Yesterday in Bury St Edmunds at the Apex, for myself, Seann Walsh and Phil Nichol, our tools were shit. Im not saying we did a bad job, I’m just saying that were anyone to complain about anything that happened I think all blame can quite firmly be placed on the minimal equipment we needed for a gig to happen. That saying is a pile of toss anyway. Sure there are bad workmen out there who are probably given brilliant tools, do a crap job and say ‘hey, my, er, my hammer was all broken. And my screwdriver works only backwards,’ or something. But then I bet, I bloomin’ bet, there are some good workmen out there, who are given shit tools, do the best job they can, still fail and blame their shit tools. This doesn’t make them bad. If you have a spirit level that’s not level, you’ll make lopsided stuff. If you have a paint brush made of nails, it’ll carve up a wall. If you have a drill that’s made of jelly, it won’t go through walls. I’m just saying, lay off some of those workmen ok? At least till you’ve properly investigated just how good their tools were. You are all so judgmental. Disgusting.
I got excited about gigging in the brand new venue as I walked in. Shiny walls and doors, fancy lights and a clean feeling and smell that made you know the Apex is all pretty new and fancy. Our dressing room was bigger than most places I’ve lived in and there was free root beer. Two of my favourite things. Unnecessary amounts of extra sugar, plus space to run around and burn it off in. However, we walked into the main auditorium and Seann quite rightly judged a book by its cover (oh yeah, I’m messing up all the proverbs today), and said it’d be tough due to the insanely high ceiling. He was right to say and do this. It turns out on this occasion the cover had been reprinted throughout the entire book. The building, on a second, less excitable opinion, was as though someone had got over excited in Ikea, gathered all the flat pack furniture and stuck it together to make a shed for a giant. For the first five minutes I struggled to work out why only the centre of the 500 people audience were laughing at anything. Did I only appeal to the middling comedy crowd? It felt like some sort of political analogy. Then, as a savour and curse to proceedings, just as I complained about all idiots that were scared something would happen on 10/10/10, the fire alarm went off. This has never happened to me at a gig before, and I stood onstage making faux air hostess gestures to get people out of the fire exits I could see, before realising that as the building was mostly made of wood, I should probably escape pretty quickly too. After recent readings of Steve Martin’s book, I toyed with continuing the gig outside from the staircase, but I was rapidly cornered by many of the very lovely audience who explained that they were enjoying it but could barely hear from either side of the auditorium due to the terrible sound. Not only that, but due to my small stature, several of them couldn’t see me due to the angle of the speakers either!
Now, if you were to ever set up a comedy gig, yes you, then there is a very small amount of things you need. I like to think us comics are pretty low maintenance overall. However, sound and clear visibility of the acts is a must. If it wasn’t, believe me, I’d phone in most of my gigs as often as possible and let people strain to hear my whiny voice through the receiving end of a promoters mobile. In fact, with face calling now possible, at least they could try and lip read if they couldn’t hear. Its so key and its also why people who are unable to see or hear rarely go to gigs. Neither do worms. I returned to the stage after all the mayhem and had to perform some sort of conducting act, speaking to each side of the room in turn as the speakers were adjusted, taking all the possible bullets for the team in my face, whilst dealing with a particularly poor heckler. (‘Stand-up’. Yes har-de-har-har fucking funny. Pillock) I finally was able to bring Seann onto stage, whereby everyone could hear him and he tore the roof off. I would say ‘set the roof on fire’ but after the first fire alarm incident it felt inappropriate. The audience, despite the heckler, who shut up fairly quickly after I spoke to him, were so lovely and incredibly patient. I do have to applaud the people of Bury. The sound never got that much better and from the sides, although you could hear noise, you couldn’t quite make out all the words the acts were saying. From stage, the laughter was sucked up into the ‘apex’ and it felt as though we were struggling more than we were. Phil had a stormer of a finale, but walked off, like the rest of us feeling deflated. They couldn’t hear us properly, we couldn’t hear them. It was like the gig version of the social night at old people’s home.
So, without meaning to blow our own trumpets, not least because Seann might be uncomfortable with that and Phil might enjoy it too much, if we weren’t such hella cool professionals, that gig could’ve gone horribly wrong. High fives all round. Take that bad workmen and good but poorly equipped workmen. Our tools were shit and we still managed. I don’t want to be too unfair to the venue. It was their first show there and they’ve promised to sort it out by next time. If you are a Bury-ite, then do go along as they have great line-ups and please set the fire alarm off at 5 mins 30 secs in to maintain tradition.
Couple of other quick things for you regular blog readers, incase you were wondering how the many loose ends I often leave were all tied up. If I’ve left any out, please ask and I’ll answer in comments or tomorrow’s blog:
– I ordered my onesi. Its a blue wolf suit. Expect many pictures as soon as it arrives.
– I did my political material on Thursday. It worked. Hooray.
– Yesterday’s nut roast was actually very good. The Ranelagh in Bounds Green does a bloody good lunch.
– This wasn’t in a blog, but I’ve just got the Mysterious Cities of Gold box set on DVD. I just needed to tell someone.
Das ist alles.