Saturday, 22 September 2018

Strictly Come Tweeting (22.09.18)

…and so the live-tweeting along to Strictly Come Dancing started tonight again in earnest. This is what was said; READ IT:

6:19PM: They can't be emotive yet.

6:20PM: I had a dinosaur poo once that was petrified.

6:27PM: No-one defines what I do when I walk down the stairs.

6:34PM: I like how no-one reacted to Tess' "one cool cat" joke.

6:36PM: The vocal sound for Top Cat was excellent.

6:38PM: Queen could perform under pressure live too.

6:43PM: Seemed like a very low-tech camera to film the news with.

6:44PM: I was oozing too.

6:46PM: That's my favourite Beatles song: "We Can Work on This".

6:53PM: Lauren needs to dance to the theme from Going For Gold at some point.

6:54PM: 6667: Lauren scored the Number of the Dance Beast.

7:04PM: Each time the judges' score my PIN I down my drink.

7:08PM: Graziano won't feel the benefit in that shirt.

7:15PM: I think I had Susannah on one of my toilet rolls once.

7:17PM: When it's their first dance and the judges' feedback's so scathing, it's desperately unhelpful.

7:25PM: Karen's outfit's also available in yellow.

7:31PM: My wife's #Strictly series feedback summarised: "That's a nice dress".

7:39PM: Janette.

7:46PM: Putting a little plaque on the prop bench with 'BRUCIE' written on it would be a nice touch.

7:56PM: Dancing to the cricket theme: genius.

7:56PM: The cricket theme is played by the Two Ronnies on pots and pans.

8:07PM: I can't believe I'm about to say this, but... ...Tess hasn't been that irritating tonight.

8:11PM: Good luck, Lee; I've always liked Blue Man Group.

8:20PM: He was hiding in some of the cardboard boxes.
Some of the boxes.


8:21PM: I don't want to ruin it for him as I know he's not watching live, but you haven't heard Take on Me until you've heard it sung by @glyndoggett.

Friday, 21 September 2018

In, Out (and Shake it all About)

Considering we only had just over two hours to set up today’s Mostly Comedy as there was a meeting in the ballroom before us, things came together alarmingly quickly without much stress.

We were so ahead of the game I even had time to get changed before we opened the doors and started letting people in, which never happens. Admittedly, I was still forcing down a pesto pasta salad as the audience started filing in, but it was still a relative luxury; I almost had time left to think.

While tonight was a great gig and was a really good way to kick off our autumn season, it was slightly overshadowed by Glyn’s and my ongoing discussions about what we should do about 4th October’s date we had booked at the Maltings’ Arts Theatre with John Thomson and Jenny Collier. Until we’d made the final decision to move it to Hitchin - which is what we’re going to do - we’d only sold seven tickets, which was nowhere near the amount we need to comfortably cover the cost, and on balance, the best move for us is to take it to the venue that we know we’re more likely to be caple be of selling in a reasonable space of time.

The sticking point is it doesn’t cost us nothing to do what we do, and our overheads are far greater than the amount we pay out in act and staff’s fees, the venue hire and leaflet and flyer distribution. At least moving it to Hitchin gives us a fair crack of the whip for selling it its own right.

Reg onstage in Hitchin tonight.

As for tonight’s gig, it wasn’t just the quick set-up that was notable. Both Reg and Yuriko Kotani were on great form and our stuff went well too. All in all it was a great night; now let’s see if our next two Hitchin shows sell just as well and go just as well too.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Largess? Largest.

While it’s a slow process, I’m trying to get myself into better shape and slim down a bit

I’ve never been one to carry much weight - to paraphrase The Beatles - though in the last year or so, a combination of taking medication that can increase the lbs I’m packing, plus - let’s face it - a few too many biscuits have seen me loosen my belt a notch or two for the first time in my life (except for when I drop my trousers). This has inevitably affected my morale as no-one wants to be dragging along unnecessary ballast.

