Friday, 30 June 2017

Come Up and See Me.


It’s so hard to get any interest in my previews at the moment.

It doesn’t help that they’re all organised by me, so the onus is always on me to drum up an audience. If I had the luxury of previewing on other people’s nights this wouldn’t be solely my job. This is what we offer acts who come to Hitchin Mostly Comedy and we always deliver, but sadly no-one returns the favour; I know this is largely because most other acts probably see me more as a promoter, but it’s hard to not take it personally, much as it’s hard to not let the uphill slog to coax people to come and see you get you down.

There will be plenty of other acts who are in the same boat to be fair, as the scene is saturated with previews at this time of year. The fact Mostly Comedy does consistently so well is an anomaly. It’s hard to get much comfort from this however, when you need these gigs to go ahead so you can pull your show together in the first place.

That said, it’ll be easier to get an audience in Edinburgh. Encouragingly, each time I log in to look at my sales reports for August the numbers go slightly up. I’m a long way from a sell-out run, but the fact people are booking before it’s even been promoted is a positive sign.

It helped that I received two encouraging tweets out of the blue; one yesterday…

 

…and one tonight…

…that made me feel a little better. It’s nice that someone’s actively excited about seeing the show, and that someone else felt the need to pass on a few positive and kind words apropos of nothing. There are a few nice people out there if you look hard enough; I’d just like a handful of them to turn up tomorrow, so I look marginally less of a dick. I’m not ruling me looking like one out altogether though, as that would be madness.

Many Years From Now.

One thing you're often asked in the lead-up to Edinburgh is to put together short written-to-order pieces to act as promotional material for your show. A couple of weeks ago a publication got into contact with me via my PR to ask if I could supply a short article relating to this year's 70th Anniversary, speculating as to what the festival will be like in seventy years time. Here's what I said:

 
In seventy years, the Royal Mile will have been renamed the Royal Fifteen-Thousand, Eight-Hundred-and-Forty Hands to acknowledge Scotland’s post-Brexit acceptance of this ancient form of horse measurement. A hand’s equivalent to four inches, so here’s my workings:


The castle road will be so chock-full of contemporary dancers, the Fringe will attempt a leotard amnesty to curb numbers; likewise, anyone staging a youth musical production will be asked to leave town immediately or face the wrath of the Elaine Paige Society; it only has six members, but they’re feisty (when disconnected from their nebulizers).

It won’t just be the student scene that’s saturated; by 2087, comics and punters will be at a ratio of 36:1. We’ll be forced to rut like deer to win an audience. I’ll be performing from an iron lung - and what’s worse is I’ll still be described as “up-and-coming”.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Tell Me What You See.


I did quite bit of work on my show today, both in terms of running the material and orchestrating the admin that goes with it, but I'm finding it hard to make improvements - or to even know that's what they are - without a director to steer me through it.

Sadly, it all goes down to personal judgement at the moment, as it’s next-to-impossible to get someone to commit to helping me out and - even if they were to - they’d have to be just the right person for the job. What I could really do with someone to tell me what’s already right as I’m naturally hypercritical, and I don’t want to replace stuff that works with stuff that doesn’t, if things evolve that way without the benefit of an outside eye to put a lid on it.

I was surprised to find a fair amount already worked when I did my work-in-progress dates in Bath in April and Brighton in May; I don’t want to lose the essence of what I did there through over-thinking and over-editing it, but at the same time, I still want it to be as good as it can be. The problem is I’m feeling rudderless, which can lead to doing too much. What I’m missing is a little collaboration, as the only feedback I currently get is from an audience - and even that can be hard to read when I’m in 'show mode'.

Hopefully, I’ll have my friend Steve at Saturday’s gig, who's unofficially been the closest thing I’ve had to a director for my last two solo shows (outside of my wife). I’d also like to get Glyn’s and my long-term director Glen Davies to cast his eye over it, which he keeps offering to do if we can find a time to do it. The problem is it’s impossible to run with an audience-of-one as it feels too forced, but if both he and Steve can see a few performances and then we can chat through their thoughts afterwards it would be a lifesaver. The point is, I don’t want to fuck it up (which is a reasonable stance to take, I think).

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Press to Play.

Tonight was one of my much loathed putting-together-a-press-release-for-Mostly-Comedy nights.

It's not strictly true that I dislike writing them and more the case that I'm a little tired of doing it. To be honest, it gets easier over the years, particularly when a lot of the acts featured have been to the club before so I can just copy the information from a previous press release, but it's still hard to see the wood for the trees when you've done this so much.

