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Posts tagged ‘Australia’

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Sydney

Wherever possible, I try and avoid staying in hostel dorm rooms. This is mainly for the sake of my sanity and to avoid getting woken up at stupid hours by total strangers. Although I found this much less of a problem when I was normally drunk and aged 22.

To save a bit of money in Sydney, I stayed in a capsule/pod hostel. I’ve stayed in them in Singapore and Christchurch and that curtain and three walls provide some much-needed privacy.

It doesn’t necessarily stop you being woken up though. On one night in Sydney, the lady in the pod above mine was shouting several times. I expect she was having a nightmare and it had nothing to do with me being in the bunk below.

Not only this, but my bed was right next to the six lockers, meaning that I was regularly disturbed by the sound of doors closing. Earplugs only get you so far.

Another thing was that the kitchen only had two saucepans and two frying pans. This dramatically limits the number of people that can be cooking at any one time.

And they also had the genius rota of closing both bathrooms for cleaning at around 10pm, at the exact time when many wanting an early night need to use them.

I’ll be honest, I probably won’t return there.

In terms of a city, Sydney is fine. Albeit very touristy. And I added to the tally by doing the standard tourist things of visiting the Sydney Opera House and the Habour Bridge.

My travels so far have has mainly been confined to cities, which is all well and good but are not really the best place for adventures. This is partly due to me having to scrap my drive along the south Australian coast. Although I’m sure I’d find something to moan about wherever I was, especially with a car involved. And these annoyances have a habit of occurring when you’re trying to do it on the cheap.

A perfect example is that I’m now staying in a cheap hotel in Auckland and have a group of noisy twats staying on the same corridor.

I think it’s safe to say that I like the idea of travelling more than the reality. It’s always better in my head. Cheaper too, but still with the gripes. 

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Melbourne

The temperature in Melbourne has been thankfully much cooler than Perth.

I’ve been here for a week as a tourist. As it turns out, there was a comedy club two minutes walk from my hotel. I was planning on turning up on the new material night to see if I could do a spot. Then I decided to go for a curry instead. This pretty much sums up where my head is at with comedy at the moment.

I did the classic tourist things of the zoo and botanic gardens. I also went to the beach at St Kilda’s and went in the sea for slightly longer than Rottnest, but not by much.

I did think about going on the Neighbours tour, having watched it for almost 20 years. During my late teens and early 20s, it was an ambition of mine to live in Australia and write episodes of Neighbours for a living. The show was a huge part of my time at uni, with it sometimes taking priority over lectures. Sadly, once it moved to Channel 5, I stopped watching and the dream died.

This week was also the 20th anniversary of my school production of Return to the Forbidden Planet.

I was happy to let this anniversary pass me by, only to randomly walk into a gift shop in a Melbourne mall and for the song Young Girl by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap to start playing. Although the lyrics to the song are unquestionably dodgy and these days would likely result in Mr Puckett and his union receiving a visit from the police as a precaution, the song is synonymous with Return to the Forbidden Planet. For some reason, it is that one song above all the others in it that transports me back to my fondest time at secondary school as I had never heard it before I did RTTFP. When the unremarkable quiet boy in the corner somehow ended up getting the lead role in a school production, mainly by being one of about four or five boys willing to act.

I’m now on the bus heading to Sydney next for more touristy things. I’m already looking forward to visiting the aquarium, paying close attention to the cephalopods.

In other news, I have now officially dropped out of Dunedin Fringe. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a replacement venue sorted in time. It’s a shame, but I’m going to make the most of the extra time I have in NZ. I also have another plan to make up for some of the other lost earnings with something journalistic, but it hasn’t been commissioned just yet.

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Perth Fringe 2020 – Show four

I thought last night was going to be quiet, but the discounts I set up for a certain number tickets have worked magically.

I ended up with 36 people, which is my largest crowd in Australia to date. It’s just under half of the largest audience the show has ever had, mind, but it is at least some progress in Perth.

The show was enjoyable and I am increasingly turning into more of an arsehole quizmaster with every show. It has always been a fun persona to play with, but seems to be amplified in Australia.

Tonight, I currently have ten people with tickets booked. When I first started doing the show in 2014, my main aim was to get at least double figure audiences every day during Edinburgh that year. So this is at least a success by those modest standards.

Another factor at play here is likely due to it begin Australia Day. So I expect that potential punters already have other plans. Probably something barbecue and beach-related if Aussie stereotypes are to be believed.

As always, it’s just a matter of waiting and seeing. I’m reluctant to spend too long out in the heat flyering, as it’ll just make me ill. And there’s me reverting to my national stereotype of being a whinging Pom. I make no apologies.

