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Archive for June, 2022

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Another gig

I had another gig on Thursday, although my record of gigs in consecutive weeks won’t last much longer. That could change.

Anyway, it was back to Cirencester, keeping with my unintentional new policy of only doing gigs fairly close to home and within the same county. The last time I performed at the venue was my first gig in ten months at the end of August last year. Back then, the room was packed, and people were spilling out of the back of it.

But this time, it was a fair amount quieter. Traditionally, the summer months and lighter evenings are bad for comedy, which thrives on the darker nights. When it’s hotter and gets darker later, people either want to go to beer gardens or just drink anywhere outside. And I suspect that was very much the case here. There were about 12 people in. But then, I have always preferred playing to smaller rooms as there’s no real pressure and I have greater freedom to piss about. And that is exactly what I did.

I was on first and successfully tripped up on the small stage I didn’t see as it was a very small step off the ground. Fortunately, it was just a small stumble. They were a really friendly crowd and laughed loudly despite their small size. Ultimately, I think I probably enjoyed it far more than they did, given said pissing about.

I even found someone in the audience who also used to be a reporter for the same paper as me, albeit some 25 previously. Still, he knew my former editor and another ex-colleague. It is a small world, with the world of local papers far smaller still.

I now don’t have another gig for a couple of weeks, but may try to make that change.

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A booking

I had my second gig of the year on Wednesday. It was at an alternative book club night in Cheltenham, where comedians do material specifically about books.

I’d like to say that I didn’t have time to prepare anything because I was only drafted in a few days before. But the reality is, turning up unprepared is familiar ground for me even if I have been given enough notice.

But I do just so happen to be an actually published writer, aside from on here. So, I rehashed my reporter material and made it relate back to books as much as possible. My main excuse was that my former editor at the paper was colleagues with Terry Pratchett when they were both press officers for an old group of nuclear power stations. Possibly, but they were definitely colleagues somewhere.

I tried a few new bits, some went really well, others not so well. The first seven minutes of my ten-minute set went very well.

What didn’t work was a bit about something about the book I carried around in my bag for silent reading in English lessons in Year 8 and 9 at school. It was a tie-in to the 90s TV show The New Adventures of Superman, and it was called Deadly Games. I wouldn’t be able to tell you what it was about, as I never actually read it and only pretending to read to smash the system. I once had to describe it to the class and much of my description was about the front cover. I tried comparing the TV show to a microwavable carbonara I’d often be eating while watching the show on Saturday evening. None of this material worked.

Regardless, it was a fun gig. The room had a really nice atmosphere and I had the freedom to piss about, which I always get the most enjoyment out of. I have another gig on Thursday.

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Stunted growth

After getting a little too cocky with my hops growth, the normal order has been restored. In a month, my largest vine has barely grown three inches.

Looking at pictures of them, they were a lot happier last month. Then again, April was a much sunnier month, then there was a wet May, and June looks set to continue with this.

The people growing hops up the road started slow but are now almost double the height of my lot.

Arguably mirroring my progress on the comedy circuit, the hops reached a certain level and then got too comfortable and stopped growing or developing any further. Then others who started the same time later have gone on to comfortably surpass this.

Thus far, anyway. I’ve added some fresh manure to the soil and I’m watering them regularly. You may continue the metaphor if you choose to.

Fortunately, I have a couple of other sites for the hops and the middle one is quickly making gains on its taller neighbour. I’m just saying, I have other projects on the go too, and I will keep telling myself that.

But it is a reminder that comparing yourself to others is a fruitless task, or perhaps flowerless in this case. Regardless, I’m still beating my progress from last year when I was spending most of the time trying to encourage the vines to grow on an obelisk I’d assembled.

In gig news, I have another gig this week. It was a fairly last-minute edition and is also in Cheltenham. It’s an alternative book club night, so I am going to have to try and write some literary-based material.

Then the following week, I have another gig in Cirencester to maintain my unwritten requirements of only performing at nights close to home. And I’m fairly confident that I haven’t done gigs in consecutive weeks since January 2020. Later in the year, the plan is for this to be a regularity. And with any luck, I’ll have a decent amount of hops by then too.