Wednesday, 31 August 2016

GBBO 2016: Volume Two (31.08.16)

Today saw the second instalment of this year's series of the Bake Off, which I watched with the fingers of one hand poised on my mobile's Twitter app, and the other hovering over the biscuit barrel; I like to multi-task.

See below for a round-up of my sweet-treat tweets, thus marking the third day running of Twitter-based blog posts; it seems that after Edinburgh, I can only write in 140-character bursts.

8:01pm: Mel's hood makes her look like Rod Stewart.
8:04pm: The strings underscoring #GBBO are played by the Hollywood, Berry, Perkins and Giedroyc Quartet. 
8:05pm: Val's ice cream anecdote was worthy of Parkinson. 
8:07pm: Tom packing a sausage = FOOD PORN.

12:08pm: Benjamina's not a name.

8:11pm: I like how the colour of Paul Hollywood's beard fades into his shirt.

8:14pm: Paul & Mary's challenge: make 24 identical biscuits. David's challenge: to eat 24 identical biscuits before the end of segment.

8:16pm: The downside to the first few episodes in the current #GBBO series: you don't know which faces you're destined to forget. 
8:18pm: Val's biscuits look like the sort of thing I'd make (which isn't a compliment).

8:19pm: Every shot of Paul Hollywood should come with a wah-wah pedal accompaniment.

8:23pm: Paul's shirt even matches with the tablecloth.

8:24pm: Running your fingers through Paul Hollywood's hair would cut them to shreds.

8:26pm: Rav's piping is reminiscent of me on the toilet.

8:29pm: Who wants to eat a blown-on-by-Val biscuit?

8:32pm: Andrew looks like a ginger Eddie Redmayne.

8:36pm: Selasi could punch you into the New Year.

8:37pm: I'd pay to see a Paul Hollywood / Selasi Stare-off.

8:40pm: In tribute to this wk's gingerbread challenge, I'm baking a frieze of Stevenage Town Centre, complete with clock tower, statue & chav.

8:42pm: My windows are made from boiled sweets too.

8:43pm: I bow to Selasi's coolness and self-control.

8:47pm: This isn't good for my blood pressure.

8:48pm: Candice's pub is excellent.

8:50pm: Val and Louise could sell their gingerbread stories in broken biscuit boxes at Poundstretcher.

8:50pm: I have a problem with finishing too.

8:53pm: I dubbed the crunching sounds in post-production.

8:55pm: Mary will eat a bit of carpet. No comment.

8:55pm: Candice's The King Bill sounds like a censored swear.

8:57pm: Val's eyes have no pupils.

8:58pm: Val rocks a gilet. 

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Taximan.

This morning, before catching the train home from Edinburgh (which I'm still on as we speak; delayed, of course), I took a taxi to the Parcelforce depot and back to my digs, to send my projector, screen and the rest of my equipment down south. Thankfully, this went pretty seamlessly, which was good, as I was worried something would slow me down and make me miss my train.

While there weren't any problems to stall me, the journey was eventful, which I documented for posterity on Twitter. See below a blow-by-blow account of my trip; who says my blog isn't a fascinating and useful resource?

8:55am: Passing through Edinburgh in a taxi to drop off my props at the Parcelforce depot. It's already a ghost town comparatively, post-EdFringe.

9:04am: Passing a shop called Better Tiles. Than whom?

9:05am: Passing Black Dog Barbers. Tailoring specifically to a depressed Winson Churchill?

9:06am: ...and SuperNews. For SuperTed?

9:08am: ...and a Café Bistro. Identity crisis?

9:09am: ...and Edinburgh Carstore. Often confused with Edinburgh Castle.

9:11am: ...and a building called, simply, Restaurant.

9:22am: Picture on a bus stop of a Panda, with the tagline, 'I took a bus to tackle climate change'. Did he though?

9:24am: Just passed a clinic called Babes in the Womb. I don't remember that panto.

9:25am: (We're having fun on this journey, aren't we?)

9:26am: Hello! There's a business next to Better Tiles called Better Bathrooms. Diversifying.

9:28am: Shop called Bitz and Bobz. Eightiez?

9:31am: Tattooist called Three Daggers. Terrifying.

9:32am: Sign reading 'Apologise for any inconvenience caused'. No.

9:35am: ...West End Vets. Pet Shop Boys tribute?

9:45am: Just the Tonic at The Caves is all packed up on the outside. Sad face.

