Thursday, August 31, 2006


I'm writing this with a seering headache. Although, that's not correct. I'm writing this with a keyboard and a PC. I'll rephrase. As I write this, I have a seering headache. In much the same way as I performed whilst nursing a seering headache at my gig in Winchester. It had been a mostly pleasant day up to about four minutes before I went on stage. The drive down was nice and easy, I met Mr Deian Vincent when I arrived, and we chatted and had fun. The room was nice, the audience were keen, and I was in the mood for a good gig.

But as I sat waiting to go on, a huge pain surged through my eyeball and inside my head. In fact, it was uncomfortably bad. The drive home was almost unbearable. So, going on stage and looking into four (seemingly) bright spotlights may not have been the best antidote. I did well enough though. The lead was wrapped around the microphone stand, which always makes me feel like a complete amateur when I have to untwirl it. Headline acts never seem to have that problem, or if they do, they cover it so well I never notice. I explained my aching head, but they didn't seem to care, so I cracked on with the material. Everything worked, nothing bombed. As I finished, I was very aware that I was forgetting my final choice of bit, but it only occurred to me after I left what it was I'd omitted. As a consequence, I ended with an anti-climax, instead of a nice laugh. Never mind.

Friday, August 25, 2006

(Insert Title Here)

Just the one gig I want to talk about this time. It was called Tall Stories and Telling Tales, and took place in a cosy little basement room of the Essex Serpent in Covent Garden. The idea of the evening, run and hosted by Sarah Bennetto, is to have a little bit more time and space to tell stories, usually in the structure of long form stand up, but not necessarily so. Advertised as a spoken word evening, rather than stand up comedy, the cute space filled up nicely with very attentive people.

I cheated a little bit, in that I told stories that already form part of my stand up set, but interspersed them with the odd anecdote that hadn't been prepared, or a snippet from an old blog. See, these things do come in useful. Anyway, given plenty of time and space, the stories were a joy to perform, and I really loved it - so much so, I went back again this week, just to watch.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Weekend At Bernie's

Well, not Bernie's, but Jesters. I'm not sure there's a club called Bernie's, and if there was, it would probably be hosted by some guy with his feet rammed through the back of a yellow ostrich. Yes, so, I have just done my first weekend booking, for Jesters, as I said. It provided a very steep learning curve.

I'm not entirely sure why, but my apprehension had been growing all week, and as I left for the gig on Friday night, I was more nervous than I have been since my first ever open spot. That may not be completely true, but it was the most aware I've been of those nerves for a very long time anyway. Having arrived at the venue, I was surprised to see it was pretty full, which for August, in my head, is amazing. A slight calm descended upon me just before I was introduced, my brain probably remembering that I've done this gig many times before, albeit not on a Friday. I struggled. I rushed. I stumbled. I tensed up. But I didn't die. Very far from it. I gave a good account of myself, and got some very constructive feedback from the other acts afterwards. It was very strange, my eyeline seemed very high, and it felt like I was looking up and it was constricting my windpipe slightly. I came off stage very out of breath, having put a lot of energy into the performance of Storm.

So, on Saturday, I was much more calm, much more confident. I had proved to myself that I could play the room on a Friday night, mostly with success. As a result, the gig was a delight. A slightly smaller crowd, but I seemed to have much more command over myself, my material, and them as an audience. Everything seemed to work a charm. The Batman stuff, which someone had expressed reservations about as an opener, did the great job it can do, when I get it right. The same person said, "Batman worked great, shows what I know!" So I felt a little vindicated about that. I even worked in a new line at the end of the bit, based on a chat with Mr Martin Beaumont. I was most pleased that the second time round, I stuck to my guns, knowing that the response on Friday was below par, so to speak. I had rhythm. I had pace. I had a great gig.

A trip to London beckons this week. I haven't done a gig in the smoke for a couple of years now. I'm really excited.
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