Alright, it’s 1.30am, I can’t sleep, so here’s this week’s blog.
And it’s been a week of mad travel for Hillsy, starting with an early morning flight on Tuesday from London to Galway, accompanied by the fine Irish comedian Owen O’Neil. Not only is Owen a lovely man, and a great story-teller, he is also one of he people behind the current West End production of The Shawshank Redemption.
We spent the waiting-in-the-terminal time chatting about the play, how he got the rights from Stephen King, which bits from the book made it to the stage, and what the response has been. The play itself sounds brilliant, so if you’re in London I highly recommend it.
Tuesday night Owen and I were guests on Jason Byrne’s new panel show, The Byrne Ultimatum, along with Bernard O’Shea and Hector …. The show itself was suitably mental, and will air on RTE in Ireland in the next week or so.
Wednesday I picked up the dodgiest hire car ever (I don’t want to name the company but let’s just say I was working on a Budget), and drove five hours across Ireland to Belfast, where I was a guest on Colin Murphy’s TV show, Great Unanswered Questions.
It’s a lovely idea – a comedian, a computer nerd, and a scientist sit with Colin and answer bizarre questions. For example – How many hamsters would it take to power a car? If we dug through the earth from Ireland, would we end up in Australia?
The answers to those questions were – around 20,000; and no, you’d end up off the coast of New Zealand.
The following day I drove five hours back to Clifden, just north of Galway, to perform at the Clifden Arts Festival. The drive itself took me across some of the most stunning scenery in the world, as I encountered the Connemara, also known as James Joyce’s Country.
As I wound my way through purple hazy mountains, and tranquil untainted lochs, I found to my delight that it was also Arthur’s Day – celebrating 250 years since the signing of the lease on the Guinness brewery. As millions of people around the world raised a pint of Guinness at exactly 17.59, I was driving alongside a picture-perfect postcard of the rugged Irish landscape. It was enough to make a man do a jig.
The trip was further enhanced when I managed to tune the radio in to Connemara Public Radio, and heard the barely understandable accent of a true Irish country brogue, say the words “The next song is…” followed by thirty seconds of silence, then the words “I have it here somewhere”. Beautiful.
I opened the gig that night by toasting with my own pint of Guinness, as purchased by an American audience member by the name of Scott. He was travelling around Ireland with a buddy who was the Vice president of a Credit Union, but has gone back to college in case he needs another job. I took this as a sign that the Global Financial Crisis is a lot worse than we realised.
Also in the audience were a couple of Icelandic people (one of whom was from a place that sounded a lot like Staveneffenvensen, and whose name may have been Gvuth-Jon) who told me they were also performing as part of the Festival.
Adam: “What show are you doing?”
Icelander: “I am organising a parade of young children on the beach”
Adam: “What time is that?”
Icelander: “It starts at 6.30 and finishes when the tide comes in.”
The show started at 11.15pm and thanks to the Guinness, didn’t finish til around 12.40am, which meant a few hours sleep before flying back to London the next day for a quiet night at home.
Saturday saw me take the train up to Derby for show three of my “Inflatable” tour. The show itself started well, but it gradually became apparent that there was a semi-retired driver, a doctor, and two, count them two, stags nights in.
Stag number one, Paul, worked in a call centre, and was about to marry Marta. Stag number two also called Paul, worked as a gardener, and was about to marry Renate. (That’s right Paul and Marta, Paul and Renate). Paul Number Two was carrying a garden gnome (of course) and wearing a giant orange fist he had collected from a Hooters Bar earlier in the evening (as you do)
Paul number two also had a mate who they seemed to think looked uncannily like English comedian Michael McIntyre. I dragged him on stage, made him hold the mic and wear my jacket, and took a photo just to check. I’m not so sure myself, but you can see for yourself:
It then occurred to me that every stag needs an embarrassing photo to prove they had a “cerrrrazy” night out, but I didn’t want my stags to have to endure public humiliation. So I engineered an onstage shot for them.
Paul and Paul came to the stage, removed their shirts, and donned various scarves and a handbag I had collected from female members of the audience. I then called the doctor down to apply the lipstick to each. After missing the lips and mouth of Paul Number One completely, I applied the lipstick to Paul Number Two, then staged a photo in which Paul Number Two fists Paul Number one (with the giant orange fist) while the doctor uses a scarf to pull the gnome from the ass of Paul number one.
What’s that I hear you ask? Did I take a photo? You’re damn right I did.
(Hmmm, weirdly, it won’t upload. Is the universe telling me something? I’ll keep trying)
The night was capped off by an impromptu strip from a member of the stag party, which thankfully I didn’t take photos of.
As I left the theatre later, the venue-appointed St John’s Ambulance man who was in attendance for the whole show said “I’ve never seen a gig like that before”
Well I should bloody well hope so!
I’d hate to orchestrate a scene in which a half naked gardener fists a half naked phone answerer, both of whom are wearing effeminate scarves and covered in pink lipstick, while a qualified doctor tries to remove a garden gnome from the arse of the gardener, only to have a first aid officer go home and answer his wife’s question of “How was the show dear?” with the phrase – “Ah, y’know. Same old same old”
That’s all for this week – next week’s adventures will take in Felsted College in Essex, then Milton Keynes, Colchester, Glasgow and Kirkcaldy. There will be more blogs, and there will be more photos.
Til then, keep on rockin