I stayed in working most of the day, which felt like a slight shame when so much cool stuff was going on around me, but I am behind enough already so it can't be helped. I did go for a 40 minute run in the morning, heading out into the Welsh countryside, enjoying the fresh air and the green hills. I saw a farmer on a quad bike with his dog running alongside him, herding sheep. There were skipping lambs and everything. I like running, but running in the countryside is something else. I went on much further than I intended.
I didn't feel entirely detached from the Festival as I could only get on the internet in the lobby of the hotel and so would occasionally see and chat to one comedian or another.
The show at Y Tabernacl was very enjoyable. I had brought my suit and remembered my cufflinks this time, but had forgotten to bring my suit shoes (I really thought I'd checked that I'd brought everything with me, but middle age is proving hard on my brain) so had to wear the trainers that had just traversed the Welsh countryside. But I apologised at the start of the second half and said I thought it was quite apt anyway. The idea with the stage costume is to look like I am going to a funeral (maybe my own), but I like the idea that I am giving the impression of a child going to his first one. This has been enhanced by me losing a stone and a half since I bought the suit, so it really looks like I am a teenager wearing his dad's clothes. And the trainers maybe added to this (usually) unspoken and unnoticed narrative. There was no time to buy smart shoes, so I had to go to the funeral in my trainers.
The Tabernacl is a great venue for comedy and as I remarked at the start might be what Heaven looks like, a slightly austere chapel on two levels with wooden pews and balcony. It looks small but fits 300 people. It was almost the perfect crowd as well, with big laughs, but also interesting reactions to the material. The 9/11 stuff left them a bit confused, but this allowed me to ad lib around the question of why they were offended by me coming to a similar logical conclusion to the people I was satirising (it's about religious people who think that the people who jumped from the World Trade Centre committed suicide so are now in Hell - my routine skews this so that I suggest the people who didn't jump are now in Hell). It was interesting to question why the room hadn't gone as silent and weird when I'd talked about the people who genuinely believed something so awful. Then later when I make a lightly tasteless callback to this idea the audience made a noise that was such a delightful mixture of disdain, confusion and amusement that I had to laugh out loud.
Afterwards I headed up to the hub of the Festival and had a chat with Chris Evans (not that one, or the one from Captain America, seriously how likely was it that it was either of them? You'd think by now that when I say Chris Evans you'd know which one I meant) and a couple of comedians. But the music was too loud and I was tired and I remembered that I am 46 years old and so headed to bed so I could get an early start on the road tomorrow.
To be fair I acted like this when I was 25 as well. I felt happy absenting myself from proceedings now, as it was the correct way to behave, but I slightly regretted how social awkwardness and embarrassment had meant I'd missed out on joining in with this kind of stuff when I was the right age. Poor, stupid, young, self-pitying Richard Herring. I am glad you are dead. Mainly dead. I got a little echo of him tonight, but he would have been devastated to be alone, whereas I mainly cherished the solitude and the relatively early night.
And I did feel a bit sad that I had missed out on making the most of being at this fun and friendly festival because of taking on too much work. Maybe I need to listen to the message of my own show.