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Tuesday 23rd September 2008

I was doing "The Headmaster's Son" for the first time in almost a month at the lovely, small venue Falling Down With Laughter.
Stupidly I didn't record the show at any point in Edinburgh and haven't written it down, so I was relying solely on memory. Would I remember it all, or would loads of subtleties fall by the wayside.
I tried to work through the script in my head while I was swimming, but didn't have the patience to do the whole thing, especially as it seemed to be coming back to me quite easily. Though then I realised I'd left out a big chunk of an important early story. But evenso I didn't work through the entire thing, just contenting myself with ensuring I knew the order of the bits and had had a think about some of the more complicated bits.
I am a lazy idiot.
Just in case you haven't picked up on that over the last 70 months.
I had to watch "You Can Choose Your Friends" this afternoon, as I've been asked to try and write a half hour script using the characters, with a view to a possible series. It was slightly unsettling looking back at it. Mainly due to the fact that the brilliant Anton Rodgers died a few months after broadcast. Watching him and remembering how wonderful and supportive had been and how much like an actual father he had seemed made me feel sad, but then after a few minutes he was making me laugh and although there was an added poignancy, I was able to enjoy his fantastic performance. The pacing of the piece seemed very slow, though this wasn't entirely a bad thing, as it gave it a tension, but there will be no such luxuries with a shorter script (an ITV 30 minutes is actually just 22 minutes once the adverts are taken into account). It will be a very different beast.
Mostly though it was just weird as it all seemed like a long time ago. I couldn't work out what I would have made of the show if I hadn't written it. Which possibly explains the mixed reviews at the time. Still there is certainly more mileage in it I think. It's certainly worth another crack.
I got to the gig in time to see most of Mike Wozniak's show. I had never seen him before and he was one of the funniest new acts I've ever seen. I was in pain from laughing at some of his stuff and he does some material about penile mishaps that even surprised me after all my time studying the subject. He was smart and silly and he has a really impressive moustache. Go and see him if you get the chance. He was a tough act to follow.
In the end I remembered most of my show, but was in the slightly uncomfortable position of having to plough onwards, hoping that the right words would come out of my mouth, because the mental autocue of the show was only a split second ahead of my actual performance. Sometimes I got so wrapped up in being amazed that I knew what was coming next that I almost forgot to carry on talking. It came spewing out, mostly correctly, mostly in the right order and occasionally I'd nearly skip an important chunk, only to remember it at the last possible second.
It meant that some of the subtleties of performance were lost and it wasn't a perfect rendition and I missed out a couple of little chunks (allowing my 16 year old self to chastise me for missing out a bit that I was supposed to call back to when I was talking to him). I was glad to get through it all, but I will do a bit more revision before the next one. At least that's what I'm saying now. I'll probably just run through the first page in my head and decide that everything will be OK and will be hit with the exact same problems.
It was slightly terrifying, having to rely on the leap of faith that the right stuff would just come out, but also slightly eerie that my brain has retained that 65 minutes of material almost verbatim and that it is ready to pop out of me at any time (for the next few months at least - I know I'd struggle to get more than three lines into Christ on a Bike or Hercules Terrace).
Good to be doing it again, though like YCCYF it does feel like a long time ago that I was initially doing it.

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My new stand up show, Lord of the Dance Settee will be on at the George Sq Theatre at 10.45pm every night of the Edinburgh Fringe Buy tickets here.
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