I had a small celebration at about 10.20ish last night as we pulled away from my gig in Coventry, and that was that I wouldn’t have to be returning to Coventry for quite some time. I almost did a dance in the car, although it would have meant I’d have crashed into the central reservation damaging the car, and then leaving myself stranded in Coventry for longer than necessary. So I drove with extreme caution and then sped a bit along the motorway just to make sure I got away as quickly as possible. I need to stop doing this. I am generally a very safe driver but occasionally I get overexcited about escaping from a gig. I’d love to say its my eagerness to get home, but its not. The only ever speeding ticket I’ve received was trying to escape Hull as quickly as possible. I almost felt like the DVLA should have let me off that one. I bet a lot of people get points for that.
It wasn’t the people at last night’s gig. Well not most of the people. There were a couple of idiots, including one woman who I gave a put down line to that I will be proud of for about a week. I rarely boast of these things but it was the sort of retort that made the crowd laugh and the woman shut up all at once, so I felt like a deserved a small medal or a scout badge or something. Apart from her though and one or two chatty people, the crowd were very nice. Oddly there was a woman there who was having a birthday and had been at my gig on Wednesday. She seemed alive today, but only just, and she was extremely orange. I wanted to look at her to work out where she was sitting on Wednesday, but everytime I glanced sideways my eyes felt like they were burning and I had to look away. I bet she is constantly annoyed by moths. She was with a large group of women out for her birthday and they were so nice, that when one of them got too drunk, they all left as they didn’t want to embarrass themselves. I mean, if that occurrence was a steak it would be rare. So that’s the kind of people they were. Nice people. People that probably didn’t have a choice at living in the least cultural city in the UK, but by coming to comedy they were trying.
The problem was the venue. Unlike many comedy events which are set in purpose built clubs, pub function rooms, theatres or venues of similar description, this gig was in a cinema. Well, you might say, the venue is already purpose built for a type of entertainment, what could go wrong. Boringly, the first bad thing is the acoustics. The walls are built so you can hear the screen and were the screen able to, it could not hear you. One day in the future screens will hopefully be able to hear people and after several viewings might have the ability to choose never to show a Zac Effron film again. While that type of sound is all good for cinema screens, for comics its a nightmare. Even when the crowd laugh, the laughs get sucked up into the walls and the high ceiling and from the stage it feels like you are trying to get an iota of blood from a stone that have never even seen or heard of blood in its life, and once when its cousin, a pebble, saw blood, it feinted. It wasn’t that tough, but it felt like it was. So every act, who from offstage seemed to be storming it, would walk off stage feeling deflated and shit. Try as I might, by the third time I had to walk on stage I really didn’t care. I felt like I was being unfair to the people, but like the house in The Shining the building was bad. Oddly enough had blood started pouring down the walls it might have made the sound a little better. I may suggest this next time.
Luckily Rex Boyd was a true gent and said he would close the show for us allowing myself and Juliet Myers to escape at the earliest opportunity. Before I did I took three beers from the fridge backstage and put them in my bag. Some might call that petty theft. I say it was fair. The arse of a cinema manager refused to give me a bottle of water for free, grumbled about having to get me a diet Pepsi when there was fat Pepsi in the fridge, and then wouldn’t give me a free popcorn. I can’t be in a cinema without having popcorn. I’ve tried to create reason for this such as pretending its some sort of talisman against bad films, but its doesn’t seem to work. Instead I just succumb to the fact that I just like popcorn. I often wish more food would pop in a similar way. Popcheese, popchoc and popratatoullie can’t be far away. I thought of all the times I might be able to get free popcorn, it would be today. But no, I had to buy my own and when I got it, they handed it over to me in a paper bag. A PAPER BAG? What? Am I not to be trusted with a cardboard carton? I could see them there, just sitting there mocking me. I wondered if there had been some sort of incident in Coventry before where some dickhead had got his head stuck in one, or accidentally fallen off a cliff and onto a cardboard carton just so they were now banned. To be fair they were right not to give me one. Had they done, I would have really fucked stuff up like a mentalist. Or more likely, I would have been able to hold my popcorn in a convenient and easy manner, the bastards. So I think those beers were mine.
I have several other long journeys this week with Southampton and Glastonbury, and then a busy day at the Camden Crawl and Bedford on Friday, but all of these are nice places. I’ll be amazed if any of those gigs have members of the audience who fall asleep in the front row, or require being called a slag. I will return to Cov at some point, but I will be prepared and bring a crate of red bulls and some books with art in and pictures of places that aren’t made of concrete.