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Tuesday 25th June 2013

Pretty blasted all day today after the podcast Marathon last night. You'd think sitting down and chatting would be fairly easy work, but it is draining. I had hoped to make good progress on the Edinburgh show, but although I did a bit of work on the start I mainly sat with piles of paper around me, unable to think of what to do with it. Every time I attempt this I sit down and think, "Right, just make a list of what you're trying to achieve with the show and then a list of the ideas you've got...." but so far I get overwhelmed pretty quickly. I think that's a good thing. It means I have a lot of ideas and a lot of things I want to say. I am confident I can tame this dragon in a month, but today I just wanted to go back to sleep. I wasn't looking forward to driving to Oxford and performing what I had in front of strangers. But I had said I would, so I did, even though I could barely keep my eyes open.
Every year that passes makes walking around Oxford feel ever more surreal. None of the undergraduates (save any mature students - great oxymoron) who are there now were even born when I was a student. There should be a term for that. An entire student generation has passed. There's one every 23 years or so. I wonder how many more student generations there will be. I am a sort of a grandfather to these kids now. Or just a father? Or a pervy Uncle. Probably closer.
Whatever passing my old haunts makes me feel a bit sick and woozy. As I passed the Kings Arms and the taste of the baked potatoes that I used to have there appeared like a spuddy ghost on my taste buds. It wasn't all the nice, but it was precisely the taste.
The gig was unusual in that, for some reason there was no clear route to the stage from the back (and it was blocked with people from the front) and access had to be taken over a two bar fence (essentially). I either had to climb over it or crawl through it. I have had some difficult entrances (usually on to highish stages with no steps) but I've never had to crawl under a fence to get on stage. I am an old man now. I hurt my knee a little bit. This was like an assault course. I am guessing if the army have stand-ups, like they have chaplins and stuff, then this is the way they have to get on to stage.
My last couple of gigs have been at more conventional stand up nights where people haven't been necessarily realised they were going to be forced to confront their own mortality and haven't really caught fire. But tonight's audience seemed way more up for laughing in the face of death. I was reading most of the stuff, but nearly all of it hit, if even just partially. I was adlibbing a bit and managed to do at least 45 minutes of death stuff, bookended by a couple of old bits. I was pretty pleased with that. There is an awful long way to go, but it's a good start.
I managed to almost limbo my way through the metal bars on the way out, lithely propelling myself through the gap. I am not dead yet.
But now previews get serious. I've only got 3 nights off between now and the 29th July. The Edinburgh Fringe starts on the 31st July.
Here we go again.
The second Just A Minute episode that I recorded last month is now up on the BBC iPlayer. I remember it being a good one, in spite of my post-Sony hangover. Hope you enjoy it.

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