Tonight's gig was in London at the Coach and Horses in Soho for the Laughing Horse comedy club. The gig was very stressful in one sense and pretty good fun in another. I laughed at some of the acts who went on before me. I thought the audience - a spirited bunch of american student girls (largely) were quite good fun - and I generally managed to make them laugh. The problem with a night like that can be the sheer number of acts. I was closing the gig with what was supposed to be a 20 minute set (me and my guitar and some merriment). There were something like 10 on in the end, plus the MC. Some of the acts were late additions to the bill and were given 4 minute slots. The problem with this is that no comedian will ever stick to time, and the audience start to lose their attention span when the comedian keeps changing. I went on and said hello and got nothing in response - the audience were exhausted. However, I laughed at them, threw some energy their way and things got going. It's a long way to go to be stared at, though.
Journeys to gigs and then watching the acts before me make the gig harder are the two stress factors that have the most regular impact on my demeanour. Sometimes a gig can seem intimidating for spurious reasons, but feeling like I'm either going to miss my spot, or get a hard to work room, are the two big ones. Given that I set off late for tonight's gig, by car, via an industrial estate to pay for my kitchen, and had to contend with the closure of the Victoria line (having parked at one end of it to do a gig near Oxford Circus) making my return journey home harder, I had some stresses to deal with.
It all seemed done and dusted when I was the other side of a cab ride and buying a late supper in the 24 hour Tesco in Hammersmith. And some smoothies. I love smoothies.
By the end of the evening, I was back home in a haze, having organised my kitchen (desperately trying to post a cheque through a non-existent letterbox in a remote industrial estate) and having braved traffic and various gig strains and stresses. Though there was money for the gig, it went into the taxi-driver's pocket. Such is the way of the world.
I made some rather inappropriate jokes, people laughed and I got to go to sleep. That's not a bad end to a day.