The home of the haikulator

 

Links

My Stand-up & gigs
The Coding Craftsman
BurberryAndBroccoli
MarkInventions

The Musical!
Incredible Productions

apostrophell
backlash
incredible
haiku


Previous Posts

Hearing the music
When to quit
I am not as other men
Tonight I was funny
Attack of the Drones
Notes on your set
Why Pissing off a Fellow Comedian was Fun
Can I Just Say That iPads are Lame
The Honest Truth
Male identity

Blog Archives

January 1970
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

Global Domination

Locations of visitors to this page

Sunday, November 30

Another Momentous Erm Moment

Another headline for today's post. I introduced my girlfriend to my parents and they all got on. That's nice.

Saturday, November 29

Clearout

I'll be honest, it all happened so fast, I didn't remember when it happened. I'm writing about today from the vantage point of January 09. I wanted to recall when it actually happened. Last night's gig in London was driven to in a van. I had had a deadline on Thursday night for some writing, so I did the writing, then I woke up on Friday morning, booked a van, went to get it on the lunchtime, and used it for the weekend.

After my gig on Friday night, I drove to my girlfriend's place where I stayed overnight. On Saturday morning we awoke with a mission - we had to go to Newcastle to pack the remainder of my Novacastrian worldly goods into the van. This we did.

I'd go into detail, but there's no point. We did it, in about 90 minutes. That was all it took to clearout the house. In some cases, I decided to leave stuff for the new folks, in some cases, items were put outside for council collection.

Then we drove to Leeds for a night out with my Leeds folks/"The lads".

Friday, November 28

Gets My Goat

Tonight's Gig at The Goat Tavern was made odd by the fact that all the seats were reserved for a party of people who had pre-booked but then never arrived. We pondered this as the walk-up attendees all sat at the back of the room, some on the bar, waiting for the show to start.

It soon became apparent, the company that had pre-booked their office party to come to this comedy night must have gone out of business. In fact, the promoter of the gig checked online and found that to be the case. The credit crunch hits another victim.

We rearranged the room and the gig went ahead. Unfortunately, the sound was hampered by broken leads and suchlike. As a result, I went on to do my set totally acoustically. This involved rather a lot of shouting and using up of oxygen. I was up to the challenge.

Without the microphone it can feel a bit like a man shouting in a pub. Also, without the mic, the audience can't laugh over the joke as they'll feel like they might miss the next bit... alternatively, if they decide to laugh when they want, they actually WILL miss the next bit. I ended up choosing slightly different material so that there were obvious laughter breaks in the songs. It seems a bit formulaic, but a lot of comedy is.

Thursday, November 27

Stay Safe

This article on safe shopping may be useful to you. I'm claiming nothing about my involvement in it... though it feels like someone has put it through a good editorial session.

Tuesday, November 25

Foraging For It

The gig tonight was somewhat odd. I don't want to besmirch the good name of the people who organised it, but it was a small and perfectly formed audience in a gig so small that it seemed like it might actually be a front for something else. In fact, I think I made a joke along the lines of that while I was on stage. I was the last act of a handful of new acts and I felt a bit odd about the whole thing.

On the up side, I feel like I did well enough on stage. On the down side, I think it's hard to walk away from a gig like this feeling anything other than a big fish in a tiny pond. I felt a show off.

A Snapshot

I'm at my desk, I'm eating two fisherman's friends simultaneously. There is a lot of paper around me, though the desk is fairly empty by my standard. The mouldy coffee cup lets things down a bit. I've got the Dirty Dancing soundtrack in my ears. There's a plate with bits of rubbish and banana skins on it. I'm trying to multi-task and I'm failing.

I've not updated this blog in too long again (though I may do so retrospectively at some point). I can't even use the broken laptop keyboard as an excuse, since I replaced it last night.

I'll be back to work in a second.

I've a gig tonight.