See below for today's cut-and-shut instalment; hopefully it makes sense:
 
Press Release – 27.06.17

mostly comedy
a monthly comedy and music club, at the sun hotel in hitchin

July sees two installments of Doggett & Ephgrave’s popular monthly Hitchin comedy club Mostly Comedy at The Sun Hotel in so many days. While 20th July’s show with HIGNFY, Buzzcocks and Mock the Week star MARK WATSON and Dara O’Briain’s Go 8 Bit’s BEC HILL is officially sold out, there’s a chance to snap up return tickets on the night. However, tickets are still available for the 21st July’s gig featuring an Edinburgh preview from RICHARD HERRING and stand-up from Red Dwarf’s HATTIE HAYRIDGE.

RICHARD HERRING started his comic career as one half of the duo Lee and Herring with Stewart Lee, whose television work included the BBC2 cult favourites Fist of Fun and This Morning with Richard Not Judy. Together they wrote material for Chris Morris’ and Armando Iannucci’s BBC Radio 4 show On The Hour (which later morphed into BBC2’s The Day Today), and contributed to the creation of Steve Coogan’s popular alter-ego Alan Partridge.

Herring is a stalwart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with fourteen runs under his belt. In 2015 he took a break from the Festival, instead performing eleven of his previous solo stand-up shows, plus a new one, over the course of six weekends at the Leicester Square Theatre, under the collective title The Twelve Shows of Herring. He has appeared on such television and radio favourites as BBC1’s Have I Got News For You, BBC2’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks and BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute – and is also well-known for his online blog ‘Warming Up’ (to which he has contributed daily for over ten years) and for Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast; recently making the headlines thanks to a particularly candid interview with Stephen Fry. Other RHLSTP interviewees include Steve Coogan, Eddie Izzard and Phill Jupitus.

Herring has recently been touring his greatest hits show The Best, which he performed at Hitchin Mostly Comedy in January.

HATTIE HAYRIDGE is a British stand-up comedian and actor, best known for portraying the female Holly in the third, fourth and fifth series of Red Dwarf, along with the role of Hilly in Parallel Universe, the final episode of the second series.

After graduating from the University of Sussex, Hayridge started her working life in the Civil Service at HMSO in London, before moving into stand-up comedy. She has made numerous television appearances outside of Red Dwarf, including BBC2’s critically acclaimed Kevin Eldon vehicle, It’s Kevin, BBC1’s Perry And Croft: The Sitcoms and Lenny Goes To Town (with Lenny Henry). She has written for many other well-known comedians, including Jasper Carrot and Rory Bremner – and recently appeared as a contestant on Celebrity Mastermind,
In 2009, she starred alongside Phill Jupitus, Marcus Brigstocke and Sanjeev Bhaskar in the UK tour of the hit American improvisation show, Totally Looped.

Both gigs are emceed by “polished, natural comedians” (Camden Fringe Voyeur) and Mostly Comedy custodians DOGGETT & EPHGRAVE. They take place at The Sun Hotel. Doors open at 7:30pm, with the first act on at 8:00pm. Tickets for the 21st are available via www.mostlycomedy.co.uk. A waiting list for the 20th will be taken on the door from 7:15pm, with all available tickets sold on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Date:              Thursday 20th and Friday 21st July
Venue:           The Sun Hotel, Sun Street, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 1AF
Time:             Bar open all day. Doors at 7:30pm. First act on at 8:00pm.
Admission:   £11.00. Tickets via www.mostlycomedy.co.uk

Let the Sunshine In.


This morning, for the first time in a good few years really, I got my acoustic out and sang a few of my old songs - and get this: it felt great.

It’s mad that I’ve not done it for so long, when music was what defined me for so many years; there was a time when all I wanted to be was a songwriter and musician, recording with my band or on my own, yet somewhere down the line, my priorities changed and I moved on to different things. I’d still sing and play - the various actor / muso gigs I did made sure of that - but the actively creating musician inside me was obscured, which is a huge shame really.

I’m not sure what it was that made me do it today, though a combination of the music I listened to while getting ready and the fact that Mark Morriss played at Mostly Comedy last week (thus inadvertently reminding me of what I used to do) saw me extricate my jumbo acoustic from its dusty lair* and run through my old repertoire. It was not without pain - the tips of the fingers of my left hand revealed how long it had been since I’d played or restrung it - but a couple of songs into my impromptu set it felt like a bay window opened in my head and a load of fresh air streamed in; there’s a lot to be said for the imprint music leaves on your muscle memory.

