Admin is a lot more fun under the Caribbean sun than it is at home. I sat on my balcony and then by the pool and worked through my email inbox (which had 2000 emails in it, though thankfully not all required an answer) and then uploaded my forthcoming tour dates - See if I am coming to a theatre near you here. There might be a couple more added in. It took ages (partly because I also needed to put the same info into the gig guide) and I suspect some of you think that that is not a good use of holiday time. But I completely disagree. Where better to do mindless and trivial tasks than when basking in intermittent sunshine?
And I did it in three or four shifts over the day so it wasn’t too much of an imposition. There are a lot of tour dates there, but they need to be, because (hopefully) this tour will pay off my play debts. And though there’s something slightly deflating about working for months to earn little to no money, I feel proud of myself for using my comedy earnings to give me a chance to take risks with and fund other projects. Though I spend some of your money on medium range holidays and gadgets, I’d rather plough most of it back into comedy (as my output can be broadly defined). If you want to reward this persistence/stupidity the I rely on you to buy a ticket or two and/or if you’re so inclined to pass on the word about the tour to any friends you think might like my not-for-everyone schtick. There are quite a lot of unfamiliar theatres and towns on this list, so I know some of the gigs will be quiet, but others will sell out fast (at the moment I am only doing one gig in Bristol, where I usually sell out three or four). I am looking forward to touring this show as I feel there’s plenty of room for development. There will be another 30 minutes of material and the opportunity to mix and match a bit with new ideas as things go on (as it’s a looser theme than usual). I think this show has the potential to be my best one yet, but we won’t know that until we get to the end of the long road that I am going to be on from October 2014 to May 2015 (luckily there are lots of days when I get off the road and stay at home). I watched the “We’re All Going To Die!” DVD before we came on holiday and it’s looking great (should be out in the next couple of months), but the nice thing about working in this relative vacuum is that I am getting plenty of time to improve as a performer. When I am finally discovered one 2203 I am going to be a fucking amazing stand-up.
And for the rest of the day I read, finally finishing “Red or Dead” before moving on to Al Murray’s “Watching War Films With My Dad”. It’s packed with facts and pedantry and is as much a memoir as it is about “The Dambusters” and “Saving Private Ryan”. It jumps around between subjects quite vertiginously, but is an interesting insight into the real Al Murray and into war (and what it’s good for). Al is a very intelligent and thoughtful man (as I have found out myself, it’s pretty easy for people to get confused with the real person and the character they play) and this sparked off lots of memories of growing up in the seventies, going to University in the eighties and moving to London in the nineties. In this case some of the memories were the same as the author’s, which is a slightly bizarre feeling when you’re immersed in a book, especially when your own name crops up. And it’s not 700 pages long and full of repetition like David Peace’s stuff so I should get on to one of the other books on my pile tomorrow.
I particularly enjoyed the section about dancing and taking drugs, two things which terrified Al (and me as well, which is why it resonated) and the idea of taking E, which would make you dance without inhibition, being a double terror for Murray. But it was also fun to be reminded of how different cinemas were in the 70s and how rarely we went to them. I know it’s forty year ago, but it does feel like distant history. Technology and society has moved on so far in this time. I can remember when we got our first colour TV, with its four (if that) channel knobs down the side and no remote control and my dad trying to fool us into thinking it was black and white by turning the colour down. I knew it was a colour one though because I’d spotted the little red, blue and green symbol on the front of this massive bulky box. Within a decade of so the idea of a TV at all might well be only as something ancient and archaic. In the old days when I got to a hotel abroad I would spend ages flicking through the channels. But the TV in my hotel room has not even been turned on. My first love has been superseded by the internet. Now we spend our first moments in a new hotel room trying to log on to wi-fi and are lost if there is none or (as in the case at this hotel, it’s even slightly intermittent).
And the monthly prize door for monthly donators has been won by an Australian for the second month running (will no one think of the postage?). Congrats to James Wigman who wins a load of Lord of the Dance Settee stuff, like my set list and dressing room door name sign and stickers etc. To be in with a shot of winning prizes, plus get a badge and access to a secret channel of extras and help to fund future internet projects and join a slowly growing gang of the nicest nerds on the planet, then pay a pound or more a month here.