The home of the haikulator



Sentence Generators
My Stand-up & gigs
The Coding Craftsman

The Musical!
Incredible Productions


Previous Posts

Take That China!
The Continuous Descent Into Madness
You've Been Cancelled
Sort Yourself Out eBayers
The Art of Not Writing
Give Me Your Voice
Not Another Virtual Choir
Demented Reality
My Way of Losing My Mind is Quite Constructive
I'm A Cilla Black Fan On Bike

Blog Archives

October 2001
November 2001
December 2001
January 2002
February 2002
March 2002
April 2002
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
August 2009
September 2009
January 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
October 2011
December 2011
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
May 2014
July 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
July 2016
August 2017
January 2018
August 2018
September 2018
July 2019
August 2019
May 2020
June 2020
July 2020
August 2020
September 2020
December 2020
January 2021

Friday, July 30

All Change

I read in a tweet recently that you know when the Edinburgh is quite close when you answer most questions with "Let's talk about that in September". I'm sorry. But I'm very much of that mind at the moment. It affects home and work equally. At work, I'm basically scheduling things in two categories - stuff that'll be done while I'm away, or stuff which needs sorting out when I get back.

At home, I had pretty much shelved the ideas of getting some sort of storage solution to manage space in our home, within which it's increasingly feeling like the walls are closing in. That's right. I've shelved the idea of shelving. However, you can't stop people having ideas. So at the weekend the suggestion to re-zone the spare room came up and before you could say "are we really going to rezone the room before I go off to Edinburgh, even though it's a good idea and I think it would even have benefits up front, including the immediate recording challenge I've set myself, and I don't think it will fix a lot of the space issues in, say, the kitchen, but it might actually help and make me feel less like fucking gulliver sometimes" the decision was made.

So, we decided we would get rid of the bed and use a sofa bed instead in there... and move the study stuff to where the bed was, creating a patch of open floor in the middle of the room, which we really don't have.

How do you get rid of a double bed? Well, it took two emails. The bed was picked up yesterday morning and is now already in use in someone else's home. It turns out that if you have a good social network then good stuff can happen.

Given that we were only discussing the idea on Sunday, and it's now Friday, I expect to have the room rebuilt in its new form by Sunday and we're going to IKEA tonight to find a suitable shelving unit to use as the new back wall of the room. This vertical storage should protect us from the "stuff being everywhere" problem that we presently face. In this pre-Edinburgh period, it feels like a distraction from show preparation, but it's also essential and will have immediate benefits. I'm not losing time, I'm gaining a recording studio, and kit storage area.

In Edinburgh preparation news, I've done the press that is most urgent for both shows. I've got some other work to do, in the form of a jingle for a podcast. I'm trying to focus on the CD for my show. I had a bit of a boot up the arse yesterday when a friend's quickly-produced CD was sent to me for listening. It was really rather good, which made me feel like I wanted my own CD to sound good.

Last night I decided to have another crack at the rather annoyingly "not working out of the box" sound device that I'd bought. I was up until extremely extremely late in the night. However, the output was about 17 tracks from my CD - well, rough cuts of them. The problem is that these rough cuts may have to be re-done... though it will become easier to do subsequent versions of them, since I'm now more proficient with the settings and software that I have to use to do the work.

I'm excited about the sound-recording opportunities that I'm sitting on, but there's really no time. I've got until Wednesday to produce a full CD and artwork (admittedly, the artwork is largely done) and get it sent for repro in time to take to Edinburgh.

These challenges are a lot of fun, but they're doing my head in. I was very very stressed last night, until I got going with the recording stuff, when I was immersed and happy as I felt like I was making progress. I got a bit sweary and also felt like there were a load of loose ends hanging around from jobs I've not gotten around to doing as I've been too absorbed in show prep.

Today I managed to return some clothes bought online, and get a new passport application sorted. This is a step forward. I'll re-listen to my CD in the car and work out what I need to do for each track tonight and tomorrow... I'm going to keep the finished tracks offline unless I release them via iTunes. I will be selling the CD online when it's made. I may also start work on the next one, once I have some time... which means, of course, September.

Mind you, maybe I should take the kit with me to Edinburgh and make a new song every day.

Yeah, right.

