Thursday, October 27, 2011

AFAQATT

When I'm on tour I get a lot of tweets about the show. Some of them ask questions and some of those questions get asked multiple times... so I thought I'd make life a little easier for myself by putting up an Actually Frequently Asked Questions About The Tour blog entry that I can link to when I need to.

I say Actually Frequently Asked... because I'm always suspicious when I read FAQs that some of the questions are really Rarely If Ever Asked Questions That Give Us An Opportunity To Tell You What We Want To Tell You. So I promise these are all questions that I have been asked every night of the tour by someone. Here goes.

1: What's the music playing before the show? Did you choose it?
I did choose it. It's by a band called Misty's Big Adventure. I'm a big fan of theirs. They did a special song as a DVD extra when Are You Dave Gorman? was released and also did the theme music for Genius. I like to play their music before the show because somehow it seems to be in the same spirit as the show. They're on twitter as Mistys_Big_Twit.


2: Will you be playing in Sweden?/Why aren't you playing in Glasgow?
This is definitely the most frequently asked of all the questions. Okay... it might not always be Sweden or Glasgow... but you get the idea. Substitute any place the tour doesn't reach and the answer's the same. I don't book venues, they book me. That's it. Simple as that.

Oh... and of course it goes without saying that you should at least check the dates before assuming we aren't coming to your town... many's the time someone complains about us not playing somewhere we are playing. I've asked a couple of people why. Sample answer: "I just didn't think you would play Aldershot." Really.

If you're asking this question and you're not on my mailing list then, together, we appear to be doing this the wrong way round. It's easier for us both if I tell you when I am coming your way instead of you asking on the off chance. I don't send masses of emails and I always let the mailing list  know about free things first. Some people seem to be scared of signing up as if it's some kind of commitment. It isn't. It just means that you'll get occasional emails when I have new things going on. And some of them might be near you. Spam free. No hassle.


3: Who organises your tour and don't they know anything about geography?!

This is asked by people who see that after the Liverpool show we were playing Aberdeen and then Edinburgh and then Nottingham. Or similar. Take a look at other people's tour posters... you'll see it's a common occurrence. Of course in a world where every venue was sitting idle doing nothing except wanting my show to turn up we'd probably do some more sensible driving. But they're not. A lot of venues are seven nights a week operations. They have schedules to fill as well. There's no reason why their available dates should be convenient to me... in fact sometimes venues have exclusion zones where they prevent you playing within a 50 mile radius, say, for a month or so. They don't want you playing just up the road the next day. Fair enough.
Some theatres are rep venues - they have plays on 6 nights a week - and are only available on Sundays. Fridays and Saturdays are easier to sell than other nights of the week. These are all factors. Agents don't ask whether the journey will be nice... only if it will be possible.


4: Will it be out on DVD?

I think some people assume that a tour exists solely so it can be filmed and released... as if - without that pay off - people wouldn't do live shows. That's not the case. Live shows are fun. And with this particular show I don't think it would be possible to put it on DVD for all manner of legal reasons. If that makes it sound like I'm some kind of dangerous firebrand saying the unsayable... well that's not it.
Hmm... I'm trying to answer this without providing spoilers... so I'll tell you a story about the last show that was filmed for DVD. In it there's a routine where I read from a postcard. On tour I'd use a postcard I bought in the first town and then replace it occasionally when it got a bit tatty. On the DVD I wasn't allowed to use a shop bought postcard because we would have had to get permission from the copyright holder first and we couldn't guarantee that they would give me that permission. So I used a postcard that had been produced by my publishers when they were promoting America Unchained. I owned the copyright to that image... problem solved.
Now... multiply that problem by 850 slides - some of them showing adverts from multinational companies that don't necessarily come out of the show with glowing reports... and you have a show that can't really be recorded or broken into bits that fit on TV.
That's fine by me. I didn't write a show so that it could be recorded... I wrote a show so that it could be performed .

5. Is it really PowerPoint or are you using Keynote? (Or Prezi or whatever)
Actually this isn't always phrased as a question. A sample tweet. "I went to see Dave Gorman's Powerpoint Presentation tonight. Very funny. But it wasn't PowerPoint. It was Keynote. I'll let him off." I know it's hard to believe that people do this... but they genuinely do. At least two every night. And they're wrong... it is PowerPoint. I've had a couple of twitter conversations about it and the reason behind it seems to be that a) I'm running it on a Mac and b) "PowerPoint can't do that and Keynote is better so you should use Keynote". But PowerPoint can do that. Because that's what did that. That thing you saw that you thought PowerPoint couldn't do. Besides... the show isn't about PowerPoint... it just uses it. It wouldn't be funnier if I used different transitions...

6. Do you want to come for a pint before the show?
Well yes. And no. I'm not really a pints-kind of fella... I'm more a rum man myself. But wanting to and being able to are different things. I never drink before this show. It's a physical show to perform. I think people who haven't seen me live - or who have only seen me doing a book reading, say - imagine it to be a gentle, amble of a show. It's not. It's full tilt. It's sort of like going to the gym every night. And only a fool would have a pint - or a rum - before going to the gym.
On top of that, doing the show tears my throat apart. I have the chance to sip some water about 30 seconds in... and then there isn't another moment where I can stop and do it again. I've had nodules in the past. They hurt. If I'm doing a small number of gigs I might have a drink after a show. But if I'm doing a proper tour I try to stay away. I have to try and look after the voice because without one there's no show. It's easy to go without because I enjoy doing the shows much more than I enjoy drinking... and drinking can mean I end up doing the shows in pain. Which is less fun. (For what it's worth, sober audiences are better too. Comedy is about an exchange of ideas. Sober people laugh at ideas. Drunk people laugh at swear words. Which is boring. Not that I don't swear. It's just that they're not there to make drunk people laugh.)