Therefore the time has come for me to do something to address my advancing waistline before it becomes too hard to reverse. My main approach has been to increase my exercise; I already do a lot of walking (which is one of the prerequisites of a non-driver) though I’ve made an active point of upping my footfall by doing thirty minutes on a step machine every day, which is something I intend to keep up (and if anything add to) in the hope it will help the battle of the bulge, so to speak.

There are lots of reasons why I’d like to go back to being more lithe, but the main one’s as simplistic as it’s obvious: I just want to look better and feel better in myself. Being a performer’s hard enough without feeling everyone’s judging you for your size (my dad being one of the most amusing / destroying instances).

I often forget how much weight I’ve put on until I catch my reflection in a shop window and promptly want to dive through it; it’s just not a good look. I just wish they didn’t make biscuits so damn delicious or the tablets I’m taking so fattening; I’m stuck between a rock cake and a hard plaice.

Monday, 17 September 2018

'University Challenged 2018/19: Volume Seven' (17.09.18)

I barely took part in my usual Monday evening tweet-along-to-University-Challenge-athon this evening for a couple of reasons: (1) because I’ve grown a little bored of the show if I’m honest, and (2) I’m feeling a bit less childish of late.

I read an article a few weeks back, written from the perspective of a few contestants who’ve appeared on the game show and weren’t prepared for the virtual onslaught they received online as a result of this, literally in a virtual sense. The article was mostly written from the point of view of women who felt the way they looked took priority over their actual abilities, which is something I don’t believe I’m guilty of, yet it still made me think.

I’d like to hope what I do is never seen as an attack; I’m not seeking these people out directly and copying them in to my feedback, and the sort of thing I write is meant to be harmless and comedic, but it’s so easy to cross a line so that's no longer the case. This is partly why I’ve been feeling less inclined to take part in such obvious silliness.

That said, I still couldn’t help but be a little cheeky - it’s a tough affliction to unlearn - so I've also included a few tweets I posted whilst watching the new University Challenge side-project, ‘Monkman and Seagull’s Genius Guide to Britain’; they might be of vague interest, but then again, they may not; still: at least no-one was harmed in the process.

Bristol Vs. Queen's - Belfast (17.09.18)

‘University Challenge’ 17.09.18

8:36PM: I once made Breen's face using iron filings and a magnet.

8:38PM: "Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?"

8:44PM: Breen, son of Merryfield.

8:48PM: Breen grew tired of his uncle's stories of what he got up to "during the war".

8:52PM: Questions about women? Surely not.

8:55PM: Iredale's dressed like a trainee Monkman.

‘Monkman & Seagull’s Genius Guide to Britain’ - Episode 1 (17.09.18)

8:15PM: "Don't mow me, please". Brilliant.

8:23PM: a nerdy Bill and Ted.

8:28PM: Jodrell Bank sounds like rhyming slang: "I'm having a Jodrell Bank".

8:28PM: "Cable Guy".

Sunday, 16 September 2018

An Apology.

If there's one thing a quick flick through my blogs from the last few days reveals it's that I need to stop writing just before bed, as that's when the gibberish bug bites me most often and I end up writing a load of nonsense.

It's embarrassing to see the rubbish I've written while attempting to work through my tiredness. I don't know why I insist on doing it as it seldom results in anything good, and it's also not an enjoyable process; if I start writing after a certain point I'll just end up chasing the clock and that's not fun for anyone, be they the reader or the writer. 

I find this blog goes through cycles; flitting from being a useful place to vent my frustrations or make positive observations, to just being a weight around my neck. When I was up in Edinburgh, for example, it was surprisingly easy to write every day despite the inevitable monotony of the festival, but since I've been home it's not been fun at all; it's become another chore to get through before bed and what's the point in that?

