My "postponed due to lack of interest" gig in Carlisle was rescehduled for tonight and this time due to slight interest it took place. Last time I had pre-sold 19 tickets which obviously meant that the trip was not worthwhile, whilst this time I had pre-sold an impressive 30. Well that's clearly too many people to leave disappointed with a cancellation. I wonder what the cut off point is on this. 22 maybe. You'd have to do the gig then. But 21? No.
In the end over 50 people turned up, which is by no means the worse attendance I've had for this show. However one person told me that when he'd rung to try and book tickets the woman on the phone had rudely denied that the show was even going to be on and another said that the man who'd answered his call had told him not to bother booking, just to turn up on the night. So one has to question their decision to postpone a gig based on pre-bookings.
You might be impressed that 50 Cumbrian people wanted to see my show, but at least four of them had travelled from Newcastle (and I didn't talk to everyone), so I still haven't etched myself on the Carlislian conscience.
The sandwiches were notable by their prescence, though they were amongst the worst of the tour so far. Not as awful as the ones in Swindon that made me feel like vomitting after one bite, not as non-existent as the ones in Leeds, but certainly not as good as the ones in Glasgow (which weren't strictly speaking sandwiches,as you might recall, but the finest piece of lamb I have ever eaten). Consequently Carlise gets a sandwich rating of 2/10 (I know a lot of you are more interested in the sandwiches than anything else, so have introduced a scoring system to make the sandwich appraisal more accessible). If you are interested Glasgow has a sandwich rating of 9.5 (a sandwich rating that no sandwich could ever aspire to. Ironically the highest any sandwich could get on this sandwich system is 7), Leeds has a sandwich rating of 1, quite high given that there were no sandwiches there, but it has to get a higher score than Swindon's 0/10, simply because at least the sandwiches in Leeds did not make me feel like being sick (mainly due to their non existence), and so they manage to get a point for that if nothing else.
I'm not going to broaden this out and give each venue a salad rating or a fruit rating (that would be much too anal and no-one could possibly be interested and in any case I usually just leave the fruit and salad uneaten), but if I did, Carlisle would get a fruit rating of 2/10 (the bananas were over-ripe) and a salad rating of 0/10 (I had a fork full of mushroom and beansprout and it made me feel sick. As you can see, inducing queasiness results in an automatic zero. So watch out for that any venues who are vying for the prize of best catering on the Talking Cock tour). On the plus side they had two packs of Sensations crisps, like Posh Spice eats. Unfortunately for Carlisle there will never be a crisp rating, either real or projected. Them's the breaks.
I don't want you to start thinking that the catering is the most important thing about touring. It's not like I have made a 660 mile round trip journey to Cumbria just to criticise them for giving me slightly dull and smelly sandwiches (one was egg, another tuna. The third was grated cheess and tomato, which is the only one that I could possibly eat before speaking in the faces of a crowd of people without belching. But there was nothing to hold the cheese in the sandwich so a lot of it fell out. But like I say, I don't think it's right to spend too much time discussing this subject). There are more important things about doing a gig than the sandwiches.
Like the hotel.
On the plus side it had part of Hadrian's wall in the back garden (yeah, mate. Well I've just been to Pompeii. Do you think I'm impressed by a crappy bit of old wall?), on the negative the corridors were decorated with extremely frightening Victorian style dolls. Some in bonnets, some in cribs, all with staring glassy eyes, all of them definitely coming alive at night and wandering the corridors, slipping into the rooms of a few unfortunate guests and killing them with knitting needles.
It seemed strange to me that the hotel had gone as far as using killer dolls to decorate the passageways, but hadn't made the logical decision to decorate all the rooms with paintings of characters from Disney's Tarzan. Or certainly not my room anyway. I thought about complaining to reception, but knew that they would be inundated with scores of complaints from my arrogant tour manager, Simon Streeting.
He flies into a tempestuous fury if any hotel he is in does not have vegetarian sausages on the breakfast menu. I enjoy this spectacle so much that I employ another tour manager (on double Simon Streeting's wages) to travel to every town on our tour, but on the previous day, to buy up or eat every single vegetarian sausage within a ten mile radius. This costs me several thousand pounds a gig and thus makes the whole enterprise financially crippling, but it is worth it to see the steam coming out of the ears of vegetarian sausage loving, arrogant tour manager,Simon Streeting. I know for a fact there are no vegetarian sausages available for love nor money in the whole of Cumbria. I can't wait to see how he takes this tomorrow morning.
Oh yeah and pleasing the audience is also of minor importance (after the sandwiches, hotel and absence of vegetarian sausages). The select band of Cumbrians (and all the people from Newcastle) sent by their tribe to assess whether I was worthy entertainment for their countyfolk seemed to enjoy it well enough. Next time I am sure every Cumbrian in the vacinity will be present (their stomachs rumbling for want of vegetarian sausages - ironically the only kind of sausage that any Cumbrian will actually eat).
You know, providing the woman on teh box office doesn't try to pretend that the gig isn't happening.