Monday, 29 August 2016

'University Challenged 2016/17: Volume Seven (29.08.16)'


“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”. So says Thumper in Bambi. While this may be sage advice from a rabbit, it isn’t necessarily the case when tweeting along to BBC2's University Challenge.

This week’s show saw a battle between the two university Goliaths: Cambridge (Robinson) and Oxford (Wadham). While the former won the game, the latter came first when it came to amusing hair and eyebrow combinations, thanks to the follicular work of Holmes and Lucas. In fact, it seems I was obsessed with hair in general when tweeting about this week's programme, as the following posts attest. I may be big, but I’m not clever; clearly, or I’d be competing myself (though I’m not sure if my drama school diploma in Acting & Musical Theatre would class as a university qualification).

Robinson - Cambridge Vs. Wadham - Oxford (29.08.16)

8:02pm: Anyone who says 'reading' instead of 'studying' needs a swift punch up the bracket.

8:03pm: Holmes' hair: only on #University Challenge

8:04pm: Holmes' hair reads from left to right.

8:05pm: Lucas' eyebrows are made of fuzzy felt.

8:05pm: Holmes is waiting for his student loan to come through before finishing his haircut.

8:07pm: I want Paxman saying "a popular term for the buttocks" as my text tone.

8:09pm: Paxman's hairstyle tribute to Wendy Craig is nearly complete.

8:09pm: Hodge is f**king furious.

8:11pm: No-one has ever said Kafka so angrily.

8:15pm: The texture of Pinder's hair is reminiscent of a badger's pelt.

8:18pm: Holmes ran out of change to put in the meter, mid-electric-razor-haircut.

8:19pm: Paxman: "Ferkin'".

8:20pm: Think of the banter in the green room.

8:24pm: Hodge keeps falling asleep.

8:26pm: There's no-one more comfortable in their own skin than Verghese on the planet.

8:28pm: Verghese has the look of a man who favours elbow patches.

Coming Up For Air.


As far as I'm concerned, that’s this year’s Fringe done with.

What a month it's been. I emerge, twenty-six days from when I first stepped off the train, exhausted, emotionless, brain-dead, but proud of what I've achieved. To do my first solo run in Edinburgh was always going to be a big step; one I would never have dreamed of taking when I first brought a show here with Glyn eight years ago.

Not everything was a success – it was never going to be – but on the whole, I’m satisfied with how things panned out. I’ve been far less happy with how things have transpired in the past. Perhaps the biggest frustration was only getting two reviews (a favourable one from Broadway Baby, and a slating from a Twitter reviewer who missed the first ten minutes of the show and consequently didn’t give it a fair hearing), but this was two more than many comics I know who truly deserved them. I would have liked more of an industry presence too, but this was always going to be difficult when I was up against so much competition; at least I can invite people to see me post-Fringe, now I’m presumably match-fit.

One thing I’m for the most part happy with is how my show was received by those who did see it, and by how much I’ve come on since my tentative steps as a solo performer with my Brighton Fringe show ‘…and Ephgrave’ last year. I came out of that frustrated, and with a sense that I perhaps wasn’t capable of doing stand-up on my own, primarily due to a venomous review so early into my solo career. A year on, I’m still plagued with regular self-doubt, but on the whole, I have a firmer sense of my own ability. I’m proud of my second show, 'Mostly David Ephgrave'; there are still plenty of things I’d change if I were to do it again, but there are also things I'm very pleased with.

The most fruitful investment of the run was the flyering team I employed to promote it. I was very lucky that the three people I took on were so nice and so good at the job. They were a picture of keenness and conscientiousness, and I couldn’t have done it without them. One of them was at the venue every day before me, which is pretty astounding when you consider they only had one day off. Thank you Ewan, Alex and Calum; the three of you were bloody fantastic.

(My techie - the brilliant character comic Fraser Millward - was a perfect companion for the run too, who helped me keep hold of at least a vestige of my sanity.) 

The big question is ‘what happens next?’. I'd like to get a few London dates in the diary quickly, so I can invite industry people while the iron is hot. I’m also pretty sure I'll be back next year. I’ve no idea what my next show will contain yet, but let’s be honest, it’s far too early to consider things like that. First things first, I need to get home and rest. I also need to ship all my gear back to Hitchin, which is no mean feat. If only I were a white van man I could drive it all back myself, but I’m not, so I can’t. Now, forgive me while I pack my luggage and tidy my digs. See you next year, Edinburgh, you vicious beat.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Too Close For Comfort.


