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Thursday 11th May 2017

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The day ended eventfully. My dependable and unflappable tour manager Bex was loading up the car as I finished signing programmes and packed up my stuff. A light rain had fallen during the show and it was now dark and lugging a crate of props across Oxford bus station concourse, Bex slipped on a wet manhole cover and badly hurt her leg. She’d heard something snap, she thought, and wasn’t sure it her ankle was twisted or a tendon or bone had broken. It was awful.
I was the real victim here though, as I had to carry some of my own boxes to the car. It’s outrageous
I am joking of course. I was very worried about Bex, who still refused to flap even when in pain and who insisted on driving us home (the car is an automatic and it was her left leg that was hurt, so this was still technically possible). She batted away my suggestions that I could drive and that we should go to A and E in Oxford. She wanted to get me home first and then go to hospital in London. That kind of bravery and dedication is incredible. Her foot was practically hanging off (I expect). I mean there’s a chance she staged the whole thing in order to get a good gift at the end of the tour. But to be honest, if she did, she still deserves a gift for her acting. She is an amazing tour manager. 
But like all tour managers, if she has broken her leg then she will no longer be able to do her job and will have to be put down. It’s a kindness really. I don’t think she could live a happy life if she wasn’t able to drive comedians around and carry their equipment for them.
If there was any breakage it would be unlikely that she could join me for the last two dates of the tour. She seemed to determined to do so if she could. We will see. I should have my new car by tomorrow so technically I can do it all and even transport the snooker board to St Albans for the replay of the Chris Evans (not that one) trophy 2017.
I am so tired and the drive to Shrewsbury on Saturday is a bit daunting,  and I have so much on that this would be an extra exhausting complication. But the show must go on.
I had annoyingly woken up at 6am in Monmouth and managed a short run into town for breakfast and to pay my Scope money in. I bumped into a couple of people who had seen the show, who had enjoyed themselves, which is always nice to hear. But the ones who hadn’t probably didn’t want to talk to me.
We were heading to Oxford early as I had agreed to be a guest on Ed Patrick’s Comedians’ Surgery. It was recorded in front of an audience and involved handsome young comic Ivo Graham talking about how he’d smashed open his chin after indulging in one puff of what that painter and decorator had been smoking in Monmouth (seems like drugs are pretty dangerous kids). Then I came on to discuss my medical history. As a surprisingly relatively disease-free person who has never spent a night in hospital (apart from when my daughter was born -which is a kind of disease I suppose).
I decided to talk about my sexual health history - again surprisingly tame give how bad things could have gone for me at my worst, but I thought hopefully funny and a useful thing to discuss, as people are invariably embarrassed to admit they might ever have been to a GUM clinic. 
The audience was pretty small and lots of them were quite young and so it was about as awkward as I had anticipated, but had some funny bits amongst the awful admissions of what a grubby idiot I used to be. And still am, just not in the same ways any more.
But the interesting story came from a tale I have previously only told (I think) in Bye Bye Balham (still available on kindle - it’s stupidly cheap - volume 2 also available). I don’t think I quite did it justice on the podcast, but here it is for your delectation, cos I know you are too mean to pay £1.19 to read it. And WHY SHOULD YOU? But both volumes come with extra content that I was too ashamed to blog about at the time.
Anyway, I only felt mildly embarrassed about the oversharing. And my own gig followed and went well. I had remembered the poor lunch date I had had in the Old Fire Station Cafe in 1988 with a beautiful girl called Rebecca, who had seen me in a play and really fancied me. But who I managed to put off in 30 minutes with the real me over a baked potato. Funny how the heart can ache for past disappointments. I think it just aches with sympathy for the clueless young idiot I was and the early disappointments hurt the most, so their pain echoes down the decades. By now the pain is dull, warm and nostalgically pleasant. It makes me laugh of course. As much as I want to shake the young idiot me for screwing up so badly. 
I thought she’d be impressed by the potato. I knew so little of women back then. 