It was like doing a good gig, when everything falls into place with no room for overthinking it. I know I’m out of practise, but the essentials are still there. I should give it more time again. Perhaps I can do a short set at Mostly soon, if only as an excuse to exercise that part of brain. One day, I’ll get to writing new songs and recording them.

(*not a euphemism.)

Monday, 26 June 2017

Coming Down Fast, But I'm Miles Above You.


While last night didn’t involve much sleep, it did feature an exciting dream in which I helped build what would be best described as a cross between an intricate slide and an epic theme park ride with a small team of people made up by my subconscious.

(Time to get the psychiatrist from Return to Oz on speed dial.)

The twists and turns were so intense I can still picture its complexity through the fug that comes with waking up to find what made sense while unconscious was almost completely wiped from my memory. Like many others, I’ve had dreams in the past that were so thrilling, the writer in me thought they would make a great film even when in the midst of them, only to find my mind's recycling bin had been emptied when I woke up; what a bastard the brain is.

I don’t know why I was involved in the building of the thing, other than to say that in the dream I didn't question it; this, despite the fact the plotline seemed to suggest we’d all contributed to the rollercoaster by accident before deciding to capitalise on our unintentional creation. It was part-helter-skelter, part-water chute with a soupçon of that runaway mineshaft in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. There was even a bit when I felt like I was in a steam train on a starlit night, yet despite the constant variety, it wasn’t scary; so much so, we all kept having another go on it.

It’s no wonder I couldn’t sleep, when my brain was being so active. It must have been like when Noel Edmonds devised his ill-fated theme park Crinkley Bottom; who’d have thought a tourist attraction fronted by a rotund, googly-eyed pink-&-yellow bowling-pin-shaped psychopath wouldn’t work? I’m referring to Mr Blobby, not Edmonds.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Liskeard to Me.


Today I stumbled across a picture my wife took through the window of a caravan that acted as the backstage area for a gig in what essentially amounted to falconry display venue in Liskeard back in 2009.

Glyn didn't get the memo.

It was a memorable gig as the audience were up on their feet and dancing throughout (probably because they were surprised we didn’t all have Kestrels and Tawny Owls balanced on our outstretched arms); the set certainly made it feel like a bird display. The sound wasn’t great for that one, as we had someone different to usual behind the desk, so it was a little ropy, but the audience loved it. As ever, they didn’t really seem to mind or notice.

I quite like doing outdoor gisg for the novelty value, but there was a red alert when I noticed’ all the signs where just a step away from saying “Puppet Show and Spinal tap; be that as it may, I still had a great time, primarily because my wife came down to join me and we spent a few days in nearby Looe s as a bijou holiday; Buddy gigs were always best enjoyed when I didn’t have to get back into the van afterwards.

Friday, 23 June 2017

David Carnt Be Trusted.


I committed a musical crime at last night’s Mostly Comedy.



It was as I was clearing Mark Morriss' guitar, pedal and leads from the stage in the interval after his excellent acoustic set that I was struck with the idea to do it. On posting the video to Twitter (and tagging him in it) I instantly regretted it; the last thing I wanted was him to think I thought that song was the sum-total of what he’s about, particularly when we’d booked him as a solo artist, but he’s a good humoured chap, so I thought, “Sod it”.

Doggett, Morriss, Monkman and Ephgrave at Mostly Comedy (22.06.17)

Outside of stealing Bluetones’ members' instruments, it was a splendid night. I was pleased that the atmosphere was nicer than at Mark’s last appearance, which was very early into us running the club at the venue, when a late start-time, a boiling-hot room and an hour-long show in front of his set made things feel a little tense. This was our fault as we hadn’t programmed it right; Mark was a gentleman and still played brilliantly, but Glyn and I both felt frustrated with how things turned out.

Mark Morriss at last night's gig, before I tarnished his guitar with my very presence.

Last night’s crowd were far more savvy and clearly relished the opportunity to see him in an intimate space. Our sound guy Paul mixed things perfectly so it sounded great - and, as before, Mark was witty, on good form and happy to chat with his fans and with us. Yet again, it reminded us of how we’d like to reintroduce more music acts to the night like we used to, as it makes things interesting and really works.

Quincy, last night.

