The lid is off. The id is out. The superego will mop up the aftermath.
The fumbling failure to cease performing stand up is over.
In the time off, I think I have been able to gain some perspective.
It gave me a chance to spend almost every weekend going on adventures with my son for a year.
It severely cut the tweeting about frustrating train journeys.
It allowed me to put on weight due to the loss of that two hours of nightly flailing and gesticulating.
Disembarking at Machynlleth, this was the official termination of my disassociation from stand up.
I have started typing two new shows, something I haven’t done for a long time.
The last few solo shows were scribbled on postcards and structured via failure in front of small audiences.
I currently have 30 pages of notes and two exercise books full of numbered ideas that may gather the moss of a routine or will die on the vine.
The Rorschach Test of Robin Ince is somethingorother about art and I have decided to class that as spoken word. This is not due to fear of failure to find the punchlines in a Picasso, but to broaden out from the necessity of everything leading to a joke. It will not be joke-less by intention and I plan anything that that doesn’t have a punchline to be interesting enough to divert the audience.(That will be at the Museum of Scotland during the fringe).
Pragmatic Insanity, inspired by both Philip K Dick and RD Laing’s thoughts that sometimes insanity is the correct reaction to reality. This will be in one of my favourite smaller rooms on the fringe, Stand 2, and I plan on that being a looser collection of ideas, though death and quantum physics are cropping up quite a lot.
I was intending to collate some of the ideas in the exercise books on the train to Machynlleth, but I bumped into Alexis Dubus and we talked about the KLF and Robert Anton Wilson instead. At Wolverhampton, Bridget Christie, and we all agreed to put our heads down and work on our shows.
We ate grapes and crisps and talked about comedians and critics and the problems of being distracted from writing new shows.
At Machynlleth, we sat in the Quarry Café and ate soup and talked of science fiction book covers, Josie Long and James Acaster’s near “death by logs” experience of some years ago, and how we’d soon be going off to write our shows.
Getting to Y Plas, I found more people to talk to about how we were all about to write our shows for the weekend.
Eventually, I sat at an asymmetrical bench and started writing on postcards and trying to order some words on paper and in my head. As usual, I was under the illusion that I could regurgitate 50 or 60 ideas that I’d only just written down for the first time. I see me standing before the crowd like a sociology teacher played by Alain Delon, delivering with gravitas salient points with subtle and potent punchlines.
When I got into the venue, I found out there was a projector I could use, so I quickly made a powerpoint of things I liked, including Georgia O Keeffe’s paintings of pelvis bones and Divine in Pink Flamingos preparing to declare her manifesto of “kill everyone now!”
Having been AWOL from comedy, when I do find myself alone at the side of the stage, it is a little more alien than usual.
I have to remind myself what I intend to do.
The music faded and I walked on with a new opening line freshly formed in my head, by the time I reached the microphone, that had been unconsciously discarded and something different came out. It was chaotic. It was twenty minutes longer than it was meant to be.
Some of it required having spent a few days in my head to understand it.
Sometimes five ideas came out at once, sometimes none at all, but still there was noise.
I hope it was entertaining for most people.
It was passionate, even if it was at times more meaningless than intended.
I had a lovely conversation with an audience member who apologised for being complimentary in that lovely way where people think you may be bored by people saying they enjoy what you do.
I am a little more sure that I have the makings of two new shows in my exercise books, now it’s up to my frontal lobes to pick the right words and intone them correctly.
I have new faces to make publicly.
And thank you again Machynlleth festival, your existence is a magnificent achievement.
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