I do not believe that Michael Legge and I would be the best people to deliver a piano up some stairs. We cannot even close a sofa bed without Michael breaking my glasses.
My eyes are Donald Pleasence Great Escape standard. I see no pin.
I have a hectic week which will now be made even more Magoo-ish than usual. I presume I will find myself accidentally walking along a girder being raised by a crane. According to cartoons, the advantage of gravity is that it doesn’t work in hazardous situations if you are unaware of it (the Tao of Roadrunner).
Last night, we were being ridiculous in York. It has been a while since a Pointless Anger show as Michael went to New Zealand. I had read his Facebook statuses while he was there and it seemed he was giddily embracing the beauty of it all. Fortunately, I was wrong. The beauty made him even more grumpy and he went to a museum that appears to have just been for one pencil that was used to draw a Hobbit. His magic eye psoriasis came back from the southern hemisphere even more vibrant than usual, stare at the diseased flesh for long enough and you can see an intricate image of the Battle of Martson Moor. I was quite dopy, having used up too much brain glucose the previous day doing events at the Cheltenham Science Festival. Talking about the brain really tires out the brain. When the mind is exhausted, but you’re still talking, their can be some manic moments. I fear the man I shouted Serge Gainsbourg songs at neither wanted nor expected that.
I only became aware of blood sugar low performances and the dangers inherent in not carrying emergency chocolate buttons a few years ago. It was during the Latitude Festival. It was 4.30pm, so I was on my 5th show of the day. This was on the comedy stage. Foolhardy, I had decided to do some new ideas in front of the thousands of people. The microphone broke. I wasn’t sure how much laughter there was and felt squirmish in my skin. As I left the stage, I was insane. Ripping off my shirt and crashing into a chair where I was hellbent on grinding my teeth into shards and powder. Phil Nichol came over and immediately informed me that I had clearly not eaten for some time. This was true, but surely that would have nothing to do with my madness. All I wanted to do was flee the Suffolk field and go to work incognito in Istanbul (or Chertsey). The shame that hung over my head, then lowered to engulf all my senses. I was assured that all was fine, but they would say that, wouldn’t they. How could I ever stand on a stage again? In just 90 minutes I was meant to be doing a hyperkinetic reading of Horrid Henry for the book at bedtime slot, but I had decided that enforced retirement was the only option. I would fashion a cowl out of discarded salmon burger wrappers, fern, and the stray pieces of coloured sheep’s wool snuck on wire. Food was forced into me. After 30 minutes, I dared to walk into a public area, ready to be stabbed by accusatory eyes. Yet all was fine. So my old lag performer’s advice is, “be wary of how hungry your mind can be for food, intense showing off can demand bananas, chips and a milkshake”. I am looking forward to my return to festivals. It’s not so many this year as I am also doing Edinburgh Fringe, but Glastonbury, Latitude, Port Eliot and Festival No.6 are all in the diary.
My other old stand up lag advice for comedian playing festivals for the first time is that laughter may be occurring but unheard. It is easy to become paranoid when playing a comedy tent near seven bands, where laughter is lost by the wind blowing over the sound of folk mayhem, prog peculiarities or the sound of the Soweto Gospel Choir.
Once you get used to smorgasbord acoustics and sharpen your senses and steel your nerves, festival gigs are often going much better than you imagine. It seems such a long time ago that the stage was stormed by a man dressed as a klingon at Glastonbury as I attempted to appear satirical, and it was. This year I’ll just wait for Prince Vultan to swoop down.
I am touring forever, or rather until the end of the year. After that, no UK tour until 2016. Coming soon to Hull, Glasgow, Newcastle, Swansea, Newport and plenty more. Details HERE