Friday evening was a non-event. I just got the bus home and had a quiet night in the flat to get over my cold as best I could ready for what I expected to be a very busy Saturday. It was. It began with me arriving a little late for Tweeting Beauty and not having long to set up. The show before me was packed so I was reassured that I would be busy anyway and so made the excellent decision to resolutely not flyer. It was packed again and possibly my best show of the run so far, also reflected by the best bucket. I'm sorry to go on about my bucket but it's a constant amusement to me that after performing stand up professionally for two decades I am reduced, at Edinburgh, to begging for spare change. Physically I also felt a lot better and although not back to full health was certainly on the mend. I headed up to Buffs Club for my 7.30pm show which was again packed (I love Saturdays) but despite the audience's efforts the show was a damp squib. I've been too generous to too many open mic spots this festival and they have let me down with their terribleness. I don't know why they don't see what I see. They go on stage, die on their arses in often unusual ways, come off, unblinking and then ask for another spot after the gig...
...Admittedly there was a blind, cowboy-hatted drunkard who heckled all the way through the show (until I asked him to leave - he did - but in tragi-comic fashion by getting up and walking directly into the cupboard at the back of the room rather than the door to the left of it) but nevertheless - pull your trousers up, new comedians! We still had a decent take after the show, drinks were bought and the night had very much begun. My friend Fenella showed up with what was revealed to be NO PLANS so we went out for a curry, ordered too much of it, had another beer and then I walked her towards the Underbelly so she could go and see the Wilfredo show that we had failed to see on Thursday. I think I forgot to tell you about this. Her friend Matt does a character called "Wilfredo" that she really wanted me to go and see with her. We eventually procured tickets and were then led directly into the wrong room where I sat down and watched three women doing something I couldn't comprehend on stage. Fenella hadn't even sat down. She had done a "Revolving Door" on the thing, realising we had been directed into the wrong room. When I realised she wasn't there, I also got up and walked out again. As drive-by gig-crashing goes, it was quite impressive. The clueless door monkey checked our tickets and assured us that it was indeed, the right show. We told him that it wasn't and scuttled off, unable to find the show we were supposed to. Afterwards we met up with Wilfredo himself as well as a couple of movers and shakers for a drink before removing ourselves to the Loft.
I say this because after I left Fenella I removed myself to The Loft, getting there around half eleven. I dropped into a conversation with Jools Constant and a rather lovely (and bizarre) woman called Jen who claims to be able to get you to give up smoking by sticking a candle up your bottom and getting you to do breathing exercises, all in the name of Yoga. She's from Las Vegas but hasn't been there for fourteen years. Some more of the usual suspects began to appear and it wasn't long before there were also Fenella (Fresh from finally seeing Wilfredo and gushing about it), Pam Ford, the Ricketts/Welsh axis, Paul Zenon, Jason John Whitehead (With his woman's thighs) and various other reprobates. It was a really good fun night, the booze was flowing and I was rather upset when a particularly bolshy doorman walked over to us and told us to drink up because the bar was closing. I looked at my watch. It was nearly 5am.
I got a cab back, made pate on toast, had a confusing conversation with flatmate Grainne about whether pigs were indeed as intelligent as three year olds or not (She ended the discussion by passing out) and went to bed. Obviously I woke up with no voice, a terrible cold and the resignation that I really am a complete idiot.
Susan (My other flatmate) was also as sick as a dog and demanded I take her to the chemists to procure various medicines, tinctures and linctuses to help her through the day. That was followed by a trip out to a Toby Carvery for Sunday lunch. As usual I took us on a road that seemed to be bereft of places to eat. As usual we got one just as I was about to turn round. The chef had also lost his voice and seemed a little too obsessed with Yorkshire puddings for my liking. He had an ace in the hole though - THERE WAS MASHED POTATO! It was actually a really good dinner, the lamb was excellent, the choice of vegetables perfect, the gravy marvelous and most importantly, THERE WAS MASHED POTATO. We got back fairly late, I missed a bus and didn't get to The Banshee Labyrinth (Home of "Tweeting Beauty") until about five to four, thus relieving me of the necessity of flyering. It didn't matter - the show was busy again and a very understanding audience (in lieu of my lack of voice) enjoyed what was probably the best show to date (I know I keep saying that but as the run goes on everything's getting honed a little more and I'm enjoying doing it a bit more every day as well). Joss (my agent) finally showed up to see it (She was late) and informed me that one the previous week had been reviewed, relatively favourably. I had an orange juice with her (Even I wasn't so daft as to drink when my voice was that bad) and then rocked back up to The Buffs Club, where I enjoyed tea, iced water and another opportunity to put on two open mic acts in the show who both bombed. They asked me for advice afterwards. I gave them it in no uncertain terms, to the effect that there was too much waffle in the build ups to their punchlines and that they didn't have enough of those either. Cruel to be kind? possibly. At my wits' end? Probably. A large crowd were brought down by a terrible show (none of us were on top form) and the smallest bucket of the run (At either show) reflected their chagrin. I did the decent thing and got out of there, walked down to Canon's Gait to see if I could get a slot at PBH & Some Comedians later in the week and he said they had a gap right there and then and would I do it. He very kindly managed to orchestrate me going on last. My planned early night was completely kaiboshed, the gig itself was under par, my own performance was lacking, to say the least (Well I could hardly talk) and the whole pointless exercise finally drew to a close at about twenty to midnight. By the time I got back up to South Bridge the buses had stopped running and I had to get a cab home. I finally got round to eating and sat up with Susan for a bit. We watched a programme about Formula One drivers being killed in the 60s and 70s and I collapsed into bed about half one. Today is Monday. Some of my voice has miraculously returned. I'm going to try and take it easy. Wish me luck.