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Take That China!
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You've Been Cancelled
Sort Yourself Out eBayers
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Give Me Your Voice
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My Way of Losing My Mind is Quite Constructive
I'm A Cilla Black Fan On Bike

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Monday, September 20

Someone's Filming The Gig

Friday, September 17

Ain't No Sunshine

30 Seconds

Well That Didn't Go To Plan

Words don't fail me. If they did... etc...

I had two gigs booked tonight. The first was in central Manchester, the second in the Preston area. I set out with the best of intentions. I was on the road in a timely fashion. I had a CD of a new song I wanted to try out in the second gig. I listened to that CD periodically to learn the song. I had my sat-nav shining the light of the way, like a beacon of knowledge, though it's a beacon that's lost its internet connection, so doesn't know about traffic at the moment.

Then stuff started happening. The M6 was down to 0 miles an hour. I know that this is probably a problem, as it sits between where I live and where I'm going. Then I managed to screw my way around it to the first gig, but arrived relatively late, feeling rather stressed and uncertain of whether my next fart would be a "magic" one. I decided to hold my guts in place and do the gig, so I could rush the 50 minutes to the next one.

Timing wise, things were really pushed for time. My set was sent off the rails by a heckle in the middle of a routine that never provokes a heckler. It was a genuinely amusing moment as a crowd got into a discussion about whether Amore is a terrible song or not. I wasn't expecting that reaction. I think I made the right decision in letting the heckler put some rope around his neck before leaping in... I then mocked what had just happened and twisted the script to point it at the heckler, which sort of worked. I brought the set back on the rails and then rushed off to be paid so I could leave.

Weird one... enjoyable, but weird. Then I had a delay in being paid. Then the gig I was rushing to was cancelled... which is odd, since Bobby Ball of Cannon and Ball fame was, apparently, one of the 4 in the audience who had turned up, and I think I would have enjoyed playing to a crowd which contained him.

That's the risk of double-up gigs... they can get stressful... without the payoff.

Tuesday, September 14

The Seven Deadly Sings: Writing a Love Song - version 2

Elton John Performs Stand-up Comedy

The Seven Deadly Sings - Discussing Songs - Superstition

Friday, September 3

Still Confused

I still haven't fully taken stock of the Edinburgh period. I'm simply trying to stay afloat and positive. I think it's getting a bit easier. I'd like to spend some time tomorrow relaxing with the cats, though one of them has decided to go for a stroll and not hang out with us. I'm going to assume that he's coming back near the house sometimes - he's probably not gone actually missing.

Anyway, ideas are forming for stuff I might like to do next year, and I think I'm going to try writing things while I'm in the mood to do that. I'll try to do it as it comes to me, rather than force myself through the process. There's plenty of time to create something lovely. Funny, hopefully.

I'm still in an odd mood. I'm not quite balanced. I'm tired from last night's gig, though that was worth the slight loss of sleep it cost me. It was a local gig, so I was home on the same day I left the house. This is not a challenge for a gigging comedian. Being home before 2am is a result, really!

Last night's gig was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. It was a good post-Edinburgh outing of the comedy skills. The acts all did well and the audience were, ultimately, lovely and giggly. They took a while to warm up, and the opening MC bit wasn't as instantly grabby as it has been. That said, the dynamic in the room was a bit different to normal, and there were a few "incidents" which required handling.

It's nice to be a regular MC at a club that you like performing in. What happens in this situation is that you never feel that unsettled by things that occur. You're there for the long-haul and it's unlikely that any given 5 minutes is going to destroy your relationship with venue, promoter or audience... provided that you've got the right attitude to it. So the hecklers at the top of the show didn't faze me at all. I found them funny. Here's why.

There were two gentlemen at the back of the room talking loudly as I was settling the audience into listening mode. I pointed it out over the mic so as to make them aware that they were being disruptive. The audience focused on their chatter, and yet they didn't stop. I pointed that out. It continued. I pointed out that they weren't self aware. I then had the audience all point to these men. This eventually caught their attention.

I said hello, a little friendly banter, and one of them - very drunk - pointed at me, and with a cheery smile on his drunk face, declared "Wanker!". His friend, a bit more sober, then apologised. This repeated for a bit:

WANKER!!!! .... Sorry!

I laughed. It was funny. You had to be there, but I hope I've captured the contrast in their behaviours. One guy had only one response to me, and the tail end of his response was a very funny politeness of apology from his friend.

Though I made it clear to them that they were welcome in the club, provided that they shut up and enjoyed the show, which made nice with them without turning it into a shouting match, I also mimicked their behaviour for laughs, and was pleased to notice that they disappeared, the staff having removed them for simplicity.

