I arrived early in Corsham, feeling tired and mildly hungover. I sat in the dressing room trying to work, looking at my haggard old face in the mirror and my increasingly grey hair. I was reminded of the blog entry I wrote back in 2003 concerned with the same worries about ageing.
It's funny to read that back, partly because it jokingly puts the point where I will be truly old as three years ago. But where there was some comedy in my fears about approaching 40, it's actually slightly sick-making to realise I am sliding down the steep path that leads to 50. The only positive about it is that I know what my Edinburgh Fringe show will be about in 2017. I really can't believe I am this close to half a century. I don't feel any older than I did 11 years ago and back then I still felt like I was 23 (or maybe 10) and yet the evidence of my face and my birth certificate suggest that I really am this old. Maybe I should follow my own show's advice and stop working myself into the ground and stop to smell the roses. Before they stick them on my grave.
The problem with this is that I do love my job and it would be my hobby if it wasn't how I made a living, so if I want to have fun then I have to keep doing what I am doing. Maybe not quite so much of it though.
I at least wondered if it's time to get my hair cut and act more like the old man that I am supposed to be. Now long white hair on an older man makes me think of Jimmy Savile and that can't be a good thing. How can I be nearly 50? I know that I am actually 46 so there's still a way to go, but if this blog has taught me anything it's that four years is just the blink of an eye. I can still remember sitting in that dressing room in 2003 and fretting about my few grey hairs and if you told me that happened three years ago I would have believed you. Curse you God for making me this way.
If I got in fights when I was approaching 40, what kind of madness will hit me on the toboggan ride to 50? Watch this space. Though I fear it might just be a gradual decline into dullness. I hope so. I don't think I could go through all the stuff that contributed to "How Not To Grow Up" again. Just the champagne bottle on its own was bad enough. Thank God I am old.
Seriously though, if I stop and try to convince myself that I am nearly 47 my brain simply won't compute it. It finds it amusing, because it's impossible. My dad became a grandad at 47. How have I left everything so late? I just didn't hear the clock ticking.
I've let the diet slide a bit over the last two or three days and April threatens to be the first month that I put on weight this year, so I am going to redouble my efforts. I am more or less the same weight as I was three weeks ago, so it's not a disaster, but just a couple of days of drinking a bit too much and eating some crisps has made a difference. I would like to lose another 3 or 4 kilos at least (much as I'd love to lose another 15 to prove the doctors wrong) but it's not going to be easy. And it has been reasonably easy to shift the first 10. Not sure if being in Russia next week will make it easier or harder to lose weight. We will see.
The gig acted as an excellent hangover cure (I would try to market this, but it is quite an involved solution which involves putting in about two decades of work) and it went well. It's a tiny arts centre and the average audience age was a little bit higher than usual, so I thought the ruder and more satirical bits might shock them. But they were more than equal to the filth. And even though it's been a fortnight since I've done the show it was pretty much all still in my head. Which I can't take as a given. My memory, which was once one of my strongest attributes is fading a bit. I am discovering this by playing the Pointless app on my phone. So much of the time I am unable to recall things that would once have been instantaneous. I couldn't remember the names of the actors who played Mulder and Scully in the X Files the other day, which was just insane. I think this is just middle age rather than early onset Alzheimers, but diminishing memory skills are probably the second most upsetting development that comes with old age. I will allow you to guess what the first most upsetting changes involve.
That's right diminishing comedy skills. As this blog stands as a solid testament to.
Enjoy yourself while you're young. Seriously. You only regret the things that you don't do and the things that you do.
The RHLSTP with Josie Long is now up at the British Comedy Guide and iTunes. Or get all 12 episodes from this series on video for just £15.