Sometimes it's better to go to sleep than waste the effort if the results are going to be incoherent the next day. I suppose I can edit my last few blog posts from the brighter standpoint of a new day; in the meantime, I apologise for all the incomprehensible rubbish I've written of late.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Roll Up! Roll Up!

Today saw another Mostly Comedy pre-sale, with November’s Hitchin show with James Acaster and Alison Thea-Skot selling out in just thirty-five minutes (with 100 tickets going in the first ten minutes).

This is particularly remarkable when you consider James made his first appearance at the club almost ten years to the day of November's gig, playing to a fraction of the people he’s now used to, though he was just as memorable back then. He actually criticized his performance that night during an interview for our podcast a few years ago, because he thought he had laid into a heckling audience member a little too over-zealously, but I'd say he judged himself too harshly; he certainly proved he already had the chops to hold his own in a truly individual way; he was special right from the get-go.

(That gig also saw the first outing of the Star Trek Porn Letter, so it was a crucial night for us too).

In a way, the popularity of today’s pre-sale is indicative of how things have changed for the club in the intervening years, both for good and for bad. Back then, people weren’t lured in by big names for the simple reason we didn't have any and yet the club still did very well. These days, it’s hard to get people to book for anything without a big pull, which is frustrating. Trying to sell my solo show in Hitchin next month is a case in point; you’d think you could create a bit of interest about a local comic performing his recent Edinburgh show on his home turf after being included in a handful of best jokes lists, but in truth it’s not that easy; ironically, the gags that made it into the lists were left out of an article the Hitchin Comet ran a few years back for which they'd actually asked us to supply a few jokes for, as they apparently didn’t make the grade; proof that the Telegraph is a lot less picky.

You have to try to approach the whole thing ambivalently. Of course I’m happy that Mostly Comedy's become so successful; I just wish our audience were as open minded as they were at the beginning; if nothing else I'll seek solace from the money.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Ballad of a Marginally Less Thin Man.

I’ve been feeling low-level nauseous all day today; just enough to make the day generally unpleasant without things coming to a head or me being sick so I could then move on from it.

I don’t know why this was the case, though it may have something to do with meeting my friend Steve for a catch-up yesterday, though I only had a glass of wine when I was with him so I doubt it was that, though it may have been the food I ate. Whatever the case it’s just been frustrating, as it’s put a damper on the whole day I could have done without.

Despite what may have been some questionable fish and chips I had a good time yesterday. We’ve been fortunate enough to see each other pretty regularly since Steve moved away, though I of course preferred when he was in the area. Steve’s much like me in the sense he’s not on Facebook so doesn’t play that whole game; a game that frequently makes me feel I’m on the outside of the grid just because I’m not taking part.

I guess in many ways I keep myself to myself (says the daily blogger) but choosing to not be a part of Facebook can make you question your own popularity when you suddenly get much less contact. This was thrust in to focus by not being invited to a friend’s wedding recently that most of my friendship group are attending in some capacity, including people I would have classed as being the same level of familiarity as me. The last thing I want to become is the person who’s affronted to not be approached - I’m really not him - but it did make me question whether not being on Facebook could mean I’ve fallen off the radar, or even wonder if people don’t see themselves as being that close to me anyway.

The problem is, once you start thinking like that, everything around strengthens your distorted view. Another thing that left me despondent recently was when just one friend came to see me preview my show at the theatre in Hitchin as part of our Mostly Comedy Festival in July when so many from my local network of actors made the effort to watch a friend of similar local standing do his show at the same venue the following day. Now, I know this was partly to do with the fact the other guy was doing his first solo Edinburgh show whereas I do this stuff all the time, but it still hurt to see friends rush to see one and not the other.

I know I shouldn’t take this sort of thing to heart, but I can't help but wonder if I may have alienated myself. I certainly sometimes feel like I’m operating in a black hole from time to time. It’s probably just the curse of tiredness breathing life into a load of nonsense, which is as good a time as any to wrap this up and go to bed.