Not only is there only one Jasper Carrot; there's also only one more show to go.

Today’s show was quite a fun one, although as I write this, I’m struggling to remember which gig it was, through overtiredness. I know there weren’t any incidents and I seem to remember laughter, but as for the detail, it’s temporarily slipped my mind; that’s what happens when you do twenty-four-plus shows in a row with only one day off.

When Dan - the act who follows me in the space – came into the room after my show, he looked genuinely jealous of me for having just one left, while I no doubt looked at my techie Fraser with a similar expression when he did his last show this evening, which I tech for him. Each and everyone of us up here are shells of the people we were when we started the month, and all of us could do with a break. That’s not to say that this year’s Fringe wasn't a rewarding and enjoyable experience – I’ve had a great time – but even the best things can feel like the worst when you’re exhausted and in the wrong mindset.

I’m not sure how I’ll feel once the run is over and done with and I’m back home. I keep equating my current emotional state to Stockholm Syndrome: while it’s been a rollercoaster of a month, I’ve forgotten what life was like before it. Will I still be able to function in normal society without feeling the need to stand at one end of a dungeon every day at midday, performing to a handful of people who may or may not be entertained by what I’m saying. I’m of course being over-dramatic; my venue isn’t really a dungeon.

Now, it’s time for me to go to bed as I need my beauty sleep. Should you be Edinburgh-way tomorrow lunchtime, drop into Just the Tonic at the Caves to catch me do my last gig of the run. I may douse myself in petrol and set myself alight as a finale; I do like to go out with a bang.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Final Countdown.


It’s official: at time of going to press, I only have two Edinburgh shows left.

It’s strange to finally be at a point on the calendar I almost never thought I’d reach. Many’s the time I’d look at the wall planner in Glyn’s and my office, scan my eyes over August and think I’d never get a show together in time for it, let alone reach the end of the run. It was the cause of fear, self-doubt and anxiety on and off from the moment I decided to go to Scotland to do my first solo Edinburgh run; now it’s nearly over, those feelings have been replaced with pride and even a little faith in my own ability - though like any performer, my insecurities haven’t left completely.

In a strange way, as I’ve got more tired over the last week or so, my show's become more enjoyable. I play with the material a darn sight more than I did a few weeks back. Today was a case in point, when a slightly older, quieter contingent to the audience needed constant cajoling to keep them on board. For the first few minutes, I kept being distracted by a woman who was constantly looking in a large paper bag on the seat next to her and fiddling with the contents. On questioning her, I found out the bag was full of maps, which wasn’t what I'd expected. She didn’t mind my constant teasing and was good sport.

Conversely, I found myself repeatedly drawn in by a man whose eyes were boring into my soul, seemingly hating my every word and movement. I’d spoken to him briefly outside the venue before the gig, when he snappily asked Steve and my flyerer Ewan, “Are you the queue?”
“No, we’re not,” I replied.”What show are you looking for?”
“It’s at Venue 88. Are you the queue?”
As I walked huffily up the hill towards the entrances to the caves, I silently prayed he wasn't there for me, though I knew he inevitably would be.

After the show, I went for lunch with Steve, popped into a whisky bar for a 'wee dram' and then saw him off at the station, as he was going home today. As I left him, I felt my mood and enthusiasm drop. I’d remained upbeat, thanks to the constant stream of visitors this week, but now they’ve gone, I’m conscious of just how long I’ve been up here and how tired I’ve become. Each day, I wake up with scarcely any energy, and while I manage to get my adrenalin going for the hour of my show, it’s all the walking past people on the street with no spacial awareness or avoiding flyerers that has finally taken its toll. There’s only so long you can keep momentum going before you long to wind things down. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll make the most of the last two shows, but when they’re done, I’ll return to my stasis chamber willingly, to consider my next move.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

I'm so Tired.


In many ways, today was one of my best days for taking in the Edinburgh Fringe experience thus far.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m tired beyond belief, and start each day in a brain-fugged state, barely able to work up any energy, until my show kicks off and Doctor Theatre steps in to give me the drive I need to see me through to the end. As it stands, I’ve hit a bit of a purple patch with my shows, having enjoyed all of them for the best part of a week. Something seems to have kicked into gear; whatever it is, I hope it sticks around until Sunday, when my run draws to a close; I’ve started to rely on it.

