I talked too much tonight. That’s the problem of being a professional talker, sometimes you forget to stop.I don’t do many gigs now.
Tonight, I was drunk before I touched a drop.
I recorded the final few lines of documentary on Dr Seuss, then Sash (producer), Brian (professor) and I prepared for an Infinite Monkey Cage on puzzles. We have prepared better in the past, but it will all sound okay in the edit. A highlight may well be a lengthy argument on whether wolves eat cabbages.
I had agreed to do go off to north London to do ACMS (the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society), one of the more potentially interesting comedy clubs that occasionally pops up like Brigadoon.
After I said yes, I realised I may not have anything to say. I have created a few one off solo shows in 2016, but my brain has scant recollection of what I said on those few nights.
On the way, I thought I would see if I could perform without jokes (something my critics may say I have done for some decades now). My mind formulated a few heartfelt sentences on the new fear that people feel about the direction some of humanity want to take us.
On stage, I stood before a very generous crowd. I had not been so close to raucous laughter for some time. I was disconcerted. This was not normal to me anymore. I thought of those expressionistic 1930s thrillers where the laughter of the crowd is choppily cut and the camera frantically jumps from mouth to mouth, getting closer and closer towards the dentistry. The Bill Murray pub is a lovely venue filled with lovely people. My main desire was to be as genuine as I could be, to not revert to jokes I knew or to the audience play and manipulation I had learnt in the years I had been a stand up.
And so I stood there and started talking and things took shape and I think I kept to the rules I set for my self.
And I talked about the beauty of Robert Rauschenberg’s work…
And I talked about the worry of voluntarily bringing a child into the world and the fear that the world was taking an angrier turn towards further cruelty…
And there was something about Tom Lehrer…
And I talked of being kind, violently kind, mobs of kindness arguing over who will help the person with the pushchair down the steps and whether the group will agree that they must carry the tired mother too as she needs a break from pushing and walking…
And somewhere around then, I stopped…
Sometime around that quotation from Kurt Vonnegut that I chant with greater regularity…
And I walked off, and I felt disconcertingly emotional as if I had said too much, but I needed to say it, or maybe it would be better if I had never said it at all…
Then, I got to the bar and I started talking again.
Ben Target was there , and I talked and I talked, and he talked too, but I am sure I talked too much.
And while I was talking, I remembered that I forgot to tell the audience to watch Patti Smith singing a Hard Rain Gonna Fall at the Bob Dylan Nobel prize ceremony, because the moment she falters and apologises is utterly beautiful.
Then, I talked to Dec Munro who has created the Bill Murray pub and is a man of fine artistic intention and I think I hear myself talking more than I hear myself listening.
And someone tells me that their mother has died, and I know that I tell them my mother died too far too quickly, not giving them the space that was needed.
And I wonder if I should go on the stage more or less. I don’t know if I enjoyed what I did, but I know I was glad that I did, it was so much better than just summarising it in a tweet and waiting for the abuse to come in.
On the way home, I wonder about doing a few nights of talking to a small room and I am not sure whether I can or should.
Then I finish writing this post, and I realise the way I’ve been sitting on the train floor typing has made my leg numb, and I fall almost impercetibly to the right as my dead leg gathers blood…
And I wonder the passengers wonder if I am drunk, and so do I, but I’m not yet.
When the others got off the train, they walk heavily on their heels, vaguely incompetent in their walking. I need not have worried about being judged drunk after all.
If you want to donate to a food bank, Trussell Trust have a locator here.
Janne Teller’s Book Shambles interview is invigorating. Alan Moore is amongst our other interviews too.
Take a look at what the Bill Murray pub has on here.
I always love seeing you on stage: whether you’re funny or ranty or rushing a link from a laser-harp to a space shuttle montage you’re always genuinely heartfelt and passionate. You spark so many ideas on stage I can’t keep up with them all, and you always inspire me to read more about the amazing universe we share. This week I feel very lucky to have my week bookended by shows involving you!
I hadn’t seen the Patti Smith video and, for that alone, I thank you. Sounds like you also had a very good night @ the Bill Murray. x