As It Occurs To Me has been a hell of a ride and I am very proud of what we have all achieved with it (even though, if you've seen this week's video, you'll know I should be ashamed), but over this long weekend I have come to the decision that we should almost certainly end it with this series. I still think we're being quite inventive and I am glad that even though there are lots of running jokes we rarely run them into the ground, but it's a punishing exercise for me and we might have taken it as far as it can go. It will be good to end it on a high next week.
It's important never to say never and I might relent when things are not quite so insanely hectic, but the current format in the current medium is not sustainable either financially or physically and especially not mentally. I love the team and the vibe and might well come up with something else for us all to do, but for As It Occurs To Me to exist in any form I think we'd need backing or a budget, so I can only see it carrying on if someone wanted to make it into a TV show.
But maybe that would spoil the whole thing.
We will have 28 episodes by this time next week, over a day's worth of comedy, created from nothing, without any support from anyone but the fans and perhaps we should all be pleased with that. I don't want it to turn into (more of) a grotesque parody of itself. Perhaps there is room for the occasional one off special. Or maybe I should think about what else we might do together. Though I love the half-arsedness of it, I fear that if this becomes what I am known for then I will be seen as half-arsed and that is only half fair. I am quarter-arsed. It's very hard to tell if the podcasts are helping my long term career or not. It's crazy that my latest big opportunity for some paid work is being forced into second place. I am old and there isn't much time to make my mark.
In any case I am taking it easier in the autumn and then touring in the spring and then working up the new tour show after that, so even if I relent I can't see us doing any more until autumn 2012. Maybe we could do a Christmas special. But maybe we should just make next week something special to go out on. I am keen to explore the world of podcasts more fully and wonder if my time might be better spent creating something that is more thought out and polished. There is no reason (apart from economical reasons) why I shouldn't produce a radio quality podcast with a proper, not quite so semen obsessed script. That might be the next move.
I gave the live audience a clear choice last night and rather fittingly they chose short-term titillation over longevity. I think they represent the audience at home fairly. You would rather I end this series in the ultimate humiliation rather than the series continues.
So I won't make any decisions for sure, especially not at this stressful time, but I am about 85% certain that today saw the penultimate AIOTM , so give it a listen. But the beauty of a project like this is that I can rest if for as long as I like and still bring it back months or years down the line. This is not the usual hollow threat designed to increase ticket sales - next week's show is already all but sold out, even with the spectacular ending that I have promised - will I keep my promise? Clearly it's not going to happen exactly as proposed. BOOK RIGHT NOW if you want to see how I get out of this or don't get out of this - if anyone can help me source a pumpkin big enough to fit over my enormous head, do get in touch.
Having said all that I was very moved by the number of people in the audience who love the show enough to travel miles to see it. People had come especially from Aberdeen and Newcastle, some had braved eight hour round trips on the Megabus. There was even a woman from Canada, though I suspect this might not have been her only reason for coming. I appreciate that dedication and it means a lot to me that the fans of this series are so fanatical.
Annoyingly I finished the script with two hours to spare - I could have spent that extra time in bed. But again I was very pleased with my application. Hopefully I can do the same with my paid script tomorrow. I had done very well at keeping off the junk food as I wrote, but that was all undone when we got into rehearse as there were not only Haribo, but gingerbread men and some cakes on sticks that had been provided by What Is Love Anyway programme sponsor Cake Poppins. I always put on tonnes of weight during AIOTM and hope that I can get back into my exercise regime soon cos I am porking up big style (I don't need to tell you that if you've watched that video).
There was a nice moment in rehearsal where we all cracked up laughing over one joke in the script. I had tears rolling down my face and was in too much pain to continue. Usually when that happens those bits then die in the actual show, but it still made me laugh on the night. Which should help you identify which bit I'm talking about.
This show is lots of fun to perform even if it's not much fun to write. And with only one more to go the weight of the world felt a bit lighter as I walked out of the theatre, even if my legs felt heavy.
Tomorrow is the new deadline for the TV script. About 40 pages to write (have managed 15 in the last three months). Anything is possible.