Quick prediction. Day 1 of the Edinburgh Fringe for me:
  1. 4.45pm - Great Big Comedy Picnic
  2. 6.30pm - Cloud Comedy @ White Horse
  3. 9.30pm - MCing a show in Espionage
  4. 11.15pm - Appearance at Counting House
  5. 11.30pm - Meadow Bar (round the corner)

Perfectly normal first day of the fringe... Maybe I'll relax a bit and go and see a nice show too.

Next week represents a rather frustrating period - they start the Fringe... without me! I'm going to get antsy... I'll manage, though.

Tuesday, July 27

It's Not How I Remembered It

We watched the film Ghost last night. To me this was always the sequel to Dirty Dancing - Patrick Swayze in musical numbers with the then pretty Demi Moore (before she decided to be more of a cougar). The idea of a character who was dead and could only appear in pottery lessons and via Whoopi Goldberg, well, it was groundbreaking stuff.

However, watching the film, Ghost, last night, it was really a lot different to how I remember it. There was still groundbreaking, but this was done more by his motorbike, and though there were dead people around, the main character wasn't actually dead, more just possessing of Satan's powers. I also hadn't remembered the fiery motorbike from the original Ghost, and they seemed to have morphed "Unchained melody" into "Ghostriders in the sky", though the chain was still present in the form of a fiery chain which was used to kill demons.

All in all, I enjoyed Ghost, last night. Nicholas Cage seemed to have replaced Patrick Swayze and Eva Mendes had replaced Demi Moore, but other than that it was the same film. Completely the same film.

Happy Memories

I look back on this particular interchange fondly. I was reminded of it by seeing another comedian had received an anti-fan letter a bit like it today. These out-and-out failures really give your stand-up career a bit of texture and I think they should be celebrated...

...ironically at least.

Monday, July 26

Hello, I Missed You

I now realise that I haven't done my stand-up set in ages. So when I turned up for my gig on Friday night there was a chance I'd be rusty... not really, I was, in fact, fresh. I've been performing, just not my stand-up. Not only that, but I've been performing in what amounts to a marathon (i.e. a 1 hour show) so doing the short sprint of a stand-up set shouldn't have proved to be a struggle. I don't think it was either.

I arrived plenty early and rearranged the room for optimal comedic joy. I think this proved to be a useful move. There was even time to mess around on the Steinway Grand that someone had just left lying about. Shame they hadn't left it in tune. Never mind. It still played well and suggested some things to me that were hidden in the music I was playing on it. I think it sometimes feels like a well-made instrument "knows" how it should be played and suggests it to the player. This is figurative, I don't believe instruments are animate - except pianolas, which are posessed by Satan.

The show was a bit of an odd one - a works do with a strange demographic in the room. The compere was a very likeable and pacy bundle of joy, which had a positive effect on breaking the room in. Then stuff happened, and I'm not going to review it.

I took to the stage in part two of the show. I barked some gags at them non-stop for a couple of minutes, went into my first song, kept the energy going, ended the set and felt like I'd done a reasonable job. Compared to my Edinburgh show, which comes with a lot of information, and at a different pace to the stand-up, the more familiar and densely packaged stand-up set felt like it was a magic incantation. It invigorated me as much as I used it to throw some energy into an audience.

There were only 40 people in the audience. It can be easy to work all 40 members of an audience in a well lit room as you can see what everyone is doing pretty much all the time, and they can see that you can see, so it can bring them to the front of their seats a bit...

...I took it as an opportunity to have some fun, and that was the right thing to do. It's why I got into stand-up in the first place. I really enjoyed it.

I got a parking ticket for my troubles, but I didn't even seem to mind.

Let The Streets Stream With Shit

At first this looks like a bit of pettiness, someone campaigning against a toilet. Then you realise that the council have pretty much closed all public conveniences in Wokingham (probably because they can't give people parking tickets for pooing) and this is a poor substitute. There once was a time when we were proud to have public toilets - a step away from people just pissing in the street; it was civilisation taking hold of an uncivilised world. Now it would appear that disabled people had better stay at home, rather than face the indignity of being caught short.

For fuck's sake, grow up local authorities. Stop making laminated health and safety signs, and build some bloody services.

