for a couple more quid and I wouldn't have cared enough to make a fuss about it. I was very tired. However, I hauled my ass out of my bed at some point before it was too late and grabbed a shower. No comment about my lateness was made when I checked out. I barely uttered a word and they didn't press me for any comment.

This silence pretty much continued for the rest of the day until the gig. I remember a conversation I had with a rather stunning comedienne at a gig once. She had been travelling all day to get to the gig and saw me not as a man to flirt with, but more as a fellow performer with whom she could talk openly, after a day of no human contact. We don't count talking to an audience through a microphone as that, nor do we count talking to audience members after the show either. Human contact is natural and spontaneous. I didn't get a chance to talk with anyone until the gig. During the gig there weren't really people to talk to either, the performers were in pre-gig mode and the promoter was also quite harried... after the gig, on the drive home, there was room for chat, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I drove from the hostel in search of breakfast. It had to be healthy, so a fry-up (which is what I wanted) was out of the question. I had stayed in this hostel before and had breakfasted well on a fry-up the following morning. It had been at a shopping centre near the Royal Yacht Brittania. I decided to go there. I didn't expect to get a fry-up, but I thought that I might do the comedian-on-day-of-gig thing and go to the cinema. I'd been to the cinema at that shopping centre before - it was with a friend at Fringe 2003 - we took Sunday off the Fringe and watched "The Pirates of the Carribbean" (add or subtract r's and b's to get the correct spelling of that). Anyway, the shopping centre seemed the natural place to go. I bought some healthy food at M&S and then went in search of the movie. I wanted to see "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". I knew it wasn't going to be brilliant, but I like Douglas Adams's world and I wanted to see the movie that he had, in his own lifetime, failed to get on the screen. Perhaps it wouldn't be that bad.

The movie wasn't bad. It wasn't all that good either. They missed the point. Well, perhaps I missed the point of a modern movie. However, Douglas Adams's writing is a lot better than what they did with it. Some of the scenes, were very familiar to me because I've heard them countless times in the radio series as well as having read them in the novels. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy remains one of the few things I've ever re-read. The weird thing about the treatment of these familiar scenes is that they started them, but then cut the dialogue just before the natural punchline. Adams wrote things to their absurd conclusion, but the script only went 80% of the way there. Why cut just before the punchline? Weird.

Martin Freeman was okay as an Arthur Dent, but he wasn't anything special. The pompous and outraged Simon Jones made a better Arthur in the radio series. Obviously he couldn't play Arthur now - he looks too old. His own cameo appearance was enjoyable in itself, as were the various tributes to the previous work. I noticed the BBC TV Series version of Marvin hanging around in one of the scenes, which was nice. I quite liked what they'd done with Marvin in this movie. Alan Rickman did a reasonable job of playing him, though perhaps they should have made his voice sound like like a human voice and more like a computer simulated one. I don't know. There was something just wrong about this movie. Sexual tension and actual statements of love between Arthur and Trillian? Don't get me wrong, the camera loved her and it was nice to gaze into her eyes over the course of the movie, but she's not supposed to be in love with Arthur. He's supposed to be frustrated by her lack of feelings for him and she's supposed to have a soft spot for him. There's the comedy in the tragedy. Aaagh!

So, I enjoyed the big screen experience, but felt rather cheated that they'd reinvented the wheel and made it an unusual shape.

After that I thought I'd go and buy some trousers. I was wrong. I only saw one pair of trousers in the whole shopping centre which fit me... and I didn't like them. Shame!

So, I drove to the location of the gig earlier than I planned to. I thought I'd hang out there and see what came to mind. I'd half imagined that I might write a song for doing that night... maybe something topical. A comedian once suggested to me that I could write topical songs, and I've recently gotten the idea of writing songs to order, so I ordered myself to write a topical song. I started out by wandering around a shopping centre. Another one!? There I discovered the delights of Stationery Box and ended up buying a neat little folder for my notes. This is a good idea. I now have a ring binder (A5) for all the little bits of paper. Good stuff. I then sat in a coffee shop and tried to compose my thoughts. Something came out of the thoughts.

Eventually, it was late enough to go and do my soundcheck in the venue. It was barely 7pm, but at least I was doing something. My soundcheck over, I tried rehearsing the song which I'd written. It needed something. I discovered a piano backstage and used that to help find more musical inspiration. I put an ending on the song and firmed up, in my own mind, what I wanted to do with it. It was a nice piano.

The gig itself went very well. Every act had a good response from the audience. In the middle section, I did my new song, along with some other stuff which I've performed to audiences before. Being the regular MC of a gig is hard. You feel like you need to bring something new to the audience every time. On the up side, you get a lot of new material that way. I can do my tried and tested stuff, but I have to do a little of it each time and then their chance of hearing the same bit consecutively is reduced. They're a lovely audience and I had a lot of fun MCing them.

In the final section, I made the audience a promise. I'm their regular MC and usually come back every other month. Owing to a diary discrepancy, I shall be back the following month. So, I told them the story of Cole Porter writing a song based on the next phrase to be heard in the room he was in at the time - it was a challenge that was put to him. He wrote the song "Miss Otis Regrets...". As a sweetener to the audience to get them to come back next time, I threw myself at their feet and offered to meet the same challenge. I shall be returning in late June with a song based on the phrase "mmm Cabbage". We'll see what happens!

I didn't hang around after the gig. I had a home to go to and a sleeping girlfriend to awaken. We went home listening to Jerry Springer the Opera. It's a good show. My in-car companion, who had headlined the evening's show (very well), hadn't heard the show and enjoyed listening to it. I dropped him off pretty much as it concluded, which was nice.

I returned home and joined my girlfriend in bed. I had been tired over most of the day. I felt washed out until about 8pm - just in time for the gig to the start. I returned home with a lot more energy than I expected I might have. I was still tired, but there were no firm plans for the following day, so there was to be much restorative sleep.


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