The Talking Cock tour continued, to moderate success, but my writing commitments were not faring quite so well. I was still struggling to get my Talking Cock book into shape and progress on the film script I Know Who You Did Last Summer was even more sluggish. In fact more like a slug that was dead and had been nailed to the floor and the floor was made of salt. I think part of the problem was penis overload and not in any exciting way. The book was clearly all about spam javelins, but coincidentally so was the film. It was based on a routine by the brilliant Canadian comedian, Glenn Wool in which he recounted a true tale of genital misfortune. To summarise, one day, whilst bathing Glenn had noticed a strange spot on the end of his little fella. Eventually he went to his local clinic, where he was treated to the usual prodding and poking and insertion of plastic scrapers into places that really shouldn’t have things inserted into them and then certainly shouldn’t be scraped. But after all this discomfort and indignity Glenn was told by the doctor that he did not know what this mysterious condition was and that in order to find out he was going to have to perform a biopsy, that is, the offending abnormality would have to be sliced off Glenn’s acorn and sent away for examination in the lab. As you can imagine, Glenn was not too happy about having a scalpel taken to his pride and joy, nor when he heard that the resulting wound would require stitches. But what could he do?


The procedure went ahead and Glenn was told to abstain from using his penis for anything other than its urinary function so as not to risk bursting the stitches. But predictably after a frustrating week and a half, the randy Canadian decided to take the chance, had a wank and the inevitable occurred and he found himself being rushed to hospital with blood gushing from his private parts. And remember an erection is all to do with blood, so there was a lot of it.


We felt that this could form an amusing set piece in a film about promiscuity and its consequences, but I just didn’t seem to be able to get anywhere at all with it. I had the first scene written, but beyond that could not apply myself and was getting into trouble as deadlines passed by. In the past I had been pretty reliable, but both my cock book and my diseased cock film were way behind and nothing was inspiring me. Warming Up, started with the hope that it might get creative juices flowing, was not helping. If anything as often as not it was the only thing I wrote all day.


I genuinely think I was being driven slightly mad by the cock-based nature of all my work. I had spent months thinking about cocks, reading about cocks, talking to men about their cocks. I was beginning to wish I had written a show about really big tits instead. But around this time things took a really strange and slightly spooky turn and this was something that, not surprisingly, I chose not to write about in the blog (though I did consider it, aware that it was funny even if it was intensely embarrassing and personal). Just before Christmas I was having a bath, when I noticed something strange on my own purple policeman’s helmet. To begin with I thought it must be a trick of the light or just some residue from my bubble bath (I am in touch with my feminine side and enjoy long soaks in those girly Lush products), but the more I looked, the more I was sure. Like the character in the film I was writing, in the same circumstance, I was seeing the same thing. Was this psychosomatic?  Was I just going mad? The fact that this phenomenon coincided with me being in a serious monogamous relationship for the first time in a couple of years made it more baffling?


I tried to ignore it for a while - the spots were small and I probably wouldn’t have spotted them at all were I not obsessed with this subject at the moment - but after a week or so I decided I should go and get it checked out. If nothing else it would be good research for the script. I didn’t realise quite how good research. I got to the clinic, and after a couple of hours in the waiting room, hoping I wouldn’t get recognised (but then anyone admitting to spotting me there would have to acknowledge that they were there too, so maybe I’d be safe), I was shown into the doctor, who did all his pokey, scratchy stuff and then looked at the spots and unbelievably was bamboozled. Just like the doctor in the film. He didn’t as in the half written scene I had come up with, then call in everyone else in the hospital to see if they could identify the mystery illness, but he did say that the only course of action to find out was to perform a biopsy. I mean, what are the chances? This was unbelievably weird. I wrote it - it came true. I was like Richard Burton in the porn version of “The Medusa Touch”, except that in my current condition no one was going to want to have sex with me. Though my Franken-cock would turn anyone who saw it to stone.


So just like the fucking film and with a sense that I was participating in a dream that someone else was dreaming, I went through the exact procedure that I was supposed to be writing about (was this punishment for my laziness). Part of my little fella was cut off in front of my incredulous eyes (though I had to look away) and I have to tell you I don’t have enough down there to justify losing some. Then, feeling distinctly nauseous, I allowed a man to take a needle and thread to my Honourable Member for Fuckinghamshire.


