day 11: where you focus

I’ve been really struggling at lunchtimes – I don’t know why, it’s not as if it’s earlier on in the day than I would usually have to put on ‘shows’ at work. Yesterday, though, I was a lot better. Nan had been telling me I was talking too fast, which is certainly true; I made a conscious attempt to slow down and it helped. Cutting out the dead wood puns has also helped, and overall it felt like a good set.

After the show, Nan and I got some pork in rolls from Oink (while enjoying watching the people go “eeeeuuuggghhh!” at the pig in the window, then going off to eat a chicken sandwich), got some fudge from Patch Hyde’s fudge shop on the mile; she got on the train back to London, and I stayed. The next two weeks will be less happy without her.

As the train pulled out, I sat for a moment, wondering why I was doing all this stupid crap, why I was hanging around in this windy, rain-soaked lump of granite when I could have just gone on holiday with my girlfriend to Cuba or Australia like normal people.

Just then, Matt Crosby from Pappy’s walked past, having just seen his girlfriend off back to London as well. He said hello and thanked me for coming to the show the previous night; I told him how much I enjoyed it; and then, having been reminded that I’m not here for nothing, I went off to see the ‘Discovery of Spain’ exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery.

Incidentally, the exhibition was largely pretty lame, mostly paintings by relatively obscure British artists, of parts of Spain that have been painted much better by Spanish artists. There was one picture I spent ages with though: ‘Toledo from the Alcazar’ by David Bomberg. Close up it looks like energetic criss-cross slashes of oils, but when you step back the whole landscape of Toledo emerges. It’s wonderful.

In the shop at the end, too, I read a big chunk of a book called something like The Invention of Spain about the history of the relationship between Britain and Spain; the role of Wellington, Fox – who was already a big hero of mine anyway – and Lord and Lady Holland, and other British Liberals who were there for the drafting of the 1812 Cadiz constitution I mentioned in a previous blog. I hadn’t realised that the development of Liberalism in Britain was so close to the development of the Spanish Liberalism I’ve been admiring for the last few years. It just shows that what you see really depends on where you focus.

So, it was good to take my mind off comedy for a few hours.

When it came to the evening gig, though, I couldn’t help but feel that what I’d actually done is taken my eye off the ball. I was alright, but the set was hard, and not slick. I forgot stuff, I ran short, and overall it felt competent but not amazing. I hadn’t spent the time preparing, and I felt it.

All the trendy hanging out we did in the relatively exclusive Brookes bar afterwards didn’t feel exactly thrilling, either. I’m not here to network; it would be pointless until I’m really happy with my act. That didn’t stop me from staying there till 3, of course…

CTD: Audience – quieter than the last few days; Performance – solid (7/10)

SSS: Audience – two-thirds full; Performance (4/10)

Other stuff: art was good, trendy hanging out was a little shallow but okay, gigs weren’t awful – but only great gigs would have made the day nan leaves anything other than sad.

Overall: DRAW 🙂

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