Just over a year to my 5000th blog. I mean sometimes I think that this takes up too much of my time and maybe I should give it a rest, but I’ve got to get to 5000, right. And once I am at 5000 I’d kick myself if I didn’t make 10,000. But after 100,000 consecutive entries I might have to consider stopping.
Steve Brown and Steve Newman have done some fantastic work on the posters for Happy Now? and the "12 Shows of Herring”. The poster is 90% of the show, which is lucky as I still have very little stuff for the former and a lot to learn for the latter, but they do both feel like real things that are actually happening now. Check out the Happy Now dates here and buy tickets to one, some or all of the 12 shows here. And spread the word to anyone you think might like these. I think I might use that image of me in front of all the posters if I do end up doing a best of tour show and that might be a good time to try and persuade new people that I am actually quite good and they should come and see me. I did a circuit gig tonight and my slightly esoteric material held its own against a drunk crowd including a mildly rowdy hen night. One of the plus points of my relatively low profile is that hardly any of my stuff is well-known beyond a tiny group of people. But would the people who come to see my shows want to see a best of show?
Had fun listening to an old episode of the Lee and Herring radio show courtesy of Tim Worthington this afternoon I have forgotten nearly all of this stuff, so it was cool to hear one back. It’s much better than I had anticipated and Rebecca and Pete in particular really made me laugh. We all sound like we’re having fun and are so young and full of confidence. I felt a bit guilty for ringing up the man who made Wham! bars to let him know they had been (unfairly) voted the worst chew bar. He sounds genuinely crushed. My attempt to go out with Shampoo (who I had totally forgotten about) came to nothing alas, but I watched a couple of their old videos afterwards and was got a nostalgic twinge (in more than one place) for these young women. Both attractive women for sure, but also regular looking in a way that I am not sure pop stars are allowed to be any more. Their fluffy jumpers and air of disdain reminded me of so many women from the nineties and my youth, most of them as interested in me as Shampoo were. I also got a tug of nostalgia from listening to Neil Innes singing “How Sweet to be an Idiot”, though that took me back further than the 90s.
I would liked to have gone back and hung out with those people in that radio studio one more time, but they’re all gone now. We worked hard on those shows and they’re packed with gags, so it’s nice that due to the magic of the internet they’re still there to be listened to, if you should so wish
On the way over to Shoreditch to get to the excellent Comedy Cafe I had to change trains at Bank. In the long tunnel between the Central and Northern Line there was a very destitute and battered homeless man sprawled on the floor. He looked broken and lost, but weirdly his weakness and decrepitude made him threatening. People walked past him without looking for fear that this melted human being might spring to life and rip out their throats. I was no better than the rest of them. I gave him a wide berth. What made the scene more tragic was that as every single person passed (and there passage was four people deep) he cried out a barely discernible phrase which I think was “Please brother please”. Nobody stopped and nobody gave him anything. It was just so tragic we all had to pretend we hadn’t noticed, even though his slurred and plaintive cry echoed down the corridor after us. When he needed a neighbour were we there, were we there? No we weren’t there and we all just carried on with our lives and forgot about it. London is so full of this kind of thing that we seem powerless.
As upsetting as this was I had managed to totally wipe him from my mind by the time I was on my train. I hadn’t given him a second thought. But when I returned from my gig two or three hours later the man was still in the same place, still crying out “Please, brother, please” over and over again. He must have been doing this continually for all the time and who knows how long before and after. And yet he was so far gone that no one was going to take the risk. I didn’t help him. I don’t know what I could have done. A child with his dad did a mocking parody of the phrase as we got round the corner and laughed, “Please, brother, please”. If that guy was Jesus putting us all to the test then we all failed. But even if it wasn’t we all failed. Even the people who didn’t walk past the guy.
We’re putting the Happy Now? tour brochure together this week, so you only have a couple of days to get your name in it and a limited edition signed programme sent to you. Donate at least £15 here.