Sunday, February 26, 2006

Who Kneads A Spell Cheque Faculty?

Every so often, you do a gig that goes so well, it actually depresses you. Somewhere in your mind you know that it's going to be a while before you manage a performance like that again. You know that it's going to be an elusive journey to discover just why it went so well, and that makes it all the more frustrating.

Jesters in Bristol has for a long time, in my mind, been a bit of a bogey gig. But over the past year, each time I have been inside, it seemed to be shrinking in size, and stature. Nonetheless, I was pretty nervous when I arrived, and feared that once again, I would be sub-standard there. But I began chatting with Nick Revell who turned out to be a fascinating, honest, and wholly likeable man.

I was beginning to relax, but a chance comment to me by someone just reminded me once more of my jitters. Oddly though, as I waited in the corner, ready to go on, a calm descended upon me - I noted that this wasn't anywhere near the biggest or even unfriendliest crowd I had stood before, and it most certainly wasn't the most important gig I had done in a long time. So I waddled onto the stage and just began. Everything went well. Gags and asides that had long slipped my mind as to their strength, reared their laughing heads, and one man in the audience didn't stop to breathe for my whole set. I felt like a proper comedian, with a big performance of honest material.

The sofa upstairs was very comfy, and I just lounged on it for the rest of the evening, trying not to over analyze things, but I did nonetheless. The chat with Mr Revell continued, and he helped me clarify some of my thoughts on writing. It's not often I get the chance to sit and discourse with other professional writers about the craft itself (rather than writing I mean), so hopefully I didn't make an arse of myself.

On the writing front, I've finished the first draft of a pilot script for RSA, and I am determined to make the two Radio Four projects I've had on the back burner spark themselves back into life. A part of me also wants to conjure up a new idea for a more peak time evening sitcom slot, so I'll tease it from my brain slowly over the next few days. And I think we will be recording the Resonance thing this week.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What Do I Do Whilst Writing An Entry?

Well, as I begin typing this, I am enjoying the start of another episode of The Listening Club on Resonance FM. I particularly laughed at the line "I could pour water on a hard drive," and the sound of sandwich eating. I can't wait to get my own short Clear Spot recorded. The rehearsal for it went quite well, but we'll need another one, mainly because I am not the greatest voice artist in the world.

I did 15 at a gig in Cheltenham. It was in the practice hall of a private school, one of the most opulent places I have ever been that professed to be a modern educational establishment. That said, it paled into insignificance along side the sheer majesty that is Oxford. But that's irrelevant really. An attentive audience, and I wasn't sure how subdued they would be, which affected my first few minutes (as well as getting the level right on my mic distances). The middle and end went much better, and I even took a chance to try some new material again.

It's something I debuted in Leicester at the Comedy Festival. Honestly, it didn't go so well there, but then none of my set did that night. But having run through it once, it went better in Cheltenham, and even more so a few nights later in Weston Super Mare.

If I take a step back and appraise my twenty set now, I can honestly say I much prefer the second half, but I'm still reliant (confidence wise) on the first half to get me ready for part two. I think the reason for this preference is that the second half seems much more personal, and not stuff that could conceivably be spouting from another comedian (albeit only faintly). Hopefully I'll be able to write some material for the first half that will make it seem better in my head, that way it won't affect the performance of part one - which it may be in danger of doing, unless I keep an eye on it.

I emailed Armando Iannucci this week.

He hasn't replied.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sometimes Title Creation Alludes Me

There's something about new material which perplexes me. When you write it, you always have huge confidence in it, but as the minutes tick by and you stumble towards the gig where you intend to debut it, that confidence slowly ebbs away, and ultimately hinders that initial airing. I suppose it's wonderful to have a regular gig which provides the opportunity to turn over material so readily, but because it's a regular gig with regular audiences, you can't sandwich it all between tried and tested things. Thus gauging how good it is becomes harder. If I'm honest, last Sunday I didn't prepare enough before hand, but I'm not honest.

On Tuesday I was at Clifton Comedy to see Mr Jon Richardson prove that he is one of the best acts on the circuit right now. He's certainly infinitely better than he should be for someone so comedically young. That's why I'm using him in my Resonance show. So there.

The trip from Bristol to Sheffield and back is long. So very long. But it was worth it. I was supporting Wil Hodgson at the Caper Comedy Club in Takapuna on West Street. They've just gone weekly from being monthly, so the audience was a bit diminished, and aside from the three chatty twunts, were lovely. The twunts, it turns out, were organised hooligans who regularly break things, so in retrospect it was probably a mistake to keep calling them Fucknuts. They left in the interval though. Doing 20s is lovely. You get breathing space, and have the chance to really build momentum, which does nothing but help my Storm story.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Things'll Brighton Up

When you're looking at the East Indian architecture of the Pavillions in Brighton, you don't expect to be looking through heavy falling snow. It was very bizarre, and very cold. As was the Marlborough Theatre itself, where I was for the Rabbit In The Headlights. It's a theatre style room above a pub, grotty, but with loads of character. And not so much heating.

I went on first, and was lucky enough to be granted a bit longer. So I thought it pertinent to use that extra time wisely. This manifested itself in a performance I was pleased with, although it does mark the last outing of the finale of my newest piece of material. That will now be replaced with something more upbeat, after a discussion in the car on the way home, driving through what had now become sludgy sleet. Some London act went well over their time, and did some drudge and cliched nonsense which had the rhythm of comedy, but none of the nuance or originality they clearly thought it contained. I'm such a bitch.

Anyway, I had a chance to try the replacement ending a few nights later at a gig in Whitchurch on the outskirts of Bristol. As I arrived, I was very apprehensive, mainly because it reminded me of a gig I did once in a pub with much the same ambience to it. But Mr Gaz Mackin did an excellent job of turning it into a proper gig, and I went on with a support 20, which was hard work, but very well received. Even the new ending (actually, a very old bit which fits perfectly) felt like it had now found a home. So, now I have a long trek up to Sheffield to look forward to, in order to do another support slot.

Then I found myself in the centre of London, sitting in the offices of Ridley Scott's production company, in a meeting with Normski of all people. He's a fascinating, funny and wholly entertaining guy, and I'm excited by the project. I am very aware that sounds all luvvie, but quite frankly, I don't care.

Mr Daniel Kitson did a surprise gig in Bristol last night, following his late night stint on Resonance FM. He was awesome, whimsical and thought-provoking all at the same time. And do listen to his Listening Club, it's excellent. And as for Resonance, I am making a show for their Clear Spot, so I'm sure I'll be bigging that massiveness up when it's about to air.
Free Website Counter
Website Counters