Maybe Just Getting Old

I think I've always had a slightly irascible side. I can allow myself to be irritated by things; this leads me to wanting to take action to do something about whatever it is. I was quite a sarcastic proactive dick back in my mid twenties and then I think it pretty much went away in my early thirties as I was always far more engaged with other things, like running (well, driving) around the country messing about.

Or perhaps the memory cheats. Maybe I'm always like this. I don't know. However, I do know that I'm definitely in touch with the more campaigning side of my personality. It's a product of the fact that I see the world in black and white and cannot actually cope with something that is (to me, at least) obviously completely wrong.

This is why I waded into the Keith Chegwin row. As far as I'm concerned it's a really simple situation. It's also compounded by the rather illiterate means by which Chegwin appears to express himself, which activates the genes I have which judge people as being lesser if they're not even showing basic education. I guess my logic goes like this "if this person can't even write in English, how can they expect their opinions to be taken as though they're logical?". I can't help being snooty, it's innate. I try to avoid it when I can, but it's there. I form judgments.

How do you deal with having a judgmental personality? I try to make some/all of it come out in my comedy. When this works, it's like making gold from lead - it's quite magical and you get a positive result from it. Joking about something that annoys you is very cathartic. If that's not possible, I might write something serious about it. Sometimes I write it here. Sometimes I submit it to a wider audience. There's no harm in putting yourself out there.

The difficulty with criticising things outside of yourself is two-fold. Someone can always question your entitlement to make any criticism. I think we all have the right to our own opinion (even if you are Keith Chegwin and, therefore, are wrong). I think we can all form conclusions from the things we know. Secondly, though, if you're criticising an individual, and they recognise themselves from your description, they may decide to wreak some sort of revenge upon you. Perhaps the aforementioned ex-TV-sub-celebrity might decide to get his lawyers in touch with me if I make too many assertions about his brainpower. Perhaps a fellow comedian, if I were to criticise their work, might react by creating social barriers within the comedy fraternity, affecting me in return. Criticism is not a case of broadcasting into a vacuum; there is a reciprocal effect.

That said, I can't quite stop myself from another mini-tirade.

Why are there some comedians out there who mistake blurting out filth and being obnoxious for being funny? Why is it reasonable to give a stage to someone whose idea of making someone laugh is to do the most banal form of witless obvious drivel? Worse still, why is it a good idea to give that person the stage at the Edinburgh Festival, in a way which implies to the average novice Fringe-goer that that's the standard you could expect of a Fringe show? Why do these newbies come up with this stuff? Are they doing it because it makes them happy? or do they think that the audience is a keyboard full of buttons they have to press. Why post on YouTube a clip of your drivel with an audience almost entirely silent at each line? Why does it bother me even more when this filthy outpouring is actually quite well assembled... a polished turd of pointlessness? Moreover, why did I knowingly seek out the particular subject of this rant in order to wind myself up about their ineptitude? Is it because I know I'll run into them at the festival, and I'm trying to work out whether I want to kill them, lest they make my attempts at comedy seem more difficult?

Rant over.

Comedians should focus on what they find funny, rather than on stuff that bothers them. I think that may be a hidden truth in this article by David Lister, which I otherwise entirely disagree with.

Hmm... I'll now stop this rant and do a separate post on my gig from Friday night, and the weekend in general.

Friday, July 23

Make Something Happen

There's a difference between the thing I do do and the things I want to do. If I had my way, I'd be a writer/performer of spoken word and music. There's a limit to what I, and anyone else for that matter, can achieve. As a result, I choose to put that aspect of my life into a second-life - a spare (and sometimes not so spare) time pursuit which both drives me down and fuels me up. I sometimes experience dissonance - a general feeling of disquiet that I'm in the wrong life. It usually happens in the day job, rather than a feeling, while on stage or making music that I should really be programming a computer.

The feeling comes as a sense of loss, a feeling of ennui, a sense that nothing good is happening and I just want something to stop the disappointment. I feel lethargic, unable to do even the simplest of tasks, inert... basically, it all feels crap. If I get going on something, then I can proceed, though sometimes with a short attention span. Then sometimes I can just absorb myself in what's happening and life seems fine.

