Jelly Bean Jar Pilfer Guilt

I found some old blogs from the Fame tour with Ricky Gervais, here is one from April 2007.

Tuesday is spent on a family outing to Wookie Hole, a vamped up cave in Somerset, full of tales of witch’s bones and possessed stalactites. The west country is hotbed of brown signs and attractions, from stately home gardens and herbaceous borders of presumed national interest to holes dug by farmers and entitled The Adventure Pit or Soil-capades. Wookie Hole has not been too spoilt in the desire to attract tourists and the cave itself is an impressive piece of erosion. A slightly bored girl puts as much effort as she can into telling tales of death and floods that she has mouthed a thousand times. It is also home to a handmade paper manufacturer which, by the looks of the exhibits, as mainly been used to celebrate the queen mother with sturdy, yellowing menus of tawny port and commemorative custards. I briefly watch the paper making girl who tells stories of felt and paper manufacture , but then realise that paper manufacture has never really interested me and all the tales told will leave my brain as soon as I leave the paper pressing room. If it doesn’t leave my brain it may well occupy memory space which I was saving for cosmological facts. I nearly leave the gift shop without a memento, but as a cheese fanatic, I can’t resist buying a piece of cave aged cheese. I realise it tastes like other cheddars and have therefore been a dozy tourist rube.

On Wednesday I leave the seclusion of barns, silage and back garden football and journey to Birmingham to play the NIA again on the Fame tour. I am still surprised by how quickly humans adapt to new situations. As a warm up for 2004’s Politics tour, we played Lincoln’s Theatre (it has an Eric Sykes bar) and the 380 seats of the auditorium seemed daunting, now I am nonchalant in a 5000 seater. Not too nonchalant though, 10 minutes before I go on, I vaguely panic and wonder if I shall remember the words I said six days ago in Bournemouth. They are an accommodating audience, and I enjoy annunciating in the big dark arena. We return to the hotel to watch another instalment of Get A Grip with Ben Elton, I am apoplectic again. Then we drink pink champagne, as has become the tradition, until our hearts’ burn

Thursday morning, and as we are trapped in Birmingham city centre, Ricky will not be able to amble outside for fear of the public wanting to stroke his famous face. This will mean he is bored, and if he is bored, that means I will be put into the emperor’s toy mode. (I must see the Richard Pryor/ Jackie Gleason film The Toy again, I think it might ring true to me in a way it wouldn’t have done in 1984).
First job for the toy is to be given a makeover, something Ricky has been aching to do for some time. Matt is sent out to find an outfit for me. He returns with some vivid red trousers, a lilac T shirt, a stripy pullover that resembles a boy’s bedspread, some desert boots that are one size too small and a little necklace. He also brings back some mascara so Ricky can irritate my scalp with a mixture of toxicity and varnished youth. My hair is styled, my cheeks are hollowed, my eyes blackened and then the ill-fitting outfit goes on. I resemble a man with an urge to meld Su Pollard and Christopher Biggins and force them into an amateur production of Napoleon Dynamite. Some poor woman came to replenish the pink champagne in the mini bar and was greeted by me in my near drag costume (Ricky had heard the door, but I hadn’t so he got me in this honeytrap of embarrassment for both sides). Afterwards, Ricky was worried that the woman might have thought Matt and his cackling was directed at her, but I think she would have known that the laughter was at the expense of the man squeezed into a vision in red.

Then the fun is over, so we go for a drive and marvel at the aged timbers of Henley in Arden and the busy streets of Stratford Upon Avon. I keep expecting Ricky to demand that we stop the car so he can buy an old lady’s cottage. In Stratford we are impressed by a sizeable butterfly flitting between cars, then see that it is an escapee from their butterfly farm. Poor Butterfly Farmer, he’ll never catch his prize exhibit now and he’ll have to take to painting tortoiseshell’s more vibrant colours with airfix paints in the hope of wooing in idle punters. Stratford enjoys revelling in Shakespeare, and I am particularly impressed by the hideous non pun of their shop Much Ado About Toys. The rest of the journey is taken up with us trying to imagine worse shop awnings – A Midsummer Night’s Ironmonger, Two Gentlemen of Somerfield, Tights R Us Andronicus, Merry Wives of Help the Aged and their PC World, As You Like I.T.

We got back and it was still only 4.15, so more toy work, and toy work that would make me sweat. Ricky made me do a 40 minute cardio-vascular workout on a treadmill and some other thing. I sweated disgustingly and sometimes forgot to breath, my heart rate was 174 BPM at one point, is that a good or bad thing? I think Ricky was surprised I made it, and so was I, god working out is boring. Looking at a wall counting seconds as your aorta explodes.

Oh, and earlier in the day Ricky came to my room. Embarrassingly, he discovered that the night before, in a pink champagne stupor I had opened a jar of nuts, chocolates and a jar of jelly beans. He was a little cross as was I. I don’t normally forage for confectionary in hotel cupboards. As punishment Ricky wrestles me in an ominous, slow, sluggish but weighty manner. He climbs on my back like a protruding diseased spine, grabs me, I fall to the floor in a thigh grip. I lunge for the camera and film this messy scene. Ricky lets out yelps and screams that make me believe poor cleaning women outside will believe some unpleasant father son sex game dreamt up by the drunk ghost of DH Lawrence is going on. Add the drag incident and the sound of sweaty working out and the 3am Girls will be hot on our tails.

Birmingham was a good gig again, but enough of my self aggrandising.

We are now back in Ricky’s room, there is a statue of a girl hidden under a towel, I imagine later Ricky will insist that it has the soul of a trapped waif in its core and Matt will get scared.

Next Gigs in 2010 – 20th September Victoria Theatre, Halifax. 23rd September MAC, Birmingham.  25thSeptember Rondo, Bath

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1 Response to Jelly Bean Jar Pilfer Guilt

  1. Count Otto Black says:

    Now there’s one for you to seek in charity shops! By the way, if you like obscure weird tourist attractions and/or caves, next time you’re in Edinburgh, you might like to check this out:

    Good luck with your ongoing bibliomania…

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