There was still a bit of confusion as I checked out this morning (I was nearly charged for three nights), but a manager was called and he didn't ask for any payment, but I don't know if he'd contacted the website that sold me the room or just decided to trust me.
So I was soon on my way for the cross country trip to Cambridge. It turned into another demanding six hour drive, but the nice thing about this tour is that it's been spaced out over several months, so a couple of days driving is not going to knock the stuffing out of me. I enjoyed being in the car and I saw another, less impressive and more distant rainbow, so God is clearly pleased with me too (but less so than yesterday).
I had hoped to get to Cambridge by mid-afternoon and write a couple of Metro articles, but by the time I had set up the show and had my dinner it was 7.30pm and I had to get ready for the show. The staff at the Junction were super-helpful and friendly and actually helped me put my life-threatening programmes on to the seats. A warm welcome means a lot to me. I will always return to the places that treat me nicely. It was my third sell out show in a row this week (fourth if you include RHLSTP) and the audience was smart and up for it and although a couple of times I felt a little woozy from the driving, the appreciation spurred me on to a good performance with a few new little twists and flourishes. Someone afterwards asked me if it was deliberate that my shadow had looked like the Grim Reaper. I wish I was that technically adept to make that the case. But also I slightly worried that my shadow WAS the Grim Reaper, just biding his time, getting ready to strike me. That would be a great finale to the show, if my shadow suddenly rose up and wielded a shadow scythe and mowed me down. I fear it may be beyond the budget of the show and I'd need a new person playing me every night if he actually did it.
I had considered driving home after the gig, but tomorrow I am in Colchester, which isn't far away and I am glad I saved myself the 90 minute drive tonight and the probably two to three hour drive tomorrow, even if it meant a solitary night in a mid-range/budget hotel. At least they knew about my booking tonight.
I sat in the bar alone drinking a whisky. I'd asked for a single, but the barman had been kind enough to give me the entire contents of the nearly-empty bottle, which might have made it a treble. I had no phone signal and the wifi wasn't working so I just had to sit and slowly sip my massive drink in the brightly lit foyer of the hotel. It wasn't glamorous, but at least there was no bogey on my shower-curtain. I won't go back to that Cambridge hotel again. Ian Travelodge let me down.
A slightly drunk Japanese businessman was creating a bit of a scene at the check in desk. I suspected he was complaining about the lack of wi-fi. He then saw I was looking at my phone (though I was playing Yahtzee) and asked me what was happening with the internet. I explained that it wasn't letting me get on to the login page and I suspected something was wrong. He said that he was having that problem too, showing me the piece of paper with his code on (though it was free, you could pay for a quicker service). He was distraught about it and a bit drunk and talking in a second language, but he kept on asking me about it, even though I had pretty much said all I could about what was going on. I don't know if he thought that I worked for the hotel. Perhaps they pay a man to sit in the bar and drink a large glass of whisky, but if you have an internet problem you are allowed to talk to him for as long as you want. If so that would explain the confusion. But I wasn't that employee and I couldn't help him. After five minutes he left me alone and returned to the desk where the staff member was trying to ring up about the internet. For some reason the Japanese man chose to play a loud song through the speakers of his phone. The man on the phone asked him to move away as he couldn't hear what was being said on the line. So the Japanese man moved a short way away and carried on listening to his loud song. It was a bit odd and I suspected that I was about to be approached again so I went to bed.
If you were under any illusion that a middle-aged comedian touring the country alone has a rock and roll lifestyle, I hope I've disabused you of that. It's all looking at rainbows and sleeping fitfully in a single bed in a hotel where the wifi isn't working and that's somehow your fault!
I've made some good progress on the RHLSTP guest line-ups and am particularly excited to have secured Harry Shearer (from The Simpsons and Spinal Tap) for an interview. And I have a feeling I'll be able to sit back and have a rest when Danny Baker is on too! Do come along and support these shows if you can, but if you can't make it then they will start going up on Monday (hopefully). Buy your tickets here.
The line-ups are
24th Feb Robert Llewellyn (Kryten from Red Dwarf) and Helen and Olly from Answer Me This! It's a Podclash!
3rd March Greg Davies and Alexei Sayle
10th March Danny Baker + TBC
17th March Harry Shearer + TBC
24th March Nick Helm + TBC
This week's Metro column, a slow-baked revenge upon Chris Tarrant.