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Tuesday, June 29

A night in Newcastle, and I spent it in Gateshead. Last night we went bowling - there was a gang of 5 of us and we had a lot of fun. There was beer and skittles... I had diet coke. In fact I'm drinking so much diet coke at the moment that I sometimes can't see through the caffeine haze.

I managed to crack the 100 mark a few times on my bowling, which is something at least. I haven't bowled in a long time and I quite enjoy it. Having said that, I'm aching at the moment - clearly it uses muscles I wasn't aware of.

18 days to go... until the London show, that is. Lots of preparation still to do. It all seemed so far in the future when we booked it all. Cripes.

I've a micro-holiday from the world of stand-up. It's basically three nights, but it seems like ages' worth. There's still time to commit to the world of performance art, but I'll be away from an audience for a bit. A well-deserved break... until Thursday...

I love comedy and opinion about comedy is something I do. I must confess, I've printed out a review from Chortle and put it on the wall at work - I've written on it "Not all reviews are wrong.". The best thing is that this review has nothing to do with my act. I'm slightly em-bitchened by this comedy lark.. but it's all good fun.

Monday, June 28

It's 19 days until we preview The Musical! at the Etcetera Theatre, Camden. Box office is 0207 482 4857 or etc@etceteratheatre.com for reservations. If you haven't booked, please do so now. I'm having nightmares about empty seats... empty seats and wires...

Always a good idea to reward endeavour on the net. The WikiPedia is a good online encylopedia. Long may it reign.

What a weekend...

Friday
An evening spent in the home - I know... how out of character was that. I ate chicken sandwiches with horseradish - the definitive radish if you ask me. None of these cheap pink salad radishes... pah! The horseradish - in the form of a lovely hot white sauce. That's what you call a radish. It has bite... it has legs. You can race it to the tap.

Part of Friday night was spent on the phone to a friend with whom I needed to spend some catching up time. This was achieved with alacrity. I also transferred the recording of our Manchester showing of The Musical! to CD. While it was transferring I spend some time hooking up a DVD player in my bedroom. For reasons that do not require explaining, I now have a spare DVD player - installing it in the bedroom means I can now listen to CDs in bed and watch the occasional movie. Quite whether I'll get around to using the machine is anyone's guess, but I was in the mood to sort it out and I had a CD in production that I thought would be best listened to in bed.

Rigging up the DVD player required a couple of trips to the garage (that's the one attached to my house, rather than the local late night petrol station - they don't do audio visual equipment). The first trip was to get a lead I made in the early nineties for connecting my BBC Micro to the TV. This lead doubles up as a fancy phono to scart lead, ideal for DVD players - and they say technology moves fast. The second trip to the garage was with a pair of powered speakers and their power unit... which I'd previously chopped the end off. I managed, miraculously, to find a spare end in my box of spares. I then, heroically, managed to destroy this spare end in an attempt to solder wire to it. So I wired the power supply directly into the speakers - and I didn't do a bad job of it.

The DVD player is now rigged up, and I listened to the first 15 minutes (or so) of the show on it before my co-star/temporary co-habiter returned home. We then sat downstairs and laughed and cringed (in pretty much equal measure) at the recording. No, we didn't sit in my bedroom and listen to it... that would have been weird. I think we set a new world record in ratio of speed of performance to intended speed on the songs.

Saturday
I slept and slept and slept. I also slept. Then it was afternoon and I had to go to start my weekend's jaunt in Scotland. Me? Scotland? Surely not? (this is sarcasm - I spend a lot of time in Scotland, of course).

I drove to Glasgow at a reasonable pace - reasonably relaxed and reasonably promptly.

Arriving in Glasgow, I met up with another comedian, who provided pre-gig company and was prepared to help me with the dash between gigs. I was due to perform at The Vault, south of the city centre, and then immediately following at The State Bar in the centre.

The gig at the Vault was surprisingly tricky, but I managed to get something out of the audience and keep my head. The other comedians were able to look me in the eye, which is always a good sign. Disaster struck - I've finally managed to lose my lucky plectrum... clearly it's not all that lucky! I have other plectrums... and there was no time to mourn the loss. I had to steam all the way across town.