At lot of this comes down to being relaxed on stage. It’s so easy to be thrown by what’s around you, and end up not being present or on form. There was something Fraser said this morning when we were discussing our last few shows left. I mentioned how having a good show often gives me a sense of foreboding about the next, to which he said, ‘I’ve decided to make it impossible for me to have a bad one"; y'know, sir, that kind of psychology may be right. 

Today’s audience was small, but very responsive. Hopefully they enjoyed it; they were certainly vocal. After that, Stephen and I had to drink in the Just the Tonic bar, before dashing off to see Sam Fletcher’s show, before I dashed on to do a spot at The Cult of Comedy Presents..'. I didnt have the best gig, purely down to tiredness. 

My friend Steve and I ended the day by doing a circuit around Grassmarket, the Royal Mile, Princes Street, Princes Street Gardens, the castle and back to Grassmarket, taking the striking beauty of the city in. It's very easy to forget just how extraordinary Edinburgh is, when you're so engrossed in the Festival; there's nowhere like it. 

GBBO 2016: Volume One (24.08.16)


It’s hard to believe that it’s Great British Bake Off season again, but it is.

It only seems like a couple of months ago that we were rooting for that one who made the cakes, and the other who was good at making pastry. Then there was the guy who…I don’t know…was on the Bake Off, do you remember? To be honest, outside of Nadiya and Tamal, it’s all a bit of a blur. Still, before long we will have learnt all of the 2016 series’ contestants and be choosing our favourites.

I’m known for tweeting along with the programme, and today's no exception. See below for what I posted while watching tonight’s show, after rushing back to my Edinburgh digs to catch the beginning. See you for next week’s instalment; same time, same place.
 

8:05pm: Val: "Retired grandmother?"

8:06pm: Mary's hair helmet resembles an early Thatcher barnet.

8:07pm: Was it just perspective, or did Michael have a massive pencil?

8:09pm: Quite tart? Likes the flavour of a Cox? So it begins...

8:10pm: Candice has the cackle of the Wicked Witch of the West.

8:11pm: "she's been making her drizzle cake since her children were little". That's a loooooong bake.

8:14pm: Paul Hollywood's piercing blue eyes can see through walls.

8:15pm: Everyone keeps talking about drizzle like it's a thing.

8:16pm: One of those sponges just resembled Zippy's head.

8:17pm: WHY IS ZIPPY'S HEAD ON THIS?

8:18pm: Put your drizzle shizzle on.

8:21pm: Jane is Una Stubb's long lost sister.

8:22pm: I'd like to see a Paul Hollywood and Selasi Stare-off.

8:25pm: I do like a laminated recipe.

8:27pm: Abandoned ship? abandoned sh*t.

8:29pm: If only someone had brought a packet of Jaffa cakes with them. Opportunity missed.

8:30pm: I like the Mount Rushmore-like baker shots.

8:34pm: Paul Hollywood: the Man in the Mirror-glaze.

8:35pm: Selasi didn't have that accent on day one.

8:37pm: Mary Berry Disapproving Gaze #1.

8:38pm: Thirty-eight minutes into episode one and Candice already irritates me beyond belief.

8:39pm: The green mirror glaze one is worthy of Percy in Blackadder II.

8:42pm: Val's on day release.

8:47pm: What needs is a pantomime slosh scene.

8:50pm: "What's that, Selasi? Somebody's stuck down a well?"

8:52pm: Every year, puts vibraphone, xylophone and glockenspiel players back in business.

8:57pm: Lee is Alexander Armstrong's dad.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

We've All Got Our Favourites.


In many ways, today’s show was the best of the run so far, and the most fun.

For the first time, everyone filled from the front, making for a pack of punters right in my eye line, who were on board throughout. I had enough laughter to sit back on and help me enjoy telling the stories, rather than feeling I had to fight to keep the ball in the air (clunky football analogy). It may have been a little indulgent, but I mentioned my one-out-of-five score from a Twitter reviewer who said I failed to produce laughter, to an audible gasp; it was probably unnecessary to say it, but if nothing else it was good for mental health to vocalise my inner monologue at a show where the response from the audience couldn’t have been more at odds with that summary.

