kettering.

Always had problems with the sound here.   Now sound fine…hotel HMMMM    there is a nice big hotel and spa in Kettering. It’s the sort of hotel that caters for weddings and hen parties using the spa. It would seem it caters for no one else. We arrived and stood at reception with our bags. The young girl with a metal thing in her lip and enough makeup to paint the scubs asked us if we were checking in? I replied “no, we are just walking about with our bags”…her older friend laughed, she looked pissed off. It turns out Kevin was not on their list even though I booked him in online. They found him a room. A suite no less. Now this is a nice big hotel with tons of facilities. It was lunchtime and we told reception we going to the restaurant. We got there and were told by a 12 year old it was shut. “But it’s lunch time”I said. “Why is the restaurant closed lunchtime?”  ”it opens at six” was the reply. There was bar food..  I had eggs Benedict out of the four choices.   It was shite.. The Hollandaise sauce had split. I pointed this out to the waitress who said..”Sorry”   .

The gig was fine and I met up with an old operation Yewtree inspector and went for a Thai meal with him and his team from “PTSD BLUES” there are thousands of Police officers, serving and veteran, suffering. I talked with them and tried to find a way to help.  We chatted about Yewtree and had a good laugh!!   we did!

Next morning we met some friends for lunch. Two fans who have been coming to see me for 27 years. The restaurant ,of course was full and was told by Iron lip at reception I should have booked Friday…we checked in Saturday I told her  she said “OH…”

The nice bloke with the long fashionable beard said we can have a table in the bar.    We ordered 3 beef and I plumbed for the “Roast pork with crackling served with  apple sauce and sage gravy”

The young girl took our order. “how is the beef cooked ?” I ask  she said “Well done or Rare” “No medium?” “no”

We got two well done and Kevin’s rare…there was no difference. The millennial lad said” here we are two well done and one pink”  I asked why he thought pink was brown?” he said “it’s pink”  ” Kevin said ” it’s well done” the girl said she would replace it. My three slices of overcooked and dry pork were served. No sage gravy, no crackling. I asked for the gravy. The girl went off in a huff , waited till my pork was cold and returned with the news that they had run out!

I asked her to take mine away and I would have beef. She did. The beef turned up and was inedible. Kevin and my guests couldn’t eat theirs either.

I spoke to the beardyman who assured me that this has never happened before… was he indicating this is my fault for being too fussy?    Probably

Shame on that Hotel     it’s typical I’m afraid…not good enough Great Britain.

Telford

The last time I appeared in Telford I was on bail. If you remember I was wrongly arrested by the operation yew tree mob. After a year of turmoil the police informed me there would be no charges. They almost managed an apology. Anyway, it was 2013 and I arrived at the theatre in Telford four hours after being released from the police station. A couple of years before that the Telford Council banned me from appearing in their theatre, because I slagged the town off. Anyway, they have since changed their minds and I am back…. The town, incidentally, looks the same as it did all those years ago.

The theatre is impossible to find. The navigator in the car had a mental breakdown after taking us round the town centre three times. We eventually staggered into the theatre and did a  sound check. All was well.

Like 90% of the tour the theatre was sold out. Sell-out shows have a bit of a buzz. There is something about a packed auditorium, you can almost sense the anticipation, and it gives me a feeling that I must go out and deliver. I am still wearing jeans and my golf shoes, it has changed the way I work. My hair is growing quite long as well so with the jeans, trainers and  long hair I really am becoming an alternative comedian.

The staff and crew at this theatre are sensational. Yes it could do with a few quid spent on it,but it makes up for that with the great personnel that strive to do their best for the artist and the audience. One could wish for nothing better.

Got back to the hotel, nothing to eat… Off to bed.         Bring back the old days

Stevenage

The trouble with doing the gig in Stevenage is that it is on the border of staying over or going home. It is two hours from my house, so do you drive home? Or stay in a hotel with sod all to do all day? We chose to stay. We stayed at the premiere inn. At reception there was a person belonging to the protected species act. She had no recollection about a booking. So after what seemed like three weeks we checked into our rooms first checking that Lenny Henry was not in residence.

The gig in Stevenage is in a huge leisure centre complex. There is a choice. You can play the big sports hall that holds 1200 people, or you can play the Gordon Craig Theatre which holds 600 people.  I chose to play the theatre, twice.

The lighting sound and crew were perfect.

After the first night Kevin and I went for a curry in a deserted Indian restaurant in the old town. I certainly got my money’s worth from the food. I could taste it all night, and it kept me awake for most of it.

During the day off Kevin and  I decided to check out the shopping centres. The women in Stevenage eat well. We went to the Thai restaurant. It was very nice and full of Thai women that looked as if they’ve been put into a shrink machine… They were tiny.

I bought a pair of jeans… And a iPad from one of those little shops with a man who had English as a second language it would seem.