Arriving at the other gig, we discovered that the football had managed to remove our audience from under us. There was no gig. Simple as that. No problem, thought I. There are other things one can do at night.

Saturday late night
So, I'm listening to a live band in a bar - they take a break, we chat with them about music and The Musical! and then I'm spirited away to a nightclub. This was one of the weirdest nightclub experiences of my live. Similar to the last nightclub I went to in a small town, actually, but in a different venue. Over the course of the evening, we got to know various characters in the room - well, we came to understand the social dynamic of the room. Since I was driving, I was sober. Since I was in a small town in Scotland, I also had a height advantage over most of the other people present. I had a lot more perspective on the events that unfolded.

As is often the case in a small nightclub situation, I had a favourite co-partier. In this case it was a pretty blonde called Julianne. (I've no idea how to spell it, but at some point she introduced herself verbally... whatever happened to business cards?) It's quite nice to have a person like Julianne to keep an eye on over the course of the evening. It gives some focus to the night. Young miss J reminded me of someone - I think she reminded me of Renee Zellweger - similar facial structure, high cheekbones sort of thing.

After tiring of standing on the sidelines, it was time to get on the dancefloor. I'd been shown a very funny Michael Jackson move that I kept threatening to use on the dancefloor, but that wasn't necessary. What was necessary was to enjoy the atmosphere and try to make the most of the eclectic mix of music. There was plenty of female attention, but that wasn't all of a good thing - being grabbed by a female-human-sofa wasn't really high on my list of priorities, though I did my best to steer her onto someone else before she got "ideas". I also showed her respect. And she had her label showing - it said "another great discount from DFS"... human sofa... gettit!? ha ha ha ho. I showed her more respect at the time.

I started to feel like the pretty lady of the evening was looking my way a fair bit... oh yeah... the Ashley magic is working really well... I'm so... I'm so utterly... standing near the guy she was actually looking at. I'd noticed this guy when he came in (yikes - he got to me too... well, no) on account of his stupid hairdo. It looked like he'd been flushed down a toilet too many times as a schoolkid and it had somehow stuck. His plumage was a good 5 inches erect, which was probably for the best, since he was a total shortarse - shorter than the temporary object of my appreciation, Julianne. This lad may have suffered playground taunts for being a shorty. He may have had permanent follicle damage from having his head repeatedly jammed down toilets for being an uber-midget, but tonight, Matthew, this guy was going to be The Fonz. He was just so totally cool. He stood on the edge of the dancefloor, not dancing. He had a fixed cocky grin on his face... and he was just watching... almost pointing to one side with his hands, his head lowered (I know... that's pretty low when you're a shorty) but his eyes looking up and to the side - a good modelling angle, if ever there was a need to be a model on a dancefloor. Maybe he used to be a model - perhaps for Ken from the Barbie and Ken range.

As is often the case when I observe male behaviour, it's not so much the behaviour that fascinates me as the effect it has on women. It was clear that this The Fonz-like behaviour was working. This led my friend and I to develop our own chat-up line for the ladies of Bathgate - "Eyyyy Ritchie" and "Eyyyy" (and point with both hands) - this latter proving somewhat confusing to the ladies we used it on on the dancefloor... especially since it was followed by us laughing uproariously. Yes, The Fonz managed one dance with the pretty Julianne and then left her to dance the night away unaided. I'm sure this confused her. Every so often she engaged the company of other dancers, including us - hence we discovered her name. I watched her behaviour on the dancefloor some more. Occasionally, she seemed to be paying my direction a lot of attention - but a quick check behind me and The Fonz was lurking somewhere... fixed smile - "Eyyyy". If I ever find a lady's eyes on me, I shall always keep an eye our for Fonzie - I'd recommend everyone else do the same. You might save a lot of embarrassment.

