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Posts tagged ‘Ross Kemp The Musical’

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2022: what awaits?

At the start of every year, provided I remember, I like to write a post on here with my hopes and aims for the next 360-odd days. Part of the thinking behind this is that it will spur me on to actually doing something, or at the very least allow the version of me in 360-odd days time to read it back and think: “Haha. Oh, what a naïve fool. I can’t believe he actually thought that could happen.”

New Year’s resolutions are one means that I find helpful to getting me to do things and avoid being mocked by the future me. I successfully stuck to my resolution from last year to write an entry on here every for the year. I think I’ll continue to do this as I try to make sense of what is going on around me. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write more entries about performing comedy that aren’t referring to the distant past.

And I have also stuck to my 2015 resolution to stop buying meat. Another NYR also saw me learn Spanish throughout 2017 and into 2018, until I took an actual physical class that put me off after it was much harder than Duolingo.

Then there was the ordeal for everyone of my Joke365 challenge in 2014. I completed it, with my sanity severely diminished. In a similar vein to this, my plan this year is to write ten jokes a week. I don’t have to publish them anywhere, but that should make sure I keep writing throughout the year. Also, this will yield at least 520 jokes for the year, which will put the tally of Joke365 the shade – and hopefully the quality too.

Reading back through some of my posts from last year, I’m reminded that I appeared on Alison’s podcast and that set myself a challenge to turn off my phone data between the hours of 10am and 3pm to stop me wasting time, while also avoiding social media during these hours if on a computer. I remember how much clearer it made my head and the decrease in distractions meant I was more productive. So, I’m going to try and stick to this challenge for the full year. Obviously, this will be tricky if I go to Edinburgh, so I can relax restrictions then.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like Ross Kemp: The Musical will be happening this year. Development has stalled. By this, I mean that I haven’t done any work on it in months. It is fast becoming my equivalent of Axl Rose’s Chinese Democracy.

This year, I want to do more gigs. My tally of five from last year should be relatively easy to beat, although I’m aiming for high double figures. I’m not going to set a specific target, as I’m not entirely sure where these gigs are going to be. I will need to get on top of my admin and deal with my loathing of driving to gigs caused by the rising stress levels. This may have to wait until later in the year. Because doing plenty of gigs and avoiding driving to them is going to be much easier in London.

The plan is to move back there in September after Edinburgh Fringe, possibly even sharing a flat with a certain ex-comedy partner. My aim is to also start running a gig or two a month, where I have the freedom to mess around ideas and don’t have to worry about impressing the promoter. I’ve really missed this during the past six years.

Did I mention Edinburgh Fringe back there? Yes, I think I did. My plan is to take a new version of How To Win A Pub Quiz there this year and see if there are any industry doors that I can open from it.

Part of me does also wonder whether my ship has already sailed, which possibly embarked in 2016 or 2017. But I have set a date of when the final ship will be leaving the port, which may turn out to be full of holes and could sink before it reaches its destination.

The plan is to move back to London, try to do as many gigs as I can within the following two years and then see where I am with everything at the end of Edinburgh 2024. If I’m not where I want to be, or don’t have some exciting projects in the works, it might well be time to try and live the life of a normal civilian – or at least pretend to be normal. That’ll be the year I turn 40, which seems a ridiculous to write. But that seems as good a cut-off point as any. And if I’m going to achieve anything, a target always helps.

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Some progress

I returned to the script for my musical project yesterday for the first time in several weeks. I’d become stuck. I knew where I wanted to get to; I just wasn’t quite sure how to get there.

As with most writing challenges, they often start to become easier when you actually sit down and try to do something about it. I’ve now made much more progress than I have in a few months. But when the progress in those few months was nothing, it doesn’t set a high bar. Still, it’s good to have done something with it.

The original plan was to take the show to Edinburgh Fringe this year. Then a certain straw-headed twat cocked everything up for a second and third time, then the pandemic soared out of control. Not only did this pretty much end my plans for performing the run of shows in August 2021, but it also meant I couldn’t go to Rich’s house for more musical collaborations.

Admittedly, in the grander scheme of things in the pandemic, I’ve gotten off pretty lightly if it’s only caused me inconvenience and irritation.

