Ok, so my week started on Saturday night,when I was lucky enough to be driven in a big van by three girls (two magicians in front and a zig zag one in the back) to Norwich where I was to do a gig at the fabulous BoNanaFana Social Club with legendary ska band The Selecter. I was sceptical about my chances of success on this one, thinking perhaps that the kind of audience who had dressed up special to come out and see a ska god might not be so welcoming to a smart-mouthed variety monkey. My suspicions were not helped by the news that I would be on stage right after them. That's clearly the wrong way around. I was starting to indulge worry.
Once I saw the audience though, I felt fine. They were lovely. All dressed up, good natured and out for a good time. They got one. I watched The Selecter from the wings and they were wonderful. I did ok too.
I had a couple of meetings on Monday, plus I had to start practising the new trick that I had promised to learn in time for next months Mat Ricardo's London Varieties. The more I practised it, the more I realised that this was perhaps a naive and foolhardy guarantee. Halfway through the day, however, I received a phone call from the Jonathan Ross Show asking if I'd like to be a guest in a fun little segment that would be recorded that Wednesday. After a little to-ing and fro-ing about the nature of what I'd do (I wanted to be able to talk, and not to just be hands doing a trick), we agreed and I put the phone down and giggled like a schoolgirl.
Apparently, from what a couple of show staffers told me, Jonathan had seen my advert, and then spent ages watching all my stuff on YouTube before telling everyone that they had to have me for the show. The taping day was long, as these things tend to be, but fun. Jonathan was friendly and charming, and brilliant with his studio audience. My little part in the show was on right after Keith Lemon and co - who, if I'm being honest, are not my thing. Much of Keiths material strikes me as misogynistic and unpleasant, and although it's obviously a character - unlike, for example, Al Murray, there seems to be no self-undermining. No letting the audience know that yes, I'm an awful douchebag. They seem to be laughing along with him, rather than at his oafishness. Maybe it's just not aimed at me. That's allowed too. Anyway, annoyingly, when it came to my bit with Keith, Holly and Fern, they were all a complete delight both on screen and off, so perhaps I shouldn't be rude about them. Sorry.
Rolled out of bed on Thursday, ran some errands, and then got myself all dolled up for the London Cabaret Awards. It's the first time they've ever done this, and I was nominated for best speciality act. It was a lovely night. If you know me at all, then you'll know that I relish the excuse to put on a tuxedo, and the chance to spend a fun, slightly raucous night with all of my friends from the cabaret scene, not to mention my wife, was a fine reason to wear one. I know it sounds like the biggest cliché, but it genuinely was an honour to be nominated - I love this circuit, and to be recognised as a cog in this machine was wonderful. You can imagine my shock, then, when I won. Totally and completely flattered and humbled that a bloke who talks too much and throws things around could be valued by my peers like that. Wow.
And then it was back to work. Back to throwing my hat and cane around on a stage with a too-low ceiling. Back to watching Banbury Cross drink from her Christmas Cracker hip flask between sets (see photographic evidence below). Back to dragging suitcases full of stupid props around London in the perennial journey between dark rooms full of people up for a laugh. And of course I wouldn't have it any other way.