Foolishly, my friend and I were still in the thick of the dancefloor when they went into the slow numbers for the evening. This was an awkward moment. Everyone coupled up, except me, him and Julianne. I contemplated asking for a dance from my friend... er.. no... her... er... no... and so we got the hell out of the way. As we left the dancefloor, The Fonz wandered up to his quarry and she was his. Quite what she sees in him, I don't know. Probably she sees mainly hair, since he's a fair bit shorter than she is. We left the nightclub and played the amazing new game "is there any part of my shirt that isn't soaked in sweat?" - the answer was "no". I eventually found someone to give me a free promotional T-shirt, which managed to cool me down and dry me off. Then it was time to retire for the night.

Sunday
Running through some details for... guess... yes... The Musical! (yes, all roads lead to that subject of conversation) took most of the morning and then it was time to head off to the afternoon and evening gigs.

The afternoon gig was Kirkcaldy. I can't say too much of note about my performance - it was up and down, it ended ok, I think I undermined myself a bit by teching the whole show - it didn't make me seem altogether very special. Still, we entertained the crowd and it was a good room in which to run a show.

The evening gig was in Dundee. Their previous gig was 23rd May, which seems centuries ago for me. I performed there - 16 gigs previously in my career. The original idea was that I was going to MC the gig, since they'd seen me last time. However, the overlap of audience was pretty small and those who were there a second time seemed to be keen to see me again. Therefore, I headlined the gig. Of all the performances I've given in closing a show (actually, overall), this was definitely one of my favourite performances. I was up there for quite a long time and I think I gained their trust... in that they were prepared to listen to me when I was trying to make funny with them.

My set started with a reference to the joke competition, which had basically been "give a funny song title" - I started by writing the song that won the competition. Had I just turned up and done this it would have seemed magically. Sadly, the MC pre-announced the competition with the fact that I was going to do the song-writing. This gave me one of the greatest feelings of "pre-match nerves" since everyone knew that I had to come up with the song. It needed to be better as a result. Spontaneity (or at least apparent spontaneity) makes comedy seem more magical. Remove the spontaneity and you need harder hitting ideas.

I got away with the song and postured, pondered and otherwise chuckled the crowd through my set. I had fun. Actually, I went a bit crazy on my ending and made the room scream with laughter... I also amused myself. Once I got off the stage, I had a giggling fit which lasted about 2 minutes (actually, it may have been nearer 5). I'd performed for about half an hour and I'd had a whale of a time. A part of me was hoping for an encore - I could have done another 10 :)

Lovely lovely.

I drove back from Dundee at breakneck pace and managed to keep my neck unbroken. I'd made some sort of gag to the audience about me being more likely to die on the road than them - it's not my driving, just the string of hitchhikers I insist on picking up... ho ho ho. Apparently, our Czech friends, from earlier in the week, were right about the chances of getting berry picking work in Dundee.

Back to work on Monday
It's interesting how threads of this weekend's themes converge on this morning's news. I'll bring two together.

I mentioned the young lady in the nightclub whom, once I'd noticed once, I repeatedly noticed over the course of the evening. This is not a product of anything untoward, just something I've noticed about one's perception of beauty. Once you've seen a twinkling star, you continue to see it twinkling and maybe even navigate by it. In any group I'm in, I see those that shine and mark my way by them. It's comforting.

I also mentioned my comment that I'm on the road so much that it's a risk. Late night driving is tough and I'm going at speed in order to make the most of the bed when I reach it. There are occasional hairy moments.

This morning, I found out that one of my work colleagues died in a road accident over the weekend, and that colleague was one of those twinkling stars... well... words escape me. She was lovely. We spoke about 3 times - only once at any length and even that was about the show. She's not there when I walk past her part of the office.

Friday, June 25

It probably says more about me than it does about them, but for some reason, on seeing this red-dressed lady and her friends, I immediately felt I was witnessing some sort of downmarket prostitution on the streets of Newcastle.



Yep... definitely a time to work on getting more sleep and taking my mind out of the gutter.

