The early start on Saturday morning is tough after performing the night before. How I managed to do this nearly every Saturday when I was on tour last year I don't know. I found it hard to cope this morning and though I tried to incorporate my grumpiness into the show, I think I just ended up scaring Andrew and the production team. A favourite moment of near genuine madness was when I started smashing my object for the week against the desk because Andrew had dared to ask me a polite question. I was just about in control, but allowing the Herrin character, who I am beginning to realise is the subconscious unaffected version of myself that dwells somewhere within my depths - that voice that usually we all have to ignore and smother, but which I allow to come to the fore for comedic effect. He was petulantly showing off because he had been asked to tone things down a little by our executive producer. You can't tell Herrin what to do. It will cause chaos. But whilst usually his naughtiness and impishness is quite funny, when tired and agitated he is just a massive prick. I am not sure it ruined the show for the listener, but it was uncomfortable in the studio. For me as well. But I couldn't regain control of my own brain until about the last half an hour. I think usually Andrew would have been better at wrangling the Herrin Caliban monster, but he was tired too. My childishness made me feel embarrassed all day. But we're all allowed an off day. And this one did come from exhaustion, though served as a nice rehearsal for the time that my mind actually goes properly and the repressed Herrin monster gets to run this body full time.
It's two weeks until I fly off to the Maldives. I think I can keep the beast within at bay until then. At least outside of podcasts, which is where he belongs.
I increasingly realise (or maybe it has only become the case now I am older) how vital sleep is to the effectiveness of my work. I have to be as sharp as possible to do my job well and though I psyched myself up, I don't think I was quite as crisp and focused on stage tonight as I have been for the last three nights. It was still a fun show and with 350 in very nearly full, but perhaps it was the audience who were sluggish too. Saturday nights can be tougher and in general they seemed slightly slower on the uptake than other crowds. I usually got the laugh if I waited for them to catch up, but I don't want to hang around! Alcohol had certainly had an effect on some pockets of the audience and there were a few heckles, most of them actually so garbled that I was able to comment, "It's tough when you get heckled by someone speaking in tongues", which I think was an original ad lib. Another woman asked if I swallowed when I was fellating oxen (you have to see the show) and I eventually gave a good response which was a much too technical description of how much semen comes from an orgasming ox. If I had got there straight away it would have been the perfect heckle response, but I had had a false start discussing fellating swallows first which wasn't as good. It was still a good and fun show and I am not sure the difference would have been perceptible from the auditorium, but my mind wasn't flying quite a freely. Sometimes when I let the subconscious take over it can be light and clever and beautiful, like Ariel (I am making allusions to "The Tempest" rather than washing powder). I powered to a strong end and I don't think anyone was too disappointed (though someone did tweet that they had been sitting next to a religious woman who had been providing a dissenting commentary through the first half, who did not return for the second). It's no wonder that I get tired - it's a show that requires a lot of concentration and energy. I made the right choice in getting a tour manager to help me out. I can catch up on my sleep on the motorways of Great Britain on my tour.
I have now done 20 nights of my tour and there's about 70 to go. Who knows what changes will be made to the show and my mental balance by the end of that.