Friday 18th August 2006
Apologies to anyone who tried to come and see me at Talk of the Fest. Due to crossed wires somewhere (probably in my own stupid head) I had got the wrong day. I am actually on next Friday. So you can book ahead now!
The rain came pouring down today. It's amazing that we've got to the end of week 2 without a serious shower of any kind. Usually Edinburgh in August is a damp place to be, but this year the weather has been exceptionally good. After watching the enjoyable and tense play "The Unattended" at the Gilded Balloon I had been thinking of heading home, but even with an umbrella it was too unpleasant to walk around too much, so I went for a coffee and then a pizza and then headed to my venue an hour or so early.
I had damp jeans and wet shoes and though I had started the day in a good mood was now in a bit of a funk. Weirdly the discovery that I wasn't doing "Talk of the Fest" pissed me off for some reason. I don't know why it affected me so much, but it had been quite a slog rearranging my night around this booking and now I discovered I would have to rearrange next week's gig as well. I am a dick.
I sat down to do my sudoku on one of the picnic tables set slightly back from the entrance to the Underbelly. A few people stopped to chat, which was all fine, but finally a bald, drunk local arrived. "Is anyone sitting here?" he asked the women at the next table. Sensing he was a mental they lied and said "Yes", so then he turned his attention to me. I told him he could sit down and went back to my puzzle. "Oooh, look at you," he said, "Bit of an intellectual huh?"
I wished I had lied too.
"I don't mind you sitting there," I grumpily stated, "But I'm in the middle of something and don't want to talk."
"So what's been going on with you?" he asked and even though I ignored him he continued to babble crapulously in my general direction.
"I'm just trying to chill out before I do my show," I impatiently explained after yet another unwanted question, "I don't want to chat."
The man was too drunk to be bothered to listen to me and carried on with his rambling. I just wanted to finish my stupid number game before I went to the dressing room, but I could see that I would get no peace now. I got up, gathered my stuff and made to leave.
"Where are you going? Am I annoying you?" asked the annoying man who should have worked out he was annoying me, because being annoying was his defining characteristic.
"I said I wanted to be left in peace and you didn't listen," I grouched.
He tried to protest and criticise me for my unfriendliness, but his conversation had been unsolicited and was not interesting enough to warrant the intrusion.
Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the tiredness, maybe it was the Talk of the Fest misunderstanding, but I was in a grumpy mood and now started to worry that would spill over to my show. I went upstairs, completed my pointless game and then, still with time to kill, came back down into the beer garden at the back to get some phone reception and see what the people at "Talk of the Fest" had to say. There had been no reply to my message, but I now found myself being addressed by a couple of women who were complaining about how bad my last year's show had been. "What was that about?" they asked, "We used to like you on TV, but it was all just yoghurt and the Pope. Why the blasphemy?"
I defended myself a little as they cheerfully told me that they wouldn't be coming to my show this year. There was no anger on their part. They just seemed confused. But again they didn't seem to want to just leave it at that and kept going over and over the same point. Some lads at the next table told them that they'd seen my show this year and really enjoyed it, but the women just wanted to keep asking why I had done such a long routine about yoghurt. I wasn't really in the mood for this today and it was just adding to my annoyance.
I had had a great show last night, but maybe because of this slightly frustrating day I didn't feel I was on top form tonight. The audience, possibly also affected by the rain were much harder to get through to than usual. I think I did OK, but was feeling tired and was slightly on auto-pilot for the first time this festival.
Afterwards I had a couple of pints of Guinness with some people who had seen the show (and liked it,s o maybe my worries were for nothing) and amongst other people Jimmy Cricket's daughter (even when I am talking to women they have to have at least emanated from a 1980s comedian, just to maintain the theme of this festival).
I then went down to the Assmebly Rooms for the first time this Festival to do "Best of the Fest". I wasn't really in the mood and from the atmosphere in the dressing room neither was anyone else. I had a couple more beers. My grouchy mood was still with me.
Rhys Darby was on before me and brought the house down with an hilarious set based around his ability to mimic the sounds of guns and robots and helicopters. The audience loved him. I knew this would be a tough act to follow. I did an unexceptional 14 minutes, but had held my own even though the crowd weren't in the mood for my wordy style of comedy after such a storming set. Just as I was about to finish a few lads to my left started a slow handclap. I decided to vent my frustrations and blew up at them. Sometimes this stuff can work, but I was slightly too pissed and pissed off and not in control enough and went a bit too far. I apologised for not being able to make funny noises and feebly attempted some, which got a laugh, which spurred me on. But pushed this a bit too far in a way that made me seem like I was being critical of Rhys. Which wasn't really the point. But I was drunk. It put a bit of life into an otherwise drab set (and I'm pretty sure almost the same thing happened last year, though my response had been more amusing and slightly less angry), but I came off feeling cross with myself. Sorry if you were there. I was rubbish. I had been just like the drunk man who had bothered me at the Underbelly, except I had an audience of several hundred instead of one.
I decided to call it a day and went home feeling blue for only the third time in the Festival. Depression has been as rare as the rain and I wasn't seriously unhappy, just cross with myself. My lovely flatmates made me feel a bit better, by laughing at my stories of my own stupidity, but I guess that the better I get and the less I fuck up gigs, the more frustrating it becomes when I do. All will be well in the morning. Ha ha ha.
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