Thursday, June 24

Favourite Gigs

Tried out a bit of new material and some rewrites of some existing material at one of my favourite gigs recently. It's times like that, when you comfortable experimenting with a crowd (albeit in an open spot) that it's great to be in stand-up.

A heavy weekend coming up.

Also broke the 130 gigs mark. To celebrate, I've divided my gig list into old and new. Oooh.

Two years ago, I was excited about wearing out a guitar string. I've just gone one better - I've worn out a guitar lead! What next? An entire instrument!? It's possible that I could sweat through the varnish, but surely not through the wood too...? I'll look forward to announcing that one.

Tired
I'm so very very tired at the moment. This is probably a result of the last couple of days' gigs. On Tuesday, I took a half day, drove to London, did a gig and then, at midnight, finally got back to my car for the return trip home. Bed at 4.30am. I maybe got 3 and a half hours' sleep.

Yesterday was no better, I left the office at 17.15 and then drove to Edinburgh - leaving Edinburgh at late-o'clock, I didn't get to bed until 3.30am. I got marginally more sleep before coming into the office this morning... but I'm really tired and, therefore, feeling quite low. Tonight is a night at the theatre in Durham. However, it should be a relatively early night (i.e. it should still be night when I get home, rather than morning), and I don't have anything social to do between leaving Durham tonight and driving to Glasgow on Saturday lunchtime.

London gigs indeed
I'm so provincial. I live up here in Geordie-land, and every so often, I head down to the big smoke to "seek me fortune". I should know better. It's highly unsatisfactory on current experience. I had a really tough time on stage on Tuesday and, although I got them in the end, it was a little demoralising. However, a lot of driving and soul-searching and I feel a lot better.

The next stress is filling the Etcetera theatre on 17th and 18th July with The Musical!. We need a packed audience, both nights... ticket sales so far are looking like they need support. However, I've only just started hassling people - there's plenty of time... no really there is!

Edimbur
The journey to Edinburgh last night was rather good fun. I like travelling with my cohort from the North East and he was as game as I was when it came to picking up two road-side hitch-hikers with a badly worded sign. They wanted to go to Edimbur. It turned out that they were Czech students and so it's fair enough that they might not know how to spell... though they did have a map.

For a short while in the journey, I felt like I did not trust them. Not that I thought they were up to something evil - like making us pull over so they could stab us - more that I honestly believed that they were English people taking the piss. Their story - going to Birmingham, near Dundee to pick Raspberries - it sounded a bit fishy... as did their accents...

However, their genuine naivety and inability to understand a lot of what we tried to speak about shone through and I soon realised that we had a couple of explorers, making a good job in a country they probably couldn't possibly understand within a couple of hours of arriving.

Sadly, we had car trouble. A tyre which had been low at the petrol station, was not holding much air, so I pulled over to swap it for the spare. I showed Luke (the Czech) the problem - more to explain why they were going to have to get their stuff out of the boot... in other words "don't worry - I'm not ditching you here". He took charge (as though I needed help) and we changed the wheel together. We compromised on how to do it... you see arguing over mechanical things doesn't need language.

I drove us on the spare to the next garage - the spare wasn't especially well inflated either, you see. We filled the spare with air... and then I took Luke into the petrol station - suggested he chose a drink - he was sheepish and mentioned money... but I think "being bought a drink" is another universal language thing. We'd bonded - we were the tyre change team.

I dropped Luke and Petra off at a petrol station near Musselburgh - I hope they found a car to take them on the city bypass to the North.

New material
Last night's gig was at a place I've played loads before. I had some new stuff I wanted to try. Edits, new jokes, this and that... I was the perfect open spot - even taking my notes on stage with me... and managed to do a 20 minute set with a mix of new and old stuff. A lot of the new stuff worked quite nicely, so I should continue to do it. Maybe some of the new stuff would also work better in London. I'll get those wascally wondoners one day!

