Wednesday 18th January 2012
I was a whirl of activity today, trying to get everything ready for the next leg of the tour. I am only away for three nights, but there's still a lot to organise. I packed my suitcase, tried to estimate how many programmes I would need to take and spent a good hour or so making a price board for my merchandise. I even managed to get out for a 30 minute swim, in a pool that mercifully had few other people in it. Nothing worse than a slightly overcrowded swimming pool. NOTHING!
I was terrified that I'd forget something important, so double checked that I had all my props and my computer and phone leads. I even cooked myself some rice and vegetables and put it in a tupperware container to have for my dinner. I nearly always forget something that is important for life on tour, though most things can be picked up on route. At about 2pm, slightly perspiring from all the exertion I had finally loaded the car, kissed my girlfriend goodbye and said "Have I forgotten anything? I feel like I've forgotten something." But I had been so fastidious that I was pretty sure that I'd got the lot, though that little (Me2?)voice in my head kept taunting me, trying to make me believe I had not put my prop bag in the car. But I had.
I am doing this tour alone, partly to give me the chance to make some money (a tour manager has to be paid and put up in hotels - though if they had any loyalty to me they would sleep in the park under some newspaper and then pay to see the show like everyone else - parasites) and partly because the show is not complicated to operate. Reliable Pete had made the last tour a lot easier, on the rare occasions he managed to locate the right Holiday Inn. He'd done the driving, helped with the lifting, made sure we have everything and that it was efficiently packed. I slightly missed that security and reliability as I headed off.
I was about 40 minutes up the road when it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't packed my suitcase. I had left it -packed with pants and socks and gym kit and toiletries- on my bed. That voice in my head was laughing to itself now. It had cleverly misdirected me by making me overly concerned about the props. But all along it knew I was really forgetting something else. There was no time to go back and luckily all my show clothes were hanging up in the back of the car on hangers. I would be able to buy underwear and was pretty sure I had back up toiletries in my show bag. It wasn't the end of the world, but it was faintly annoying to have made such a rookie error so early on. Reliable Pete would be laughing up his sleeve at me if he knew - you thought you could do this without me!
I have really been looking forward to getting back on the road, though the driving and the solitude can be a bit harsh sometimes, but this year's tour is much more considerately put together (though I think last year I insisted we pack in as many gigs as possible) with no 13 night stretches away from home and some proper days off. It's not easy being away from the woman I love, but she is understanding (and though she hides it well probably glad to get a few days away from my annoying jokes and unpleasant stench) and this is now my main source of income - though there's no guarantee of how much I will earn (but the last two of the ten years of solo touring I've done, have worked out well for me). Touring is now a job, with little to none of the hedonism that would once have been my main reason for going on the road, but it's actually more enjoyable for that. It's very satisfying to drive for three to six hours to perform to people in a small town and to give them the best show that I can do.
Two hundred people came to see me in Bournemouth, an impressive amount for a town that outwardly seemed to have no one under 90 living in it and that I have not gigged in for at least four years (I don't think I've ever done a tour show here). Even better, my hotel was right by the venue and I got a voucher for free parking from the theatre (which is a major tour score). What with cooking my own dinner and not paying for parking I have saved about £15. Every penny counts. Seriously though, in a world which seems increasingly obsessed with charging for parking whenever or wherever it can it is an actual thrill to not have had to pay for my car to be accommodated, even if I paid the hotel chain that Lenny Henry loves to house my person.
My new bluetooth device which means I can listen to stuff on my iPhone when I drive also helped make the experience more pleasurable. I listened to about 15 episodes of the History of the World in 100 Objects. It was bliss. This is what it's like on tour.
I have to say, people turning up and enjoying the show does help to soften the more negative aspects of touring. The 2012 me has it a lot easier than the 2005 me in so many ways. You'd think having nothing to go home to would have made touring easier, but actually having something to go home to helps the whole thing make sense.
I miss you Snugglebum.
Snugglebum is what I call the 2005 version of myself. I did have a very snuggly bum back then.
I am not the only Herring to have entered the ebook self-publishing revolution. My brother David has published his on jottify. It's called Lottie Limber and unlike my ebook, all the profit from this enterprise goes to charity. And it only costs £1.49. Why not give it a try and determine which Herring brother is the best? I know it's him. Even when he was 10 and I was 4 he would tell me brilliant and funny stories about "Brave Richard" and his stupid brother David, which although they might have appealed to my ego and misrepresented our relative intelligence were properly entertaining. So if this sells enough, maybe he'll publish some of those stories next.
All the dates for the Talking Cock tour can be found here
Buy the Talking Cock book here
Get your name in the "We're All Going To Die!" programme and give money to SCOPE by donating at least £15 (the more you give the bigger your name) here.
Buy Fist of Fun series 2 - here (series 1 also available).
"What is Love, Anyway?" also recently released.
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