Sunday, February 21, 2010

The First Ten Days...

The Eyes Have It, originally uploaded by Dave Gorman.

... of the tour were exhausting... but hugely enjoyable.

The first batch of dates were - I think - always going to be the most exhausting. In that there were ten of them on the bounce... and it was a ten day period that included two Sundays which meant two early mornings for the Absolute Radio show.

When I set off for Preston ten days ago only a couple of them were sold out but as each gig rolled around they all seemed to get there. I wasn't expecting that - these are big rooms - and I won't expect the rest of the tour to do so either. But it means that I've never performed to as many people in such a short space of time. I think it must be pretty close to 20,000 people in ten days. If you were one of them; thanks.

Covering these long distances by car and train turns out to be more exhausting than it was doing the more sensible 50-60 mile trips by bike. I'm not sure how or why. It doesn't really make sense.

I now get a couple of days off... and starting on Wednesday, the tour becomes 5 days on, 2 days off to the end. The next batch, starts on Wednesday and goes as follows.

Feb 24: Folkestone. Leas Cliff Halls
Feb 25: Southend. Cliffs Pavilion
Feb 26: Bournemouth. Pavilion (SOLD OUT)
Feb 27: Cambridge. Corn Exchange (SOLD OUT)
Feb 28: Tunbridge Wells (SOLD OUT)

Actually, those journeys look relatively sensible as tours go. None of them comes close to approaching the Reading to Edinburgh style nonsense we encountered in the last lot. Nice.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On the launchpad...

Well, the last time I was about to start touring this show I was saddled with doubts about whether or not I'd even be able to get to the venues, let alone do the show. It's nice not to have that doubt preying on my mind.

I did the last preview at the Leamington Assembly last night. It wasn't as pleasing as the show in Canterbury but it went well. I felt slightly disconnected at the start of the show and wasn't quite delivering it all as I should. It was okay... but not as good as I want it to be. I got into the groove though and then kicked myself up the arse in the interval and made sure the second half was tight. It made a difference. I have no idea where the complacency had crept in from... but I'll consider it a lesson learned.

With apologies for this being relatively prosaic as far as blog posts go... here's the list of dates:
Feb 11: Preston. (SOLD OUT)
Feb 12: Sheffield. City Hall
Feb 13: Nottingham. Royal Concert Hall
Feb 14: Reading. Hexagon (SOLD OUT)
Feb 15: Edinburgh. Festival Theatre
Feb 16: Bradford. St Georges Hall
Feb 17: Oxford. New Theatre
Feb 18: Derby. Assembly Rooms
Feb 19: York. Grand Opera House (SOLD OUT)
Feb 20: London - Hammersmith Apollo (SOLD OUT)

Feb 24: Folkestone. Leas Cliff Halls
Feb 25: Southend. Cliffs Pavilion
Feb 26: Bournemouth. Pavilion (SOLD OUT)
Feb 27: Cambridge. Corn Exchange (SOLD OUT)
Feb 28: Tunbridge Wells (SOLD OUT)

March 3: Portsmouth. Guildhall
March 4: Plymouth. Pavilions
March 5: Bedford. Corn Exchange (SOLD OUT)
March 6: High Wycombe. The Swan Theatre (SOLD OUT)
March 7: Newcastle. Theatre Royal (SOLD OUT)

March 10: Cheltenham. Town Hall
March 11: Cardiff. St. David's Hall (SOLD OUT)
March 12: Birmingham. Alexandra (SOLD OUT)
March 13: Salford. The Lowry Centre.
March 14: Brighton. Theatre Royal

March 17: Bolton. Albert Halls
March 18: Stoke On Trent. Victoria Hall.
March 19: Coventry. Warwick Arts Centre (SOLD OUT)
March 20: Liverpool. The Empire
March 21: Blackburn

March 24: Aberdeen. Music Hall
March 25: Glasgow. Kings Theatre
March 26: Dorking. Dorking Halls
March 27: Belfast. Waterfront Hall
March 28: Basingstoke. The Anvil (SOLD OUT)

March 30: Leicester. De Montfort Hall
March 31: Llandudno. Venue Cymru.

Box Office phone numbers and links are all here.

I've had a few people asking me if I'm taking time off the radio show during the tour. I could have done if I'd wanted but I love my Sunday mornings and want to keep doing them as much as is possible. So there'll be some late night drives with me sleeping in the passenger seat and I think the end result is that I'll only have to miss one show towards the end of March. Tune in to Absolute Radio on Sunday mornings (or get the podcast) if you want to hear an exhausted man dribbling. Or not dribbling if I have enough coffee.

Hope to see some of you over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Making Britain Geniuser

I said in my last post that there might be some good news to announce soon... well, here it is.

We've got the go ahead to make a new series of Genius for BBC2.

Which means the hunt for new geniuses is stepped up once again.

The best way to submit ideas is via the Genius website where you can either e-mail the team or upload a video of you explaining your idea.

Now... lots of interviews today and then the final preview of the live show in Leamington.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'm Touring Again

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.