Monday, 14 March 2011

A re-opening, an unofficial opening and a Karaoke thing

I was woken up at about ten to ten this morning by the landlord of a pub in Biggleswade. I'd had less than four hours sleep, my eyes hurt and I was a good fifteen miles from home. I'd better fill you in...

Last Friday was the eighteenth anniversary of my comedy club in Hitchin. That I have managed to keep anything going for that long is astounding. Of particular interest is that a man was in the crowd who had been at the very first show. His seventeen year old son was also there. He had also been at the first show, although at the time he was in his mother's womb. She was also present. This means that the first live comedian he ever heard was me. It also means that I have been singing "Breachwood Green" with my audience every month for his entire life. I plan to remind him of that should I ever hear him say "I'm bored". It was a fantastic show and I steadily consumed IPA throughout. Afterwards Steve the friendly landlord very kindly gave Dave the opening act a lift back to mine as he was staying over but had to get up at 5.30am to drive to meet his wife in Stroud. Of course he did. That's what any sane man would do. Steve got confused by a diversion and took Dave via Ickleford, Narnia and Hades. I was in The Vic before he'd got the key in the ignition. There was a joint re-opening and 5th anniversary party in there for invited guests only. I had arranged for me, Tim (The home brewing video editor) and the comedians to go down there. Dave we've already mentioned, Dominic (the last act) had driven home straight after the gig and Tim had never materialised, so I took three gorgeous women who had been at the gig instead. As I walked out of Woodside car park with them a chap at the head of a gang of seven men said "Bloody hell mate - you've done well for yourself - you've got three women with you". I replied "So have you mate - you've got six blokes behind you". Fortunately they all laughed. We got in the pub and within minutes DJ Roch (Hired for the night) abandoned what he was playing and put on "Scorpios" by Adam & The Ants. We have a shared love of its preposterous and grandiose flavour and agree that is just about the campest song there has ever been. Camp song of course means camp dancing! I minced up to him busting some fragrant shapes and a girl leaned over to me and said "He told me you'd do that". I blew her a kiss and prepared for its flourishing denouement, which on this occasion involved me "Vogue-ing" to its brassy ending and getting a minor smattering of disbelieving applause from half a dozen (frankly stunned) regulars. I acknowledged the reception walked up to the bar and was handed a glass of champagne. It was a perfect moment and there was nothing remotely odd about it, all right? They called "Last Orders at around midnight, then again around 12.30am and no-one appeared to take any notice whatsoever. I very rarely appear to go to pubs that don't stay open ridiculously late. I wobbled out of there with blurred vision and a desire for chips.

Saturday night saw me celebrate the fourth anniversary of my Letchworth comedy show. Dave returned from his 310 mile round trip to see the missus around 5pm, we watched football and I made carbonara. We walked down to the gig and began drinking in earnest (He had a missed Friday night to make up for, after all). Dominic was replaced by Markus and the show was again fabulous, marred only by a drunken bloody school teacher who refused to be quiet, shush, put fingers on her lips, stop texting, stop kicking her own bottles over or getting up and disrupting all around her. Of course she did - she's a school teacher and I have noticed that a percentage of them are unable to follow the basic rules that they bark at their pupils each and every day. If one of her students had behaved the way she had in her classroom she'd have sent them to the head master.I was very tempted to cut out that line of engagement and just throw her out the 2nd story window onto the cobbles below. I'd rather perform to a room full of lifers than teachers, quite frankly. After the show a decent percentage of the crowd followed us round to The Tavern where I finally found out why Gus was called Gus, drank fine ale and observed inappropriate hand-holding. One of the talking points of the night was that Mick  was sober and he wasn't very happy about it. My friends Sam & Maria accompanied Dave and I back to the flat where she ate me out of house and home and cheese & beetroot sandwiches. Sam knocked back a stiff "Dark & Stormy" and then remembered he was playing football in the morning. As he left I had visions of him retching in the 18 yard box. Lights out was a reasonable 3.40am and I slept soundly.

Last night was the first heat in my "Lastminutecomedy Club New Comedian Of The Year" competition. it was an absolute joy and normally I would have driven home a very happy man, satisfied that the weekend had been a success, except that I didn't drive home. The Landlord & Landlady had invited me to stay over in their spare room so for a third night running I was on the ale, beginning with London Pride but then graduating to Doom Bar as the evening progressed. Seven of Nine comedians went well, the audience's partial resistance proving futile. I had the previous night devised a new game to keep myself entertained. I plan to occasionally go into town with a big pair of scissors and some ribbon and unofficially open things that are already open. My first spot is WH Smiths in Letchworth on Wednesday at 1.30pm. The beautiful thing about unofficial openings is that you can do them to anything. When I recounted this tale to the audience I pointed to a woman in the crowd and said "Even your legs" and suggested a particularly poor-taste idea that involved her attaching each end of the ribbon to her toes and, well, I 'm sure you get the idea. She laughed, as did the audience and we all moved on. Then in the break she came up to me, partially undid her jeans and pulled up a pair of lacy knickers to reveal that they actually already had red ribbons on them already and wasn't that funny? I said

"Not as funny as when I mention what you've just shown me in a pub beer garden when I go on stage again in a few minutes".

When the show finished I expected the room to empty. It didn't. They had Karaoke and some very mad people sang some very unusual songs. A larger number of drunks were also practically frog marched to the mic to become reluctant three-minute heroes. I was no exception, murdering both "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" and Bobby Darin's "Mack The Knife". Most people buggered off as in turn they remembered they had work in the morning, The landlord retired to bed and myself and the landlady stayed up until around 5.30am by which point I didn't need to be told one single more time that I ought to go out with her friend. I collapsed in the spare room and we're up to date. feel free to meet me outside Smiths around 1.30pm on Wednesday. I'll be posting photos, I'm sure.

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