To anyone reading who thinks they are about to successfully diagnose me with depression, don't bother. I'm a fully functioning human being at the moment - this isn't debilitating, just an emotional journey. To anyone going - "Yeah, but you comedians have a manic-depressive thing going on" - I would also recommend not jumping to conclusions. I think the very nature of being creative has a boom/bust sort of vibe. For all the up-time, you need the downs. My problem, I think, is that of context switching. I can only be committed to one thing at once. Everything else seems like a distraction. Sort of... maybe I don't know.

Today has been a really sludgy day. That said, I've achieved many of my actual objectives and the future plans I need to make have come together fine. Some loose ends have been tidying themselves up (with a little guidance) recently, so I should be happy. I think I need to make a concerted effort to put more of my ducks in a row in the next 24 hours. I think that would make me happier.

I got into various discussions over lunch about recent media events. I also managed to get my open letter to Keith Chegwin published, which is nice. I'm more and more motivated to stand up for what is either morally or logically right. I keep getting the urge to contact organisations and individuals whose behaviour I disagree with, so I can put them straight. Is this part of approaching 40 (still over 3 and a big bit years before that)? Or is this about taking a bit of responsibility in the world? I don't know. The jury is out.

Still, personal life things have been developing in a good way. I now know the constraints within which we'll be planning where to live within the next couple of years... or at least we've removed a lot of the major vaguenesses. This is a good thing. Progress will start after Edinburgh.

Perhaps I'm now having pre-Edinburgh blues. The feeling is quite similar to post Edinburgh blues except with less exhaustion and toxicity. I guess life is on hold until the shows start... which is, of course, ridiculous.

Despite having had a fairly light week, I'm still quite tired. I think that I'm slowing down through lack of gigs... there's one tonight... woohoo!!!!

Monday, July 19

Jolly Good, What What

Never pre-judge an audience. I think I was expecting the Henley Crowd to be a bit arts centre-ish and stuffy - a bunch of telegraph reading middle-class sorts whose idea of heckling might be to go "well, really!". This, of course, was nothing like the lovely mini-mob who assembled to see what my show was about tonight.

In truth, maybe only some of them came for my show, coming instead, for whatever happened to be on. Still, they were lovely and that's what matters. We even had an 11 year old boy in the crowd, and I discovered that I'm less embarrassed doing some of the ruder bits of my show in front of an 11 year old than I am doing it in front of my grandparents.

Moreover, it seems I've run out of previews. That's it. I now have only stand-up gigs between now and the Fringe. Any sense of familiarity with the show will now start to fade, though I'm fairly sure I'll remember it all even with a 3 or 4 week break. In the next few weeks, I'm going to finish recording the CD of the show and I'm going to review some recordings and work out how to tighten the show up. There's some core source material that's core because it's either very funny or very important to share with an audience. The secret is going to be to throw away some of the supporting stuff, or find an isotope or allotrope of it which better suits what's around it.

Making the CD will definitely help, and I made reasonably good progress on that last week, even though there were aeroplanes flying over my house for most of Saturday.

Tired, so Tired
I have been a bit down on energy. I think I'm going to be perking back up, but the Wed-Sat gig night run pretty much knocked me out. We went to see a preview in Witney on Wednesday, I had Cradley Heath on Thursday, London on Friday, Southampton (well, Hythe) on Saturday and an earlier-than-sleeping-in wake up on Sunday.

We made Sunday lunch on Sunday, which is how it gets its name. We saw plenty of Italian foods for sale in Shipston-on-stour, and so they finalised the grand plan to make a risotto fit for, well, at least human consumption. It worked out rather pleasingly, but the post-prandial slump hit hard and I lost an hour or so.

I think I'm getting old.

The gig on Friday involved watching a preview which would have gone down better with a filthier and less cerebral audience. My preview on Thursday turned out to be less filthy and more cerebral than my audience were expecting. If only we'd known... the old switcheroo would really have helped.

Twit storms
Hmmmm. Social networking sites are suddenly showing what would happen if everyone knew what everyone else was thinking. There's been the Gillian McKeith debacle, the Jemima Khan vs Jon Snow spat and even Keith Chegwin and his collection of jokes has caused a ruckus. I don't even know how to spell 'ruckus'. Perhaps everyone needs to get into the collective playground, line up neatly and say sorry to each other.