It was nice that today’s show was a good one, as I had a friend in that I hadn’t seen properly for twenty years, despite having kept contact on Facebook and Twitter. We had a lovely chat over a drink in the bar, where Glyn joined us. The conversation flowed freely, with us both paying reference to mutual friends we’d had at the drama club where we met as teenagers, most of whom we hadn’t thought about for years. The only sticking point was a fact that we each remembered differently: I could have sworn that he was the person who turned me on to the likes of On The Hour, The Day Today and Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge, when he was sure it was me. If it wasn’t one of us, then who was this strange, shady comedy-promoting figure that lent us those fabled radio recordings? Answers on a postcard, with the top right corner marked 'ME'.

Even though today’s gig went well, it didn’t stop me feeling tired and a little downcast as the day progressed. That said, my mood lifted after going to see Sam Fletcher’s fun, funny and charming one-man show Daftwerk, and thanks to a quick trip to the Loft Bar with Glyn for a drink and a reminisce about Edinburgh Fringes gone by. Now it’s time for bed, as my next show is imminent; I certainly need my beauty sleep.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Deep Heat.

Today's show felt a bit like giving everyone a window into my madness. 

It was a fun one, if a little unhinged. It didn't help that I sweated more than a healthy man should ever have need to sweat. I was like a mix between the Mary Rose and a water feature (both being analogies I made reference to during the gig). My cold didn't help, as it forced me to work harder, and made me out of breath. If nothing else, I felt healthier afterwards having perspired most of my illness from my system; probably at the expense of my audience, who probably picked my cold up by the time the show was out. 

What was lovely about today's gig was I had a couple of comedian friends in, who were clearly on-side. You always feel pressured in these instances, but their laughter put me at ease, even if I knew the amount of water dripping from me made me look like a Gollum gone to seed. 

The rest of the day was spent with Glyn, filling him in on the various highs and lows of the run to date. It's nice to have him here as it gives me more reason to relax, and a sense of reality which can be lost when you're in the Fringe bubble. In a few days this will burst and I'll be free, having learnt a lot in the process. I feel stronger as a result of the last few weeks, despite my tiredness, with the good bits having outweighed the bad by far. It's been intense, but it's been worth it. I won't miss performing at midday though; I've always been funnier after lunch. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Lovely Day?


Today was a strange day in that it took in a lot of highs and lows, with me feeling just about every emotion from happiness, to relief, to anxiety and illness (which is apparently now a psychological state).

I went to the venue this morning, a little on edge, on the back of the last two shows having gone so well. Being a pessimist, this made me suspicious; “Surely by law of averages, the next one must be bad?”

Amazingly, it didn’t. There were only four people in, but they were lovely throughout, despite there being a good chance they could be intimidated into silence by a performer eyeballing them throughout. My voice was still tired, but I had slightly more to play with than the previous day, and even managed to hold the long note at the end of the show without warbling and cracking like on Saturday.

I walked back to my digs feeling elated, but no sooner had I got back, than my mood completely dropped. I think this comes from the nervous energy and adrenalin I’d had coursing through my veins for the past couple of hours suddenly dissipating. This is what over-tiredness does; it makes you overly emotional.

Over the next few hours, with the help of a little meditation and a phone call to my mum, I’d self-regulated and was back to normality. Then, minutes before leaving to tech Fraser’s show, I was hit with a wave of anxiety; the last thing I wanted to do at this point was walk through a sea of flyerers and tourists, with me having to act like I felt okay.

Spin forward to an hour after Fraser’s show (which was great) and I was having a drink with him in the bar, which turned into a mutual debrief on the highs and the lows of the past month. It was cathartic in its own way, and felt necessary after the day up to that point. Then before I knew it, I was rushing toward Waverley Station, bolstered by a couple of pints (an alien phrase from my lips), to meet Glyn, who is up until Wednesday. We’d considered going out, but instead, spent a good few hours chatting and catching up at the digs. Finally, someone was with me who knows exactly what doing the Edinburgh Fringe is like, yet has the luxury of seeing it with a bit of separation, not doing it this year himself.

There are now only seven shows left – and while I’m by no means wishing them away, getting home will be a lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely thing.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Battling Bacteria.


Despite starting both with next-to-no voice, my last two shows have been most fun of the run so far.

I was discussing it with Fraser after today’s show, and how being ill can give you extra fire, when he pointed out how it does something strange to your nerves, particularly at the Fringe; you adopt a ‘let’s just get through this’ attitude, and your buckling down and concentrating on working around how you fell makes you forget your usual pre-show anxiety.

