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Sunday 20th May 2018


I was staying in a Premier Inn on an out of town shopping complex near Catterick. I popped down to the local Costa for breakfast and to write my blog (though ended up playing Civ II). In an extraordinarily unlikely coincidence, also in that Costa at this unGodly time of the morning was actor, writer and Canon photocopier advertiser Julian Dutton. We started our careers together on the LE Radio corridor and worked together as writers and performers on the notable triumph “That’s Wiggin’s Yard” (which was never allowed to be broadcast as Radio 4 feared it would make all their other output look shoddy).
It was a nice surprise. 
He was up here visiting his son, but what strange happenstance that meant I was staying here, 30 minutes from the venue I’d played at last night. Given we were both in Catterick the chances of us bumping into each other were still very slight, but life throws up these nice surprises and it would actually prove that things were predestined and controlled if there were never any weird coincidences!
It was good to catch up. He is a charming man, about to take a one hour show about John Le Mesurier up to the Fringe. He’s an excellent mimic and Le Mesurier is an excellent choice for a one man show as he had a very interesting life. I highly recommend you see it. It’s possible Dutton has been stalking me in order to “accidentally" bump into me and get a mention in this blog. But if so, hats off to the man. That dedication has probably led to him selling three more tickets for his show.
I’d been slightly dreading another day of double gigs and mildly worried that I’d just spread one audience over two performances. But  in the end today was a delight. We didn’t have far to travel, our hotel was literally next door to the gig and the combined audience was over 100 more people than I’d have got at one gig.
But more importantly both shows were a real delight to play. If anything the smaller afternoon gig was the nicer of the two. There were 130 or so people in, but the reception I got was huge and they were a smart and comedy literate crowd who really got into what I was doing. 
I was full of Sunday roast (the good thing about doing two shows is I got two meals from the exceptional Newcastle Stand kitchen) and said I might have a nap halfway through, but it was such fun I forgot about that.
I had a little wander and then a rest between the shows before popping down for fish and chips and another show. There were two Richard Herring lookalikes on the front row, who were joined by a third for the second half and I wondered if I was being visited by the Mes of the past (and rudely for the third one, the future - he was younger than me, but also thinner so I speculated that he might be the gnarled version of me just pre-death). Annoyingly I continue to improve the show now the thing is on film, but it’s really fun doing this show in a stand up venue. People were close enough to be reading the Penguin Race game before I could get to that bit, but also you can play up the pantomime aspects a bit more. I told the stories really well tonight an discovered new jokes even in the Liverpool fight story. Whether I will remember the turn of phrase that got an extra big laugh (it was the same story, just a well found way of expressing the embarrassment of the bouncers to be associated with such a shitty fight) is another matter. But I also nailed the confrontation with the postman, which is a harder story to get across as there’s fewer actual joke lines in it and it relies heavily on me inhabiting the characters in the story.
During the interval I was able to pop back to my hotel room to pick up something I’d forgotten. A man got out of the lift on my floor as I was making my return, but then got straight back in. He had recognised me and was a fan of the podcast. When he found out I was doing a show next door he asked if he could come and see the second half - which was easy to arrange as there was no one on the door - you can pretty much see the second half of anything for free. 
Had I not left something in my room and had he not happened to be in that lift at that exact time, his evening and subsequent life would have panned out quite differently. It’s a bit like that film Sliding Doors. Have you seen it?
This was my last night of the tour in a hotel room (I will be staying with my folks after the Bristol gig and there are now only seven shows to go. I celebrated with a vodka martini in the hotel bar, but they fucked it up quite badly and put loads of lemon in it. But never mind.

The end is in sight. And I am very much looking forward to seeing my stupid family tomorrow.

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My new stand up show, Oh Frig I'm 50 is at on tour from February til June 2018. There's also a new series of RHLSTP with recordings every Monday from February 5th to April 2nd All details of shows here.
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