I always forget how exhausting RHLSTP is to do. It's so much fun and even I think it's just me chatting with some funny people, but it really takes it out of me. Especially when I am recovering from a 10 mile run as well. Today I was dizzy with fatigue, but I didn't have time to loll around. I was off to Braintree for the first date in the We're All Going To Die! tour.
And I spent a rather nervy day trying to relearn the script, which I felt like I had totally forgotten, but which fortunately I had thought to record in Edinburgh. The whole thing seemed so alien and complicated and I wasn't sure that any of it was going into my brain. I was also hoping to add a few routines to bump the running time up to 90 minutes, but if I couldn't remember the stuff I'd already done it seemed unlikely I'd have time to learn some new bits.
Braintree Arts Centre shares a building with the sixth form of the local school. It's a beautiful venue and the staff were very welcoming and friendly. After a slightly weary and tough drive I fancied a shower before the gig and they got me a towel. Unfortunately the shower I used had no hot water, but maybe that was a good thing as the cold blast woke me up. I also wondered whether this was a pre-emptive strike on behalf of the school. Someone from showbiz is going to be in the same building as some school kids. Let's strike him before he can strike us.
I had listened the show about four times in the last 24 hours, but it still didn't feel like it was sticking. I hate listening back to recordings of me. I was annoyed by my stupid voice (if you like listening to me speaking then you are a fucking idiot) and the mistakes I made and after a couple of times even began wondering if any of this stuff, shouted by an idiot, was even funny at all. I was worried I was going to get on stage and have no idea what I had to say next. This is always a bit of a concern with a show you haven't done for a while, but it seemed particularly alien to me this time. But luckily once I was up there it nearly all came back to me (though I was glad I had a set list as it guided me through a couple of the links). I told them that I was going to be reading some of the bits in the second half, but reassured them that I saw this as a very important gig and not just a run through to check that jokes were good enough for the proper audiences in London. The bits I added seemed to work OK and I was glad to reinstate more of the stuff about my grandma's funeral, as it leads to an important theme which had to be abandonned at the Fringe of whether being remembered after your death is a pointless and impossible goal. I was also able to have another crack at the Scrabble based story that bit the dust back in July, discuss my desire to be a fossil which led to an unplanned discussion of the alfresco Italian blow job (how have I missed the Italian Job pun for so long?) which I think works really well.
I was very pleased with the Fringe version of this show, but today I felt excited about having the opportunity to expand and improve it. I almost felt disappointed that there are so few tour dates so I won't have the time to really get to grips with it! Almost. But fear had made me do a lot more off stage work than I usually do on a show and I think it paid off tonight. As always word of mouth is vital to my sales, so if you've seen the show and enjoyed it then please tell your friends. I am at the Leicester Square Theatre from the 8th-13th October and then around the UK after that. All details are here.
I felt a sore throat coming on after the show and my tiredness felt like it might be giving way to illness, which I have somehow managed to avoid in Edinburgh and beyond. I hope a bit of sleep will sort me out.
Otherwise I was just amazed at the pricks at the Daily Mail trying to tell us what it meant to be British and worried that we are going to end up like America with its unbelievable double-speak over Obamacare. The fact that Obamacare is a perjorative term is amazing enough for me - have you seen our president? He cares about stuff. He cares about us. Disgusting. But to see Republicans arguing that free health care was somehow against the constitution or an infringement on civil liberties beggars belief. Jon Stewart put it much better than I ever could. Whilst the existence of Jon Stewart in America gives me hope, I worry that the Daily Mail reaction to the Milliband dad hating Britain means we are heading in the direction where right wing politics will be able to start claiming anything vaguely socialist or caring is anti-British. Because what I like about Britain is that you're allowed to think and say whatever you like. I think the Daily Mail are way off the mark with their latest attempt to undermine Milliband (if anything they have given cause for sympathy to a man who was already weak and unimpressive) and I hope we won't get to the point where right wing nutters define waht our country is (there is no definition, but people like UKIP are harking back to an idealised notion of - let's face it Englishness- which never really existed in the past anyway). Personally I'd like to see Britain look forward rather than back and become a shining example of a multi-cultural community that does its best to protect and help its weakest members and where citizens came before big business. It's just as much a fantasy as any other idea of Britain and Britishness, but I'd hate us to get to a point where our politician could argue that a policy that is clearly put in place to help those most in need is unBritish or unconstitutional. It gave me the slight fear.
We've added a few new T shirt designs to our page. Check them out and see what you think! There are more to come.