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Thursday 17th July 2014

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It says something about my workload at the moment that I am looking forward to going to Edinburgh because it will be relatively relaxing. We’ll see how that works out in practice.
I had an intense personal training session today, squeezed into half an hour because my trainer had to change his schedule, but much more gruelling than the hour one yesterday. And no royal family members to help brighten the pain. The afternoon was spent writing newspaper columns and then in the evening I was doing two gigs. I’d also had to pop across to the British Museum in the afternoon to see some visiting relatives. I did a lot of walking  in the heat and didn’t eat too much and halfway through my second gig my energy levels dropped suddenly and I thought about bringing things to a close ahead of time. I pushed on through, but it was a very weary tube ride home.
I am thinking of taking early retirement.
I seemed to lose the audience at about the same place, but perhaps we were all a bit discombobulated by the heat. The International Women’s Day routine did not tickle them at all. To the extent that I had to stop and ask them if I was making sense. Other audiences have liked it, but tonight they were non-plussed. I made a few unforced errors after that, which didn’t help things and I still need to find the time to give the loosely themed material some kind of shape and to sort out a couple of the eggy moments. 
My favourite thing at the British Museum was not the Elgin marbles (though I enjoyed the story of lascivious centaurs stealing Greek women away - why would they be attracted to such a different species to their own and what were the logistics of their horse-cock/human vagina based love making? As a human I might be attracted to the top half of a centaur lady, but I think the bottom bit would put me off sexual congress and I can’t imagine that it would be any less unappealing for a centaur looking at a woman’s freaky hind-quarters. I would just ride the centaur lady as if she was a horse and then maybe, if she was agreeable, hold on to her bosom like it was some kind of handlebar), but a little boy I saw as I was waiting for everyone else to arrive. It was hot under the greenhouse like dome that now stretches over the central courtyard of the museum and this child of about six had decided to satirise human civilisation (or just cool his legs down a bit) by taking off his shorts and putting them on his head. He was laughing at his subversion of normality, as was his sister, though his parents, perhaps used to his antics were ignoring him. But I enjoyed his joy at his own revolution against the convention of shorts being worn on the legs. I would have taken a photo, but thought that a middle-aged man taking an interest in a little boy in his pants might be frowned upon in this day and age. Which was a shame, because my interest was in the parody of social norms and the way that only a child can really make this point. If I’d taken off my jeans and put them on my head I would have been thrown out of the museum and maybe into a prison cell. But who says trousers can not be a hat? Somehow amongst all these wonders of history it was fantastic to witness something fleeting and transient that still spoke so much of the human condition. We laughed together and then they moved on and at some point the short ended back in their more traditional place. 
Amongst much appalling news today was the death of Elaine Stritch, who I had briefly met at that odd Christmas party in a posh jewellers for Elton John.  She’d been very nice to me and we’d had a good chat and though I thought she had left before my slightly disastrous set, one of the waiters told me that she had hung around in the doorway and listened and expressed her disappointment in my material. I wonder why he had done that. Perhaps he thought I would get a kick out of upsetting an old lady, but I would loved her to have thought I was good at my job. But at least I got to have a chat with her before I failed to impress her. She was a total legend and carried on working hard right to the end of her long life. If I don’t stop my workaholism then I can see me doing the same - though I doubt I’ll make it to 89 at this rate.



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