Friday, November 21

Nearly There

The new keyboard has arrived... this one is dissolving... not for much longer. It'll be a colour change and will require open heart surgery of the computer, but it will be a renewed ability to type.

Of course, if I were wise, I'd somehow find a publication who would pay me towrite up my keyboard changing experiences and, thus, cover the cost of the parts.

Thursday, November 20

A Giggle Not A Gig

Performing to an audience can be a very relaxing experience. How so? Surely the process of getting ready to perform is scary and exhilarating? Well, yes, but once you hit the stage and actually relax into the doing of it, it can be more soothing than just sitting in a chair relaxing. It widens the dynamic range of emotions you're feeling, to misquote something someone said to me today. So, what I'm saying is that a good gig can be a remedy. This was certainly the case the other week when two good gigs was a double remedy for me.

Tonight, at nearly the end of an icky sort of a challenging week, I needed something different. I needed to have some sort of giggle time. I could have probably gotten the buzz from a gig, but perhaps I would have preferred pissing about with beer mats with the boys.

Well, one cancelled gig later, and that's exactly what we were doing. They make a satisfying "punk" sound when you flick them off the top of a glass, and it's even more fun when then plop down back on the rim of the glass. Or you can launch the beer mat at a friend by angling the glass before flicking.

Childish? Yes.

Fun? Definitely.

I ended up back home, just in time to get on with some writing I had half started. I've now finished.

The Award's In


Maybe it's easy to scoff at being awarded something, but I'm proud to have received my Dark Chat special award. It means that someone bothered to enjoy my stuff and agree that they thought it was amusing enough to create a word document as a prize for me. In this instance, it was my shenanigans on a bus and then again in a bar which caught their attention. Thank you. I accept this award on behalf of everyone who made it possible. Sorry, I'm filling up...

Wednesday, November 19

Punky

This really is the week of the long working hours. Monday ran until 7pm. Tuesday similar - 7pm. Today was a rollercoaster. There was working until about 6.15pm, in a flurry of work-related absorption, a lot of which I can't quite remember, but which successfully managed to take me away from the personal email, gig seeking and blog reading which is a sure sign that I have some spare time to myself in any given day.

Then I rushed out to Tesco to get some refreshments. This was closely followed by a team curry - it was social, but there was a tension in the air. Something important was scheduled for the latter part of the evening. We had our curries and I even ordered a curry whose name "Jeera" sounds like a tool we're going to use at work - "JIRA" - sad, but true. For desert, there were "Punkies". The punky is a toy penguin with a punk hairdo and some ice cream inside. To be honest, the diet has been failing this week - a total write off.

Then the late night work session. We went to an office of a software support company and set about, with their help, going through the process of making some key changes to our main systems. With alarms ringing, as we took the system down, and with a lot of pressure, the procedure was undertaken. I had provided cokes, red bull and a box of Cadbury Heroes - hopefully as a vote of confidence to my team - "Guys, you're the heroes".

Gingerly, the system was brought back up, then it was tested. Then I did some sort of test of my own, which should have stormed it with requests. It was working.

Now it remains to be seen whether the system will survive. In truth it should be a very small change, but time will tell.

A Nice Random Email

i had a dream last night that dawn french was in the pub, i kept trying to give her yr number so u could support her and lenny on a tour they were planning..but she wouldn't take it..sorry.


For me, it's the "sorry". It's like "I tried to get you work in my dream but I'm sorry it didn't work out"... or possibly "I dreamed you were a failure, sorry". Genius!

Media

I'm not claiming to have had anything to do with it, but you might want to read this if you fancy exercising paranoia in your personal life.

Tuesday, November 18

Slippage

I read a reasonably gripping book recently - Black House, by Stephen King and Peter Straub. In this book, the concept of slippage is mentioned. It's a good word, as is the other ubquitous book in the piece - opopanax, which means a word not found in the dictionary, especially if you don't find it in the dictionary. I mention slippage primarily because I feel like I've been suffering it a bit over the last couple of days. I've fallen from the extreme high of Saturday night, where I felt like the world was my oyster, to a bit of a low.

