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Archive for April, 2022


A gig. An actual gig

I actually have a gig this week, making it my first gig of the year.

Since I finished my run at NZ Fringe at the start of March 2020, my gigging numbers still haven’t even broken double figures during the pandemic. As tallies go, it’s not that impressive. Still, it does make my run of five gigs between August and November last year look especially prolific.

I’m opening the show on Thursday, which always carries the extra responsibility of getting the night off to a good start. I am expecting some rust to be evident, although not built up quite so heavily as August’s comeback gig.

And while I’m being paid, I’ve been told that I can slip in some new material in the middle part of my set. Normally, I would appreciate such an offer. The problem with this is that I don’t know if I have any new material that’s ready. The new stuff I’d been trying out at gigs last year had been going pretty well, which you might say is no longer new material as it was first tried six months ago. Well, you’d be wrong. A handy definition is that new material is stuff you keep trying out until people laugh when you want them to.

Some new material can be ready to be dropped into a paid set with near immediate effect after one or two outings. Yet other new material can take several outings of honing and refining before it’s where it needs to be. Ultimately, the deciding factor is whether or not people laugh loudly enough for where you intend them to. However, there are occassions when the material just needs to be consigned to the scrap heap for all eternity.

And while the stuff I was trialling between August and November last year was getting laughs, the material definitely needed refining. And three gigs over three months wasn’t really enough to be certain that it works. This is just another reason why gigging regularly is so important. I mean, I won’t be doing so regularly after Thursday. And I don’t know when my next gig will be after that, but I do know the processes to follow even if I choose not to follow them at this exact moment in time.


To not to Fringe

The Edinburgh Fringe early bird deadline has passed and I have not put in a show application or even made any provisional enquiries. For those not in the know, the early bird deadline means you can get your listing in the main Fringe brochure for a discounted rate. But even that still costs about £300.

I’ve been looking at some of the shows that are on sale on the EdFringe site, mainly my venues of Fringes past out of curiosity. Even looking at the website evokes feelings of terror that were an annual occurrence during the entire 2010s decade.

But it is fair to say that Edinburgh Fringe is what kept me doing comedy for as long as I have. Particularly after I moved to Manchester, I would be ready to quit out of the frustration caused by not doing enough gigs, or not doing well enough at the gigs I was doing. I could be on a poor run of gigs when living in London, but the efforts to get to and from gigs were significantly less and I never had to worry about keeping my eyes open on the trip home afterwards. I also wouldn’t have to worry about what time I got back and if I would get enough sleep to function effectively at work the next day. The tube took away a lot of stress from gigging, even if it did have its downsides.

Anyway, in my hour of need, August would roll around and remind me of exactly why I did comedy. This is largely due to the intense daily release of endorphins and dopamine caused by performing. And if I did have a bad gig, then I just get back up the next day and aim to do better. And it almost always was.

So, the odds are now that I won’t be up performing there in August this year. I am refusing to formally use the phrase “never say never”, which is flawed as it includes two mentions of the word you’re saying you won’t say. I may yet receive an offer that is hard to refuse, but I probably won’t. I am not expecting one to come through. And that’s fine. I was toying with going up for a week to try out some new material, but I would then need to do gigs to prepare for that.

I actually do have a comedy gig booked in a few weeks. So far, it is the only one I have booked for the year. I don’t have any urge to leap back into it, although if my gig goes well then those endorphins and dopamine may cause a rethink.

I probably won’t get back into gigging regularly until I’m back in London and a September move remains on the cards. Although don’t ever say a word that sounds like ever but starts with an N.


More about hops

I missed an entry last week, mainly because I forgot. It’s commitment like that that gets me all the traffic here. So much traffic.

I may as well talk about hops again, as there’s quite been a considerable amount of growth in that department. One vine is now higher than a metre.

The man who helps my mum with the garden theorised that the reason behind the rapid growth is that the hops are right underneath the wall vent for the oven. So, heat comes out of the vent straight onto where the hop roots are, causing them to grow rapidly. It’s an interesting theory and might be correct, especially as the vine nearest the vent is way out in front of the others. While about a metre away, another hop plant is barely only a shoot.

I haven’t seen my neighbour recently who’s also growing hops. Last year, his first year saw masses of flowers compared with my 1.5 and I could easily see them when I walked past his garden. But this year, I can’t see anything yet and my attempts at peering through his hedge are proving unsuccessful. At the moment, I think my hops are more advanced.

How tall will mine actually grow? That, I do not know. But at some point in the next few months, I’m going to need to get on a ladder and balance precariously as I rig up some sort of structure involving bamboo canes and garden twine on the front of my house. So, I have that to look forward to.