I was surprised when I got to the gig last Tuesday night that I would be walking around with a mic in my hand, delivering my stuff to a seated crowd. At my readings, from which this show has sprung, I’m always seated too.
Not tonight. Also, instead of there being two 45-minute sets, with a 20-minute interval, they told me just to run straight through. 90 minutes, walking around, me and the mic, to people seated, no pressure whatsoever.
Well, maybe it’s the grand old age, maybe it’s the brand new pills, but I just thought, yeah, all right, and went for it.
And… flat start when I made a joke about Robert Plant (a local) being tight with money, and got dead silent disapproval as my reward (a joke!!), then – blimey! – it all warmed-up very nicely, to the point where the whole joint was laughing and applauding by the end.
I haven’t done anything exactly like that before. Oh, I’ve acted the goat on TV, on radio, in person, and all over every pub in the known rock world. But not straight like that, to a paying audience, no breaks, just me and them – us – for 90 minutes. Like a comedy act with the occasional horrors.
I loved it. When I got the signal from Keith the kindly sound guy that the time was up, I was amazed. It had flown by. Well, staggered briskly. And I hadn’t been pilloried, hadn’t seen any walkouts (which I have at my readings when the f and c words come out, as they always always always do, sorreee).
Then stood there signing books and doing selfies for another hour. What a incredibly lovely – and very funny in their own right – bunch of people. Got some honest feedback too. Told I should go and see Danny Baker, I might pick up some tips (cheers for that, I promise I won’t) and asked for the real real REAL story behind stuff I had just told them. (Which I did, sshhhh…)
What a night. The place was closed by the time I finished so I just went straight to my room and slept. Woke up like I’d just been hit by a truck. Then drove to work. And eventually into the back of another car. (Very minor, 1st gear kiss of bumpers, I came off worse, to the tune of £600 excess, thank you rock god.)
Would I do it again? Of course. The real question is: would you?