We swerve around the Indian after the second show and went to bed at 11 o’clock….. Oh, the glamour.

heading North

The next two gigs were at an old favourite and a new gig that I had never been to. Skeggy and the Burnley mechanics!  Thats sounded like one of those awful clubs in the moors. It turned out to be a tasty little 500 seater. The sound and lights were great and we stayed in a Gymnasium with beds!   nothing to report. foot still bad and  I limp off to bed straight after the show…oh the glamour. Up early next day and we drive to Shaggy. Bloody long drive through empty and sad looking villages and towns in Lancs and Yorkshire. All the pubs were boarded up.There were hundreds of hairdresser shops!  Sgeggy was full and Gemma with the nockers was on the front row. Straight to bed after!!  I must be getting old. Home tomorrow……. good, running out of pain killers!

The great thing about doing two nights in a place is that on night two you just turn up and go on. no soundcheck!!  Great.  I was visited by Jilly Johnson and her husband and Roger Kitter’s widow Karen and Michel Black’s widow Julie Rogers. My mum used to sing her song “the wedding” in the pub. A good old night with explaining how to speak Jewish with only using the five vowels. It’s rare to work a mainly Jewish audience and we all loved it…don’t mention the labour party!!    Foot still sore.

 

 

Radlett

the first of two night at this tasty little theatre.

The staff were outstanding. I was still in pain with the dreaded gout. I was also slightly miffed at missing PFM a brilliant band from Italy who were playing in Southampton that evening. By chance the excellent sound man called Luca was Italian. I told him. He loved PFM and we used their live album for the walk in music.  Thank you for the kindness Luca…I will vote remain next time

The audience was grown ups, classy and 60% jewish….we had a ball especially slagging of the labour party   he he

Gout..and a night mare

I have never played Morley before. A nice local promotor called Paul contacted Chris and asked if we could do the show in the town hall…he would pay a fee. Chris’s eyeballs saw pound signs…a deal was done…I smelled a rat!

On arrival I was met by Paul…who looked  relieved that I had turned up,albeit on one foot. I was in agony and have had to perform in my super light golf shoes!!!!

The sound man wandered over…he had a cowboy hat on…was this a sign?…it was. before we started I noticed a speaker at the back of the room. I asked the Hat if out was delayed(* I will explain) he looked off into the sunset and said….”A Bit”  he did not know what I was talking about.

* the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. That is the speed that my voice does to get to that back speaker via a wire. It also travels at that speed to get to the PA speakers on the stage. From them it travels at the speed of sound (700 MPH) to the earholes of the audience. So, the the problem is, by the time the stage speaker sound travelling a 700 mph reaches the people by the back speaker they would have already heard the  back speaker causing a railway anouncement  effect, The answer is to hold back the sound to the back speaker by delaying its departure from the mike!….simples and the first thing a sound engineer learns…..not this one.

I did a quick one two and realised it was all wrong!!  I told him to unplug the back speaker. This cowboy did not have a clue. The sound desk was onstage behind me in the wings. We tried my mike….no better.

The first 30 minutes was me talking to the audience with no sound.. Then the hecklers that had partaken of the buckets of beer they had carried in with them started. I called for a interval,  I have been on 50 minutes 30 without a mike, ten minutes of nearly a mike and ten minutes of hecklers with bald heads walking about!

The promotor had to be dragged off the sound man and I did my best to stop him from hanging himself. We  had to cancel the charity merch sale as the interval came on us ,including me, as a surprise. Poor Kev had to pack the stuff up!

The second half another bloke turned up with another Mike… it was still shit and there were no monitors but I did an hour and a half which went well as the hecklers were asked to leave…..

I gave Paul a hug and said …”If you pay peanuts……” I walked past the sound man who was looking at the desk as Catweasle would look at the Starship Enterprise control panel x

margate

The winter gardens is a old venue. The set up is odd. The stage is where the umpire sits at a tennis match. It therefore causes sight line problems. It is a hall really. The should and lighting controls are at the side of the stage so the sound man can’t hear and the lighting man cant see!  However I love the place. The new manager is a superstar. The staff are friendly and down to earth. The punters always have a good time.  I have changed the talking to dead people routine and it is really happening. I have also changed the ending of the act.

I have been suffering from Gout….I know!  what thing to have. It is like having the worst pain you have ever had continually for 24 hours a day. As I type this it is Tuesday and I have to hobble off to Dunstable for tonights gig. I should cancel but I can’t let the people down. I will have to dose myself up with painkillers and hope the liver deals them!

We are looking for people to join a hike across Dartmoor on 24/25th May  go to Care after Combat web site and go to Tab and Yomp. or call 0300 343 0255 and ask for Sam.

Bromley

The Churchill theatre in Bromley is a but special and it knows it. For the last few years HQ theatres have turned it into a less “Luvie ” venue.

The sound person was a Girl in her 20′s………. Brilliant

met lots of old friends x  Cant help thinking that HQ theatres are kicking arse. Owner Nick Thomas was an “Act” his staff reflect that in their treatment of other acts.  ATG must have a look at them selves.

bedworth.

The little gig in Bedworth, near Nuneaton is a council run hall. It has the ability to be another Cresstt. However , it is a wonderful venue run by professional caring people.  The punters  are great , the sound check took literally 5 seconds .

Strangely the Mayor was in with his mates… a Labour mayor…he took it well…I think

Drove home     Bromley tonight so… Clean suit