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Wednesday 3rd July 2024

7877/20818
It's 21 years since I last gigged in Carlisle. Back in 2003, Carlisle became a symbol of the lack of interest in me in most smaller towns. The gig was postponed already, possibly for floods, possibly because so few people turned up and when I finally did the gig I was playing to 50 people. It's a long way to go to perform to that number of people.
Today we had to do the long journey there, but incredibly the 220 seater venue had sold out. So all it takes for me to drum up interest in my work is to play hard to get and not visit a place for 21 years. I'll be back in 2045 Carlisle and this time I will be playing the Space Megadome.
Lovely crowd too - big laughs and lots of fun. A man left as I got to the surgery bit (after the trigger warning and he was back for the second half). He looked quite like Jesus so I asked him to magic me up a second ball, but he didn't.
Post gig we returned to our hotel. For the third time in pretty much the last four hotel stays the car park was full and Bollings had to find somewhere else to park the car. "I suppose you're going to get out here," he said. Damn right. No point in us both traipsing round Carlisle. I thought I'd shown admirable restraint when we had accidentally ended up at the front of the hotel (quite a long drive from the back) and had stayed in the car with him.
I bought him a drink to make up for his extra journey and we sat in the bar as soundless election coverage played on the TV. I was idly looking round the room when what looked like a totally naked, stocky, hairy, bald man jogged past the door. Had I really seen that? Was that his bum? There was a swimming pool at the hotel so maybe he was a lost late night swimmer. But I am pretty sure he'd also lost his trunks.
Indeed a minute or so later he passed back the other way, cupping his genitals in his hand, accompanied by a burly member of staff.
Perhaps he had got locked out of his room or perhaps this was some kind of dare or maybe it was a very low key protest. But this is the kind of thing that kept me away from Carlisle for all these years.



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