Monday, June 21

Just got back from doing The Musical! in the North West. Although we'd had high hopes for ticket sales, there was not the last minute rush we'd hoped for, and so the show had a room which was not busting to the gills with people. Ultimately, this showing has cost the production some money... but not much. While the last minute rush wasn't an overwhelming source of crowds, it was enough to turn the "intimate" into "friendly" and give us some degree of anonymity from the sea of faces we performed to.

Admittedly, these were not anonymous faces. No, it was down to the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to show their support and sit through what can only be described as a wide-ranging experience.

Overall, I think we managed to pull the show off. There were one or two moments which were hairy to say the least, and maybe I can see some places where cuts are possible, nay useful. But we held our audience's attention, which has to count for something. It's been a few months since we started rehearsing the show and I'm still finding new ways of delivering the lines - this pleases me. I really like being in this show and I'm looking forward to taking it to Edinburgh.

Anyway, must shower and go to bed. This week is, as they say in the world of stand-up comedy, something of a swine. Tuesday and Wednesday see me in London and Edinburgh respectively - more miles on the old car, there - and then Thursday evening will be in Durham... a little closer to home. Friday night is a break and then it's 4 gigs in two days on the weekend... that should be... well, evil! But it should also be fun. If I make it to my bed by this time a week today, I'll be happy. I'll be returning from Dundee! Zoiks!

Friday, June 18

This weekend is looking like something of a challenge. Unless there's a late rush of ticket sales for the show, it's going to be something of an intimate gig - this wasn't quite what we hoped that the Edinburgh preview would be - a rehearsal of the quieter days.

Still, there are many prospective ticket sales left to be made. If you can be one of them, then get off your arse and ring 0161 928 1677 and book yourself in.

Thursday, June 17

Last night in Coventry was one of the more tough gigs I've performed. Tough in the sense that I wasn't prepared to just do my set as written, but I also didn't feel I'd hit a rich seam of amusement in the audience. I wanted to fill my time slot, but I couldn't see places in my set that were going to achieve the laughs I wanted. In places, I wanted off that stage... but I kept my end up and finished on a high.

Tough gig.

You learn from the tough ones.

Today I found myself being slagged off on a couple of comedy online forums. I stood up for myself, but it's not really all that important a thing to face. Making an audience laugh is far more important than showing off on comedy forums. I do feel like I want to go away and write some funnier material, though. Just in case. If nothing else, I think I need to make a list of all the stuff I can do. As I'm writing this, I'm starting to remember routines that might have worked last night, but which had dropped far out of my brain when under the hot spotlight...

...ooh and I hurt my finger. Ow.

Now it's time to worry about the weekend's performance in Manchester. If you can come, we need you to. 0161 928 1677 - box office of Altrincham Garrick. Show on 20th at 7.30pm. The Musical!

Tuesday, June 15

Elephants and regrouping indeed. Pah!

Boy I'm feeling a hell of a lot better than I did last week. This has quite a lot to do with the fact that I've been getting some sleep. I'm still very tired, but I'm not as overwrought and sleep-deprived as I was. My stress levels are down and I'm generally feeling optimistic. This is probably useful since this is an important week. I have a reasonably important gig tomorrow and there's also the second preview of The Musical! on Sunday.

I've actually managed to spend a few consecutive evenings in my own home - this is an amazing step forward in my life and I've enjoyed it. I now have a housemate - my co-writer/star/friend from the show. So far, and it's not been too long, this is working out.

Recent events include a trip to Glenrothes on Saturday, via a half hour's stop-over in Edinburgh (long enough to get an icy Starbucks-style drinkie) where we also hooked up with an old (as in of old, rather than aged) acquaintance of mine, who'd managed to find my name in a programme for the evening's entertainment and had to come to see what the fuss was about. The gig in Glenrothes was suitably weird, but we managed to make good of it.

There have been run-throughs of the show and there's, so far, nothing to worry about if we keep working on it until the performance date.

Friday, June 11

Beneath this elephant-like exterior there lies the heart of a tender being. I know... it sounds like crap... elephant crap to boot... but it's true. I'm a great big teddy bear, which makes it just that little bit harder for me to deal with the lows that come with the life of intended highs I'm aiming for.

