One thing I didn’t anticipate on my way to tonight’s show in Brighton was I’d be performing to (amongst others) 27 German students.
Their teacher popped his head around the door an hour before I began, to see (1) if there was anything on, and (2) if my show would be something I thought his class would understand. This was a hard question to answer as, while language wouldn’t necessarily be a barrier, they might struggle with some of the content, what with my propensity for choosing quite niche cultural references; did Noel Edmonds’ Nineties-era work make it as far as the Rhineland? Let’s hope not. My reluctance to answer with a clear yes or no may have been cause for doubt, as he didn’t commit to coming back.
I took a bit of a risk tonight, by making some big changes to my set at the last minute, so I could be true to my original intention of using the three dates to chop and change what I do, to make the most of the chance to work things up. This meant I spent the whole show eyeing my setlist to see what was coming next. I only just had time to finish editing the slideshow and rewrite my notes before the house opened, which left me pretty anxious; something which hasn’t been helped by my labyrinthitis, which has reared its head again over the last few days. Thankfully for me, the show after me had been cancelled, which gave me the chance to go up a little late, so I could meditate for ten minutes and centre my head. I dipped down the stairs to the fire escape to get myself together, to return minutes later to find the room was packed; there were over fifty in, with the German students amongst them; all the more reason for the changes I’d made to be a bit of a risk.
Thankfully, it went well. It was hot, so concentration was a little stretched, so I tried to keep the energy up to maintain attention. A few minutes into the show, I asked how many German-speaking students were in - I knew I had to make sure the rest of the room knew why some of the audience might be silent - for a sea of hands to go up; a sea that rapidly depleted to a puddle when I asked how many spoke reasonable English. It must have been a tiring hour for them, but to their credit they were very nice; particularly one woman who piped up when I got to the bit about 3-Headed Shark Attack, to agree with just how bad a film it was; it’s good to know that poor cinema knows no borders.
All in all, I was pleased with the show and happy with the response to the new stuff. It still needs finessing -and to be put in the most effective order - but the best thing of all was that, apart from the opening and my last line, all of the old show had gone. One thing I hadn’t realised was how many references to Hitler there were; one of which couldn’t be avoided, as the word 'Adolf!' was in the slideshow; if nothing else, I apologised for Brexit and thanked them for making The Beatles great; I like to do my bit for European relations.