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Monday, 18 May 2015

Gearing up for the big one

You find me, dear reader, mid-tour. And it's a very happy place to be. Other, more jaded and cynical comedy schmucks might moan about the lonely hardships of touring, and sure, criss-crossing the country dragging two suitcases full of tricks behind you on the ever-unreliable public transport network, while not seeing your loved one as often as you might like, can be a downer, once I get to the show, it balances right out and then some.

I am, as I say towards the end of "Showman" not a famous person. I'm not on any comedy panel shows. My artform is still, despite my best efforts, pretty damn niche. But that's kinda good. It means that while I have to bust my ass to get the word out about my shows, and work hard to seduce people into buying a ticket, once I have them, I can deliver. My mission at the moment is to change minds. People look at my poster, maybe read something about me, perhaps look me up online, and they take a chance on me, and that's all I need. I'll work as hard and as funny as I can, and send them out at the end needing to tell their friends about me.

My most recent stop was at the newly created Birmingham Cabaret Festival (and Birmingham peeps - there's still time to catch some awesome stuff in the fest, so GO), and I had a hell of a lot of fun there. I was also lucky enough to get a rather nice review, which I will, if you'll permit me, quote a little of here..

Who doesn't like being called a rock star? Nobody, that's who. Thanks Birmingham :)

But the next date in my tour is the big one, the grandaddy. On the 3rd of June I'll be performing "Showman" for one night only at the London Wonderground. A beautiful spiegeltent slap bang on the South Bank, right next to the Thames. I cannot wait.

This is and important one for me personally, and I'll tell you why...

There's me, grinning like a loon at my own billboard, as Al Murray gurns down at me menacingly. I wanted that picture taken for one specific reason. The Wonderground, my venue for the show, and the location of the billboard poster, is literally thirty seconds walk from where, not that many years ago, I used to do street shows. Every weekend, I'd lug my gear in from South London in the early morning, get in the queue of performers and sit on my suitcase for hours until it was my turn. Then I'd battle apathy, violent breakdancers, and the great British weather, to try to earn enough to pay the rent. It was simultaneously a beautiful way to make a living, and often a heartbreaking one. No feeling as good as going home with a backpack heavy with money from hats, and no feeling worse than knowing you cant pay the rent that month because, after waiting all day for your spot, it rained.

So it's about as literal a signifier as I could wish for. By returning to my old stomping ground, it literally shows me how far I've come. My wonderground show will be special, and it's my only London tour date for the rest of 2015, so please come, and bring your friends, and spread the word.

Let me change some minds and drop some jaws.

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