So fair and foul a day I have not seen.
The journey to Cheltenham encompassed almost every weather condition known to the Planet Earth. It was windy one minute, rainy the next, beautifully sunny the next and then as we approached the town itself the gods seemed to be warning us away as the sky grew dark and lightening cleft the clouds in twain. It felt like a portent of evil, especially when the car began being hit by icy snow, then hail.
But we were not afraid to press onwards and we entered that cursed citadel in spite of all that the forces of nature were throwing at us.
And the minute that we were through the (metaphorical) city gates, the tumultuous conditions abated. The gods gave up their resistance. If they'd started dropping frogs on us I might have suggested we turn back, but Simon Streeting is too confident in his own divine power to ever bow before another deity, and doubtless would have continued and demanded that the gods provide him with a vegetarian option to be pelted with.
The hail had come down the size of musket balls and was lining our progress to the Everyman theatre. It was faintly beautiful.
I was already looking forward to what, in all likelihood, will be the penultimate performance of Talking Cock. Amazingly I had sold over 400 tickets by last Monday. I am never sure why some towns sell so much better than others, though I was later reminded that I had played nearby Gloucester about this time last year and maybe word of mouth had spread. It's a hard slog to build up an audience and I think the only way to do it (besides getting your own TV show) is to keep slogging round the country until people start to realise you're not going to go away (whatever weather their warlocks conjure up to keep you out).
I was seeing some old friends for dinner before the show, so alas I did not get to sample the food the theatre was going to offer us. Simon Streeting was given a cheese sandwich, which he complained had too much butter in it. So unlike him to complain about every little thing. Based on annoying Streeting I will give Cheltenham a sandwich rating of 5. The steak sandwich I had at the Slug and Lettuce near the theatre tasted a bit like it might contain both slug and lettuce and so I would give the establishment a sandwich rating of 2. Which is very poor given that serving food is partly how they make their living.
There were nearly 500 people in the audience in the end and it was marvellous to play to such a big crowd again. It feels like a long time since I last did (in fact I think this is the biggest audience that the show has played to, the only one anywhere near was Winchester last year).
It just becomes a different show when there are that many people and that much laughter. You can pause and ride the laughs and get waves of laughter for each joke depending on your reaction to the crowd and the crowd's reaction to itself. It makes my job so much easier and so much more enjoyable, but pretty much anyone who knows what they are doing are going to look good when there's this many people in. The hard thing, as I'm finding out, is getting the people in there in the first place.
It made me very happy to be having such fun, but afterwards I felt a little sad that I don't get this many people more often.
Well, hopefully, if I can come up with another show, the next tour will go better. After tonight I think that if I played Cheltenham again I should sell the place out. That is, if they remember my name, rather than just looking out for the next show about cocks.
It will be good to move on to something else. I just wish I knew what it was going to be.
I've got to have at least a title in two weeks.
As I write it has started to hail again. Which is slightly freaky. I had no idea the gods knew where I lived.