Wednesday, 15 June 2011

All that glitters is not gold - some of it is me.

Well, it's been a while and I must apologise but I've been busy. I'm not going to be able to remember all the events of the last two weeks or so but I'll try and at least fill in some of the gaps.

Things all started to go awry on Thursday the second of June when I put on my latest comedy show in my mate Steve's pub. The gig itself was terrific fun and featured Tony Law (who both confused and delighted the rather "blue collar" audience that the venue attracts) and Silky who went on to enjoy the gig's first encore. The apres-show was the usual hedonistic disaster and at one point in the early hours I retreated to the gents' toilets to hide from a man who was boring the pants off me. it is only in the early hours of the morning in a pub in Luton that you would think to hide from a drunk man in the very room he is most likely to visit but it worked, miraculously. Said intoxicate was too distracted by the goings-on over the other side of the bar. An elfin little former barmaid was dancing on a large round table to terrifyingly bad eighties pop music that she had chosen herself as I had made my escape. What I didn't know was that she was replaced by a rather more statuesque blonde whose gyrations couldn't have done anything positive to said table's fixings because when she was finally replaced by a twenty stone, six and a half foot drunken lunatic the thing gave way, he fell backwards and knocked himself out on the stone floor. He was immediately surrounded by half a dozen well-meaning regulars all exacting death-accelerating procedures on the semi-conscious galoot as Lisa the barmaid (And qualified nurse) tutted to herself behind the counter as no-one thought to ask her advice. It was eventually decided that paramedics were required and on their arrival it took them twenty minutes to get the bewildered giant into the ambulance as he insisted he was fine. Bless him. I woke up at some point the next day and somehow managed to drive to Great Yarmouth, do a gig to eight of the loveliest people you could hope to meet, drive back and wake up on Saturday morning smelling of roses.

This was handy as Saturday the fourth of June was the day of "Dolly's Barn Party", a burlesque and comedy show I had arranged for The Victoria Pub in Hitchin. It was also the day of England's bizarre draw against The Swiss in a Euro 2012 qualifier. I went down to the pub early to watch the game, got stuck in to some really nice ale and by the time the show started at 8pm I had two burlesque dancers, three comics, fifty people in a room and absolutely no idea what I was doing any more. I was also on free drinks from the outside bar and very sensibly switched to rose wine, which I drank like it was pop. By the end of the night I was utterly disoriented, covered in glitter and crying out for more drink. Apparently everyone had a good time. My thanks to Lena Mae, Polly Goes Boom, Tim Roast, Jonny Williams and Kate Lucas for apparently all being fabulous. I wish I could tell you more about it but I really can't. After the show we went to The Kings Arms for exactly the late drinks I didn't need. I was stopped and searched by the doorman on the way in, who wanted to know what was in my bag. In my bag was a pair of faux-leopardskin brothel creepers, a tonic jacket, a necklace made entirely of plastic skulls and a bike horn. He let me in, ignoring both the glitter all over my face and the fact that I could hardly speak.

Why Sharon Cooper wanted to put her name to this particular photo is a little beyond me.

I spent most of Sunday in quiet contemplation.

On Monday afternoon I got a text from a beautiful Aussie rockstar called Brigitte Handley to let me know that she was in town for a couple of days and would I like to meet her for a beer in Camden. I suggested a little more (not like that), namely that I would also interview her for Punky! Radio. She said she'd let me know when she was on her way there. She then texted me at 6.30pm to tell me she was there. That left me rushing around getting ready for the 7.29pm to Finsbury Park that I was never going to catch. I didn't. With a good twenty minutes to kill I nipped over to The Hog's Head for a quick half. Feeling a little low on energy I also ordered a full-fat coke. I sat outside on one of the tables. The Hog's Head is not somewhere I would normally frequent, insomuch as most of the people that drink in there are not from Letchworth, but Mordor. A man was resting his head on the table beyond my own and moaning to himself. He looked up as I sat down and I realised I knew him. He's only recently moved to the town from the South West and it's fair to say is not really coping particularly well with either the transition or the mid-life crisis he is having which prompted the move, a nineteen year old girlfriend and a propensity to buy ketamin for a fiver off complete strangers in dodgy pubs in leafy suburbia on pleasant and deathly quiet Monday evenings. That is precisely what he had done. He had never taken the horse tranquiliser before and unaware of what symptoms to expect, was more than a little surprised that he "Had never felt worse" in his life. I suggested he drank some of my coke. He finished half a pint of it in one gulp, sat bolt upright, said "I feel better already!" and then lobbed his head back on to the table and started groaning again. A friendly enough drunkard came over and introduced himself as "Len". Mike said "I'm Mike". I was glad about the latter as I had completely forgotten his name. The drunk wandered off. I left Mike awaiting his girlfriend who had "gone off to buy fags" about half an hour previously and never returned. I decided to use an old showbiz trick of remembering people's names by attaching a piece of description or outstanding feature to them, for example : "Blue-eyed Joanie" or "Brown haired Becky". I now refer to him as "Ketamin Mike". I got the train, met up with Brigitte and fellow writer of sleeve notes and altogether good bloke, Simon Nott. Neither of them were drinking (She doesn't anyway and he had to drive) so I made up for the pair of them. She's delightful company and is very good at laughing at my jokes. She also fronts a really great band. I left her waiting for a bus to Stoke Newington as I had a train to catch. I'm a real gentleman.

This is a stock photo of Brigitte because despite having my camera with me I entirely forgot to have my photo taken with her. You may wonder how I remember to get up in the morning. To be honest, I often don't.

Last weekend (10th/11th) saw the return of my monthly comedy shows in Hitchin & Letchworth. The Hitchin show was memorable not least because I actually managed to persuade two women to leave before they'd ever come in to it. Long story. Comedians Bennett Arron and Ninia Benjamin were terrific both nights and on the Saturday she accompanied us to the after-show do at The Arena Tavern where drinking inspiration occurred. I noticed that they were selling shots of "Goat's Gash" for a pound. They've always done these shots for a pound, I've just never noticed before. Not wanting to break a tenner, I ordered ten shots for a pound. This idea was picked up by various other rowdies and shots started accumulating rapidly. Things became increasingly confusing. I was talking to my nineteen year old friend Rianna (No connection to Ketamin Mike) who introduced me to her thirty five year old auntie. Being six years older than her auntie was too much for me to take in so I kidnapped her, brought her back to my flat and made her listen to Adam Ant for an hour and a half until Rianna texted me asking if I could return her auntie. I replied "No" but in that time the resourceful woman called a taxi, which arrived promptly. I don't think I terrified her and judging by this picture which occurred at some point it was actually me who was a little concerned

Auntie in foreground - at this point with no idea what was to befall her. To her right, the face of Croatian Toni & Guy, to her rear, Sam the doppelganger. To her left, a "Goat's Gash" receptacle.
I've spent the last few days trying desperately hard to not write any of my Edinburgh show. More of that in future weeks but it means that. A. On Monday I played poker online from midnight until 7.30am leading me to do nothing  the next day other than going back to Steve's on Tuesday night to avoid the men coming to install new windows in my flat this morning. Steve informed me that the bloke who had been concussed table dancing (remember him? I don't think he does) had since managed to walk home from another night at the pub and fall down the grassy bank that leads up to his house, smashing his face to bits in the process. Shannon (a pub regular who calls me "Vicar" for no apparent reason) said "That poor bloke is so unlucky". I don't think luck has anything to do with it, really: Call me old-fashioned, but I think it's pints of Carling.

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