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Wednesday 16th July 2008

A much more productive day today. I am 2500 words into my 4000 word Guardian Guide (though might do a bit more than that) and it seems to be coming together quite nicely. I am rather enjoying analysing comedy, even though as Barry Cryers says, "Analysing comedy is like dissecting a frog - nobody laughs and the frog dies." Maybe I just like killing frogs. It makes me realise that there is more than a 4000 word booklet in this, though a comedy writing guide would only have a limited readership. But having been at this job for two decades or more, I have picked up some ideas and views on comedy writing and it's fun to share a few of them. Even though comedy is totally subjective and there are a thousand ways to write it and anyone's advice on the subject can only be seen as personal opinion.
It would be good, however, if I'd done this work three months ago, rather than have to fit it in to the two weeks before Edinburgh, but then, as I acknowledge in my introduction, the blind panic of deadlines is my main comedic inspiration.
And I hardly played Guitar Hero at all. And no on line poker, even though I won $500 yesterday (which if I could manage that on a daily basis, I would be able to make playing Guitar Hero my job).
With the first draft of my intro almost complete I then had to drive to Bristol for another preview. I had forgotten to save my work anywhere else and had to take my computer with me, so I could finish off the piece. I am always anxious at times like this that two or three days work will be lost if my computer breaks or is stolen. I had to decide whether to leave it in my car boot or bring it into the dressing room. Where would it be safer? I opted for the boot.
Luckily all was OK, though funnily enough when I stopped to work at a service station on route, my computer froze and I would have lost ten minutes of work, but luckily most of the work I had done was on screen and I was able to write it down on a piece of paper and type it back in again. Annoyingly this ate into my work time though.
I have a memory stick and I know I can save documents to the web via google or on to my external hard drive, but I keep forgetting to do it. It would have been a nightmare if I had lost all this work, just before I was meant to send it into the Guardian for them to check. Although I would hate for my computer to break or be lost, it is more galling to lose actual work, which can often be impossible to recreate afterwards. Sometimes a computer crash has resulted in a better and different second draft, but more often you never get back what you lost. Still I will never learn. I am just typing this straight on to my webpage unsaved for example and one wrong click could destroy it all - as has happened before many times. But I am a renegade and I don't play by YOUR rules. Also I am an idiot.
The gig went pretty well. It was a full house of 350 people, which is strange for a preview (though nearly all my previews have been packed out this year, though this was the biggest). The first 45 minutes whizzed along, but the last thirty minutes of the show is still largely ad libbed or unlearned and is generally more serious and lyrical and things dipped a bit. I also got a stupid heckle right in the middle of one of the sweeter bits (asking if my first girlfriend was my mum, which didn't really make sense and was poorly timed). It threw me in a bit that I don't really know where it is going anyway and it was hard to get the audience completely back on side. They cheered when I told the bloke he was an idiot for ruining that bit, and I then reprised my trumpet solo which I had tried for the first time earlier in the show. It worked OK, though it's pretty hard just to hit the correct note from nothing, without warming up beforehand, so I slightly messed it up. But I think that's OK. As long as Kevin Rowlands isn't in the audience and decides that I would be an unreliable Midnight Runner.
Then came the long drive home. It was dark and I was tired and I had to contend with two diversions off the M4, but I was home just before 2am.
Days when I work hard are a bit boring to write about, sorry. Don't worry, there won't be too many. There have clearly been very few in the last six years as I have not hit this problem too often!
Though it's good to be working and to feel that things are coming together well. Aside from the sitcom disappointment I think I am hitting a good patch of form at the moment and I am trying to consider ways that I can get my stuff made without the interference of executives. I'd really like to make a properly produced comedy show for the internet and wonder that if I put it on iTunes for 79p per show, whether enough people would download it to cover its costs. I am going to look into it.

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