I think those are the most frequently asked questions I'm getting. Actually, there is another question I get asked a lot... but it's a question I specifically ask the audience not to ask me because it can be a spoiler... and I can't answer it here for the same reason!
Reading the answers to questions you didn't ask is probably tedious (especially number 5!) and definitely has the potential to make the person doing the answering appear presumptuous... so my apologies to those of you who ploughed through this for little reward. It wasn't really aimed at you. I reckon I answer a mix of these questions on twitter at least 30 times a day... so I've just saved myself a lot of future typing.

15 comments:

Alex said...

Bless my girlfriend, she bought me tickets a few weeks back for your London show on November 24th... She knows I'm a big fan, but actually had you confused with Dave Grohl. I told her a PowerPoint presentation by him would be a lot different, and probably not anywhere near as funny. Look forward to seeing you next month (and enlightening her!).

Dave Gorman said...

@Alex: Ha ha... I'll see you there. And I apologise in advance for un-Grohlness.

Paul said...

Ah, Dave Grohl... well you can understand the confusion... you do both look quite similar... almost a look-a-like

Emrys said...

Coming to see you in Leicester also my 35th birthday. One of the best birthday treats I've had

Cassinello said...

The answer to question 4 saddens me, and I fear leaves me with no choice but to come and watch the show repeatedly until I have it memorised well enough that I can re-record it myself at home using doodles and a Dave Gorman mask.

Alan said...

Genuine question: if you'd need all that copyright clearance for a DVD, why don't you need it for each live performance of the same show? I thought the same copyright laws generally covered both situations.

Dave Gorman said...

@Alan: it's complicated. But take the postcard story I related above... who would really enforce that law at a live gig? The problem is that filming things is expensive. And if someone decides to argue over the copyright once you've filmed it, you have to pulp all copies pending a decision. Even if you win the decision - and I'd probably have a good 'comment-and-review' defence - it would be too late. The costs would be prohibitive. So nobody will put the money up without knowing that the risk has been taken care of by getting permissions in advance... which, I suspect, would be impossible.

Anonymous said...

Loved the show in Hammersmith thanks! My Mam and Dad are going to see you at the Sands Centre Carlisle, tonight I think. Any chance of cutting down on the swearing? Andrew

Anonymous said...

My mom and dad will be there too, could you do the gig in the form of a silent movie and also wear a shower cap. They're both really keen on cleanliness and are both very old.

Scott said...

Just Bought my tickets to go see you in bristol. Can't wait.. huge fan of both yourself and powerpoint...but then again who isn't?

TheAnkle said...

I love making power point presentations.

Ross said...

Seen your show twice (Hammersmith and South Bank) and have a very small favour to ask - if it's not too much trouble, could you please wear a tshirt that isn't blue next time? Not that I wish to cause offence you understand, in fact some of my best tshirts are blue, but I think the gravitas of the evening would be better served with a lovely salmon number.

Gledders said...

In fact, I had a T-Shirt once. It was old and loved swearing.

Anonymous said...

Dave,

I know that you have toured the Powerpoint presentation already, you sold out everywhere you went, it was received very well, etc etc etc and the last thing that you want to do is carry on doing it when there are other things that you could be filling your time with, for example: Eating steak with the wife, drinking a tasty rum and ginger beverage, playing darts etc.

HOWEVER..... there are some people who really want to see this show and will NEVER get the chance (as this will not be made into a DVD) you may say that I have had ample chance to see the show with all the tour dates that have come and gone, unfortunately I was in Australia while you were in the UK, and in the UK when you were in Australia (we really should have consulted our diaries to avoid this, don’t you think?)

I’m curious to know exactly what it would take for you to put on your performance flairs and hit the stage with your laptop once again? I am prepared to perform a personal man project as a form of payment to facilitate this!

Yours Sincerely

Stuart aka @angrymcshouty

Dave Gorman said...

@AngryMcShouty: it's just not that simple. It isn't a play. I don't have a script that I learn. Or a way of rehearsing it. If I tried to do the show tomorrow night it would be rusty. It wouldn't be good-enough. It wouldn't be the show you didn't see.

A show gets good by doing it a lot. It's not just a matter of saying the right words - I don't know what any of the words to the show are - it's about feel and nuance and playing with an audience's expectations. Knowing when to surprise them. etc etc.

If I was to try and restage it, I'd need to do four or five warm up shows in small venues. To do it once would take me a week or two of work to get it to a standard I'm proud of. To make two weeks of work worthwhile I'd have to really do the show a fair few times.

To do the show a fair few times would
a) make people who saw me touring it a year ago think, "crikey, I thought he'd have moved on by now"
b) make it look like it was fizzling out
and more importantly
c) be a month of me not being able to work on new things.

Writing material isn't a day job. It's not something that happens because I put in a couple of hours on a weekday morning. It's something that happens when I let my head play. When thoughts wander. It doesn't happen when I'm worrying about whether I've got an old show right again!