Mark wasn’t the only act to grace the Sun's rickety rostra last night; we also had sets from two Mostly Comedy favourites, Quincy and Paul Harry Allen, with the former doing a customarily warm stand-up spot and the later presenting the first performance of his two-hander farcical comedy The Blade of Barrington with the equally charismatic Katie Pritchard. In a way, Katie and Paul had the rougher end of the deal, as doing a full show after Mark was a hard ask when things had pushed late (and when some of the audience perhaps hadn’t taken on board they'd be seeing anything other than Mark that night) but they still did a great job. Their show was bursting with different characters and good gags; I'll look forward to seeing it properly in a theatre space.

Paul Harry Allen and Katie Pritchard in 'The Blade of Barrington'.

Glyn and I pulled out our Top Ten ‘Take a Break’ Headlines for the first time in ages (e.g. “My Baby Had No Eyes, But I Thought He Was Sleeping”) and I did some new material that got some laughs, which was good, as it suggests it’s something else I can slip into my new show. So all in all, it was a success, acoustic-pinching endeavours notwithstanding.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

"La La, La La La La, Love is Strange."


Listening to the final part of 'Paul Merton’s Beatles' today in the midst of the UK's current heatwave brought to mind one of my favourite renditions of a Buddy Holly song, Wings’ ‘Love is Strange’.

Well…all right (to quote another Holly record): it isn’t technically a Buddy song so much as a track that’s often connected with him because he covered it too, but it’s fair to say neither the original by Fifties R&B act Micky & Sylvia, nor Buddy’s version instantly lend themselves to be reinterpreted with a loose reggae groove, but that’s the route Macca chose to take with excellent results. In my opinion it’s by far the most enjoyable performance on Wings’ much maligned first LP - and while that’s fairly shallow praise, it is by no means meant to be taken as such; it’s just about as summery a recording as you can get.

It’s fair to say that Paul had a bit of a soft spot for reggae in the early Seventies, something Wings' 1972 single C Moon also attests too, but the groove of Love is Strange is in my opinion far more successful; not surprising, as Wings purposely all switched from their usual instruments when recording the former, so it was always likely to be messier. For me, Love is Strange is the sound of summer, or at least the soundtrack to an idealized summer break. Even though it’s low-key it also has bite towards the end when Macca’s vocal cuts loose with a joy few other singers can bring to their voice. It makes me want to head for a barbecue, but one with plenty of veggie options, of course.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

See How They Run.


I booked my train tickets for Edinburgh today, so it must be happening.

I also managed to fit in listening to the first three parts of BBC Radio 2’s four-part series ‘Paul Merton’s Beatles’ around working on my show; I wonder if you can guess what band the programme was about?

More specifically, it's built around the fictional premise that - after putting aside their business differences - The Beatles briefly reformed in 1974 to release a new album (called ‘All Made Up’) and stage a reunion concert. The first two episodes consist of solo live performances from John, Paul, George and Ringo that have been edited together to sound like a single gig (with Merton supplying the excitable commentary of a journalistic witness) and the final two are built around studio recordings from the post-Fab Four that have been collated to sound like the album the group might have made.

Paul Merton is famously a big Beatles fan so I knew it was likely to be good, but even I was surprised by some of the song choices. The third episode - which was essentially side one of the fictional album - is really nicely thought out, with Merton having cleverly considered the themes of the material and how they might have been interweaved if such an album had been made, I doubt it would have been as democratically spread as Merton’s tracklist (I can’t see Ringo getting as many cuts as John and Paul), but it was a creative selection. I’ll look forward to hearing what he chose for ‘side two’ when I listen to the last episode.

When I wasn’t listening to The Beatles, I was being generally productive. As well as booking my train tickets, I ran some new material I plan to do at Thursday’s Mostly, did some video editing for a couple of slides in the show, had a look at some of the weaker points of the set and did a run of the whole thing. It felt a little messy if I’m honest, as there are a few bits I need to decide on more clearly - plus I was a little hazy about some of what you might laughingly call the script - but that’s okay for where I’m at. I can tidy things up tomorrow in time for Friday’s show, and while it will by no means be the complete article by then, it should be a good way toward it.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Sweat the Small Stuff.


Today’s been too hot for its own good.

I met Glyn briefly this afternoon in Hitchin Market Place to discuss plans for Thursday’s Mostly Comedy over a couple of mint choc-chip ice creams, which were tax deductible because we were discussing work. It was more of an administrative meeting than anything, as we’ve had no time to consider any double act material together lately on account of our current lack of availability. That said, it was also a chance to have a bit of a general catch up, as we haven’t really seen each other since last month’s gig; as I said above, chances to get together are rare.

