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Saturday 8th February 2014


Back on the road and heading to Forest Arts in New Milton, a venue I've played a few times before, which is further away than I remember it being. I stopped for a coffee at the service station, but even for a Starbucks the brew I was given was tasteless and poor. I had to look at it to check that they hadn't just given my a cup of warm milk. There was something brown in it, but I wasn't sure it was coffee. This container of warm liquid had cost me £3.10 and I should really have taken it back and complained. But I just left it undrunk on my table. I felt too embarrassed to chastise the staff for their poor coffee making skills. I didn't want to get anyone into trouble. How terribly British of me. Ian Starbucks needs the money though. So I was happy to give a donation in return for some dishwater. And perhaps my £3.10 bought me something after all. The realisation that I should never buy coffee from this particular emporium.

I was chewing gum as I drove and managed to bite my tongue again. What's wrong with me? I am chewing gum now. I bet I bite my tongue again. It's like I want to be in pain. Is that a pecadillo? Do some people get off on biting their own tongue. No doubt they do. And why wouldn't they? It's super sexy.

I had sold out the venue (I think for the first time and bar some seats that had been held in case I wanted comps). It's not that much of an achievement as the room only seats about 160, but so far sales have been encouraging for this tour. Slowly and steadily. It felt like a good performance of the material to me. The show still feels relatively new and fresh and I am enjoying finding new avenues to explore in it. I tried out some love stuff for next week's Meaning of Life at the top of the second half and it went down OK as well. And it will be cool if I can use the tour as testing ground for ten minutes or so of material for the internet show (it will be particularly easy next month when the subject is death!).

The drive home was long, but uneventful. I was a little bit buffeted by the elements. Having a new car means I get to experience all those landmark moments again and I am approaching 8888 miles. It's no 123456, but it will have to do for now. As I got out of the car I picked up my charity buckets. I had stuffed my Meaning of Life script in the top of one of them when I left. The wind caught the loose leafs and they went shooting up the road. So fast and far that I could never hope to gather them all up, even were I not weighed down with other stuff. It was like that bit in Love Actually, except I didn't have a foreign cleaning lady prepared to strip off and go and retrieve it. It didn't matter. I had it on my computer. What kind of idiot writer in the modern day would risk only having a hard copy of their novel and then leave it outside?

I wondered if anyone would find a page or two and read about my fixation with Jenny Agutter or the women I had waved to on a balcony in Switzerland and wonder what they had chanced across. Who knows where those pages will end up? That wind was strong. They might have been lifted on to the continent by now. Or at least to Holland Park. What if some foreign comedian sees them as a gift from God and nicks all my stuff? I think we're safe from that. The worst that could happen is it ends up with the police who think they've discovered the manifesto of a madman/stalker. There was something quite satisfying about watching those pages flying off into the darkness as if sucked into a vaccuum. It's a harsh world where even the weather is a critic.

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My new stand up show, Oh Frig I'm 50 is at on tour from February til June 2018. There's also a new series of RHLSTP with recordings every Monday from February 5th to April 2nd All details of shows here.
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