I don't rate myself all that highly as an entertainer - I rarely entertain myself on stage... sometimes I do, but mostly, I enjoy what comes from the audience if they're enjoying what I'm giving them. I have 4 gigs this week, 2 gigs (one of which is The Musical!) next week and 6 gigs the following week. All of that involves me throwing a lot of positive energy at an audience. In addition, there's the physical stress of not sleeping properly, travelling miles and miles and eating what can only be described as rubbish. This is quite a lot to deal with.

Am I complaining? Well, sort of... and sort of not. I chose to do this and now I'm doing it. I'm paying the price of realising my own ambitions here. If I didn't want to do this I wouldn't be doing it. My only problem is that I'm left with precious little time for anything else. So I have to make it count.

I'm so very tired at the moment... need to find some energy from somewhere...

Thursday, June 10

I'm currently regrouping... normal service should be resumed at about 5pm. Watch out Edinburgh - the big Frieze is coming (for the Evening).

Wednesday, June 9

Well... I woke up with hopes and I'm going to bed safe in the knowledge that I don't have to worry about them anymore.

Apparently this is the 700th post.

I've been writing the trivial, pointless and minute on this site for far too long - since October 30th 2001, in fact. We've learned nothing of any great value, but there have been moments of fun and moments of slight insight. And I say, you've got to fight for the plight of the slight insight... it's right!... I'm talking shite!

Oh, if only there were words to describe what's going through my mind these days - well, there are... I hear my thoughts as an internal monologue in the English language, but I'm not entirely sure I can always commit these thoughts to the page, or even to the outpourings of my mouth. Having said that, I am capable of spewing forth whatever comes into my head - especially if it's for comic effect. Last night was a prime example. I had quite a chatty audience (well, one or two key chatty audience members) and I just let them have whatever it was entered my mind - it was most amusing. It's just a shame I can't do the same at work. There's a fine line between being amusing and being sacked.

So many late nights, so many long trips, so much effort to be a comedian, when perhaps what I need could be found if I only stayed still long enough to discover it.

Monday, June 7

A summary of the weekend: It all happened.

A slightly longer summary of the weekend:

Friday
Attended the wedding of a long-standing friend. It was touching when they said their vows, because you could tell how excited they were to be saying them. After the ceremony, I nipped home to get changed and then went to the reception - this was entertaining and a great chance to make new acquaintances. As with my last visit to the Assembly Rooms (at a Christmas party 30 months ago), I ended the night on the dancefloor. A wee jigging never hurt nobody.

Saturday
Off to Manchester for a bit of picnickery - I'm not quite sure what this is, but it happened anyway. Met some new people there too. Then I went off to do a gig which was tough, but satisfying in its own way. It was followed by a late night trip back to Newcastle, via Leeds (where we ate bad food and picked up a good performer).

Sunday
Woke up, got washed and back on the road down to Yorkshire. This time Harrogate - an engagement party. I must have seen more familiar and nearly forgotten faces in that short amount of time and space than I have managed ever. It was a bit odd seeing everyone - just that bit older. Good fun though.

Then off to Manchester again (via Leeds for coffee and socialising) for another gig. This time the gig was a washout, but I think I managed to cope with my sense of inadequacy - Dr Pepper helped.

At some point, I will either get why they're good, or, more likely, have a massive rant about why The Streets, or, more specifically, the song Dry Your Eyes is a total sham. A couple of wee comments to be going on with:
  1. Rhymes must rhyme
  2. Lines must scan
  3. The word order should not be perverted to serve the rhyme
  4. The imagery shouldn't be created purely to serve the rhyme
I know that these are not hard and fast rules in art... but the more they are ignored in a single song, the more they get in the way of the message. The above song goes on forever, and I've heard DJs cooing over it... so far it's just annoyed me.