I'm presently on a training course. This involves being talked at by a trainer. He is pretty good and has a good way of explaining to the uninitiated about the things we need to know on the course. As I'm doing the course to fill in gaps in my knowledge, this can be frustrating. There was one discussion today which was somewhat irksome.

Him: What is a null value?
Me: One that's missing.
Others: Erm? A blank? or An absent one?
Him: "Missing" is the closest, it's one that's "unknown".

Forgive me for being a semantic pedant, but there's no difference between missing, absent and unknown in terms of a data value. The only one that is "wrong" is "blank", which suggest that the answer IS "blank" as opposed to the answer being "NO ANSWER" - i.e. a missing or absent or unknown.... but apart from that it's all coffee breaks and lunch, which is what training is all about? right?

Next few days
Looking forward to some time at home.

Friday, July 16


(Nothing to do with the suicidal police killer)

It doesn't bode well that I've titled this with an awful pun. However, I've got this feeling today. I'm down. I know I'm down, so it's just one of those things. I shouldn't be down, but I'm tired and that's not helping. There's a gulf between me and the happy. I think last night was a real cause and also mirror of this gulf.

I sort of know why last night's gig wasn't the "carried on the shoulders of the audience and declared their new king" sort of a gig. I am not sure if I appeared in the venue in the wrong mood and it went wrong from there, or whether I was affected by the audience and it sent me into the doldrums I'm now in. What I do know is that there was a gap between what I was trying to do and the way it was being received. I also didn't feel quite in the present tense in the gig... like I was dribbling out an impression of my show, but with some vital element missing.

It's not that life is going particularly wrong. If anything, things are getting sorted out reasonably well. I've done a few little jobs that have been annoying me. I've also made some good progress with some audio projects that I'm working on, which is good. I've been feeling moderately creative, though not as intensely creative as i can be. It may be that I'm just tired. This is what happens when you're getting older and fatter. Sometimes the flesh just isn't willing.

There have been highlights in the last week. Wednesday night was great - we went to watch Greg Davies do what he considered to be an early preview of a show which he pre-qualified as a work-in-progress. It was an hour-long burst of high-octane joy which put my own long-laboured-over-efforts into some sort of comparative context that I won't dwell on. Still, there's always something one can aspire to achieving.

The feeling which is weighing on my shoulders, though, is what happens when one of your favourite gigs doesn't do what you're hoping it will do. This happens, and it's not to be gotten out of perspective. I drove home last night with choices. I could try to put my mind on other stuff. I could dwell on the failings of the performance and feel insecure. I could write a raft of excuses to protect me from the disappointment (by the way, it wasn't that bad, just not that good either). Alternatively, and I chose this route, I could listen back to some stuff I've done that I rather like.

Was this narcissistic? Well, isn't every act of a comedian in some way narcissistic? Perhaps. However, I have an excuse. I'd forgotten the words to one of my songs... and it's one that I've done a lot. A particular line had just left my head. I'm sure that I could have performed that song unconsciously, but the line wasn't in my conscious memory... given that this song is a bit filthy, it's an indication that I've rather cleaned up my act in the last year - I think I tired of using filth as a substitute for wit so much. So, I needed to listen to some of my old recordings in order to recall this line.

While I was at it, I may as well listen to and sing along with the songs from The Musical!. I don't listen to this much, and I also don't have an electronic copy of the CD we made of the show at the moment (I need to climb into the loft to get one to rip), so I made do with some live recordings made at one show we did towards the end of the run. When you strip away some of the over-broad acting, and shouting, and when you ignore some of the button-pushy lines and filler, there are some nice moments in that show, and it was joyful to relive them on the long road home last night.

Not only were the lines enjoyable, there was the structure - I'd probably have spotted it in someone else's work, but it was interesting to review it in my own work. The Musical! was about two guys trapped in a musical of their own devising. I'm not sure that the love song was meant to be the climax of the show's hilarity, but it needed to be funny. In script terms it was basically a role reversal joke. I started off trying to cajole Chris into playing along with the love song. He undermined it with every line he sang. Then, in the middle 8 (well, middle 16), I presented a more tender appeal for him to get into it. He started to try, got swept away with it, the harmonies kicked in, the lighting went pink, the mirror ball went on, and the audience were immersed in a surreal tender moment. In the final section, the lovestruck Chris delivered a delightfully homoerotic verse and the repeated "chorus" of the song "I'm beginning to see you in a different light" changed its meaning and emphasised what had just happened.

