A day off today, though I didn't do much with it. I had various bits of admin to do and loads of Talking Cock books to find some space for and I also decided to get everything organised for the seven gig run that I have starting on Thursday. But it was still a relief to spend a day doing not much, even though all that is to come is weighing down on me and I had a slight internal crisis about how the fuck I am going to get it all done. I am taking a lot of risks this year and chucking stuff out there. With Meaning of Life, for example, it's necessarily going to be rough around the edges, because of the time and budget constraints. I hope I can still produce six shows that have strong material, but they will never be as polished as something that I could have spent months perfecting. But if I spent months perfecting it it wouldn't exist because I would have died of starvation having earned no money. Part of the challenge is to see what we can do on the time and money, but today I worried if it might impact negatively on me if the viewers don't get what I am doing. Should I just have concentrated on one or two things this year rather than trying to create an internet stand up series, more RHLSTPs, a play, a new stand up show and a weekly radio show? Mostly I am glad that I am pushing myself and I know lots of people do get what I am trying to achieve, but with a day to stop and think I perhaps inevitably stopped and thought about the negative side.
It's always tough at this stage when I have a tour show that is pretty finely honed and running smoothly to imagine how I will create another one of these by August. And this year I have the play to occupy my mind as well. What if they're both just terrible rubbish?
Usually something will kick in, inside me, to prevent this happening (and so far, so good - I think the standard of my Edinburgh shows has been consistent) but just because it always has doesn't mean it will again. This terror and risk is what makes this job exciting and bizarre. However well things have been going (and success has been modest, but gratifyingly growing, so far) there is no guarantee that it will keep up.
Maybe having days off is a bad thing. I've been getting through this so far by being forced to move on to the next job without being able to get too introspective. The feedback I get is largely very positive, with emails every now and again from people who are letting me know that my podcasts have helped them through some dark times, but occasionally there will be messages from people (generally rather entitled ones) who are complaining about something (often about the quality of free content or why they have to endure me doing an advert for my own stuff at the beginning of that free content). It's all too easy to focus in on the criticisms and ignore the positives (or indeed the hundreds of people at the tour gigs who are clearly having a good time).
The mature thing to realise as a performer and creative person is that everyone is not going to get what you do and some people are going to hate it and in fact, if everyone loved it then you'd probably be doing something wrong. And I have been on top of that for a while. I understand I am quite a niche taste and that some people are going to find me annoying (I am with me all the time and sometimes I want to punch myself in my own smug face too) and I am also usually quite proud of myself for having caved out this niche for myself. It's been a battle. But if we didn't occasionally question the point of everything and our own worth then we would be bigger idiots than we are.
If I keep throwing shit at the wall then some of it will stick (it's basically my life motto), but I guess sometimes when you've been throwing shit at a wall for a while until your arm hurts and you stop throwing shit at the wall and have a rest, you are bound to take a look at yourself and the shit all over your own hands and the shit all over your sweaty clothes and the shit dripping down the wall and the flecks of shit that have come off the throwing shit and landed in your hair and eyes and think that everything you are doing is a stupid and self-defeating waste of time and that you're actually unlikely to accidentally create a fecal Mona Lisa on the wall using this scatalogical scattergun technique. But then maybe you realise that throwing the shit at the wall is better than doing nothing at all and certainly better than just criticising someone else's shit throwing and maybe you'll at least manage to make a crap version of the tennis player scratching her buttocks one of these days.
And chucking shit at a wall worked for Chris Ofili. Maybe one day I'll win the Turner Prize.
Or just be content to have had the fun with all my shit-flinging, before I die and join the rest of the shit mouldering in the ground.
It was a great day off. Thanks.
The RHLSTP with Alexei Sayle is now up for video and audio subscribers (or as a one-off purchase) at gofasterstripe. See a free clip here. And as a thank you to all those of you who have donated a pound or more a month we've put an exclusive extra up on your secret channel with Alexei and me chatting backstage. More extras will be going up and you'll also get the chance to win prizes in a monthly draw, so join in and give a monthly donation if you want to be a part of all that. It's all ticking along nicely, but we'll need quite a few more of you to join in if we're going to do something like a monthly AIOTM.