There are various reasons why this might be. The events of Saturday night included some amazing highs, one obvious one being the way that my silly filthy song damn near caused a riot in the school hall I was performing it in. Saturday night's audience reflected the excellent mood of Saturday night - fun, high, lovely, joyous, etc. It feels like reality has set in a bit ever since... and brought things down.

It doesn't help that work is particularly over demanding this week. I was in until 7pm last night, after 7pm tonight, and I expect a late night tomorrow night, which is spliced with some social event, but it's all work-oriented. I think that I'm in a sort of low-simmering state of stress. There's no major panic, but I can feel the walls I'm backed up against all around me.

Gig-wise, there have been a couple of gigs since Saturday's high. Both these gigs have been fairly low-attendance affairs with an audience that may, or may not, give a damn. I should be able to do well with any audience, and I think you have to calibrate what "well" means based on the crowd in front of you. To be honest, though, although I caused laughter tonight, I was nearly phoning the performance in. I was in an odd mood, let's assume work had an effect on that, and I was either delivering the routine without caring, or I was doing something that's not really a reflection of who I am, nor who I want to be on stage.

If it were a year ago, and I was still in the darker places my mind inhabited then, then I would understand why I am behaving the way I appear to be. As it is, there's a lot going right in my life at the moment. I should be giddily exclaiming how good it is that I got an email tonight giving me an award from the very nice people at Darkchat for the performances they saw me at in Edinburgh. I should be thrilled that my mortgage payments are being affected in a good way by the current financial shenanigans. I should be excited about the new arrival in my life (hopefully tomorrow) of a replacement laptop keyboard - one where the T key doesn't come off every few seconds. I should be happy that I've got people to be close to and spend time with (a vague hint at stuff I'm not going to detail on here). In short, I shouldn't be making airheaded american blonde girls nearly cry in the front row of a gig because I was a little too caustic with my handling of them.

Oh, the irony. You wait around, blethering about how comedy is done, receive the email of your award, and then bound onto stage and confuse an audience for a bit until you call it a draw. And when I say "you", I mean "me".

Today's not been the best. I couldn't wake up and I didn't spend much of today glad that I managed it in the end.

However, tomorrow may well be better. I think I'm just feeling a bit run down. Like road kill.

Monday, November 17

Today Is Broken

I should have known how today would go from the off. I received a phone call in my morning bleary state. I spoke for a short while and then my phone died. In my attempt to reset it, by removing the battery, I managed to drop the battery down the back of the bed. Before I knew it, I was pulling a big mattress around and cursing the foolishness of morning butter fingers.

Work wasn't the best fun today as we continued our trawl through the "bucket of shit". This was followed by something which is neither fun nor non-fun - personal reviews. In this case, I was conducting them. I did three. Back to back. There were 30 minute buffers planned between them. These buffers were used up. In the end, it fried my brain. I think the process was given due attention, but my brain melted.

I left the office late, went to the supermarket, ate some food, tried to get started on the DIY - it wasn't going well. In the end, I successfully cut a piece of MDF to exactly the wrong shape and size. That's that stuffed.

I then had a tantrum. It was a fairly silent tantrum. I just had to get away from the task in hand, rather than scream and shout and break things. So I did. I was wrung out and miserable. The day was totally broken.

In an attempt to fix something in my life, though, I managed to order a new keyboard for my laptop. At least I'll be able to type comfortably again soon, provided I don't bust the computer when I try and fit the thing. It will involve prying expensive equipment open... Oh dear!

Is there an up to this down down deeper and down tale? Well, a little. I recorded a draft of a song I'm working on. It required some computer-based multi-track recording. I didn't need to think too hard about production quality, just make enough of a demo to show how the song fits together. I showed it to a friend. It's still too long. It can be sped up, but then it sounds a bit weird. So more work to do. The side effect of this process was that I got the song stuck in my head again! Why why why!?