To sit in your car, 6 years later, laughing at some harmonies that you thought up in the bath... well, it's one of the pleasures of creating something that can be recorded and enjoyed.

I went on to look at a radio project that I recorded with Hannah. This still has loads of tightly scripted gags in it, and represented a rather more dry humour than I am known for. I think that we tried some of that in our collaboration last year - The Seven Deadly Jokes - and I think that I've progressed that further in my solo show this year.

The problem I have with this year's show - The Seven Deadly Sings - is that it will work with a thinking audience who are immersed in the show. It's very ideas based, and rather dies if I try to over perform it. It contains sarcasm and observational comedy which aren't what I do in my stand-up (which is basically a bunch of silly bits of merriment about genitals and grammar - the 2 g's), and so it doesn't quite come out the same way as the stand-up I'm more familiar with and known for. This could be good. I firmly believe it will find its niche in the arts festival that is Edinburgh. I firmly believe that it, and the album I'll be making of its highlights (and some other things in the same space), are something I should hope to be proud of in 6 years' time. I feel like there's still something missing. I think I know what it is, and maybe I shouldn't miss it.

I rather like clever lyrics. I like internal rhymes and tricks in the words. In The Musical! the love song has the line "Our love will be deluxe and fill me with delight" - it's a play on sounds, a nod to Cole Porter, and an interesting thing to sing. In the Amy Winehouse toast song, there's a line "My life's a mess, I'm at the stage, where I have hit the bottle and hit the front page", which is a neat metaphor switch. In general, I like messing with wordplay in songs. It's a comedy song trick. The Seven Deadly Sings is missing quirky rhymes and turns of phrase... or maybe it isn't. On the subject of Yom Kippur - "Everyone's in Synagogue/Sombre hungry faces/Eating nothing till the sun goes down/It's like Ramadan on a one day basis". Maybe I'm just too close to my own show to see what I've created.

Excuse the brain dump. I'm dwelling on a lot of uncertainty right now. To have a show which can either raise the roof, or struggle to get more than a giggle is a confusing entity. If I made value judgements on the audience demographic when it has worked and when it hasn't.... well, I'd be in a dark place. Could Robin Ince make his humour work in a pissed up nightclub gig? I bet he could, though he wouldn't try.

As usual, a lot of my self esteem hangs on the end of my perceived comedic capability - this is the dark side of using stand-up as the escapism and joy mongering part of your life. When it works, it works big. When it doesn't work, you feel a bit of a dick.

Again, though, I got laughs last night and I feel like there's some integrity in what I'm doing, which I must have somehow consciously taken on board, since my brain erased some euphemisms about arseholes, which is what I had to mine my iPod last night to rediscover. It may be worth forgetting, but I rather like having a memory. Mind you, if I am going to start forgetting my songs, maybe it's a good thing that I'm working on my comedy album right now.

If the album goes well, and I hope it will. I'll do a follow up in September and October (at a less pressured pace) of my stand-up classics. I'd like to have a couple of CDs to sell at gigs, and I'd like to immortalise my better material so I can proliferate it better. Hopefully I'll be doing a track or so a week, rather than being under pressure to do several each week.

Still, ambition is one thing and delivery is another.

I overcommit. There's another problem. I've agreed to make some music for someone else's show. It's only 3 minutes, but that'll be 3 hours or so's work. However, it may be something we can all be proud of, and it may also be the only thing I can record tomorrow when there are planes flying overhead, as I won't be able to use microphones, and I'm pretty sure I need microphones for all the other stuff I've got to do.

Tonight should be good, though. I've got a paid gig in London which should be a nice audience who will get anything I choose to perform at them. London seems so far away these days, but it's not. So I'll drive there optimistically.

Jerry's Final Thought
What's the take home message of this blether?
  • Record stuff
  • Be optimistic
  • Find the audience for your stuff
  • Challenge yourself to excel
  • Take failure on the chin
  • Never give up
  • Don't steal from Tesco (not really relevant, but good advice)
  • Sing songs about wheelbarrows...
Maybe I will record my wheelbarrow song for my album. I still like it.


