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Wednesday, July 26

No Titchy Reception

My evening's gig was in Titchfield, which is near Southampton. Out of the goodness of my heart, I had offered to pick up one of the acts from Farnborough station, take him to the gig and then return him to the outskirts of London when the gig was done. This latter part of the offer - the taking him to London - was an offer of some 60 miles or so of going out of my way.

As it happened, the act got a lift with someone else, who was based in London, which basically got me out of the extra effort.

I left the office sometime after 6 and headed to the venue. As might be expected, I arrived in plenty of time and had the chance to wave my gig radar over things. I reckoned that it would be a fairly small audience. Not many people about, and not a busy area in general. I also had the time to do an extensive sound check.

In fact, the upstairs room of this pub was a permanent gig-waiting-to-happen. The landlord, apparently, is a big fan of music and often spends hours in his pub's upstairs room playing on his electric piano. Perhaps with drummers and guitarists around him. There were all of these instruments around waiting to be played. I spent very little time getting my own guitar sound-checked, and quite a lot of time disposing of the work day's troubles, by playing the piano and chattering away.

I was there a good hour and a half before things started. I got the chance to meet the opening act - Dark Horse - a duo comprising a bearded man, who looks more like a fisherman than a drummer, on bongo, and a non-bearded man on acoustic guitar. Their energetic renditions of cover versions was amusing, so they got on these comic-themed night. The night wants to be funny and include music - that's my act summarised.

The middle two acts were both from the London area and were doing stand-up. One was a straightforward stand-up act and the other was a character act.

To be honest, the very small audience (gig radar was right) and the nature of the room and the reception of the opening act, all put me on edge. I wasn't sure it was going to be possible to raise a laugh in that room. I was also not sure that the rather mature audience (couples of the 40+ age group, mainly) would get my stuff. I was mentally crossing things off my list... until the middle acts did their thing. The audience were friendly, giving and good humoured. I decided that I'd just go for it.

Foolishly, I didn't memorise a set list, instead just putting my notepad-with-everything-titled-on-it somewhere where I could read it. This lead to random orderings and pauses in my set. However, the set went down well enough and I felt really relaxed and comfortable on the stage. I had a good time. I think the audience did too.

I got off stage after about 35 minutes, drove my bookings agent home (he'd attended the gig and lived nearby) and that was that. Some moments dropped from my memory, but there's hopefully a recording on its way to me. One or two laughs that came were surprises, so I'd like to know how I made them.


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