The dream of the perfect Edinburgh Fringe show is over. Two four star reviews came in today to blow my 5 star average right down to 4.6. It's all right. I am coping OK with the disappointment. I did get a train home when I got the news, but got off at York and came back again. Part of the job of an artist is to take such huge setbacks and come back stronger.
Steve Bennett from Chortle features in the show (due to my fear of what pun he will make about me on my death and how determined he is to make sure his best pun makes it), so I wasn't sure how that would affect his review. He seems to have taken it well. In fact he sent me this mocked up Chortle page as a joke. Well he pretended it was a joke. I knew it was just one of a million pages he has prepared for every possible death I might suffer, so he can be first in with the pun.
Weirdly yesterday I came close to electrocuting myself as I waited to come on stage, when I accidentally spilled my glass of water more or less on to my microphone which was on the floor. I could have been found jolting like an electic eel behind my own grave. Bennett would have been delighted.
I persuaded a reluctant Ben Moor to come on my podcast today, where he was joined by fellow Casanova cast member Omid Djalili. It's amazing to think that I've done 9 podcasts already, but rather terrifying to realise there are still 16 to go. It is a bit relentless, but so far I am staying in strong spirits. Only the complaints of audiophiles about the quality of the recordings (admittedly a bit poor in places, but you can still hear them and we are trying to work on it - but we're doing one a day in rushed circumstances and it's free, so enjoy the bootleg punk rock aspect of it and get over it - you disgust me) are getting to me a bit. It's a difficult ask to do a show like this every single day and keep it fresh and entertaining and not get irritable and tired. But only two more until the day off.
On the way to the gig tonight I walked past Clare Grogan from off of Gregory's Girl. She's a funny, talented and gorgeous woman who has a special place in the hearts of many men of my generation, both for her charming part in that film and as front woman of Altered Images. I have met her a few times. In the 1990s I made a spectacularly unsuccessful drunken attempt to get off with her at a party. I have never been shunned in such a charming way, thankfully she found the whole thing amusing rather than tragic. I was unaware that she was recently married. But I have a feeling that even were she as free as a bird she would still not have found my entreaties to be seductive. Rejection has rarely been as delightfully handled.
Today there was no time to stop and say hello, let alone clumsily proposition her, but we said hello and she smiled, still able to set my heart aflutter. Somewhere the sixteen year old me exploded. If only I could go to school again and let my friends know that one day Clare Grogan would acknowledge my existence. Life is unfair in many ways, but the linear nature of time is its cruelest trick. You can smile at me all you like Grogan and say hello whilst still walking past me, but I love my wife and there's nothing you can do. You had your chance.
It didn't even cross my mind to ask her to guest on the podcast. I had bumped into David o Doherty earlier and it had been my first thought to ask him (he's on the next one), but he did not bamboozle me in the same way for some reason.
And in a very lame version of Final Destination I came close to hurting myself as I put the programmes out on the seats before the show. I lost my footing on the stairs and fell awkwardly, twisting my ankle. I sensed that it could be a nastier injury if I tried to regain my footing, so decided to go down. My pain was only minor as a result, but a slightly humiliating and theatrical tumble in front of the crew. It was a good show despite all this. Probably the best I have done it overall. It needs an awful lot of energy to keep up the pace, but still just about coping. About 200 in, which is OK, but would be hoping to sell out at the weekend. Seems to be a similar situation for the others in my venue. Sales are slightly better this year, but I think once again we're getting a bit squeezed by people choosing the big acts or the free acts. I don't think having no lamp post ads has made any difference, though nor has the free DVD added much in terms of sales. It's still cool to give it out as a thank you and I'd rather do that than have the posters. I am sure most interest in me is generated online of through word of mouth. If you've enjoyed the shows do tell your friends. I am very happy with both of them.