A final up to the day - I read a couple of scripts I either wrote or half-wrote a while ago. They had some definite funny bits in. I enjoyed them.

It's odd being me.

Sunday, November 16

A long time in Politics

A week is a long time in Politics, so someone one said. I should find out who said it... Ok, it was Harold Wilson. I probably knew that. It's also a long time in my life. I do loads in a given week. Even this weekend had loads in it.

I would say I spent a lot of today washing up. This is because there had been a lot of cooking or baking or general use of the kitchen. Use of a kitchen is a sure sign of a busy household, so clearly I've had a good time in the house this weekend, which I did.

I can't think of anything wrong with this weekend, except that it was not longer and that it was cut short so I could attend tonight's gig.

Tonight's gig was in the category of box ticking. The audience turned up since they may as well do. We all did our sets because we were there and we might as well. When laughs happened, they happened more out of the same spirit. Well, it's alright, we may as well laugh.

Occasionally, though, something can peak. A cracking set from the very wrong Liz Carr, coupled with a little audience interaction in other people's sets, and some of Richmond was converted into belly laughs. I think you learn more from these nights than it first appears.

Saturday, November 15

Pizza and Gigs

Highlights of today include (but are not limited to) making fresh pizza and doing the gig. Both of these events were fairly good examples of their ilk.

The pizza, the first I've made in a couple of years, required me to sterilise and clear a large section of worktop in my kitchen. Then the good times began. Dough kneeding galore. I think the dough creation was a highlight of my recent culinary skill rediscovery.

As the dough rose, there was time to create a nice tomato sauce for the pizza topping and to prepare vegetables and cheese for the topping. Other products were also used.

Then, after showing off with dough rolling and general flinging, a hefty creation went into a hot oven, what emerged was gastric art.

With a happy belly, the gig was attended. A good audience can make any act look brilliant. I had a nice time with these people and left having done 31 minutes of laughter creation, with a few songs left not performed. They had a good time, but then they had intended to have a good time. Thus, they only required someone vaguely comedian-shaped to be present and they could have their inevitable fun.

That sounds almost disparaging, but it's just a bit of over-simplification of what is, basically, the truth. You can tell when the audience are there to make it work. It's a pleasure to do those gigs.

Friday, November 14

How to end a busy day

Today was day two of "Bucket of shit day". Apparently, our bucket runneth over. It wasn't fun and I got a bit barksome. However, progress was made.

Rather than hang around to complete the task, which would have required end-of-hard-week-unnecessary-overtime, I went off to my gig, which was a last-minute MCing slot in Totton, which is near Southampton.

Overall, it was an interesting gig and I messed about on stage, finding my blethering to be received less sympathetically than the previous night's. Still, the audience did my bidding and I did a reasonable amount of material with them. The combination of the excellent closing act and the fairly reasonable end-time of the gig meant that I got home happy and relaxed, ready to sleep away a troublesome week.

Thursday, November 13

The Cat's in the Cradle

Today was day one of "Bucket of shit day". It wasn't enough. The bucket's too big. Yuck.

After reaching the limit of the shit-processing, I headed out to a gig in Cradley Heath. I'm always disparaging about this place in my set, but I really love going there. In truth only one event there is really mentioned, and that was a nice memorable night.

Having said that, the gig is really a small time small town gig... but such gigs have heart! For how this gig went, see this page, though not yet... at the time of writing, there's no review.

I had fun, even getting away with some topical material about Shannon Matthews, written from the headlines of the day's tabloids, bought hastily on the way to the gig.

Talking of hasty writing, I'd foolishly agreed a short-deadline article writing adventure. I had a small word budget and a lot to say - all for 12pm tomorrow. I had a long session with the laptop, the toilet and many re-edits. I can't say no, it would seem. Still, I think I got a vaguely passable article out in the end.