In the rest of the gig, things went easier and I even did three of my songs to the audience, which were nicely received. All was lovely.

Today I have renewed my mail redirection. That's not really as rock and roll, is it!?

Tomorrow I shall have a go at tidying up the garden, hopefully finding any missing cats in the process.

Thursday, September 2

Aching Cheeks

I've been back from Edinburgh for a few days now. It feels like it's been a lot longer. The glorious days of the Fringe are over for another year and I had a rollicking good time. I laughed until my cheeks hurt, yet now there's a new feeling, one that happens every year, it's a sort of tingling in the cheeks, and not in a good way. That's right folks, it's post-Fringe blues.

I've managed to avoid the post-Fringe fallout about once in my life; this was when I was far too busy getting deeply into the relationship I'm now very happily still in. Even then, I still had occasional moments of confusion, pangs of nostalgia and wistfulness. Right now, I'm feeling positive about life, but my body and my subconscious is unraveling the cheeriness that I became infused with while I was in Scotland's capital. It's a shame, but I think that's how it works.

In some ways, I think the Fringe works the same way as a relationship. When a relationship ends, I often feel something flowing out of me; it's the internal feeling of permanence of the relationship, and the baseline happiness that's encapsulated within it. When a relationship ends, it's like the happy it contained has to flow back out. Likewise when a relationship starts, all the giddiness I feel as it becomes more and more real, sort of flows into me. This is figurative. It's not like there's some actual physical force here, it's just a feeling. So, when the Fringe ends, the body and the mind must slow down to normal. Important things like money, cooking, washing, and so on, must all be done. In short real life isn't a month-long playpen for comedians.

So my cheeks are feeling a bit turned down, rather than pointing skywards in glee. I'll get over it. In all other aspects of my life, I'm feeling positive. I'm going to lose some weight. I'm going to be "good", whatever that means, and I'm going to cultivate new material for my stand-up comedy, while trying to tour my show. This must be good.

I will try to put some video footage online at some point. There were some lovely highlights of my own performances at the Fringe. On top of that, I was happy to see that the song I prepared for another show to use was so well received and well delivered. I'd no idea what they were going to make of it when they tried to learn and stage it. In short, it seems they made the best of it. So that's nice.

It's nice when something I've made proves to be a successful venture for someone else. For example:

Amy Winehouse: Toast - Performance by Hannah George from The Fitches

Anyway, I thought I'd look back fondly on Edinburgh with a few highlights from the festival.

Ashley's Festival Highlights

  • Getting James Sherwood's "Horse Face" song stuck in my head

  • I wandered past Professor Richard Wiseman in the street - I nodded at him - we don't know each other, but I was pleased to see him, so I nodded my respect

  • MCing one of the best line-ups I've ever MCed at Pick of the Fringe - Vladimir McTavish, Stephen Carlin, Tom Allen, Jay Foreman, Imran Yusuf - staggeringly good

  • Telling Tom Allen that I liked Bleak Expectations - I do

  • Getting multiple rounds of applause mid-song at Shaggers - I was too busy trying to avoid coughing, I barely noticed it at the time... thanks, though... it was the audience's exuberance, not my performance, that caused it

  • Having a few hilarious gifts of suggestions from the audience of The Seven Deadly Sings in the chatty bits

  • The two drunk older ladies at The Great Big Comedy Picnic shows who made exhibitions of themselves to all of our amusement

  • Pappy's show - worth seeing twice again... and I did... and I laughed harder the second time

  • The beauty of The Boy With Tape On His Face - genuinely lovely, funny and silly

  • Getting boundlessly helpful help from my "techie" James Bran - thanks fella, you were essential!

  • Being nursemaided by my housemates, handing me water all the time

  • Trying to replace energy with "charisma" in my set... with varying degrees of audience confusion

  • Turning it up to eleven at the unplayable late night gig to see what would happen

  • Being given free tickets to see a show I'd been umming and ahhing about going to see - then enjoying the show thoroughly

  • Seeing Gary Delaney's show and loving the way it managed to keep pace without losing its personality

  • Going to see a show that I knew was mental and enjoying how it was just a couple of notches more insane than I dreamed it might be

  • Coming off stage after a performance which hadn't worked and having a laughing fit... both times...

  • Breakfasts at Kilimanjaro with my darling girlfriend

  • Discovering my ability to walk tirelessly over hills and cobbles

  • Finding out that my article in the Mail On Sunday was going to contain my anti-homeopathy joke

  • Everything else...

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