In September I left James Harris and Nick Purves to run Famous First Words. My new job was the main factor as I, rightly, predicted I wouldn't be reliably available to host it on a regular Monday night. I was interested to see how the night had been getting on in my absence. Attendance had been patchy at best throughout my time there and I had my fingers crossed that it would have started drawing the kind of audience it so richly deserved.
Sadly this was not the case. As before, there was a small cluster of genuinely interested audience (friends of one of the acts), a smattering of uninvolved locals and the pops and bangs of dodgy mic leads that had plagued the shows I'd hosted previously. I settled in for another night at London's friendliest open mic with Dangerous T opening the show, as he has done since the start of the year.
T's set was typically adventurous and experimental and the interested cluster provided encouragement. Three guys at the bar though were pretty much instantly dismissive and turned their backs for the majority of the set though. Not exactly the spirit of an open mic.
From there four more acts tried their hand against a mix of awkwardness and indifference. This included one of the guys from the rude trio at the bar, who I'll avoid naming on the generous basis that it was his first gig and he clearly wasn't aware of good open mic etiquette. Unfortunately he compounded this disrespect by slagging off a previous act from the stage and then being woefully unfunny for a full five minutes. Shouting about how strong you are does not count as comedy - even if you can make your pecks wiggle a bit.
After this I took my turn and, upon seeing that the trio had gone back to chatting amongst themselves with their backs turned before I'd even opened my mouth, did what I could for Nick, James and the nice group of four at the front.
Sheraz Yousaf rounded off the comedy nicely and it was left to the rather good musical duo Mirror Maze to play to a dwindling audience. The bar trio walked off before the third song, ticking the final box on the list of reasons never to invite them back.
So it wasn't a great gig but it still has the potential to be. Here's hoping Nick and James can draw in a few more enthusiastic performers and three less dickheads.