Oh I forgot, yesterday I hit another driving milestone. My car had done 80085 miles. It spelled out BOOBS. My car was swearing at me. Brilliant. I was genuinely delighted. I am 41 years old. 80085 miles is a long way to have driven. If I had driven upwards in a straight line I would be at Mars by now... probably. Martians would not get the BOOBS joke though. Although the women there have breasts (six each as it happens) they have different slang words for them and numerical system designed especially so that no number has a counterpart in the alphabet and it is thus unable to spell out words with them. It's their loss. That BOOBS thing was still making me laugh even today. No wonder those Martians are so angry and war-mongering.
Today though my mileometer didn't swear at me at all, unless you think 80234 is a swear word. It isn't. It isn't even a word. Idiot.
I was heading up to Coventry for a sell out gig at the Warwick Arts Centre.
I am not a highly strung diva. Not yet. And I am pretty easy going and autonomous when it comes to these theatre tours. I don't even have a tour manager any more and all I really expect from a venue is that someone will show me where I have to go (they can help me carry my stuff if they feel like it) and then run through my tech requirements. It's nice if there's some food there, but if there is by Herring's Third Law I will already have eaten. Usually someone will have thought to put a kettle in my dressing room and maybe some drinks. It's nice if they look happy to see you or even feign interest, but I don't necessarily expect that either. I pretty much like to be left alone, but it's good if there is an element of concern that everything is progressing smoothly.
If they want a good show then it makes sense to ensure that the performer is relatively stress free and happy.
As I drove up the M40, scanning my dashboard for childish swear words I was confident that I would be getting a hot meal. I'd played the venue before and knew it had a nice cafe and remembered the staff being particularly friendly and concerned about my happiness. Only when I got within half a mile of the venue did I realise that I had been mistakenly thinking of the Midland Arts Centre. A ridiculous error. I have played Warwick many times too, but had just got confused. There was no guarantee of a hot meal now and I wished I had bought a sandwich on the way (if only to ensure there would be a sandwich for me when I got here).
Not only was there no food, but the venue had unusually not even provided any drinks or even a kettle. Herring's Third Law is back on track. The show might have sold out weeks ago, but clearly the venue didn't want it all to go to my head. There was no one there to help me get my stuff in or really to explain where I was meant to go and I had to buy my own water.
Before the show, I twittered about the fact that the welcome had not been great and that the staff (aside from my tech Chris who was great) had not been all that helpful.
In the interval a nervous looking man came up to me, almost bowing and scraping, calling me "Mr Herring" (he must have confused me with my dad) and asking if I would like a drink when I was signing autographs afterwards. That is the power of Twitter. And also the disaster of it. Whatever you write gets around very quickly. I assumed that whatever drink I got afterwards would have something unspeakable in it. But I asked for some water. It's worth venues putting a couple of bottles of water in the dressing room I'd say. Or even just a jug of tap water. It's worth looking after your acts I'd say. I don't ask for much.
The gig was fun though, although the most shockable audience for a while. They came round eventually. I didn't drink my water afterwards. Just in case.