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Tuesday 11th June 2013

I did have fun last night, but I am not entirely sure that the enjoyment of (rather mild) boozing is worth the punishment it inflicts on my 45 year old body. I had to get the train up to Edinburgh today as I was doing a short spot in Jo Caulfield's excellent story-telling night (it's going to go out on Radio 4 at some point). It was a tough trip, made more difficult by having a family with two young kids on the table behind me (I travel first class to avoid this kind of thing!). One of the children was repeatedly banging a metal spoon against the table top. That child came very close to dying today. In fact he owes me his life because I saved it by not killing him. He should be my slave for life now.
I put on my headphones and drowned out the noise with some other noise. I don't really like working to music (or with a hangover) but I managed to squeeze out some blogs and do a little bit of work on my stories for tonight, as well as piece together what had happened at the podcasts last night so I could write the blurb about them both. Mary's video podcast will be out on Wednesday afternoon with the audio following on Thursday (please do consider paying for it if you haven't already - the profit will be used for making more comedy) John's brain-hurter will follow with video on Friday and audio on Saturday. I am already looking forward to Russell Brand next Monday with fear and trepidation. Hopefully I can announce the last two guests soon. If we get one of the people we are after I will probably actually explode.
I had a little sleep when I got to my hotel but didn't real feel human. A coffee and a biscuit momentarily revived me, but then I got tired and hot - not really the time to attempt a routine I'd never done without notes and an old one that I'd slightly forgotten. Ian Rankin the author was amongst the other story-tellers, a very modest man, seemingly intimidated that he was on with stand-up comics. Yeah, cos he's not much of a story-teller, right? The delightfully bonkers Janey Godley was eating nougat (or "nugget"as she called it) and telling great stories already without even trying. I concentrated on not throwing up.
I loved the evening though. It is another example of someone just getting on with something and creating something brilliant and it's a testament to Jo and the people behind it that it's such a well put together show that it was given a Radio 4 show just from showing the commissioning executives a brief video. It had a mixture of story-telling styles: a quietly spoken man with wild hair told stories of his father, an innocent looking young woman told a (presumably invented) story of her murdering someone, then I came on and blathered on about Dave Manager and my gran (two different tales - they never met as far as I know, though think they would have been dynamite together). I felt a bit better after the break and it was a blistering second half with Rankin telling a fantastic story about the people who have paid money to charity to get their name in his book ( You can read about it here, though I suggested that it was possible that Stuart David might be fictional too) and Janey was even better, conjuring up evocative images of her mother and friends singing songs about women who've been hurt by men in their kitchen when she was a girl and then of herself recently getting trapped in an understairs cupboard. She did all this without swearing once, although I thought the way she pronounced "fur coat" was a bit filthy.
I've been very lucky to be involved in some pretty spectacular pieces of theatre in the last fortnight, though my involvement hasn't really been necessary to make them fantastic. This was hugely enjoyable, even with a hangover managing to feel both traditional and modern. I liked the stories that used vernacular and Scottish, but I liked the ones about lesbianism and murder and there was some witty and inventive hip hop too. Highly recommended if you can get to Auld Reekie or to a radio or computer with Radio 4 on it.
We went for a drink in a pub that I don't think I've been in since my first or second Fringe in the late 80s and I risked a pint and half of Guinness, which cleared the remnants of my hangover if only temporarily. I got some chips from the Clam Shell (again my chip shop of choice in 1987) and rolled down an uncensored Cockburn Street to my motel.
I think it's time to stop drinking again.

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My new stand up show, Lord of the Dance Settee will be touring from October 2014 to May 2015 All details here.
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