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The Rest of The Days

I missed the last few of these, but I think they’re important. I get things done, eventually.

Day 8: I don’t remember much from this day, we had a decent amount of people in and I remember having a really lovely guy from Newcastle on the front row who I had a drink with afterwards. He was really sweet and we had similar taste in music. He told me about his own suicidal ideation and struggles in lockdown. He was funny and lovely.

My agent had got me a guest spot on John Robertson’s Dark Room that night. Id done ACMS with John earlier in the month and he liked my stuff, which was amazing. I’ve been a fan of Dark Room since I first saw it a few years ago and I was always going to go see it. It was incredible taking my girlfriend to see it, telling her a thousand times “YOU’RE NOT READY”. She ended up on the front row. I said hi to John and was placed in the aisle to be called on stage when needed. A few games in, I was called on. I totally fangirled and acted like I’ve never been on stage before, I couldn’t stop giggling. It was just so cool. I ended up being sat on the ground near the prizes as the top prize to be won. I love the show and joined in with all the extras, it was amazing. At one point I spooked John because he’d forgotten he’d put me there, beady eyes looking up at him in the darkness. At the end I promoed my show and was flung into the audience to crowd surf. If you’ve never been picked up and thrown at 200 people by a sweaty Australian, I recommend it. It ruled.

Day 9:

Thanks to Darkroom and some of my own buzz, I had a full room and they were lovely. I had a really gorgeous show with them. They were a bit slow to accept the suicide material which is fair enough-one of my roommates friend’s had come to the show and got them going with it. Thank god for mentally ill Nottingham based queer artists. I had a lovely time drinking with a big group of Dark Room fans after the show. As had kept happening, people started talking about their personal stuff, parental death and their mental health. We bonded over our shared disasters. There were things people spoke about that their friends of several years hadn’t known, because how do you bring these things up? That felt so unbelievably special. They were great.

Day 10

I think I realised the reason I’d been diving writing these show reports was that it was quite painful to see the numbers going up and up and reaching their end. I didn’t want to go. I moped around all the evening of Day 9 being snappy and quiet, and in the morning I was dull and heartbroken. When we got to the venue my girlfriend went to get me tea and a pastry, as had become our routine for the past few days, and she found me doom scrolling on my phone, procrastinating on setting up.

I think *almost* selling out the previous day had got to me, since i knew that was my last chance to do it. I thought I’d be performing to my 2 prebooks and ending on a downer. It was my first really low day since the Monday, and even then I had so much space for things getting better. Now things were ending and I was glum and looking for any excuse to be down.

I had 10 lovely audience members and a really wonderful show. I did lots of ad-libbing at the start and I felt the pace wobble a bit, but other than that I stayed relatively on-script. A couple of things out of order but I finessed them without remark so people wouldn’t have known.

I picked on the people at the back for my own amusement, but I could tell they were up for it. I have a couple of bits of material where I reach for a heckle from the crowd that wasn’t there and experimented with directing them all from the same person and remarking “brave of you heckling from the back there”. That was fun.

Also had someone in an Iron Maiden shirt. I have an Iron Maiden joke in the show but it never gets a big reaction from the crowd. Beforehand in my preshow chat I said “there’s a joke in this show you’re really gonna like... I mean I hope you like all of them, but”. Then later on he nodded when I brought up their song Number of the Beast- I ad-libbed “I’d expect you know it you’re wearing the t-shirt- hey you’re wearing an Iron Maiden shirt name 5 of their songs see how you like it!” I’m glad my audience knew what I was referencing. Of course they did. I then did a bit writing on my hand reminding me not to attack my male audience members who had been nothing but lovely through out the show. Fun.

The past few shows didn’t feel as tearful or emotional as the previous ones. I think the suicide story and end wrap up has been getting funnier and tighter, and has maybe lost some of the rawness.

After this one though, I sobbed myself. After the final bucket had been taken and the audience had gone downstairs I had a big cry on my girlfriend. I’ve really found my purpose and renewed love in this place, it went so much better than I’d expected and I didn’t want it to end. It seems childish, but it really felt like home to me.

I requested my big A0 poster from the wall because it’s a beautiful thing and my agent did pay £100 for it. It was way bigger than I thought it would be. My girlfriend took great delight in carrying it behind me and holding it up like a billboard. Maybe I should have done that when flyering.

I had a final dinner with my friend Eoghan and got the train. There had been cancellations so it was full, seat reservations cancelled. Me and Robbie got the carriage doorway for an hour an a half. There was something intensely nostalgic about sitting in the floor, eating crisps and playing MarioKart together. It was a really nice memory. I even won a couple of times, until we discovered I’d got auto-cornering turned on and the computer was helping me. We turned it off and I came last a couple of times before leaving to read my book in a huff.

I wish I’d done these at the time, I was seeing people and shows and sleeping when I could but I think it would have been good to get me out of that moping last few days- rather than straight avoidance.

I am looking forward to next year. Brian, the venue manager said he’d be in my court for doing a full run and maybe a bigger room next year. I’m not sure if I’d bring back She Festers for the full run or something new. Even now, the something new is a terrifying prospect. I really liked bringing up something polished, comfortable, and that I know works. The cycle of a new hour a year is so intimidating and intense for me. But I have a WIP in November so we shall try. I’m not in any great rush, even if the industry is. I’m allowed to do my own thing at my own pace.

Thank you for reading along with these, and sorry about the delay with the final few. I didn’t really expect so many people to read them, it means a lot.

I’m going to be filming She Festers in Nottingham in December. No details yet, but we’re going to do a few takes in front of different audiences so I need quite a few of you. Things are going to keep on going. Thank you again. Now to sleep for a million years (today I am working an 8 hour shift and doing a return trip to Manchester for a gig. After that, I can sleep).

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