Monday, 10 November 2014

An odd weekend

I've got four shows to write, so really shouldn't be distracting myself with this but, well, that was an odd weekend - and purely on a professional level, too.

With my first week as a full-time arty dude being just a bit slower than planned (although I did write the festive novella, which has now been proofread and is virtually ready to go), I was looking forward to this weekend of shows. In fact, I was anxiously gearing myself up for them. The first one on Friday in Bury had sold out, which was amazing. I arrived fashionably two hours early and thought about things far too much. They were a nice crowd, but they weren't a laugh-out-loud kind of crowd, they just sat and smiled throughout the whole thing. I'm grateful, but there was that niggling doubt in my head that they were just being polite. I don't know, for some reason during the show it felt like I lost my way a bit, nobody would have noticed but the alarm bells rang a bit in my head. This was the 57th time I performed this show; it ended with a warm applause, and then another warm applause when I came back on to pack away, so I must have done okay but I know, deep down, that was by far my best performance. No excuses; nice venue that I know well, a show I know well, just sometimes it's difficult to be completely on it.

On Saturday, fired up because I was below-par the previous night, I drove to London to perform at the Lewisham Fringe. I decided to drive because driving in London is always difficult and I just felt the need to stretch myself a bit. The drive itself, both ways, was a doddle. A slow doddle, but still counts. The show? Well, it just didn't happen. I'd been plugging it like crazy, but not one single person turned up. You can't make people turn up to your shows; I'm not sure what else I could have done. London is a tricky beast for shows, remind me to stay away from it for a while, that was just awkward and horrible.

Got back to Cambridge by 5.30pm and decided to drive down to Bristol, it's only 3 hours away and this is a small country - when 606 football phone-in stuff is on the radio any car journey just flies by. Really great to drink beer with Matt, and to see Anna for her 30th. She made us all go to a club, which, despite my polite protests, was remarkably enjoyable.

On Sunday morning I drove back to Cambridge and moved house. Yep, that's how I roll. My reasons for leaving the last place were mostly financial (and being freelance it's good to keep my overheads as low as possible), but this new place is seriously great and I feel very at home already. If anything, it's too nice and I may get too comfy to do stuff, we'll see...

Thursday, 6 November 2014

"What are you doing on Monday?"

As my final day in 'proper' employment came to a close last week, my (then) boss asked me, "so, what will you be doing on Monday?"

It was an important question; she wanted to gage what exactly my plans to be an 'artist' actually involved. I get the sense she was secretly hoping that I'd say "I have no plans, please take me back to your wonderful world of spreadsheet slavery" so I made a point of not saying that. Annoyingly, my show for Monday in Somerset was cancelled due to poor ticket sales. They weren't bad, if it was a local show I would have done it, but it's a long way to go and fuel is quite expensive and I probably would have lost money on it, which isn't great given the situation. But telling the boss that on my final just gave her the opportunity to turn to my line manager and raise her eyebrows. She did that a lot in my time there.

Taking days off is acceptable, I don't plan to have any until next Saturday (when my young lady is back for the weekend so I can actually see her), but your first day? I was never going to let that happen, so I've spent the week writing a Christmas novella (half a novel), with the plan to nail it before the week is out and get it out there. A couple days before that I performed the solo show in Kings Lynn, then dashed to Market Harborough to play a long gig with the band, and the next day I had meetings about how to do the whole self-employed thing (tax returns etc) and then a photoshoot for next year's Edinburgh show. I've also found the time to work on the press release with Griff and Vix ahead of our Christmas single, went to dinner with good friends Adam and Vanessa (who seem really, really into the idea of '50 Way to Leave your Drummer' - must finish this film at some point) and play a gig in London. I also turned down a job doing telesales. Tomorrow the solo show heads to Bury, Saturday I'll be performing in London, Saturday night I'll be in Bristol socialising (but let's be honest - there will be an element of networking involved, as always), Sunday I'm moving house, again.

And then suddenly it's mid-November and I'm on a proper run of the solo show and all things Christmas kick in. I could have done with Monday off, really.