Monday, July 12

Stick it in the Family... Album

A very wise man once probably said that you should keep records of your life so that you can look back on it when you're older and wiser and see what it was like. Why miss out on the nostalgia? Well, I'm sure a wise man will have said something like that. However, I also know for a fact that unwise people may feel the same. There's a benefit in recording 1st hand, what's happening. Posterity is a good thing to save things for. Conversely, you can't spend your life recording things, or you'll never have any 1st hand experiences, as you'll be too busy to do anything but record stuff.

I like to record my life and look back on it. I do a lot of stuff, and a diary is one way to keep track of "how it was". A quick look back on the archives for 12th July tells me this:
  • Last year, I was too busy to blog in July
  • The year before, I was "in training" for Edinburgh, and also managed a first date with my now long-term girlfriend
  • In 2007, I was blogging about 4 times per day (something to do with the end of a job that I'd run out of love for) and was obsessing about the Ukulele Orchestra
  • In 2006, I was gigging in Huddersfield at a weird gig
  • In 2005, I was still living in Newcastle, it was swelteringly hot, and I did my 250th gig.
Well, I found that interesting.

So, now I sit here, after gig 867 was performed on Friday last, with gig 868 coming up on Thursday. Gig 870 is a preview of my Edinburgh show in Southampton on Saturday, fact fans. With facts all over the place, I'll ask if that's what recording is all about? Well, no. In fact, the really important recording news is that I've started recording an album.

You're recording an album Ashley?
This isn't the first time I've recorded an album. I made a CD for The Musical! with Chris back in 2004. We recorded it pretty quickly and did a pretty ok job of it, all things considered. It was something we could sell after the show, and we sold quite a few of them. It was a nice thing to have. I made way more than we were ever going to sell, but you learn by doing.

As I've got a new show for this year, it's time to make an album of the soundtrack to the show or somesuch. As I write, I'm not 100% sure what exactly will be on the album. Let me think. The following tracks should be on there (the ones in bold have been recorded):
  1. Introduction (Spoken)
  2. Oh No, He's Started To Sing (Song - maybe live)
  3. Songs Have Things In Common (Spoken)
  4. Walking On The Joker (Song - maybe live)
  5. Music is as old as mankind (spoken)
  6. Even Cavemen Get The Blues (Song)
  7. The catholic church bans a note (musical routine)
  8. They Banned Bossa Nova (song)
  9. Seven types of "sing" (spoken)
  10. I'm Classically Trained (musical routine)
  11. Not everything we sing is a song (spoken)
  12. Song 1 (song)
  13. Elton John does stand-up (musical routine)
  14. You could sing the yellow pages (Song - probably live)
  15. Story song intro (spoken)
  16. Song 2
  17. T.B.D. some sort of story song
  18. How to write a love song (musical routine)
  19. Heart metaphors and how to avoid them
  20. Love is like... (song)
  21. Complacency songs - watered down music (spoken)
  22. Punk loses its edge (song)
  23. Easy? (musical routine)
  24. Pain intro (spoken)
  25. Hotel Hell (song)
  26. Elton John stands up again (musical routine)
  27. Attitude and Nietszche (spoken with music)
  28. RAP and how to neutralise it (musical routine)
  29. Novelty intro (spoken)
  30. Song 3
  31. Christmas songs (spoken)
  32. Christmas Song For Jews
  33. Commercial intro (spoken)
  34. 30 seconds
  35. Putting it all together (spoken)
  36. The Seven Deadly Sings (song)
  37. Bonus track: tbd
  38. Bonus track: tbd
Streuth... Lots still to record.

Other things
I've now realised I have no time to do anything other than sort this stuff out... so quick list of facts from the recent past:
  • My piano's foot pedal broke, so I bought a soldering iron (mine is temporarily in locations unknown) and fixed it
  • Thursday last week saw a brilliant reception for the show in Reading - everyone was there
  • Friday last week saw me performing the show amongst a large amount of heat and road noise in Manchester, it was less engaging for the audience, who were immersed in the noise from the street as much as the show
  • I had some pictures taken - oooh
  • I need to lose weight
  • I had a nice weekend
Right - must get on with recording stuff.

All content ©2001 - 2020 Ashley Frieze