99p sandwich in hand, last night I rushed down the hill to host the first Anything Goes of 2020. Originally conceived as a celebration of local talent from across the arts it rapidly transformed into a melting pot of comedy talent from all over the north with local performers thin on the ground but some kind of audience always willing to watch those travelling in from Huddersfield, Liverpool and beyond.
The rushing had been self-inflicted. Prior to tonight, AG had always been advertised as starting at eight but the new posters promoted a "social" from seven where performers could shoot the proverbial and locals could get a few drinks in beforehand.
To my surprise and delight, this actually worked and the place was already buzzing when I stepped through the doors and headed up to the room above. A few sofas thrown about into rows later and we had a performance space. The angle poise desk lamps were pointed towards the mic stand and the disco light started flashing. It was half seven and time to assemble the stage raiders for the night.
After enduring most of 'Dancing In The Moonlight' courtesy of the venue's centralised sound system and removing a pair of swim shorts that had been covertly hung on the mic stand whilst I was downstairs, I got things going with a chat, a short strum on the subject of abandoning your final pint of the night and a full song about Lidl.
The short-hanging group of four lads on the front row seemed happy enough with this. A prominent feature of tonight, their spirits increased in direct proportion to the spirits they drank. Though disruptive to a point, they were good natured and provided plenty of crowd-handling practice for the acts as well some easy jokes. They may as well have had "Welcome to Glossop" tattooed on their foreheads.
Throughout the night we had storytelling, quick fire one liners, songs, a tonne of puns, occasionally cerebral observations and a small bucket of filth. With sets between five and eight minutes the pace was rapid and by the end of the night fourteen comedians had done their thing and it was time to give everyone a round of applause, hear the lads make random references to ketamin for the umpteenth time and drift out into the High Peak air.
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