Episode three of Meaning of Life was recorded tonight. Hard to believe we're halfway through the series already. Surprisingly it's not proving to be too much of a strain at the moment and I felt worryingly calm about this evening's show. Sometimes you feel like you need the nerves to do a good performance, but actually it was great that I was so relaxed. The first show especially was a little bit jittery, but tonight felt assured and progressed pretty smoothly. We sold all but 15 tickets too, which is just mind-blowing for me. That this show is getting an audience even before the first episode has aired is incredibly surprising and reassuring.
It's a huge amount of work for the team, who I am incredibly grateful to. It's taking longer to put together than we had anticipated, but episode one should be with subscribers by the start of next week and the shorter version will be on my vimeo channel shortly afterwards. If you subscribe to the RHMOL video you get HD and SD versions of the show, plus the audio. But you can just subscribe to the audio if you prefer to listen to it whilst doing something else.
And we're working to make the monthly subscribers get their money's worth too. If you pay a pound or month or more you will not only get a badge (as if that wasn't enough), but we're going to set up another secret channel with a password and provide you with bonus material in return for your support. Thanks to those of you who have already made the commitment. I hope more of you will consider donating a pound a month to this enterprise. All that money will go to funding future projects. About 100 of you have made that commitment so far, which is a fine start, but if we can bump that up to say 5000 then we could, for example, have a good crack at making a video episode of AIOTM every month. But even if you are able to make a one off payment of buy a badge for a pound it is a micro-step forwards for us. It will be a beautiful thing if it works and even if the badges only end up paying for themselves I still think that it's nice that we tried. I'd say my monthly output of material is worth a pound. Jump on board if you agree. Or just skulk around in the shadows enjoying the stuff if you don't. I am happy either way.
My wife and I attempted to walk to the theatre this afternoon. God's anger at homosexual marriages or UKIP or love or whatever it is that He's been sending these winds for seems to have abated and it was a warm spring day. I enjoyed the walk and am considering running in to work tomorrow. Perhaps the exercise was what settled my mind and relaxed me. Hyde Park was looking lovely and I am glad that this prime location for real estate is turned over to nature. Sunny Sunday afternoons should be spent in a park, but I was glad that I was just getting to walk through one. Some children were playing in the mud by a tree. "Take my photo, mummy," one of them was insisting precociously. He seemed too young for that to be his main consideration. The mother did not want to do so though, arguing that she would get her boots dirty. This probably spoke more of middle class life and preoccupations than anything I was likely to see this year. Children more caught up in documenting their life than living it. A parent more concerned with keeping her designed footwear clean than enjoying playing with her kids.
But I liked seeing life passing by. A mad-eyed speed walking passed us, evangelically grinning at her own life. In my mind at least she had substituted a drug addiction for fast walking. Some young women loudly discussed a phone call one of them had had with a man from Australia, but they moved away before I could discover what had happened. A group of young men ambled shiftily up a path, one of them not really paying attention to where he was going and nearly bumped into me. A few steps on we smelled the aroma of marijuana and I assumed that I had nearly collided with one of the reefer-mad pot-heads who had committed this crime. It was bold of them. There was a police car parked just feet away. But there isn't a policeman in the land who would begrudge someone having a smoke on a Sunday afternoon in the park. Near to Hyde Park Corner some rollerbladers were playing loud music and drinking beer and skating around tiny cones. One of them was a bearded grey haired man in his fifties or sixties. "Father Christmas has let himself go," I commented. Though in fact he was much fitter than Santa and expertly skated between the cones. Nearby was an empty bandstand. It seemed a shame that on a Sunday afternoon there was no longer a band playing there. I envisaged the people of 150 years ago sitting in deck chair listening to music. I wondered why no one does that any more. It wouldn't have to be a brass band. It would be nice to see some free entertainment put on on this old abandonned stage. It's Sunday, it's a park. We've all worked hard all week. Let's all get together and have some fun for free before the madness begins again.
We were running a bit late so got a tube for the last bit of the journey. I have rarely seen the underground so busy at rush hour. I don't know why it was so crammed at 4pm on a Sunday. We couldn't even get on the first two tubes.
But finally we made it to the theatre and I failed to get nervous and we recorded some bits and bobs of extras and whatnot and I practised my routines. My guest was the agony aunt Virginia Ironside, a very elegant and beautiful woman who looks twenty years younger than she actually is. She was a bit more nervous about doing the show than I was, but I knew that she'd be great on it. And amazingly we discovered in conversation that she lives in the street opposite my own, probably less than 50 metres from my house. That was an odd coincidence, especially as we've never bumped into each other in the last 11 years, even though we use the same shops and postbox. Maybe I should only book guests from within a stone's throw of my own front door. It worked well this time, at least. We had an interesting chat about love, concluding that it's not really definable and that people are generally over-romantic about it.
I think the first two shows will look good, but the series really found its feet today. It was helpful that I was able to use two or three tried and tested routines, which formed a good spine to hang everything else on. But this audacious and over-ambitious project feels like it is paying off. I hope you all enjoy it when you see it.