Yo blogging faithful – je suis back. I’ve been a bit lazy this week. Well, I say ‘lazy’ I mean .. . well, actually, it is just laziness. I’ve been on a high. It was Joel’s wedding on Saturday and it’s left me all floaty and lovely and happy about life. I’ve got a baby coming in two weeks (quicker than the shirts I’ve just ordered actually) and life is good.
It could have all gone tits up yesterday though. I went to York for a tour gig of A Poet’s Work Is Never Done. It felt good to be going back to York. I was last there for a 10 minute comedy gig in 2003 at Dan Atkinson’s club The Other Side. I hold in a certain misty eyed esteem because it was a hot summer and we’ve all gone onto better things now. Dan is a successful Avalon-signed funny man, and Joel and I have written a book. Which, if you’d seen us drinking wine and sleeping on Dan’s student flat’s floor that night you’d have not rated us capable of.
York is also the scene (kind of) of my failed career as a stand-up comic. A year later I was booked to do a gig at The Yorvik Viking Centre. Great, I hear you say. One snag, I had to write 10 minutes of comedy about vikings. I bottled it and pulled out on the day. I never did another comedy gig . Again, if you had known me then you’d not have tipped me for a career in this game.
I had happy memories and perhaps something to prove. But all this was forgotten when then I arrived in York with a touch of the Delhi-belly. Now, this would have been fine – I’ve learned all about the omnipresent danger of the ‘shart’ from my mate Tim, you ain’t going to find me tooting away happy as Larry when in a foreign city (it was, after all, the North), since I read about Tim’s platform troubles each of my parps have been squeezed out with the precision of German pocket-watch maker – but York is one of the irritating cities has seems to have nothing but pay and display car parks, and I had no money on me. I’d spent it on Macdonalds. Which kind of explains the belly situation.
I drove around for about 20 mins until I found a ticketed carpark. By this time things were getting a bit tricky and I was forced to power-waddle to the nearest pub lest I set off my fickle bowels. Finally I found a Wetherspoons – God bless that sticky floored anonymity – and made my way to the gents. But alas, the solitary cubicle was taken, the sound of a wet arse french-kissing the porcelain emanating.
Now, I’m all for pissed Glaswegians – they keep places like the Wetherspoons ticking in over in troubled times, and Rab C Nesbit has helped me while away the cold November evenings on more than one occassion – but when you’re standing in a pub toilet clenching your cheeks in full knowledge that don’t have a change of clothes on you and this could yet all end horribly I was in the mood for chatting to one.
“Ye need a shite.”
No, I come here for the conversation.
“Ahh, it’s alright, we all need to shite.”
I smile meekly, he had brought his pint to the toilet with him. He goes over to the urinal, pint held aloft his head, he pisses with no hands. As he turns a quarter angle to carry on speaking, his piss christens the back wall, cock wagging like the clipped tail of brain-damaged puppy.
You surprise me. I had you down as the type to rather excrete a fine rose-scented sweat. He finished pissing and began stretching his cock as if it were a balloon he were about to blow up. He stumbled back over to me, still unzipped and said something completely incomprehensible. I’d been expecting this, it was astonishing that I’d understood him thus far, he was after all a pissed Glaswegian.
Everyone has encountered drunks before (hell, some of us have even been the drunks) and we all have our least favourite part of the encounter. For some it is thought of having a pint spilled all over them, for others it is the impending threat of violence. I have to admit, that comes a close second, but I think mine is definitely the bit when they say something that you can’t make out then begin laughing uncontrollably at it. They then nudge you, repeat the noise they’ve just made and laugh uncontrollably again. That’s my least favourite bit. That then happened.
Thankfully, by the third or fourth nudge, the cubicle door then opened and I darted inside to a cry of:
“Have a good shite!”
He stayed a around for a little bit repeating phrases with the word ‘shite’ in them, but I didn’t care I was in heaven, wet-floored heaven.
I made my way to the gig after that. There was some confusion over the start time and despite the scheduled start being 7.45 at that time I was one of only two people in the venue. It was turning out to be more of a Vikings experience and less of a Dan Atkinson one. However, by 8pm we had a small, but decent enough crowd. I was supported by Joe Hakim and Mike Watts from Hull, who are lovely fellows and get a splendid job of getting the crowd warmed-up.
Usually on tour I have an older crowd by everyone seemed in their 20s or 30s last night and so a lot of the ‘funny’ stuff went down well. Cool Mum and Sex Butler got the desired response and I enjoyed the set as much as any other on tour, possibly even more. I think what I’ve learned from this tour is that this show does hinge on how Cool Mum goes down. It the crowd get it and have fun with it then the show’s a good un, if they’re a bit more reticent then it loses a bit of momentum.
So, all in all a good night. The drive back to Norwich wasn’t even so bad, I listened to Blur and Radiohead and The Libertines and drunk Relentless and ate crisps and drank more Relentless and sung along to all the words of The Great Escape and imagined that I’d written all those songs and I was playing them for a small select crowd of friends. Small dreams, but they pass the time. I’m tired today, but happy. And I didn’t shit myself. Hurrah!