Meeting allowed me the chance to pass on the frustrations of my recent cancelled previews and Glyn the chance to fill me in on the challenges of juggling two young children (not literally). We tend to start most of our get-togethers these days with a general chat about where we’re both at before we look at work - even if time is tight - as it’s all part of being a double act; even though we’re not actively writing together at the moment, we’ve still got to feel comfortable in each other’s company, and that can only come from having the odd casual chat; work tends to expand or contract as according to the time we have for it anyway, so we might as well spend at least some of that time being sociable; after all, we are friends first

One thing I didn’t do today was work on my show, but that’s okay, as a long chat I had with my wife about it yesterday has helped focus my attention on what I needs to do next. It’s sometimes hard when I don’t have a director to see the wood for the trees without someone to sound off of, which was where this conversation was so useful. It reminded me I’m not that far from where I want to be, and gave me a few notes to focus on. Hopefully, I can have a long look at it all tomorrow and Wednesday, so I can put it down on Thursday when we’re doing Mostly and then comforably pick it up again for Friday’s show. Fingers crossed, it’s not this hot then; I’m done with sweating, damn it.

Getting So Much Better All the Time.


Today is Paul McCartney’s 75th birthday; a fact which seems to have slipped below the radar despite the furore over the fiftieth anniversary of Sgt Pepper of late.

Sadly, his constant presence at high-profile events in recent years seems to have resulted in a dip in popularity (and an increase in cynicism) particularly in the UK. He still sells concert tickets by the bucket-load, but there’s a sense this is purely because he’s the only living Beatle who co-wrote the lion's share of their material - which he trades on heavily live - but perhaps that’s where the interest in his work should end.

As someone with huge respect for him as an artist, this makes me very sad. Only today, I stumbled across an internet poll that deemed him the third-best Beatle; the man who wrote Eleanor Rigby, Yesterday, Let it Be, Hey Jude, Blackbird, She’s Leaving Home, Here There and Everywhere, Helter Skelter, Golden Slumbers and You Never Give Me Your Money to name just a sizeable few; for some reason, a combination of familiarity and perhaps a slight dislike for his upbeat persona has left him falling short.

But I don’t want to talk about him as a Beatle; that topic’s been covered. I want discuss what he did afterwards. What I love about McCartney is his constant quest to do more. The man’s never lost the joy of creativity - and what’s forgotten is nearly every album he's put out recently has been described as “his best work since Band on the Run” for years.

This thought - and the fact that today's his 75th birthday - led to me tweeting links to eight songs released in the past twenty years (so long after his Beatles and Wings period) that I think are great.

I know I missed scores of good ones, but if I’d included them all, I'd have lost all my followers. That’s what’s so inspiring about his solo work; if you put your wellies on and dig deep, there’s an endless trove of treasures to find. But here's a place to start:

1) Jenny Wren (from 2005's 'Chaos and Creation in the Backyard).
2) Paul wrote Little Willow as a gift to Ringo's kids following their mum's death. Released in 1997; Linda was battling cancer at time.
3) Alligator (produced by Mark Ronson. From Macca's 2013 album, New). 
4)Another one written and recorded around the time of Linda's illness: the beautiful Somedays from 1997's Flaming Pie.
5) Fine Line (produced by Nigel Godrich and released in 2005).
6) My Valentine (written for McCartney's third wife Nancy and ttaken from 2012's bum-centric 'Kisses on the Bottom')
7) Travelling Light (taken from his mostly-improvised [?!] 2008 album released under pseudonym The Fireman, Electric Arguments):
8) The End of the End.  Only Macca could tackle the topic of his own death with positivity. Played on same the piano he recorded Lady Madonna on.


9)  Sod it. Bonus one from the Seventies. The bloody marvellous 'Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five'. Funky git.

In summary, anyone who says Paul McCartney has written nothing of note for years is talking out of their anus. Happy 75th!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

You're a Lady.


I just read that June Whitfield and Julie Walters were made Dames in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, which is excellent.

While Julie Walters is commonly regarded as an exceptionally versatile actress, June Whitfield is perhaps a little underrated. The breadth of her career since the 1950s is pretty astounding, and she always stands out in whatever she’s in, whether playing the uptight nurse in The Blood Donor or Edina’s mum in Absolutely Fabulous. She radiates class and never pulls focus; the consummate comic foil to the likes of Terry Scott, Jennifer Saunders and Tony Hancock.

She also still looks fantastic. She’s - get this - 91, but you’d never believe it, as she’s as energised and as sharp-as-a-pin as ever; yes, that’s right: she’s my old-lady crush.

