It had been a busy morning. I had been trying to come up with a cost effective and efficient way of providing my audiences with their very own Hitler moustache during the show. It had to be something that I could quickly get handed out of 185 people (I don't really want to give them out at the start as they'll get lost and/or people will put them on too soon). The cheapest moustaches available on the market are Â£1 each and I don't have Â£5000 to burn and then another Â£10,000 for the tour. There is one company that does a pack of ten different moustaches for a couple of quid, but they look shoddy and cheap and would need cutting down manually. I had been thinking of maybe gaffer tape - though that would also mean a lot of chopping and coming up with a distribution method (might work stuck to plastic strips and passed down each row like some perverse holy communion). I had sent out a request on Twitter to see if anyone had any bright ideas. Most people came back with using a marker pen or similar, though this is clearly impractical as no one would go along with it. One man chopped up a stick on beard and thought I could get a couple of dozen moustaches out of each one - but that would take a lot of work and to be honest, the one he had done was pretty raggedy. The best suggestion, or so it seemed, was a roll of velcro tape loop, which could be cut down to size, had an adhesive back and would give genuine moustache feel (and if I got some velcro hooks and mixed them in, then if anyone kissed they would get stuck together). I ordered some up as it looked like it would make over 1000 moustaches for just Â£30, and then ordered some that was pre cut into squares too, but I fear that the adhesive will be too strong to stick to people's faces. I might attach the tape to less sticky tape - but it's a bit of a palaver!
If anyone has any bright ideas, or owns a moustache factory and is prepared to give me a bulk order for free or for cheap - I am planning on genuinely trying to create a Red Nose style Chaplin Moustache/pro-voting/anti-fascist day, which although it would be for charity, would still mean the sale and manufacture of a lot of little moustaches in the future.
Anyway, then Collings turned up and we did Podcast number 73
in which we paid tribute to the TV show "Number 73" and how I am prepared to help any lithe swimmer (especially big nosed ones) into their new skin tight, buoyancy enhancing swim suits. It was the usual mixture of rubbish. No better, no worse.
But after we'd finished we got some terrible, tragic and slightly unbelievable news. One of our most ardent fans, Tina had died suddenly yesterday. The shock of this was compounded by the fact that she had been at my gig on Monday night, in her Virgilio Anderson T-shirt, as seen in Monday's entry
. In fact she had sent me that picture in the early hours of Tuesday morning and we had exchanged emails in which I joked about my decree that she must marry the other two gormless T-shirt wearing idiots in the photo. She had told me that that would work out pretty well for her and that it was a shame it was illegal! Which rather flattered the guys, I thought, but there's no accounting for taste.
Tina was a relatively new fan who, like many of you, had been hooked in by the podcast, and was always enthusiastic and kind, having made T-shirts for Andrew and me and posting encouraging comments. On Monday night she had been effusive with her praise for the preview and the recent podcasts and had kindly bought me a glass of wine.
Of course I didn't know her well, but she was always so polite and enthusiastic and had made quite an impact on both Andrew and me. Like most of our great fans she understood the relationship between audience member and performer, was never intrusive and always fun to meet. It can be an odd dynamic if people start to think you're really their friend or start demanding an unequal amount of your time. Tina never did that. She was one of the people who really made us feel that the podcast was doing something right and that little meeting of Virgilio Anderson T shirt wearing idiots had been a lovely moment for me. She had, as the cliche always goes seemed so bubbly and so full of life and it just didn't make sense that she was gone the next day.
The news affected me considerably and I was very moved by the tributes from her friends on her facebook site. She was clearly a woman who was much loved and who filled her short life (she was only 37) to the brim. We had known she was a sky-diver but didn't know she had broken a world record along with 59 other women
It was strange to be so shaken, though entirely understandable given the circumstances, but she wasn't someone I really thougth I knew on a personal level. But I suppose that due to being accessible to people who like my work, both on the internet and through having a post gig drink, that I am closer to you all than I had perhaps realised. I have few enough fans that the loss of one is significant to me, because there I suppose I pretty much know most of you by name or at least appearance (especially if you have a Virgilio shirt on). There was though something special about Tina and I guess it partly impacted on me so hard because coming to see my show was one of the last things she did. I am glad to know that she spent that last night laughing until her ribs hurt (according to her last guestbook message- where some of you will know her from. She was a regular in there) and know that she was chuffed to have her photo in Warming Up.
But that, of course, is scant compensation for the loss of such a young person. A black cloud was cast over my day and I felt confused and disorientated. It's hard to even comprehend that she won't be at any of my future gigs and my condolences go out to her friends (who seem as brilliant as her) and family. RIP Tina. You are definitely in Heaven and I think would be even if they didn't operate the open door policy that allows Michael Jackson and Hitler to take their places there too. I know Tina would appreciate that joke (it'll make more sense once you see the show). We shall certainly be dedicating the next podcast to her and will try and make it as filthy and disgraceful as possible in her honour.
As for the rest of you, please don't die. I hadn't realised how much I liked you and I really can't afford to lose any more of you as you're a rare enough species as it is. Take care of yourselves and try and make the most of this fragile and ridiculous and unfair life.