Friday, June 4

A busy day yesterday, so I didn't find time to post. Now I'm taking a moment out to put down some thoughts. I'm not sure what to write about. My head is a cacophany of thoughts:
  • Work
  • Stand-up gigs - regular bookings and competitions
  • The show in Altrincham
  • The show in London
  • The show at the Fringe
  • Rehearsing the show
  • Making enough effort to look after the house... and almost failing
  • Will the car make it?
  • Am I ever going to sleep again?
  • Weddings, engagements (others') and my own singlehood (nothing to do with them)
  • Am I confused? or is it motion sickness?
  • Should I not go on a diet... then maybe my suit would fit better?
  • Aren't musicals ace!?
  • Which shows am I supposed to be going to see? Can I fit it all in?
  • Shall I issue a press release?

I had a good gig last night... or at least I didn't have a bad one. It was hard to judge in the room we did. I think I can be confident that I delivered a reasonable performance - there were one or two moments that felt poorly timed, but that's not bad over a long session of amusement.

And if you need proof that I was near Crewe and Nantwich... and that I have a camera phone... and a pal with a fascination with Simon Weston... then:


Wednesday, June 2

I was in the right mood for laughing yesterday - put it down to too much caffeine and not enough sleep, but I was a giggly little fool for a lot of the day. This worked in my favour - I was feeling funny when I went on stage and I had a good gig last night. I felt like I knew what I was doing and like I was really communicating with the audience - perhaps one of the best gigs I've done in the last 10 or so. I simply enjoyed it and didn't feel under too much pressure (once I'd broken the ice at least).

On the train on the way to the gig I watched one of my favourite films - Top Secret!. This is full of hilarious set pieces and running gags. I know the jokes before they're about to happen and, watching it, waiting for my favourite bits, aware of the time, I was again impressed with the economy of its writing and editing. It just cruised between well executed moments and did so under the 90 minute mark (a good length for a movie). Some extra scenes on the DVD were good fun and worth watching... they were also worth cutting from the movie (distracting from rather than continuing the action). I had to put my face in my hands to stop screaming the train down - I could easily sit down and watch the whole thing again tonight when I get home. It's a great movie!

Today I tried to ring my bank. I got a call centre and someone who really couldn't help me. It was quicker to walk to the branch and talk to them then it was to go through their polite but useless call centre. I'm assuming it was an Indian call centre - the lady had an Indian name and accent, but she was lovely... just really unable to do anything of any use. What we need is local staff who know what they're doing. This "call centres full of the powerless who can't help" attitude is futile. My assistant even relied on my knowing sort codes of the various branches we were talking about - good job I had the website up at the same time.

Craziness!

Tuesday, June 1

I've done another gig-intensive month and have, therefore, completely lost my mind. At the moment, the very thought of this picture here:


Nuns with guns

Makes me wet myself uncontrollably with laughter. I can't help it. It's connecting things in my brain which don't belong - they look so happy. They rhyme... they share most of the same letters - it's so wrong, but so right.... aaaagh.

The gigging has been taking me all over the place. I was in Birmingham on Friday night where I had fun with one of the largest audiences I've played. I say I had fun... actually, I think they had more fun that I did, which perhaps means I was on the ropes a bit. My act worked, but I had to work too hard and I'm clearly not ready for that sort of audience just yet. I will be. But I need to work harder. And I will.

On Saturday I went to see a production of Jesus Christ Superstar in Bolton. I know, it's an unusual combination. It was, however, one of the finest amateur theatrical performances I have ever seen. I could pick it to bits, and have already had a fair old go at its intricacies, but it was on a grand scale and was well executed. What more do you need!?

On Sunday, I bombed down the M1 to London, bombed out in front of an audience there, and then bombed back up North.

On Monday I slept, slept and also slept. Then I grabbed a train to Edinburgh and was whisked to a gig in Glasgow - this went better. I'm currently on a day trip to Newcastle from my Edinburgh sojourn - I'll be returning to Edinburgh on the train in a couple of hours... for another gig of course.

Apart from that, nothing much of note. I've bought a DVD to watch on the train tonight - I'll probably nearly die laughing - that should be fun for the other passengers. And the woman next to me this morning was the captain of the starship Enterprise.

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