Well, after a lovely week in Los Angeles in which I acted like a tourist:
And stayed in a hotel room with a mirror that was also a TV:
I arrived back in London and went straight to my show in Stratford. After battling with the British Rail network – late trains, overcrowded, and an irate passenger informing the guard he was “transporting people illegally” – I quickly came to realise I wasn’t in Hollywood anymore.
Although I did walk past Peter Capaldi (who plays foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker in “The Thick Of It”, and was in my favourite film “Local Hero”) in my local coffee shop, so maybe Hollywood ain’t so special after all.
The Stratford show was memorable for a few audience members, in particular Tom, a biochemistry student who had travelled from High Wycombe just to see me; Hannah and Luisa, a media student and a security guard respectively; a very brash New Yorker whose name eludes me; and a woman in her fifties who informed me “you can’t disgust a woman of my years” and then proceeded to proposition me.
My main focus was Tom though, and try as I might I just couldn’t quite set him up with Hannah and Luisa. Or so I thought. After the interval I returned to the stage to find that Tom had snuggled in between the two ladies. As I probed him about the state of his relationship, a couple in the row behind him started muttering to each other.
Turns out Tom sounds remarkably like the lead singer of their daughter’s band, who go by the name of Withered Hand. The sound tech at the venue managed to find their music online and we had a listen, and indeed the lead singer did sound like Tom.
I then urged the audience, as I seem to be doing this tour, to track down the band on myspace and have a listen to their music, and reminded them all to listen to Withered Hand. At which point someone in the crowd piped up, “Just Like Jeremy Beadle”
After a few minutes of inappropriate laughter, I suggested that should be the name of their next single, and with the help of a pen, a notepad, and some very dodgy audience suggestions, came up with the following lyrics:
“I’m finding it hard to pick stuff up – just like Jeremy Beadle.
My hand is clawed it’s kinda stuck – it looks like I’m an eagle.
It’s in a ball it’s all curled up – it’s almost kinda foetal
Don’t try it yourself if you’re at home – you might get pins n needles”
I then asked for a chorus, and got this:
“I’m withered, I’m withered, I’m withered, I’m withered,
And if you’re not withered, you’re just not with it”
I then challenged the band Withered Hand to record that song and post it on their myspace page. They have until the end of the tour to meet that challenge.
The rest of the show was lovely, except for a lone drunken heckler, who was dealt with quite softly by me, and quite harshly by the rest of the crowd.
I should point out at this stage that I have been selling Tour T Shirts to raise money for a local charity at each gig, and tonight it was suggested that the money go to Richard House Children’s Hospice. It was such a popular suggestion that I sold out of shirts afterwards and had to take names and addresses.
Whilst doing so, a lovely lady approached me, gave me her card, and said she’d like to have a meeting with me. Her job – a film producer. Take that Hollywood!
That’s all from Stratford, tonight is Didcot. I’ll let you know what happens there.