I am chaotic. I am messy. I am confused.
I have too many things in my pockets.
When we started using ink pens at school, I was soon banned because I made everything inky.
I like the idea of order, but I fail to create it.
My bedroom is a scrapyard of books, magazines, notes and and cultural ephemera, most of which I’ll probably fail to get through before I die, but which I still can’t permit to leave my floorboards. I am too impulsive.
A few years ago, on the way to the birthplace of Adam Smith, I saw my ticket sales for that night. Dismal. That was that I realised, it was time to stop, time to find a new occupation, maybe even produce the shows of the young bucks that had allure. I was spent as a force to be watched. I wrote a miserable blog post accepting defeat. Then the next day, after my 10 hour journey to Blackheath, with a busy and happy audience, I thought I would keep going.
My act of resignation was another fit of pique. Everything is very immediate, I find calm tricky.
The energy that creates my ridiculous shows at Hammersmith Apollo with astronauts and lazers, swearing one moment, on stage smiling and showing off the next, is the same that has me kicking plant pots and punching chests of drawers when I can’t find my laptop or my toothpaste or my mind.
As I approached Northampton for a lunch break on the way to Bromsgrove, I received an email telling me that I had low sales in Birmingham. So low they were below last year’s show in King’s Lynn (it is just the one king who has the lynn isn’t it? Or is it Kings’ Lynn, surely not Kings Lynn?).
My first reaction was – “right, that’s it, I am never going to Birmingham again. To hell with that city. And if we ever do another uncaged monkeys tour, I’ll deliberately skip Birmingham. Sorry Birmingham, you couldn’t be bothered to turn up for me on my own, so I won’t let you see Professor Cox.” If you missed the tour, I would unveil Professor Cox like John Merrick, and the audience of doctors and surgeons and shopkeepers and stylists, would gasp as I pointed out his parts.
This is stage one – the obstreperous child smashes toys then gathers the splinters and blames the glue for not being able to put them back together.
My second reaction was – “oh well, that’s it. the bubble has burst. Despite healthy sales and sell outs in first month of the tour, now I am found out. What job can I do? How will I feed my family. That’s me fucked.” That reaction has taken longer to shift. I thought of canceling the gig, as that option was on the table, or possibly the chair, they were non-specific about the location of the option, but they knew they had it somewhere…
But then I thought, “to hell with you and your ego. They may not be many, but some might have even gone so far as to look forward to tomorrow’s show, so lose money and get on with it. This is SHOWBIZ ARCHIE RICE! Rise Up Calvero. Do you not see that plaque on your desk that says, “what would Bobby Davro do?” I remain wobbly and worried. I continue to be cross that my allure is so limited in some of the Midlands, but get on with it. And don’t blame the audience that are there, it’s the few million that haven’t turned up who are at fault. I will hire a jeep and drive around the suburbs of Birmingham at 5am, honking my horn and bellowing, “and where the fuck were you?”
Oh, and the answer to the title question is – I am touring. (Oddly or predictably, after writing this I had a funny old confused gig at Bromsgrove, well, at least the first half was. in the second half I broke out the chutzpah)
I am at the Glee in Birmingham on 27th March, then Leeds, Salford, Newcastle, Glasgow, Chorley, Horsham and a town near you – Details HERE
and Mark Steel is joining Michael Legge and me at the comedy cafe in london this Tuesday
Kings Lynn was intimate and an excellent show! Despite the numbers we all were enjoying ourselves and so were you. Norwich with the latest tour was even better. You have an exceptional and thought provoking talent. Never doubt yourself!
Brilliant people like you often suffer from self-doubt , that’s why they are brilliant.
Comedy shows can be interesting and thought-provoking, and they can be laugh-out-loud funny. Yours manage to be both, so try to keep the lid on those doubts.
p.s. “I will hire a jeep and drive around the suburbs of Birmingham at 5am, honking my horn and bellowing, “and where the fuck were you?” – this image make me splurt tea over my keyboard.
I was just thinking when you said about the Birmingham show that at the SKeptics in the Pub at Wig and Pen Oxford I think there was one guy (who I think you spoke to) who had travelled all the way from Birmingham to see you at Oxford.., so I am sure there were some people at Birmingham who were really looking forward to seeing you. I didn’t go to your recent Abingdon Oxon Science Fest thing with Jocelyn Bell as at the time I felt like I was suffering from Robin Ince overload (not your fault just my own stupid brain), however I really hope this means you won’t try and ban me from seeing Professor Cox as I’ve got a ticket for one of this yrs Christmas ‘do’s……. What you said about getting angry reminds me of my recent anger at the weekend with all the flippin moaning residents and the local vicar in our village newsletter and facebook, I was very angry about facebook…..