I'm not on the bike, but my cogs still need oiling...
So I'm about to start the second leg of the tour... with the now confusingly titled Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop And Stand Up show.
It was a title that made perfect sense when the show was originally added on to an existing 1600 mile bike ride but doesn't quite belong any more seeing as I'm no longer cycling. Ah well. I guess it's like when the actor who played Taggart passed away and the series carried on being called Taggart even though there was no longer anyone called Taggart in the show.
Of course it would be impossible to cycle from gig to gig because it would be impossible to arrange another run of gigs each one being a cyclable distance from the last. Or rather it would be possible, but it wouldn't be possible to do that and play in all the venues that want the show and that's really the point. The first leg was a bike ride turned into a tour while this one is, y'know, a tour. I'll be playing Belfast for example. There's a sea between here and there. You can't cycle that. Christ on a bike, no.
So it's the same show but without the saddle soreness and the blisters. I started with a couple of low key warm ups in Windsor on Tuesday and Wednesday night. I've only done a couple of short spots at benefit gigs since the first leg of the tour ended so I felt incredibly rusty before the first show and couldn't work out how I'd ever managed to learn the material and find the best order for it. The result is that I spent the Tuesday night feeling my way through the show, not always knowing how a chunk of material was going to end when I started it. They were a friendly crowd though. I enjoyed the show but I was frustrated by my own performance. It felt a bit too much of a stop-start for me, as though I was leading myself through the material instead of leading the audience through it.
But with stand-up the only way to learn is to do and it showed with the Wednesday night show where things were flowing much nicer and my memory felt restored. A lot of the rust was gone. The cogs in my mind were feeling oiled. It was a much, much better show as a result.
I have a long day tomorrow - eleven interviews between 8am and 1pm before the drive to Canterbury for preview number three. There's one more preview after that - Tuesday 9th in Leamington and then the tour proper kicks off in Preston on the 11th.
So... Preston, Sheffield, Nottingham, Reading, Edinburgh, Bradford (do you see what I mean about not cycling) Oxford, Derby, York, London, Folkestone, Southend, Bournemouth, Cambridge, Tunbridge Wells, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Bedford, Wycombe, Newcastle, Cheltenham, Cardiff, Birmingham, Salford, Brighton, Bolton, Stoke, Warwick, Liverpool, Blackburn, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dorking, Belfast, Basingstoke, Leicester and Llandudno here I come.
Some of the shows are sold out already, some are close and some have got a bit to do but all of them seem to be moving and I'm chuffed with the way it's shaping up. I hope to see some of you there... the details are on the live dates page of my site.
In other news... I've been in some interesting meetings over the last few days and should have some good news to announce soon.
Oh... and in other, other news... Genius is being repeated on Dave. That's the TV channel, Dave. Obviously.