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Wednesday 12th March 2008

Days Without Alcohol - 73. And so it goes on. Even though I haven't exercised for over a fortnight and I have been eating slightly crappier food I am still gradually losing weight, though the pack of Percy Pigs and Friends that I ate tonight at the Darlington gig may have tipped me over the edge back into dangerous rather than moderate obesity.

My Mac continues to be sluggish and to freeze and to be hard to boot up. Eventually it starts to work OK, and it hasn't actually forced me to close it down whilst I've been working for a little while - but it might happen now as I write this. It just goes to prove that Macs are as shit as PCs or at least any piece of computer equipment that I have anything to do with seems to fuck up every couple of months. Maybe I am magnetic like the boy I heard about on the radio who causes all computers to break down (possibly due to the static electricity he creates). Annoyingly I am not going to be able to get the computer looked at until after Easter, so like my broken tooth I will just have to hope that it doesn't get worse.
The gigs are lovely again, now I am up to 90% fitness (still the cough persists) and tonight in Darlington I think I performed a couple of routines as well as I ever have. A significant amount of the show is about getting the energy and the pacing right and I completely nailed the always partially ad-libbed bit at the end of the "Give Me Head Til I'm Dead" routine. It's a complicated bit and requires focus and energy and it felt terrific to know that I was approaching the top of my game. As always I love how good a show gets on tour, but slightly regret the fact that reviewers and such persons never get to see me when I really am at this level of familiarity and control with a show. Usually my work will be judged on one of the first ten performances, but it is only at the fiftieth show or so that things get to this exciting new level. And sometimes one still fails to scale the heights, due to tiredness or illness or general being shit. But tonight seemed to fly and I felt very satisfied both during and after. I continue to improve and continue to learn. I hope this will never stop.
During the interval a lady left her glasses in the loo and one of the front of house staff brought them up to me, acknowledging that it would be funny for me to give them back during the show. I put them on and though they weren't massively thick they still made the world blur and wobble a little. As I reached out for my bottle of water I got a vaguely sea-sick feeling of displacement that was a bit like being on drugs (I imagine). And I wondered if wearing other people's spectacles might come to be a way of achieving a legal high. I could imagine gangs of youths on street corners trying on varying strengths of lenses, starting with reading glasses and moving on to the hard stuff, those ones that look like the bottoms of bottles, favoured by nerds in the movies. Maybe if Pete Doherty had just worn his grandad's specs rather than taking heroins then the world might have been a very different place.
I wore the glasses on to stage and asked who they belonged to. The woman who had left them laughed and shouted out that they were hers. I wondered why she had taken them off to go to the toilet. Was there something she didn't want to see once her trousers were down?
It was all good natured and fun and I was very playful with the audience tonight. There was only one woman near the front and though I could see she was rather timid I was forced to do all the flirtatious and harassment sections of the show to her. It made it funnier in a way to see her squirm, but I felt slightly bad about it. But only slightly. She still took it well.
One of her friends was clearly desperate for the loo towards the end of the first half and was jigging around and making a commotion and I was forced to address his problem. I had almost been speeding through things as it was clear he wanted to go, but by stopping and talking about it and slowing things down it obviously made the problem funnier. I took a drink of water and then let the liquid drip on to the stage. Finally with about two minutes to the end of the half he could take it no longer and got up to go. He had been the man I had accused of being a paedophile earlier, so I was able to later comment that he had left early in the hope of finding an unaccompanied child in the toilets. Ah, what fun.
I am really enjoying this tour, even though I have another mammoth and crazy drive down south tomorrow (could I not have done Darlington the day after Durham?). And I actually enjoy heading back to the hotel to chill out, whereas last year the whole thing filled me with dread and loneliness. I think the not drinking is the key to this. It has made an enormous and marvelous difference. I hate to think that I am becoming mature and sorted off stage, when so much of the onstage me is still screwed up and stupid and juvenile. I am certainly different to the Richard Herring I was when I put this show together. Not to say that the old me will not return. But it's fun to be like that for a couple of hours and then not have to continue with it into my actual life.
I am sure something will happen to disrupt my current contentment, but it's nice to think that I am still being funny even though I am relatively happy. Because sometimes one wonders whether depression and confusion is a necessary fuel for comedy.
I am sitting in my hotel foyer, where there is internet access and it's coming up to midnight. I think I am nearly ready for bed. Night night.

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