The plan is to now take the show up to Edinburgh in 2022. Everything
should have gotten back to somewhere close to normal by then.

And I’ll be going around Rich’s house again for another studio session. As Rich now only lives about ten minutes drive up the road, I’m now wondering if it’s best to make sure I get the project written and polished before I move back to London. And that now might not be for at least another year.

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Standing up and locking down

The other week, I had my first comedy gig since 7 March. They say the secret to comedy is good timing. And I suppose it was, as England would be back in lockdown less than a week later.

It was the same venue in Bristol I performed at in May 2018, when I was in rich vein of form and had one of my best gigs from that year.

What a difference two and a bit years make. This time, the audience was socially distanced and there were no intervals, which is not ideal for a comedy gig due to the bladder needs of audiences. But such measures are necessary all the same.

The audience got very heckley towards the end of the opening act who had done 20 minutes. Not nasty heckles, just a bit weird and persistent. As a result, I arrived on stage and they were a little restless. I had to try and get things back on track and manage the people who were having their own private conversations.

I felt rusty and so did my throat, with it threatening to stop working at certain points due to the number of muscles I’ve neglected in the last eight months.

With so much going on, I wasn’t entirely happy with how my set went down. Certifiable gold fell flat in places. But the second half of my set went much better than the first half, which is always the better than the reverse.

It’s never a great feeling to return to the scene of a great gig and not doing as well the next time. Nevertheless, it was nice to be back on stage and it takes several gigs in over a number of weeks or months to return to form. I was expecting to feel the adrenaline again that you can get immune to if gigging regularly, although it never really kicked in.

I certainly hadn’t missed driving to gigs. In fact, the experience reminded me just how much I hate the driving side of things and the multiple stresses involved, not to mention motorway lane closures on the way home. And in all honesty, I haven’t missed the regular grind of the circuit in the slightest.

I don’t have anything else booked up and with the way things are going, it seems wise not to. As things stand, I have no idea when I’ll do another gig.

At the moment, my main priority in comedy is writing my Ross Kemp musical. That may seem like an absurd sentence because it is. The entire project is absurd, but I believe in the idea and have a good feeling about just where it might lead. The last show I had a similar feeling about ended up doing pretty well indeed.

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A year, and a half

An entire year has now passed since I moved out of my flat and away from Manchester. And as I walked to my loaded up car, getting one final soaking from the Mancunian rain, I didn’t have any idea where I’d be a year later.

The only firm plans I had at that point were to go to Australia and NZ, which seems like another world away now. Then I was eyeing up a move to either Bristol or back to London after Edinburgh 2020, but a certain pandemic derailed things.

Instead, I have been living back home in Stroud for the past six months and will likely be here for at least another six months until things settle down a bit. I’ve been taking my dog for three mile walks pretty much every day since then, which has helped keep me sane.

I’ve been lucky to get a fair amount of freelance writing work, which isn’t paying loads but enough to pay the bills.

I haven’t done a gig since March when I was in NZ, and haven’t performed in the UK since the 1 November last year. I haven’t really missed it, mainly because the circuit isn’t really operating at the moment. But I do have my first post-Covid gig lined up for the end of this month. I’m looking forward to it, but don’t have a lot else in my diary.

One thing I have been working on is a ridiculous musical about Ross Kemp that’s been in my head since Edinburgh Fringe 2018. I’d not made much progress on it as I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d get it all together with the normal time constraints. But fortunately, the coronavirus has created a lot more time for such things. The other main thing holding me back was that I couldn’t think of a story; although it is now all coming together.

I’d been sending ideas for songs to one of my best mates from school, Rich Shillitoe. He’s an accomplished musician, so was the first person I thought of to work on the show after I had the idea. As it would turn out, he’s now also back living in this part of the world. And now after 20 years of living in totally different parts of the country, we’re in close proximity again. He’s been putting together some music for it and it is genuinely sounding amazing. I went around his house last weekend and all sorts of idea started flowing freely. It is all rather ridiculous, but I am very excited by this project. We’re hoping it will run at Edinburgh Fringe next year.