I have a soft spot for Aberystwyth Arts Centre. I first performed there with Stew back in about 1993 and it was the first time we got interviewed for a fanzine. At the time we had only just really started out on the radio, but some Welsh misfit youngsters were excited by our involvement with On The Hour
and wanted to talk to us about that. I doubt many people were at the gig, but the interview was great fun and rolled on for what seemed like hours. Later our interviewer would go on to provide the illustrations for many of our TV sketches, including The Organ Gang
, so being an insane misfit fanatic can eventually pay off.
Last time I had been there with Talking Cock
there had been a large and enthusiastic crowd and I was hoping for more of the same. So it was disappointing to arrive at the venue, after a five hour drive, in the middle of a heavy rain storm to find out that only 25 tickets had been sold. Its a 3-400 seater venue. This was even worse than Winbourne! The staff were kind and apologetic. The venue is in the heart of a University Campus and they told me that they were in the middle of exams. The conscientious students were too busy revising to come to see a middle-aged man talking about his slight nervous breakdown. Times have changed.
I had made the mistake of eating an entire pack of Marks and Spencer dried apricots on the way to the gig and so my stomach was in a rather volatile state, and I was a little uncomfortable whilst on stage, but the spread out faithful few did not seem to notice and I enjoyed performing for them. Things have changed for me: a couple of years ago I would have let my head go down at such a disappointing turn out, but today I treated them like any other audience and think I gave them a good show.
I met about twenty-five per cent of the attending people afterwards and they all seemed very nice people. One of them bought me a drink and I chatted to a few of them. Being students they all looked terribly young. I said goodbye to a fresh-faced couple saying, Thanks for coming, kids, and then got self-conscious about calling them this. But admitted that it was true. Compared to me that is what they were. I am a sad old man.
Humble Daves friend, Hungarian Pete had taken over the tour manager duties and we managed to find the one open pub in Aberystwyth on a Sunday night and had a couple of drinks. About an eighth of our audience had also found their way to the pub. For most comedians this might have made it difficult to find a seat, but luckily there was plenty of room.
Then I headed back to my single bed which overlooked the carpark rather than the swirling sea and had a well-earned sleep.