Wednesday, November 12

Remote Night In II

Tonight was a chance to create an ad-hoc chicken dish and then curl up and watch Little Shop of Horrors. I've not seen this film in a long while. It's a decent imitation of the stage show, but it's not quite the stage show I somehow really adore.

I still enjoyed it.

Tuesday, November 11

Remote Night In Part I

With a selection of DVDs, anyone can have a night in. In this case, I had to sit and giggle like a loon while we watched the brilliant Top Secret. I love this film. It made me laugh like a child, since I was a child when I first learned all the moments in it which make it special. It's still special... and so am I...

Monday, November 10

Thank You Professor Vodaphone

You get the impression that the Royal Institution is a place where people first heard of some of what we consider to be the key discoveries that underpin the modern world. You get a sense that Victorian gentlemen in heavy coats, mocked or praised scientists, dependent largely on their ability to present their ideas. Who knows what horrors were encouraged and what genius discouraged in this way? Is that even how it works? or just some fantasy of mine? I don't know.

I do know that I was invited to watch a lecture at the Royal Institution tonight. I also know that it was very interesting and made for a good start to an intelligent evening. A good night out indeed.

Sunday, November 9

A great feed

Sometimes people gather together to share food, conversation, company, and time. This was such a day. Somewhere in the melee of the events, I wrote some software and fixed an mp3 player. Such is my take on company!

Saturday, November 8

Trotting around town

What do people do on weekends? A trip to the retail side of this capitalist culture seemed in order. With coffee to drink, big fat smoothies to enjoy, shops to browse and bright Christmas decorations to look at in wonderment at how far off that event seems, this was a celebration of how the high street works.

It happened to be in Reading.

It could have been anywhere.

Friday, November 7

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

The planning exercise that I'd found daunting turned out to be worth feeling daunted over. An anticipated problem is no easier from the accuracy of the anticipation.

It took some rushing home for a quick cleanse and a rush back out to get me into a mood where I could start to slow down and feel better. I met up with a similarly harried person. It all started to melt away. The weekend had begun.

Thank you to the overattentive waitress, who lurked around our table like Igor the lab assistant in a bad Frankenstein rip off. Without you, the ice would have taken longer to break.

Thursday, November 6

Two Gigs

Doing all I had to do today was hard work. The fact that I had to do 2 gigs after it all didn't make that any easier. In some ways, it was probably knowing that I had to do the gigs which added to the stress, yet without those gigs I would have had no outlet for removing the stress.

The truth is that the random affection of a bunch of strangers can be very very helpful. I also knew that there was more in life that mattered than these gigs. So, I just went out there looking to have a laugh, and I created much mirth in the process.

The first gig went reasonably well. I did about 30 minutes. Then I headed from Eastwood, Notts, to Mansfield, also Notts. I thought it was Derbyshire. I was wrong.

I did 40 minutes at the second place, slightly confused about how much material I was just repeated from about an hour previously. Still, the audience responded and this emboldened me. I knew I was running late into the night, but I didn't really care. I would be late home anyway. Perhaps 70 minutes' stage time is worth the long drive and the pre-gig stress.

I came home quite happy.

Wednesday, November 5

Remember Remember

If it's so hard to remember the fifth of November, why not set an outlook reminder, rather than organise a bunch of people to set fire to something as a pyromaniac's aide memoir?

I suspect I've missed the point.

Or maybe I was just messing about for nearly comic effect. I wouldn't pretend that I've started this particular note very well.

Today has been its own shade of challenging. There are some great successes in the pipeline, but there are a lot of problems lurking around the sidelines either happening or threatening to happen. There just doesn't seem to be the time to keep them all at bay. So, for all the joy of seeing some things work, there's the struggle to keep up with everything else.

I got hooked a couple of times today in a couple of conversations about process and what's important. Importance number 1: have a process. Importance number 2: measure things. Importance number 3: resolve to improve things on an ongoing basis.

