I’m pleased to report that I’m now getting around the volcano (anticlockwise) in thirty minutes, aided and abetted by the motivational sounds of my iPod. The next phase is to time the songs: I need ‘The Strength of the Righteous’ to get me up hills, and ‘Disco 2000’ to get me down again. Unfortunately I put the playlist together after a few drinks, which is why it begins with ‘Eye of the Tiger’ (I know) and includes ‘It’s Raining Men,’ (ditto) a superficially charming song until you consider what the reality of the lyric would be. If it were raining men, you wouldn’t want to go outside. My physics isn’t great, but I don’t want, say, a 12-stone man falling at me from any sort of height. Rough and tough and strong and lean he may be, but what sort of condition will he be in when he’s splattered across the pavement? It’s a profoundly man-hating song, when you think about it. The lyrics make no mention of parachutes. It’s as if the Weathergirls want the male population broken and helpless.

I am outraged. Outraged and, in Gerri Halliwell, profoundly disappointed.

MCing again at Whistle Binkies. On the bill: Lewis Schaeffer and Will Franken, both superb. I was pretty mediocre, but that’s ok when one is MC: get them on, get them off, show them the fire escape and provide a break for people to go to the toilet. Job done!

A sense of things winding down, just as the days are slipping into the easy blur of rhythm. Raph and I flyered for the hour before our show, and from nowhere, I found myself gabbling away onstage, riffing and improvising and going twenty to the dozen. All a bit breathless, and maybe too fast, but it felt good, like a controlled explosion of rocket fuel. Looking back, there were a few missed opportunities, but mostly it felt like a box of madness had opened up.

Weirdly, the ‘doughnut’ of audience at the front were really enjoying the show, but four folks on the back row really weren’t. They left just before the end of my set. I don’t mind – no one is to everyone’s taste, but I flyered them, and ran into them again on the way to the venue, so they knew what I was like before they came in, and I’m not that different in flyer mode than I am on stage. Very odd to have got them up the hill, into the venue, through the bar and into their seats – and then not to get a laugh out of them. I’m certainly not offended, just really interested in what happened. Possibly it was because the bar took ages to get their drinks to them, and I said, ‘I’ll wait for you’ but we went up late anyway, and it was a good five minutes before they came through, so perhaps they felt I’d broken a promise… having merely done a few hellos and introductions, I did say, ‘The audience will confirm you’ve missed absolutely nothing,’ but maybe they read the situation another way.

Raph came on slowly to create a contrast with my freewheeling style, then built the energy. He shrugged off technical problems with the mic and his phone, and not for the first time, I sat back, enjoyed his set and thought, ‘this guy just has impeccable taste.’ As he puts it, he’s a clown doing stand up, which is why his stuff is such a gear-change from the usual alpha-male nonsense of the circuit

A quick drink in the Dome, ran into Harriet Kelmsey and Bobby Mair. Such nice people, they’ve both had a great year and are going to be enormous one day soon. You heard it here fifth.

One more Purple show to do… I’m hoping for a good one, looking forward to a break, aware that this city will give up audiences good, bad and indifferent, and there isn’t much you can do in your favour except flyer people you like the look of and hope for the best.



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