Rush hour hasn’t been an hour for a very long time. Its really about time they changed the name, especially on a Friday, to something more appropriate, like Stupidly Long Traffic Day. On most weekdays it starts about 3.30ish when hordes of parents unnecessarily drive around the corner to pick up their kids in their massive 4×4’s, blocking all roads and generally pissing off people in reasonable sized cars and the planet all at once. Its like multi-tasking for arseholes. This is then followed by all traffic caused by people leaving work early, caring not about the state of the economy, but with the sole intention of escaping the dullness of a an extra hour in the office based weekly prison they spend time in. This mass road based exodus causes the chain effect of no one getting anywhere that quickly and just causing the same people who are desperate for freedom to be stuck inside a car based prison for another two hours, which all lasts till about 7ish. This would be the end, but as a special treat on Fridays and other anti-social times, road works appear on main roads, making sure any last hope of reaching home before the world ends is over. The apocalypse will come as I’m stuck at the Blackwall Tunnel at 10pm on a Friday and I will watch as morons around me disintegrate to ashes with the last look on their face being one of sheer boredom, irritation, and annoyance that Claudia Winkleman is still allowed on the radio.
I had a fairly good Friday yesterday. I finally got some money that I’d been owed which was handy. In the comedy world it seems perfectly reasonable to not pay you till 4-5 months after doing a gig, even though its really not reasonable at all. What tends to happen as a result is that I’m broke for ages and then have one fairly affluent month, where I stupidly spend all my cash on the bills I’d been racking up during the poor months, and crack whores. The last bits a lie. I can’t afford crack whores. Or crack. Or whores. Or being able to pay all my bills. So it was nice yesterday to know I could relax for a month. This was then topped by finding out I have nearly lost half a stone on this weight watchers malarkey. I am pleased with this and in celebration may eat loads this weekend. I assume that is the point? The thought of eating half a stone’s worth of food in two days, while glorious, is also a tad sickening and I will endeavour to keep this diet up until I reach that size zero and can wear Kate Moss’s range at Topshop. Ahem, sorry, I mean, lose a few pounds and look all manly and stuff. Oops.
I had two storming gigs yesterday. The one in the evening needs only a small retelling as it was one of those gigs where the crowd were delightful, and laughed all the way through. I couldn’t have asked for more. Well I could have done, but it would have been unreasonable. The people of the Arden Theatre wouldn’t have expected me to demand fire-eaters and wheelbarrows full of coco-pops, so I didn’t. Its a lovely gig run by Richard Coughlan in Faversham, and he does a bloody fine job of it too. If you live in Faversham, you should go. Its not like there’s much else to do. This might seem an unfair judgement but when the brown tourist road signs only point you in the direction of a ‘swimming pool’ you know its a bleak area for entertainment. Most places have ‘roman ruins’ or something exciting. I can’t imagine tourists flock from miles and miles to see a swimming pool. Still it’s better than Fleet. That just has ‘Fleet Pond’. It is just a pond. Its no more exciting than anyone else’s pond and it does not warrant a brown sign. But points for trying.
My other gig was far more unusual. A corporate gig for menswear buyers at the Royal Overseas Club in Piccadilly. The venue was a rather plush club house full of the sort of people that eat money for breakfast. I felt quite nervous walking in, hoping they wouldn’t be able to sniff out a poor boy at 50 yards. I thought the security cameras would set an alarm off as I got near the place and dogs would be sent to tear my empty wallet to pieces. Luckily, I had been paid that day and so I think it took away the scent of broke. The lunch itself was for about 60 very well dressed industry people. Some were from Selfridges, some from Harrods and all sorts of other swanky clothing shops, and import/export companies. I wondered if Primark was there and spent time looking out for someone eating food that looked like everyone else’s but was of cheaper quality and taste and probably made by children. I arrived in time for biscuits and cheese and was placed on a table with the Selfridges buyers. Initial impression as I walked to the table was that this was all going to be awkward. Actually they were all really really welcoming and friendly. I learnt all the ins and outs of how the trading industry used to work and how its changed. I have since forgotten it as it was mostly very dull. I rarely buy clothes anymore, as Layla seems to keep me in fashion by randomly picking things up for me, so I just scoffed my face with crackers to try and gain back that half a stone and ran through the material in my head.
I was a little bit scared as I had no idea how I would be received. The room was oddly shaped too, with all the table set like a horseshoe and a long walkway in the middle. Looking round at all the guests they ranged from young and fashionable to old and looking like they could go at any minute. One man had a big red face that looked like it was melting into his neck. He had clearly been consuming well since childhood. The afternoon dragged on longer and longer until finally after a speech from the chairman and the editor of a menswear magazine, it was my go. I started with some jokes I had written specifically for the gig. These included a cheap pun about thinking there would be more ‘effing and blinding from the editor of a men swear magazine’, and my suggestion that all menswear clothes departments should just have clothes all over the floor, that instead of trying on, men can pick up and smell. If they smell clean we’ll wear them. Despite the cheesy nature these went down very well and I hit a lovely stride. Until I did my bit about funk music, which confused them all, so I quickly went back to more boring stuff that old rich people get. I was fairly pleased with it all and so were they as I got paid more than I was meant to, which is always good. I received many a handshake and a well done from everyone afterwards and tried to escape to get to Kent, but I was stopped by a man who wanted to talk about comedy. He is a family friend of Paul Kerensa and while seeming very nice, kept wanting to know if I knew Paul. I said yes, I knew him well, and the man kept telling me ‘you know he does comedy?’. Yes, yes I do. ‘He’s done comedy for a few years now, do you know him?’. Yes, I know Paul. ‘I’m going to his wedding, he’s a comedian you know?’. I think me telling him I knew Paul had ruined his exciting thing to tell me, so I pretended not to know any other Kerensa facts and let the man continue. This worked and eventually he ran out of things about Paul and I managed to run away. He did ask for my name though, so Paul, I apologise in advance if he ruins your wedding day by asking you all day if you know me.
Two gigs today again. A kids comedy show in Dorset followed by a nice little gig in Brighton. Should all be lovely. Before all that though I am off to eat a massive breakfast in Islington at a place called Fig and Olive. I like it there. They serve breakfasts that mean I wont need to eat for the rest of the day. I half lost half a stone though so I am allowed to eat that, and then eat for the rest of the day too. Isn’t that the point?