Sunday, July 17, 2005

An Angry Letter To Anyone Who Might Care

Dear Sir,

I really must most vociferously protest at the shambolic and slip shod manner in which Hippies are allowed to run large scale public events. Namely, Ashton Court Community Festival, a place where the middle class flower child can park its Renault Clio and partake in a pretense of community. It beggars belief that when confronted with a massive entertainment festival, rather than making use of the ample infra-structure Bristol has to offer, not least the road system, the sanitation system and the numerous huge stadia and theatre, these Make Tea Not War morons choose to house their festival on top of a huge hill in the middle of nowhere, and ask 60,000 people to urinate in several large plastic boxes. And then, not content with foisting the ramshackle Super Furry Animals onto my unsuspecting face, they decide to lay on adequate public transport to return us to our civilised urban sprawl. Their logic was impeccable. They reckoned 60,000 people all leaving at once would require 6 buses. Though I may need to check my facts, it's quite possible that a child died in the ensuing mob mentality.

But anyway, the gig in the Performing Arts tent. Always hard work, always fun, but for no apparent reason. I did a very short set, in which I tried my extended Batman joke again (to a good response), and continued to road test some elements of the Storm story. Not a bad gig, but not nearly good enough to appease the 400+ people who had sat down to laugh.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

An Apology

I should apologise for being apologetic. Or, actually, I shouldn't. More than a few people have said to me over the past week that I seem to lack conviction and belief in my material sometimes, and this translates into almost saying sorry for a joke. While I don't think I have ever articulated that out loud on stage, I thought that I was being playful with my shrugs when a joke bombed, but maybe it bombed because of that apologetic demeanour I adopted.

Two cases highlighted the difference this makes to my act. They also highlighted the importance of placement, which I really should have known already. Case one: Leamington Spa, doing a gig for Mr Okse. Having survived a dramatic incident in the epicentre of a storm, I wrote a routine about it, and was eager to perform it, knowing that for once, I had a fully formed anecdote. That's when I made a rookie mistake. I was so keen to do it, I opened with it, which was a dumb idea. It starts too slowly to be an opening gambit, and so I quickly lost all confidence in it, and abandoned it before I got to the stronger parts. This also manifested the apologetic shrugs, which littered the remaining set. All round, a very poor effort on my behalf.

Case two: The Duck Egg in Penzance. A very long drive, which made me determined to have a good gig. Plus someone else mentioning my apologetic demeanour gave me a firm kick on the proverbial bottom. This time, I opened with the established stuff, and held back on the storm story. While I didn't quite have my rhythm in those bits, I managed to bring the audience happily enough to the new bit. I adopted a different attitude to the routine too, not delivering it in a matter of fact reportage manner, but in a wow, I can't believe this happened to me way. I edited the opening as I went along, thus cutting to the chunkier bits much quicker, which helped alot. It works much better later on in the set, and is already feeling strong enough to develop into a keeper. So I think I'll replace my moon landing stuff with the storm anecdote for a while, and see if it has legs.
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