<< Thu 7th Mar | Tue 5th Mar >>
Wednesday 6th March 2013
Off on the next leg of the tour: six gigs in the north of England. We're back in the hired people carrier (can't fit six days of stuff into my car) and Giles is driving, thank God. It's a long way to Newcastle and I was pretty tired after my Bacchanalian evening with Mary Beard.
Tonight was the biggest audience of the tour so far, with 398 in (just three more and it would have been the biggest crowd that Talking Cock has ever had - I don't think the original tour ever got more than that). Although these aren't the kind of numbers that would impress Peter Kay it means an awful lot to me that this many people are paying to see me (at least in a few of the towns I visit). It actually blows my mind a little bit if I stop and think about it. That happened as I was performing today. I started considering the fact that hundreds of people were sitting in a room, looking at me talk and were going to be doing that for 90 minutes. I freaked myself out a bit when I realised how I was taking this for granted and started thinking about how comfortable and calm I am on stage now. Of course that thought then made me a bit uncomfortable and distracted me and I nearly lost focus. But I pulled myself together. All those years of touring in theatres with 50 people in them (if I was lucky) and now, brick by brick (or prick by prick) I have built up an audience (in a few towns) of what might be the ideal size. Four hundred is enough to build up a great atmosphere but also to still maintain an intimacy. You stadium comedians might be making hundreds of thousands of pounds a night, but you'll never get to experience this (well not until your careers take a serious downturn). And even if you go back to do the occasional smaller gig it doesn't feel the same if you haven't built up to this through a decade of touring and crying in hotel bars. Yes, envy me you millionaire idiots. All the money in the world can't buy you what I have. Though what I have has the disadvantage of not being able to buy you a bungalow for your mum.
I feared I might get bored with this show - having done it before for a couple of years (and I did get a bit weary of it back in 2003) but I am really enjoying it this time round. I am a better and more diligent performer than I was a decade ago, but it's a well put together show, which I mainly owe to the 35 year old me. Thanks you stupid dolt. Go back and read his warming up entries. He's a prick.
Giles and me decided to celebrate our first tour night in a hotel (if you don't count my parents' house) by having a beer in the bar. Usually a mid-week hotel bar is a depressing and quiet place, but this is Newcastle and the place was rocking and there was a lot of orange skin on display. We sat in the corner and ignored the youngsters, but I was glad to be somewhere lively and fun. And we didn't go crazy, leaving the bar after a couple of pints.
I suppose it felt pleasing to me because it contrasted so sharply with the tours of yesteryear where I had struggled to get an audience and had to endure the slow-burning Hell of the loneliness of the budget hotel bar.
But I was buzzing from a good show and from two pints of lager and my optimism might be misguided. It's still too early to work out if the tour will be a financial success (and some gigs will have 2004 size crowds I think), but I am glad this job still excites me and that I am not complacent about my (relative) success.
<< Thu 7th Mar | Tue 5th Mar >>