He told me not to use it for a fortnight - not that I needed to be told that - and said the stitches would then drop out of their own accord. I had told my girlfriend nothing about this, partly out of shame, partly out of a fear that she would wrongly jump to the conclusion that I had been playing away (or would be forced to admit that she had been playing away), but now there was no way of hiding the truth, unless I literally hid the truth for the next fortnight (actually the way things were going that might have been possible). She took it well, given that there was every chance I might have passed this new undiscovered disease on to her.  It was all very embarrassing and unfortunate, but also made me less inclined to write more of this film, for fear that it all might come true.


Within a week the results were in and thankfully, like the occasional lie detector guest on the loathsome Jeremy Kyle Show, I was vindicated as the condition was a perfectly harmless, non-sexually transmitted skin condition (just as it was in the film - I should have realised, though not exactly the same one. Just in case you thought I’d got it off Glenn. It wasn’t like that with us). But after two weeks the stitches hadn’t fallen out. And after three weeks I was getting to a very unhappy place. I had never been so long without an orgasm in my post-puberty life. In fact once I had got beyond 36 hours I had broken my existing record.


And after three weeks, with the stitches still in I could hold off no longer and despite the precedent of the script I took the chance and made my own amusement. I have to tell you, self-abuse fans, that there is nothing quite as amazing as the orgasm that comes after almost a month of abstinence, though alas it was slightly spoiled for me by the fact that I assumed that the exploding geyser that I had unleashed was inevitably shooting blood all over the room. Luckily for me, the doctor’s sewing held. In fact, it turned out, he had used the wrong thread and it was never going to fall out naturally, which meant the additional indignity of having to return to the clinic for another long wait before the doctor cut the thread for me. Thank God he had a steady hand.


Not surprisingly this strange madness completely put me off writing the script and I wrote an email to the person who had commissioned me, making some attempt to explain my reasons for not continuing. I think I must have scared him, because he never replied, but he did ask my manager if I was all right (the implication being that he thought I might have cracked up and maybe I had). I later told Glenn why I had binned the script and he took it very well, given that this meant the whole thing never happened. He did remark that I was doubly screwed as the fact that he’d already done the routine meant that I couldn’t even get a stand up routine out of it. Which is true. Though finally the whole awful story has been told (and I’m not sure that’s for the best) but it’s some interesting background for you. I don’t know if it will make you look at what I did write in a different way. Sharing isn’t always a good thing.


Anyway, I only felt mildly embarrassed about the oversharing. And my own gig followed and went well. Being back in this venue reminded me of the lunch date I had had in the Old Fire Station Cafe in 1988 with a beautiful girl called Rebecca, who had seen me in a play and really fancied me. But who I managed to put off in 30 minutes with the real me over a baked potato. Funny how the heart can ache for past disappointments. I think it just aches with sympathy for the clueless young idiot I was and the early disappointments hurt the most, so their pain echoes down the decades. And also for the loss of youth. I was by no means in love with this oung lady, though may have had feelings of lust for her. And lust as we know is more powerful and unshakeable than puny love. By now the pain is dull, warm and nostalgically pleasant. It makes me laugh of course. As much as I want to shake the young idiot me for screwing up so badly. And rue the many opportunities he missed.
But luckily he somehow got me to where I am today. Without his incompetence I wouldn't be half the man I am now.
I thought she’d be impressed by the potato. I knew so little of women back then. And I had been put off her because she had been wearing a jacket with tassles on it like a Red Indian would wear. As if that mattered. Plus it was nice. I was just a dick. At least this meant that talking about my STD experiences was only the second most cringy thing that has happened to me in this building.



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My new stand up show, The Best is touring from September 2016 to June 2017 All details here.
Buy tickets to Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast from the LST website
You can download the audio for free from the British Comedy Guide or iTunes or watch the video on YouTube