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Saturday 14th June 2014


I felt a bit like I'd been hit by a bus today. Who said exercising was good for you? This reminded me of what it was like to have a cracked rib. Every movement caused me pain. The worst was when I tried to stretch my arms out across the back of the sofa. If the Romans had known anything about torture they would have made the people they were crucifying do a week of physical work-outs first and then their time on the cross would have been really uncomfortable.

So I was grumpy enough already, but then things were made slightly worse when I was trying to cross London to do an early evening charity gig in Peckham. I had thought of driving, but the organisers had recommended that I take the train and it looked easy enough. A quick hop down to Clapham Junction on the new(ish) overland line from Shepherd's Bush and then another train to Peckham Rye. I left an hour early so that I could do some work in a coffee shop when I got to Peckham. Evenso things did not go my way. The line from the Junction to Peckham was closed for engineering and so I had to get a replacement bus and it wasn't very clear where I was meant to go to get that so ended up running through the station in the wrong direction and then back again, only to miss the first bus and have to wait half an hour for the second one. I had been slightly annoyed with myself for accepting this gig at a time when I had so much on, but now tired and aching I was getting into a proper mood. The bus took nearly an hour to get me to Peckham so rather than being an hour early I was twenty minutes late. I was rushed up some stairs and into a weirdly dark room and more or less pushed on to the stage.

Most theatre spaces are of course largely dark, but the stage is usually lit. This one seemed to have minimal lighting on stage and felt slightly eerie. The audience was cloaked in blackness too and I told them how sinister this felt and that I was worried they would all get up and start slowly walking towards me. I couldn't tell what kind of people I was playing to or how old they were or if there were any kids in there and as I had only just arrived had no time to gauge it. The gig was part of a festival so there was lots of extraneous noise, but I couldn't tell if the low hum was an air conditioner, something in another room or the audience trying to freak me out. It felt as close to me having been kidnapped and then forced to entertain strangers as possible. And with my aching limbs it was a bit like my kidnappers had beaten me first.

The lights got brighter over one portion of the audience about halfway through and I speculated that the gig was being lit by the love of the crowd. In which case only one small section were enjoying my comedy, another had a very dimly glowing bulb above them and the ones to the far right only had the emergency exit sign illuminating them. It was as if they were heckling me via electricity and telling me to run for the exit. The set went fine, though it felt like so much effort to get there that anything but me being declared the new Lord of Peckham would have made it feel underwhelming. I was not declared Lord of Peckham. And I felt slightly annoyed that no one from the festival had contacted me to tell me that overland rail route was not open today.

Maybe I should have checked myself.

It's good to do charity work slightly resentfully though, I find. It takes away the possibility of being self-congratulatory and makes you look like a prick, which evens out the good you are doing.

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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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