That said, I also love Julie Walters. It’s the spark behind her eyes when she's performing comedy that gets me, like she's taking her performance to the edge of anarchy and dares her co-stars to corpse; it’s brilliant. She’s wholly prepared to make herself look ridiculous, which is admirable, and her straight acting is painfully truthful.

The reason I'm so gratified by the news is I don’t think we celebrate these people enough. The same can be said for Billy Connolly, who’s about to be knighted. Why wait until they're no longer around to pay tribute? I can only assume my medal's in the post.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

"Heh Heh Heh Helection Half Hour."


Thursday morning’s a time I look forward to, as the episode of Hancock’s Half Hour that was broadcast that week becomes available to listen to on iPlayer, and consequently becomes the soundtrack to my bath. Today was no different, with this week’s instalment being the frighteningly appropriate ‘The Election Candidate'.

In the episode, Tony is convinced to stand for parliament as a celebrity candidate (*cough* Donald Trump *cough*) and while it’s definitely one of the best - though let’s face it, pretty much all programmes that exist have stood the test of time wonderfully - my favourite moment has to be when Hancock is asked who’ll he’ll vote for, before he’s convinced to through his own hat in the ring.

“Neither of them,” he replies. “I shall show my contempt by going down to the polling booth, taking my form, crossing both their names out and writing ‘get knotted’ in”.

(Some things never change.)

The episode was first broadcast nearly sixty years ago, but the general consensus is still pretty much the same. So many are disillusioned by what a potential MP can offer, or if they want to vote for them. Elections are also still heavily influenced by celebrity candidates and endorsements; the only thing different in real life is the lack of a tuba riff breaking up conversation.

Notwithstanding the topical nature of this week’s show, I’d heartily recommend delving into HHH if you’ve never listened to it. It’s a masterpiece in comic writing and performance that’s remarkably still so very relevant. You should join me for my Thursday morning ritual (though we're not sharing a bath). 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

'Not tonight, Joke-sephine.'


Unfortunately, I've had to cancel tomorrow’s preview in Winchester with Norman Lovett as the take-up hadn’t been as much as we would have liked - and while I could have left it a little longer to see if we sold more, it made sense to call it now, to allow time to inform ticketholders and to save the hassle of getting there tomorrow to find we're just as quiet.

It’s very frustrating, but ultimately can’t be helped, and it feels better to make the decision today instead of leaving it hanging, particularly as most of the day was spent going through the mechanics of cancelling it, leaving me no time to work on the show itself. All this does is echo how I’m sick of being the one doing all the organising and how I'm seldom, if ever, the one previewing my show on someone else’s night with them doing all the booking and promotion. In fact, now I think of it, in all the time I’ve worked with Glyn or on my own, we’ve never previewed a show at someone else’s event. Not once; yet the times I or we have offered other acts the chance to try something out in front of audience having not had to do anything other than show up are countless.

The aborted show in Winchester was the first example of someone meeting me halfway by allowing me to essentially perform under the umbrella of a club that wasn’t mine, but I still booked Norman, took the financial risk and led the promotion. I know it’s not the way these things go, but it would be nice if these arrangements went both ways.

The plus side to losing tomorrow is it actually frees up the diary, giving me more time to work on the show for the next preview at the Actors’ Temple with Phil Kay next Friday, without having to rush. Here’s hoping I use it correctly and make the most of it; what I’ve lost in not having a chance to try the material out to a new audience tomorrow (which is obviously always beneficial) I gain in having the time to fix what I don’t like about it.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

"We Were Talking..."


I went into London tonight to attend a Classic Album Session in Elephant & Castle (as you do) celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper, which was cancelled for unspecified reasons, but this wasn't the end of the world, as it gave me the chance to catch up with my friend Paul, who'd invited me along in the first place. 

We've been trying to arrange a meeting for months, but our plans have unfortunately been scuppered each time without fail, so it was ironic that the one occasion the stars aligned for long enough for us to be in the same postcode, the hosts of event we were going to decided to pull the plug. It was okay though, as we're adaptable, and headed for the nearest pub instead. 

Our conversation began inevitably with The Beatles, and more specifically Howard Goodall’s excellent recent BBC documentary on Pepper, which dealt with the well-trodden subject perfectly; so much so it reinvigorated the album in my mind, so I was looking forward to hear it tonight…but what can you do? After that we moved onto comedy (Paul's also a comic) and various other bits and bobs. It was a nice evening, even without a psychedelic masterpiece as a soundtrack. Paul even paid for my scampi and chips, which was a bonus.