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Wednesday 2nd March 2005

As a student I used to drink at the Bullingdon pub a fair bit, as I had friends who lived round the corner. Then it was an uncompromisingly Irish pub with Guinness that we liked to imagine was actually of the same quality as you'd get in Dublin and fiddle and bodhran players seemingly at every table. Don't you even know what a bodhran is? You cannot be as Celtic and cool as I liked to imagine I was at the time. Inside I was just happy to be in such a grown up pub without getting beaten to a pulp. I suspect the place was actually just full of students in hindsight. But it's funny what will give your ego a lift at different times of your life.
Tonight I returned for the first time in approaching two decades to do a gig in the large back room of the pub. Things had certainly changed. The place was so un-Irish that I am beginning to suspect that my memory has been playing tricks on me and I actually drank in an entirely different pub altogether. But eighteen years changes many things. Not least the suppleness of my skin.
Anyhoo, it felt good to be back in a town that had such an influence over my life and I'd been looking forward to the gig even before I realised it was going to be ram packed full of lovely people.
I mistakenly accused a brother and sister from Kendal of coming from a town that has a pencil museum. As I should have recalled having been there (see here) that is actually in Keswick. The siblings poo-pooed the place, as if it was not the responsibility of all Cumbrians and like they had anything to be more proud of, their town having produced NOTHING but mint cake of two different colours.
But even despite this error it was a wonderful witch free gig and my yoghurt epic reached beyond twenty minutes in length, including a new bit in which I confessed that after 15 years of performing laughter is now an anathema to me and I prefer to annoy people who have a rubbish sense of humour. So I thanked the people who thought that this routine was just a man talking about yoghurt for much too long and told them they were logically correct.
Robin Ince was on and he had a copy of Syd Little's autobiogaphy, which he said was full of long anecdotes along the lines of "it looked like we were going to be late for the gig....blah blah blah... but we made it in time in the end."
On the way home I realised I had forgotten to fill up with petrol and the low fuel warning was flashing. We were quite a way from London on the M40, with no services ahead of us and I thought we were going to grind to a halt, but luckily we came off at High Wycombe and there was a garage open, so that didn't happen.
Who says I couldn't write my autobiography now? I am easily Syd Little's equal.

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