That was a busy few days. The Porthcawl bootcamp was fantastic. I've had a few people asking me what I thought of Porthcawl as a town and the truth is that I have little or no idea because I didn't have any time for sightseeing. I was there to work and that's pretty much all I did.
We were based in Bridgend (at Hazelwood House - one of the loveliest, most welcoming guesthouses I've ever been to. When I checked out the owner gave me a card wishing me luck for the upcoming tour!)) and each day, I sat with a good friend and picked the last show apart, going through it making changes, cuts and improvements.
It got better each time but the really good news is that it started off being closer to the finished article than I expected it to so I feel slightly ahead of myself on that score. Of course that only means that the physical challenge of the tour now creeps back into my brain and becomes my main concern once more.
The next three previews are in Andover and I was expecting to spend the next couple of days preparing for them with yet more rewrites but as it is I'm going to spend the time finalising some of the cycling details. And instead of travelling to Andover in the passenger seat of a car or on the train with a notebook open on my lap I think I'll cycle there... I might as well find out what it's like trying to do a long show on stage at the end of a long day's ride sooner rather than later.
And while I'm feeling excited to be near the starting line of a new project this last few days also marked the finishing line for another. On Sunday I travelled from Bridgend to Bristol and then to Edinburgh where I was doing a reading as part of the Book Festival. I'm pretty sure it'll be the last reading I do for America Unchained. One ship sails out of port just as another docks. It took a bit of adjustment to get my head out of the stand-up mode and into the right shape for the reading but I really enjoyed it. Things came out in a not-quite-ideal-order but the questions were really interesting and the audience really engaging.
Visiting Edinburgh so briefly during the festival feels strange. I wish I had the time to spend a week or so up there taking in shows... there are so many things I want to see. It definitely wouldn't feel right seeing nothing at all so despite feeling wiped out by the shows, the work, the travel and the reading, I made sure I squeezed at least one show in.
It was Ali McGregor's Late Night Cabaret. I performed at one of Ali's nights back in London a while ago and loved it then and it didn't disappoint last night. She has different guests each night but with the Fringe in full flow there's not exactly a dearth of quality performers around and it's so classily put together that I can't imagine she'll be putting on a duff act any time soon. Camp, funny, silly, smart... I recommend it. It is the best show I saw at the Fringe in 2009 after all.