In itinerary news, I’ve now booked a five night trip to Sydney after Melbourne. Then, I’ll be heading to New Zealand slightly earlier than I originally planned. I’ve just booked a few nights stay in Auckland, which by some strange coincidence also coincides with the dates I arrived in 2007 as a clean shaven, 22-year-old idiot.

I’m also planning to get a bus to travel around the country. But unlike the bus I took in 2007, this one isn’t green and full of 18 year olds. I’m going to spend a few nights in places I haven’t been before as I make my way down to Wellington. The itinerary is all coming together.

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Perth Fringe 2020 – One show down

Last night was the first in my nine show run at Perth Fringe. With ticket numbers fairly low, I was pinning my hopes on a last-minute surge.

Because as I have learnt, you never really know how a show is going to go or how many people are will show up until it starts.

Unfortunately in this case, the pre-show report was pretty much bang on with the 16 people it listed. Although numbers were boosted by another two who bought tickets on the door, taking my grand total to 18.

I must admit that I expected sales to be slightly higher given how well the show has done in Edinburgh and New Zealand. Each festival is different and can take a few days or longer to figure out the best way to get people in. I’ve been handing out flyers, but current stats don’t look like this has had any effect so far.

And unlike Edinburgh in particular, there isn’t a daily influx of thousands of people to Perth who are in town specifically to see shows.

It’s also not the best time to be in Australia, given the environmental emergencies around the country. Some people have said that this may be having an effect on ticket sales, but who knows?

I honed the show playing to smaller crowds and my small shows in the Czech Republic were a handy reminder that I can never take ticket sales for granted. The show has no right to do well wherever it goes.

Nevertheless, it’s not the fault of the people who turn up for the empty seats around them. And I made sure that I gave them the show they paid for.

Pretty much, that is. As it was my first gig in almost three months, I felt quite rusty. A few things got a bit jumbled, mainly when I was ad-libbing, and I lost my train of thought a couple of times. There was also a lot more German speaking than usual, which was mainly from the audience.

But I felt the show went pretty well on the whole. It wasn’t perfect, but the audience laughed and got more into it as the hour progressed. I had a reviewer in, so I have no idea what he’ll write but I’m fairly sure I saw him laughing at least a few times.

Tonight is looking busier, but not by a huge amount. Then numbers drop again over the weekend, which is just bizarre as these days are normally reliably busy at festivals. I’ll just have to wait and see what unfolds, and look out for promo opportunities.

In other travel news, I’ve got the next part of my trip now planned. I head to Melbourne in a couple of weeks, where I’ll stay for at least a week. I’m looking at heading to Sydney afterwards, depending what the weather and fire situation is like then. It’s another case of wait and see.

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Arrival in Perth

As I write this, I am now in Perth, Australia. 

If you’re wondering why I haven’t written anything since the end of October, then I can assure you that it’s not entirely due to laziness.

A few days after I wrote the last entry, there was a very sad incident in my family and I lost at least one reader to these ramblings. As I don’t feel the need to share every facet of my personal life online, I’m not going to reveal further details. I can save that for an Edinburgh show, or can tell you if you send me a message and are willing to pay me.

As a result of events, there has been a lot of stuff I’ve had to help sort out. This also lead to me cancelling my shows in Liverpool and Barcelona, which wasn’t solely because of poor ticket sales. 

When I arrived in Australia five days ago, I’d not done any gigs since 1 November 2019. I still haven’t, actually. My shows don’t start for another five days. At the moment, ticket sales aren’t looking too healthy. Unless you’re planning to come and see the show, that is. In which case, there are hardly any tickets available and you should buy one as soon as is humanly possible.

Part of the reason I chosen to come out here was a couple of deaths and a funeral putting things into perspective. And life really isn’t very long. 

But then if I’d known then how hot it would be, I may have chosen a colder country to visit. Yeah, obviously you need to make the most of every moment you have in life, but perhaps not if the humidity is making you feel like you shouldn’t stray too far from a toilet. It’s not worth the risk.  

I arrived on Monday night and it’s been about 35oC some days. I struggle when it’s anything over about 22oC. Hopefully it’ll cool down a bit, otherwise I will only be able to venture outside under the cover of darkness (the non-Hawkins variety). 

I’m in Perth for another two and a bit weeks. I may stay longer though. Once my shows finish here, I don’t have anything else until NZ Fringe in Wellington at the start of March. I tried booking some slots at the fringes in Adelaide and Auckland, but had another encounter with what is becoming my nemesis: non-responsive emails. My next plan was to hire a car and spend a few weeks driving along the Australian south coast to Melbourne and then onto Sydney. Sadly, the devastating bushfires then started. So I will have to make another plan. 

Fortunately for the content on here, travelling gives me an urge to write. Travelling also makes me have mishaps. I’m going to be away for around two and half months. Stay tuned.