There had originally been a gap in my tour diary for today, but as I am in Newcastle tomorrow it would have been foolish to go home, so I thought it was worth finding another gig rather than kicking my heels. I was told there was one in Aberdeen, but that I would need to pay for the theatre. But I always do OK in Aberdeen so I assumed that would work out OK. Later I discovered that the gig was in Banchory which was apparently outside Aberdeen, but I still assumed that it was within the environs so my Aberdeen audience would travel. It was only today that I found out that the town is actually 18 miles from Aberdeen and as we had to access it by driving over a mountain, through bleak and blasted heath and forest I guessed we were mainly relying on local coming. And I was not too confident that there would be enough of them to cover the fee that I had paid to do the gig. And it had also added six hours of driving to our itinerary which I thought might impact on my energy levels. Should we just have headed to Newcastle and had a day off and caught up on some sleep and work? I was certainly thinking so at about 3pm this afternoon when we arrived.
But I was luckily mainly finding it all amusing, laughing at myself for making a misinformed decision that would probably waste my time and the time of some confused Banchory pensioners. And the journey there had some spectacular views. It’s rare to go anywhere where you can’t see any evidence of human habitation as far as the eye can see. Asice from the road we were on there was only trees and mountains and the occasional ancient ruined house, suggesting that anyone who thought they could come and live in this place would end up cold and hungry and have to eat their own family. We were driving back to Edinburgh tonight and I hoped we wouldn’t break down or take a wrong turn and fall off the road, because we would probably not be found for weeks.
The theatre certainly wasn’t in Aberdeen but it was barely in Banchory either, out on the outskirts. I went for a little walk towards the town. A car was pulling out of a road I was crossing and the man driving rolled down his window and said’ “Richard? Richard Herring?” He was clearly astonished to see me in town. He told me he’d seen me in Blackpool about fifteen years ago (I presume on a Lee and Herring tour) and asked if I was playing the theatre tonight. I told him I was. It was slightly concerning that this was a surprise to him, surely the only person in this town who knew me. But it seemed I had managed to sell two tickets just by walking around. I am a human billboard. Maybe I could make a living just walking around the towns I am playing in before each gig, hoping that someone recognises me. I could charge myself a 25% commission on all tickets sold in this way and with all the money I earned off myself I probably wouldn’t even have to do gigs any more. I could be a millionaire.
As it turned out my fears about non-attendance turned out to be empty. Over 100 people showed up, meaning it would not be costing me money to play here and they were a great crowd, much more up for rudeness than I had imagined. In fact when I mentioned that the Talking Cock DVD had a videoed frame of Me1 Vs Me 2 Snooker on it I got a bigger cheer than at any other venue on the tour. And several people wanted Me2’s autograph after the show. One of them even got their photo taken with him. It’s the first time this has happened. That photo will be worth a lot of money, if only it was possible to spot which one it was.
It was much better having done this gig than have sat around all evening in a hotel. And even though the drive to our hotel was long and a little spooky, with the roads covered by fog and Giles the Cannibal eyeing me up and licking his lips as he prayed that the car would break down. But the crowd had been appreciative and I am pleased we made the effort.
Congratulation to Anna Livings, the first winner of the monthly donators prize draw. Her signed copy of “Railways and the Holocaust” will be winging its way to her as soon as I am home. There will be another draw at the end of the month in which I will give away the catchphrase T shirts that I wore in this series of RHLSTP (they will be washed). There are at least six of them, so there will be multiple winners this time. If you want a chance to win then make a monthly donation of as little as a pound here.