It helps that the last two gigs were on a Friday and a Saturday, which definitely boost numbers (even at midday). They were probably the busiest up to now, with people who were attuned to what I’m aiming at, instead of being confused. I’ve also been working harder to get past the tiredness, the mucus and the phlegm (pleasant), becoming more playful in the process. I’ve been ad-libbing more than usual, with sharper results. There are moments when I even feel like an actual comedian; STOP PRESS.

Yesterday, my longest-term friend – thirty years and counting – Chris came down from Glasgow, where he’s recently moved, to watch the show and stay the night. It was great to sense his presence in the venue during the gig and to be able to catch up. We talked until 3am (not the best move when I have an early start), which was a welcome break (not the service station) from the isolation of the run. I hope to visit him in his new home soon. I’m glad that he’s  loving living in Scotland. I can see the appeal, as long as no-one expected me to a show every day I for the rest of my life; while I’m enjoying my first solo Edinburgh run, there are limits.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

"Jumpin' Jack Flash, it's a gas, gas, gas."


I bet you didn't start your day by being threatened by a man from Scottish Gas.

At just after 9 o’clock, I lifted the receiver on the security door at my digs to answer the doorbell.
“Hello?” I said.
Nothing.
“Hello?” I repeated.
Still nothing. I would have hung up, but as I missed the post the other day, I thought I’d take the risk and buzz the culprit in.

A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door. I opened it, to reveal a guy in blue overalls on the other side.
“I’m here from Scottish Gas and I need to change your meter.”

I started trying to explain to him that I wasn’t the long-term tenant or the property owner and therefore couldn’t authorise the work, when he spotted the meter above me in the hallway. Before I could finish my sentence, he’d crossed the threshold without my permission and was inside the flat.

He told me that if I didn't let him do the work, he’d call the police. I explained again that it wasn’t my property and that I don’t know the landlord, having booked it for the duration of the Fringe through an festival lettings company. I asked him to leave, but he refused.
“You’ll have to force me out physically,” he replied, tensing his body as if waiting for the push that would give his standing in the property credence, “and if you do I’ll call the police.”

This was not how I wanted to kick off my seventeenth consecutive day working the gruelling, soul-destroying Edinburgh Fringe.

He kept insisting he needed to do the work, and at this point - having already entered the flat against my wishes - said he had a warrant to do the work. I explained I had to leave shortly and didn’t have time to deal with this now and asked if he could do it later.
“No, I can’t come back.”

He was patronising and aggressive throughout, presenting the body language of someone who would lash out physically, if his job would allow it. His assistant appeared at the door, who I tried to reason with, until the first guy – whose name was Murray (employee number 123) – told him that he mustn’t speak to me, and to go and get the tools to do the work. Every time I spoke, Murray butted in with, “I’m not listening; I know what you’re going to say.”

I kept trying to explain that I couldn’t possibly let him do anything until he’d spoken to landlord and been given the go-ahead, as if something went wrong, I’d be liable for it. I was rapidly losing patience in the face of someone who was less than a foot away from me, patronising me, ignoring me, and constantly threatening to call the police (which in reality might have been of help, as at least then, they would have listenrf to me).

Spin forward quarter of an hour and I’d given him the number of the festival lettings company, who he phoned, and proceeded to apply the same aggressive technique. It wasn’t until he’d finally been given the number of the landlord and spoke to them on the phone, that he dropped the pushy persona and began listening to what they said. They told him they wouldn’t let him do anything until he’d seen them in person to signed some paperwork - and finally he left.

It was a horrible experience that felt like it would never end. Scottish Gas will be receiving an official complaint (whatever an official complaint actually means).

Two hours later, I was at the venue, about to cancel my show, as Front of House had told me there were no sales, when a party of four suddenly walked in. Ten minutes of the show passed with barely a single laugh, save for when I signposted the awkwardness.

“Have you heard of Clinton Cards?” I asked, launching into my Clinton Cards material.
“No,” they replied. This surprised me.
“Have you heard of Marks & Spencer?” I asked.
“No.”
“Seriously?!”
“No; we’re Australian.”

A couple of interactions later, I'd ascertained that they’d been given papering comps by one of my flyerers, and therefore hadn't paid. We decided mutually not to continue with the show, which was a blessed relief. I dread to think what the rest of the day will hold; I only hope the man from Scottish Gas doesn’t fancy checking out some lesser-known comic talent on the Fringe as, if he comes to see me, the resulting awkwardness will beggar belief.