And welcome to another update from the UK leg of my “Inflatable” tour, where on a nightly basis my show seems to be more about the audience than it is me.
Here’s what has happened in the last two nights:
Tuesday was a lovely theatre outside Milton Keynes called The Stables. It is quite literally the old stables on a farm owned by jazz legends Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth. A browse through the theatre programme told me that Charlie Watts from the Rolling Stones had been there a few weeks ago, and Bill Wyman’s band will be there in a few weeks.
I should point out that whilst waiting at London Euston for my train I watched in awe as Noel Gallagher from Oasis casually walked past me towards his train. So I felt in pretty good company. Then the show got under way, and the true stars became the people in the audience.
First up was a guy called Paul, who when I asked “what is the relationship between you and the lady next to you?” replied “I’m not entirely sure”. I asked if they were together, and they both seemed unsure.
I then asked another audience member called Angelika what she thought was going on and she said “I think they are on a blind date.” Actually she said “I zink zey are on a blind date” cos it turns out Angelika was German. I tried speaking German with her, but was flummoxed when she asked me “Haben Sie ein Schnabeltier?”
I said I didn’t, and she told me “You should. You are Australian”. She then told me that a Schnabeltier (excuse my spelling) is a “duck-billed platypus.” So we all learnt something. And I pointed out that the word “duck-billed” wasn’t entirely necessary.
Turns out that Angelika was almost right in her guess however – Paul and his lady were on the follow-up to a blind date! German efficiency at its best.
I then asked the audience to ask them a few questions that one should ask on a date and they came up with “What are your hobbies?”, “What kind of car do you drive?” and “Is bondage out of the question?”
This last question came from a tattooed, leather vest-wearing, long-haired, goateed biker-looking dude called Taz, who worked in a DIY store. Taz took great offense when I suggested that if you wanted to buy the right materials for building a greenhouse in which to grow marijuana – Taz would be your man.
Turns out Taz doesn’t take drugs at all, which served as a good example to 14 year old Nik, who happened to be in the crowd with his folks, and wasn’t afraid to join in at all times.
When I did my usual joke of “I won’t swear but I might use the word ‘clitoris’”, Nik replied “It’s OK, I know where that is”
When I challenged him, he said quite rightly “It’s in a woman’s vagina”. Well said. And I pointed out that the word “woman’s” wasn’t entirely necessary.
The show went along nicely from there, but then when the second half started, I couldn’t help but notice Paul had lipstick marks on each cheek. I enquired as to why, and it was revealed that Thandi (his lady friend) had purposely put them there during the interval to stir me up.
I then ended the show by creating a permanent reminder of the night. See, I had read backstage that people wanting to support the theatre could have their signature engraved into a brick, and laid into the “footpath of fame” out front of the foyer. So I asked Paul, Thandi, Angelika, Nik, Taz and Dave (with whom I went on an old man rant) onto the stage to sign a “footpath of fame” form.
As far as I know, in a few weeks time, there will be a brick out front of the Stables Theatre in Milton Keynes, that will forever commemorate the nights’ madness. And if you’re wondering – Paul and Thandi seemed to be quite cosy by the end of the show, and asked me to be best man at their wedding. I think they were joking, but I said yes anyway.
And that was just night one. I was gonna bang straight on to tonight’s gig, but I think we both need a breather, and a cup of tea. I’ll put the kettle on, pour myself a cuppa, then report on tonight’s gig in a mo.
In the meantime though, here’s the unusual suspects from tonight’s show: (From Left – Nik, Thandi, Paul, Dave, Angelika, Taz)