Monday, 15 November 2010

Three more reasons why I shouldn't be allowed near cats, trains or Essex.

Here are three vignettes to make you feel better about yourself because you are not me:

1. I flew home from Bermuda last Tuesday night and got in to Gatwick about 6am on Wednesday morning. I had a return ticket to Luton but it was off-peak so I was faced with waiting until 10am to use it or to upgrade it. The guy in the ticket office told me it would cost £24.50 to make it valid. My original (return) ticket was only £19.50 so I refused, on principle, particularly as once I got to Luton I would probably have to get a cab home to Letchworth anyway which would be another £20 in all likelihood. I declined the offer and sauntered over to the ticket machine where I formulated a cunning plan. An "any  time" single to St. Pancras was only £8.50. This was a curious variant I was not expecting, but an appealing one. I could walk the short distance from St. Pancras to Kings Cross and hop on a train to Letchworth. I procured a ticket for £12.40 and jumped onto the 8.15am Cambridge Train, congratulating myself on saving about four quid on tickets and remove the necessity for a twenty quid cab. It was even a fast train to Cambridge - very fast, as it turns out. It didn't stop anywhere, let alone Letchworth - it just went straight to Cambridge.

2. My comedy shows in Hitchin & Letchworth were this weekend and on Friday night I went to the trouble of getting my excellent friend Tim to come down and film me singing Breachwood Green with the audience so we could finally get a clip of it on to Youtube. Obviously the audience were ridiculously excited about this and sang their little hearts out throughout. Sadly, however, the sound man had lost the decent mic so it sounded really muffly and I forgot an entire verse. We're going to put it up on there anyway and try again next month. On Saturday night I repeated the feat in Letchworth, again in the excellent company of Dan Evans and Simon Munnery, who were both terrific.

Simon Munnery in action on Saturday night...
After the show we had the usual drinks in the Arena tavern and then me and this bloke Sam came back to mine to talk about his dubious parentage and get drunk on "Dark & Stormy"s, Paul-style. The downstairs' cat had been locked out again and (as usual) was very pleased to see me. We let him in and he settled on the couch, seemingly for the night. Sam left at Godknowsoclock and I couldn't bear to throw the cat out into the cold so I got him a little ramekin of milk (they're so much more civilised than saucers) and even (in my drunken state) attempted to fashion him a litter tray out of the tray I normally eat my TV dinners off and some cornflakes (I didn't have any muesli). I went to bed and woke up several hours later with a cat on my face. Once I had realised where I was, I let him out onto the landing and fell back to sleep. I rose at midday and strolled into the lounge where I was hit by a vomit-inducing smell the like of which I have never even created myself. The cat had repaid my generosity by doing a huge shit behind my telly and pissing all over my bank statements.

Here's the little bastard trying to grab my camera strap as I kneel down to take his photo
3. Last night I started a new comedy show at a hotel in Chigwell. I hope to soon also be starting gigs in Camberwick Green and Trumpton. It was ridiculously over-prepared by the rather anal manager (Who is a good mate of mine) and I had little to do before the show. I got a mite concerned about the trouble they were going to for their customers though - they insisted on everyone sitting at tables (I prefer theatre style seating at my events), provided them with pre-show nibbles and the catering manager had even arranged for a half-time supper of chicken dippers and chips. I told him that was a favour too far and was worried that if you give an audience something one month, they then expect it every month. I took pains to tell him the ticket price was for the comedy show but the crowd would subconsciously include everything they had had, thus cheapening the comedy itself. Then if anything was missing at future shows they would complain. Trust me - this is not ridiculous - I've seen it happen before and particularly in Essex. Anyway they were brilliant, the show was masterfully carried out by the terrific John Mann and Ninia Benjamin, I had a great time compering and everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. Everyone except the two members of staff who had a fist fight over the chicken dippers in the interval, were dismissed on the spot and ejected from the area behind the bar where the blood from one of their noses was rapidly staining the flooring. I heard one bloke say it had made up for the Haye v Harrison fight he'd paid fourteen quid for the night before. The catering manager confessed afterwards that I quite clearly had been right about the chips but all I kept thinking to myself was that I'd started a gig in a hotel in Essex: Of course there was a fist fight over chicken dippers. 

danger food.

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