Anyway, it has been a day where the afternoon just disappeared and I'm left wondering if I'll ever catch up, or get ahead.

Never mind. Tonight was a night for fireworks, soup and sausages. That, along with excellent company, beats a day of work stress, hands down.

One final note. A really good system can be let down by bad staff - cue the flailing in Argos this lunchtime. Conversely, a bad system can be propped up by good staff... sometimes to their own detriment, since they'll fix stuff which should be fixed in the system, rather than by their efforts. If they don't complain, it can't be fixed.

Regular monitoring can help... provided you do something about it and monitor useful things.

Tuesday, November 4

Second Gig Back

To describe the working day today is probably the subject of another blog. In fact, I have a work blog and it was the target of such thoughts. I can say that I planned to spend a little time near High Wycombe and then return to the main office in Bracknell, but it occurred to me, as I reached the location in High Wycombe, that I would need to use the M40 later that day and I may as well work remotely. Most of my team was not working in the main office anyway, so it seemed a sensible way to reduce driving time and stress.

I can't do this every time, but it's nice to optimise.

Tonight's gig was a definite highlight of the week so far, though I happen to know of more enjoyable events just around the corner. Everything about the way the gig worked was good for me. I had a trouble-free journey to Sutton Coldfield. I had a chance to stop off in the official motorway services of my stand-up comedy touring - Warwick - and get a coffee and a change of clothes. This was a total change of outer clothes too. Normally, I wear the gig shirt to work and just change into jeans. In this instance, I felt it would be more appropriate to take last nights worn-for-four-hours gig shirt in the car and switch from work attire to the whole outfit. Why not, eh?

I didn't drink too much coffee.

I didn't buy any cakes or muffins, because I'm trying to be good.

I got to a venue, helped myself to the sound system, got things set up rather well in my view, and then relaxed.

I didn't even have the all you can eat Thai buffet that the venue offered, even though the manager shared his first name with me, which is surely a sign that I should eat enough for two Ashleys... right? No? Ok.

Looking around the room, it seemed like this could be a hard gig to play. But everyone was really positive about it, and I chose to discard the fact that I'd be standing in a glass-surrounded box, looking into a kitchen, with audience on each side and very few in the catchment area. I'd have to leave it to the PA system to help me fill the room. The PA system that I'd set up for the gig... so it would be my fault.

I didn't really get particularly worried about it. I knew some of the acts on the bill, in particular one guy who has done this gig a few times and was really positive about the experience. So we just hung around shooting the breeze. I wanted to write that we shot the breeze, but that doesn't make sense. I'm also reminded of the joke I wrote for when a friend of mine and I went to Paris last year and hung out in a cafe with guns and cheese, just shooting the bries. I digress.

When it was time to go on, I went on and did my thing. It was lovely. The last minute heckle didn't seem to do anything except shoot the heckler in his own foot. If you asked me how I managed to handle it, the answer would be a rather pompous "experience, dear boy". Yet that's basically how I putted the heckler's remarks back to him. I'm putting it in that golfing term, since it was a gentle tap, much like you would do on the putting green. At this stage, I should point out that I don't play golf... except crazy golf, which befits a crazy cat like myself. Chatting with my friend in the interval, he had overheard people wondering how I had appeared to be so quick in my reactions to the heckler. The answer is pitifully simple - I just followed a long-established method of dealing with the heckler.

Step 1: ask him to repeat himself
Step 2: listen to what he has to say, and listen to the audience reaction
Step 3: choose from any stock lines that may flash up in front of your eyes
Step 4: react yourself if necessary, without making a joke
Step 5: if a joke is needed, you've had steps 1-4 to think of one

I sometimes thing of the film "The Terminator" when I try to describe what happens in my head in moments like this, or in moments when I'm working out what I want to do next. It's like my mind becomes the terminal screen that overlays The Terminator's vision. A series of options flash up for things to do next. I then select one. It gets highlighted and then goes into action. Sometimes, I select one, think twice and then discard it. I really pulled my punches with the heckler tonight, for instance, because it didn't need a show of force; it was all good natured. Also, I was on my best behaviour, since I had promised that I would keep things fairly clean for the audience.

