Tuesday, 24 August 2010

...You forgot the biscuits, you idiot!

Waking up at midday shouting "Fuck!" a lot was not the ideal start to the day and I had to forego the usual pleasantries such as eating and shaving to get a cab to Cowgate in double-quick time to start flyering for my show and to set the room up. I wasn't the only one who was late. Alan the landlord had suffered even less sleep than me and didn't show up until twenty to two - fifty minutes before show time. I gamely handed out leaflets to very few people in appalling conditions and then went to procure some throat lozenges.

The previous night's excesses had once again threatened to destroy my voice so I nipped off to buy some lockets at the shop where I have begun procuring daily (recession busting) Maryland Cookies for 69p. With hindsight I'm amazed it's lasted a week but this time have taken steps (As of yesterday) to look after it. More of that later, but "Free Biscuits" has been far more successful at getting people into my show than anything else.

Alan showed up looking like a Chav vampire and said something indecipherable before hiding away from the light and doing things with bins. I got my joint-second-lowest attendance so far (18) and my second crappest bucket (£9.81) which equated to a paltry £2.46 for amnesty. The show was unremarkable, my guest Caroline Mabey was good fun and I did it all the other way round to normal because my friend Jo was in but had to leave early to get a train and I wanted her to hear the songs. Note to self - balls to Jo, you can't go changing the show round on a whim halfway through its run. It doesn't work as well.

I came back to my room via "Subway" to procure their "Sub Of The Day" (Ham) and hung about feeling sorry for myself - my voice was really bad. I had some phonal spray which eased it but I could feel it on the cusp. I headed out again just after 7pm to see my friend Kerry singing songs from her new album in the Jazz Bar on Chambers Street.



Now I hate Jazz as much as the next man. I also hate it when I have to get a cab to somewhere because it's pissing it down when I've had my weakest bucket (when the show has actually happened - It was pulled last Tuesday). I also hate it when the traffic is so bad that the cab costs a quid more than it should do. I also hate it when I get to Chambers Street and have to ask open mic spots where The Jazz Bar is. I also hate it when they don't know but finally I find a little boarded-up bar with a sign saying "The Jazz Bar" and another one saying "Closed due to flooding". I also hate it when my own lack of attention to detail leads me to read (And then disregard) instructions and walk completely the wrong way to where the gig has been moved to "The Southsider" on (I think) West Richmond Street. I chose West Nicolson Street: Well, it had "West" in it.

"The Southsider" is a pub. About thirty people had braved the weather and the change of venue to be there and after 35 minutes (I just couldn't watch any more) I had to leave as they clapped the umpteenth trumpet solo. I will probably get told off for calling it a trumpet. It was one of those ones with a tub of margerine on the end of it so you can go "Mwa, mwa, mwaaaaaaahhhhhhh...." like when Tom tries to catch Jerry but accidentally gets hit in the face with an anvil or something. Everybody thought the show was brilliant. I thought my brain was going to explode. Something was apparently in 7/8 time. Take nothing away from Ms. Hodgkin - she's a really terrific singer. I just fucking hate Jazz.

Anyway my reasons for leaving were twofold. I also had to go via my venue to pick up my amp as my next gig was at 9.30pm for the Laughing horse free fringe at Espionage and they had nothing to plug my guitar in to.

They call the show "Pick Of The Fringe". I'm not sure about that but anyway I was on last, it went OK and a few people who had been at it showed up to today's "Hung Parliament". I then went to drop my guitar back at "Base". It was locked. "Base" isn't open on a Monday night so I had to drag the bar manager from the nightclub next door round to open up for me. I was mightily relieved - it is over a mile from where I'm staying and I had both the guitar and amp on me and not enough money for a taxi and chips. Instead, once relieved, I yomped past the Newington Fish Bar, walked back to it when I'd realised what I'd done and was home for half past midnight. Over the day I had made nodding contact with Andrew Lawrence, handed a flyer to a woman who had already been to my show and got a little uppity about it, had a "Vocalzone" sweet off Kerry  (Star jazz singer) and then settled down to a late "Fish Of The Week" (Hake) supper. Hake is a lot more sustainable than Cod. I prefer my fish to be conscientious.

I went to sleep around 2am (a good hundred pages into "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest") and woke up at 5.46am AGAIN. This town may well have beaten me by the weekend and if it doesn't, the journey home might as I am making a detour to Ollerton to pick up a section of my vinyl record collection that has been with a bloke called Luke and various members of his family since I left the area three and a half years ago and we have finally been able to arrange a time when he's around the same time I am. He's got the rest of them in Birmingham. I found out via a text that was so long it came in two bits. I don't know - people who waffle on, eh?

I am going to sum up today very quickly. The weather was miserable again, breakfast was excellent again but I didn't have my fruit-nicking jacket on so I had to put the banana down my 501s. It might have gone un-noticed but for the two apples I had already stuffed down them. I got glances of admiration and giggles from a group of Japanese student girls. Flyering was boring again, the venue was depressing again and then I had my best audience so far (32), my second best bucket (£32.76) and a really good time. Mandy Muden was really funny, my voice survived but I forgot to give out the biscuits so DOUBLE BISCUITS FOR THE AUDIENCE TOMORROW! YUM! Then I went for a quick soft drink (I know - a fucking soft drink, but needs must) with a guy in the crowd called Neil who used to be a comic, also used to be the president of Mensa and last spoke to me precisely thirteen years ago in Brighton (Of course he knew that). He's doing an improv show but it clashes with a lot of things I've said I'll go to over the next few days and there is also the small matter of me HATING FUCKING IMPROV which I did at least tell him. I'm still getting over the Jazz, for Pete's sake.

On the way home I bought a box of vocalzone for myself and the "Sub Of The Day" at the Subway opposite the festival hall (Meatball Marinara - promising much but bizarrely delivering less than the ham the day before). The guy behind the counter was having a coughing fit when I walked in. When he'd calmed down and I asked him if he was all right he just said "Don't have the jalapenos". He gave me a "Subway card" that I can register online and then get a free sub. I'll probably take them up on it. Their "Sub Of The Day" offers are doing me proud. Mark Watson walked past me on South Clerk Street and he had a woman with him who was presumably his wife or girlfriend. I hope he's told her he's not really Welsh. The rest of us found out ages ago.

I'm going to try and move my (borrowed) car a bit closer to the room I'm in then I'm going to have a bath and read some more of the final volume in the Stieg Larsson trilogy of conspiracy, intrigue, ultra-violence and the occasional nipple. Comedy is the religion of choice for the month of August and Tuesday is its day of rest.

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