Since the last time I wrote life has been keeping us plenty busy both on the comedy front and that other one known as everyday life. With wall coverings in our house being ripped down and put back up sans-artex swirls and financial experiments ranging from DJing to selling children's books at boot sales, performing has been given a chance to breathe.
The past month's hiatus from the stage, Anything Goes aside, has also enabled the completion of all the new tracks for our 2019 show, "99 (First World) Problems". Lyrically and musically more ambitious than anything we've done before, we're looking forward to taking them out to a string of festivals next year which so far include Leicester, Buxton and Manchester. Edinburgh applications open shortly with our friends Laughing Horse and there are a number of other places we intend to take our rhyming frustrations with modern living to as well. Stay tuned.
This week though has put us back on the road (literally now we're in the north and without a decent public transport network) and has witnessed three performances, all unique in their own way.
First up we were in Lancaster last Wednesday for the Christmas comedy special at The Gregson, a rather wonderful community-lead pub with three decent rooms for events under its roof. With singing drifting out from one and an environmental film in full swing in another we found ourselves in the third space - a neat little room with a stage and six rows of chairs. The crowd was sparse and 3/4 made up of people Anna had invited.
Almost every set made grudging or self-deprecating reference to the low turnout with the energy level to match. Weirdly surreal in places, we closed the show with a couple of songs and probably raised the party vibes from a 1 to at least a 3. Everyone involved was lovely and the night deserved to be more successful than it was - though there's something strangely prophetic about when even the Christmas crackers the MC uses throughout the show turn out to not even have jokes in them.
Next stop was a local one with the final Anything Goes of the year at Isaac's in Glossop. Anna rested so it was down to me to take the MC reigns and welcome acts from as far afield as Rhyl, Leeds and Stoke on Trent. We had one liners, songs about bodily functions and observational storytelling in this evening's mix and the audience really went for it with the first outing for our new song, Shake It, bemoaning the spirit crushing experience of waiting at the bar whilst the staff slowly but surely grind out a large cocktail order. I usually close the show with a song too but this evening David Eagle and his accordion blew everyone away with a trio of exceptionally funny songs and the job was well and truly done. AG returns as a monthly event starting Jan 9th with a new ticketed night kicking off at The Globe on the 24th.
The final show of the week drove into Skipton on Sunday at a bar advertising drag queen karaoke and cocktails made of Love Heart sweets. Instantly enamoured with the place we headed in and met the other acts at the back of the bar. The show took place in the main room on a stage that resembled an industrial coffee table. If you were drinking you were audience so the numbers weren't bad. They were also somewhat loud and drunk as far as the first table were concerned but even they managed to sustain attention on those performing for the most part.
Following sets including several surprisingly confident tens from acts with less than ten gigs under their belt, an MC dressed as "Shit Santa" driving a remote control car around the pub with a rubber penis taped to its roof and a battering ram of intense Scouse humour from the promoter just before we came on the intro track started and we got people's hands in the air shouting along and, in pockets all over the pub, mobile phones recording the proceedings.
Meal Deal did its job, preceded by Anna J mercilessly ribbing audience members for their food choices and, in the case of the BGT semi-finalist sat right at the front, their hairstyle. Once we'd come down from that it was on to Gentrifried, a more relaxed and lyrically dynamic song which kept everyone who wasn't seven cocktails to the wind laughing whilst those incapable of comprehension at least managed a shoulder shuffle on their stools.
Job done we sat back to watch the headliner and eat our sandwiches (yes, we take sandwiches to our gigs nowadays). Show over, all that was left was to agree a headline spot for next year and drive the dark roads back to Glossop.