They were eating Thai food, so I suppose I should not have been too filthy - they wanted to continue enjoying their food and not sick it up.

Bizarrely, I drove home with the radio playing and work on my mind. A strange way to end a gig night, but the way it goes sometimes.

Last night's mini gig breakdown was pretty much behind me.

Monday, November 3

First Gig Back

Today could have been easier. It was my first day back in the office after my trip and I really didn't seem to stop. I sat in on a meeting which opened my eyes a bit. I ran round doing other things. I put my team through a rather basic, but quite useful planning exercise. I also encouraged everyone to fill in a mood check survey. This may or may not help track the mood of the team on a weekly basis. I've written it rather subjectively, and also with certain key questions in mind. But perhaps it's hard to choose between my answers. We'll see. If the results stay the same, then it will actually be a measure of people's static opinions, not their dynamics... or maybe the sample size of 6 won't allow for mood swings. I don't know.

I did use a 4 point scale, which means that nobody can sit on the fence.

Actually, I did the work on the survey last night, which probably explains why I came to work a bit worked up. I had done an hour or so last night, just to get ahead on the week. It breaks my rule of never emailing people at ridiculous times of the day, since I once had a manager that did this, and it scared me to think that things were so urgent that management were working in the small hours to issue commands. I think I got away with it, though.

So, a busy busy day. I got away from the office fairly late, and then I zoomed home, got changed, and then drove the 40 minutes to the gig I was meant to be doing.

I thought I was relaxed. I felt fairly highly spirited. I don't think I was quite prepared. I seldom rehearse, mind, unless I'm trying new material. A rehearsal might have helped. One week out of gigging and my set felt like a different creature to the one I was working with the previous Sunday (as in 8 days previously). On top of that, at some point, I had one of those moments. The stress was released. This was both the tension that always sits on your shoulders when you perform, and also a lot of built up nervous energy from the last week or so of pushing myself.

I should add, the weekend was a fairly calm affair, but it was also the weekend, and, thus, time out of the real world.

I got the audience giggling with one of my songs. It was a song I need to deliver dead pan. I'm afraid I lost it. I got the giggles too - possibly the first time I've gotten such bad giggles on that song. I was chuckling so hard, I had to stop the song and explain that it doesn't work when I appear to find it funny. My laughter and the audience's laughter had been working off each other, so it wasn't a total embarrassment. Far from it, it was actually a funny moment in the set.

Generally, the room was a bit weird, and the sound of next door's TV coming through the wall didn't help. However, when I got near the 30 minute mark, I asked the audience if I should cut to a quick ending, or do an extra song and they chose the extra song - "Oh my god. You LIKE me!?" - I exclaimed. I was surprised. Surprised and pleased. I tossed a joke at them, did my two songs and then buggered off.

It was a self-indulgent performance from me, but the audience made it ok. The laughter really helped break some of the ice forming over my brain.

Sunday, November 2

SunDIY

All Sundays should have these attributes:
  • Relaxing
  • Reading
  • Pittling about with computers
  • A trip to B&Q
  • Buying some timber
  • Operating tools
  • Progressing with DIY
Well, maybe not all, but these things were welcome today for sure. Progress was made on the framework which surrounds my boiler. It now has some, but not quite all of them, panels hanging off it. The method of fixing these panels is inspired - inspired by a friend, but inspired nonetheless.

A great moment occurred when the first panel fell perfectly into place. The job seemed pretty special.

Saturday, November 1

Summarising Saturday Too

Woke up. Went to see family. Had coffee and book buying. Had Tesco and food shopping. Then it was time to make a pasta sauce to dream about. It was exceedingly dreamy. I learned that I don't take cooking shortcuts very often.

All content ©2001 - 2012 Ashley Frieze