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Saturday, August 22

Hard Bloody Work

This may well be my holiday, but it doesn't mean I'm sitting around sipping cappuccinos and watching the world go by. I'm putting a fair amount of effort in. I started yesterday with breakfast in my favourite coffee shop in Edinburgh. I had a nice cappuccino and sat near the window where I could watch the world go by. See what I did there?

After breakfast, I did some flyering, which wasn't much fun, but is an essential part of the Edinburgh Fringe experience. Then I had a script meeting with the other half of the 1.25pm show. After we discussed the edits, it was time to sit around and wait for show time.

For various reasons, the show we ended up performing went awry. I didn't enjoy it at all and packed up feeling rather conflicted. The irritation was compounded further by the fact that the back stage area is effectively blocked by another production for a further 90 minutes after our show ends, and I have to be away from the venue within 30 minutes. I kept my temper.

Then off I went to our 3.30pm show, which I MCed. I had fun with that. We're doing a game where you have to take a celebrity and a household object, suggested by the audience, and write jokes about the pairing of the two before the end of the show. What the audience doesn't know is that my own personal challenge is to take the pairing and create a one-off song combining them. This I did, yesterday, with Rowan Atkinson and a Water Jug. If in doubt, make a song about wanking - that's what I always say.

Anyway, two shows down, we hot-footed it to the next venue and did then next show. The audience were sort of fine, up and down, largely ok. Then I decided to do a newer song to them. This worked much better than I expected. I think it was the energy with which I attempted the new song and the clear fact that I was doing something a bit new and extra. They were lovely.

After show 3, you'd think a man could relax, but I knew I had another show in that room in a couple of hours. I stored my guitar back stage and then went home to remove my contact lenses and relax before the next show. I'm finding this year in Edinburgh a bit challenging on my emotions. They seem to bounce up and down in sync with tiredness and irritations that happen over the day. As such, I managed to have a massive tantrum during my phone call with my girlfriend and I smashed my phone up by flinging it across the room.

I should point out that the cause of the annoyance in this instance was the phone itself. I wasn't annoyed at what was happening in the phone call. I was annoyed that, while I was telling my beloved about how things are really doing their best to piss me off today, the phone decided to disconnect me with a random "Connection error". The signal in Edinburgh this year has been shit. The phone is cutting out, or giving us 5 seconds of total silence from time to time. Quite frankly, this bit of equipment needed to be taught a lesson, and throwing it against the wall was the best way. It did get rather broken, though.

Later on, in a calmer mood, I realigned bits of it that were most fractured, so it now functions close enough to normal to be usable. I will be getting a new phone in the near future anyway. Now I have to.

I went back out from the flat and opened the 8.30 show in the venue I'd left a few minutes before. The show went really well. I overran my slot, but I was having a lot of fun, so why not, eh?

Then I hot-footed it across town to the 10.05 show. I arrived a little early, in time to see the end of the previous show where an Edinburgh friend was performing. He was on good form and the audience liked him. I also liked the generous bar manager, whom I know from previous years in Edinburgh, who ensured I was well stocked with something to drink. Thanks!

My performance in the 10.05 show was very enjoyable as, given that it was my 5th show of the day, my brain pretty much exploded with punchlines non-stop as I performed. It didn't do any harm that there was a room full of pretty young student girls. There's always comic potential in being a huge sweaty 35 year old man in front of a room full of people half your age. I said some very silly things.

The 10pm show has a bit at the end where the acts come up on stage to do something extra. While I was doing that, I got a call (which I turned into texting) on my ailing phone. Could I do the 11.40pm show - Shaggers - across town? Do gig number six? In my condition? Ah, ok.

So, no time to hang around the gig aftermath and impress people with the opportunity to meet me. Ooh nooh, I was off again. Guitar back in bag. Guitar stand back on the back. Music stand back in its bag and then draped over the guitar bag. The whole lot, hoisted onto my back... then I'm off. Like a mountaineer who's misjudged the best way to scale everest (scale! ha ha). "Have you brought your ropes Bill?" "Erm... no, I've brought my acoustic guitar, though - any use?"

Shaggers is a show which has the basic premise of being about sex. You do stand-up that is, hopefully, filthy. It should be a big benefit, therefore, that 30-years-in-the-business pornographer and porn actor, Ben Dover (probably not his real name), is in town and had agreed to do the show. It should also be a fairly easy show to do. Make some filthy jokes in front of a fairly big, packed room.

It should be easy.

I closed. My work was cut out for me. At 40 minutes past midnight in a very large room, it can be hard to see whether anything is funny. I had to deliver a barnstormer of a performance for my 6th gig of the day. I suppose its good exercise.

What made me laugh was my position in the running order. I said it to the audience "I'm on after the porn star and the midget: Rock and Roll!".

I found yesterday quite hard and I had some periods when I wasn't happy. Various things picked me up. Some were just giving my all in a performance. One pick-up was my girlfriend, who is always good to talk to. Another pick-up was running into an Edinburgh friend in the street, between gigs one and two, just as the sense of confusion, irritation and humiliation was starting to kick in. Going for a coffee and blethering was just the pick up I needed.

Thanks to everyone who put something positive into my day yesterday. Today is a fresh day. Let's see how much fun it can be.


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