Sunday, July 12, 2009


Buttercups, originally uploaded by Dave Gorman.

The upcoming tour offers two quite distinct challenges. There's the bike ride - which is far and away the most physical thing I've ever done and then there are the the gigs: every night. I've done gigs before, obviously, but it's a long time since I've done straight stand-up and while doing a gig every night is one thing, doing them while dealing with the physical effects of cycling each day is another.

I find my concern oscillates from one to the other. There's no point doing the thing if the show isn't up to snuff and there's no point having a great show if the physical effort involved in getting there breaks me.

Luckily both concerns seem to be being well looked after. Having completed the 120 mile ride to Brighton and back I reckon my training has paid off. I've lost a chunk of weight and seem to have picked up some stamina along the way. So without stopping training completely I feel free to focus on the show.

I've done two previews recently. One in Leamington on the 6th and the other in Cheltenham on the 10th. (I wonder if something I said was misheard by my agent and he thinks I insisted on Spa towns?)

Anyway... when the show tours properly it will be something like 90mins+ in most venues but for these previews the intention has just been to see if I can put together a decent hour.

They both had nice full rooms and they both went well - very encouraging. I had to glance at notes only four or five times and I forgot a chunk in Leamington and another smaller bit in Cheltenham but they both ran to an hour and ten and left me some material to spare.

One of the things that fascinates me with stand-up is that it's not just how a particular piece of material is written or performed it's how it's placed in the greater scheme of things. A new routine that stormed in Leamington felt lacklustre a few nights later when I was doing a short set in London and then in Cheltenham it suddenly packed a real punch again. Same words. Same ideas being traded. Odd. And really interesting to observe and learn from. (Hmm... maybe it is the Spa town thing?)

In August I'll be doing fuller previews - there are three nights in Porthcawl and a further three in Andover (see the main site for details) - where I'll be adding more elements and reshuffling the jigsaw to try and find the best blend. I'm looking forward to them. Especially now it feels like the show has strong foundations.

I didn't cycle to the previews. I thought about it for the Cheltenham gig. I reckon it was just about in range. But the point of these gigs is to sort out the content and I had stuff to do the next day that made a long ride home a bit more problematic. So I hired a car for each of them.

It's ages since I've driven a car. It's horrible isn't it? Especially in London traffic. On the way to Leamington there had been an accident on the M40. It was on the other carriageway but rubbernecking meant that those of us heading North were crawling too. That combined with the normal slow route across London meant that it took me two and a half hours to travel the first 60 miles.

The drive to Cheltenham was worse. A road in East London had been blocked by the police which gridlocked a whole load of roads. By the time I'd weedled my way around it all - effectively getting me one mile into my journey - an hour had already gone. It took another hour to actually get across London and then I got snarled up in the Friday rush hour around Oxford too. All in all, the 90 mile journey took just over four hours.

So not only did the gigs give me confidence in the show's content, they also left me feeling very glad that I'm going to be cycling.


Vicky said...

Had tickets for the leamington one - but got the wrong date and missed it curses curses curses and rude words!

Jayel Aheram said...

That sounds exhausting. Though, being up on stage in front of all those people sounds even more demanding than the cycling.

What do you take for energy (if any)?

Dave Gorman said...

@Jayel Aheram Just food, like everyone else. (Unless you know better... which _you_ might well do.)

Kerry Lakin said...

A chunk missing in Leamington?? It didnt seem to be lacking and appeared to flow beautifully from where I was sitting (rather uncomfortably facing the ear of the woman in the front row!)
Hope the remaining previews go as well, look forward to Warwick in March.

Dave Gorman said...

@Kerry Lakin: You do know that as the Leamington show was a warm up gig - and the material worked - the same stuff is likely to be in the show in Warwick. There'll be other stuff too. I just wouldn't want you to buy a ticket under false pretences.

Paul said...

I got tickets to the Stoke show on the "main" tour. Then you go and play in my home town at a venue I have not been to since it was a Bingo Hall, and I was too tempted, I couldn't resist. Fortunately you were really good and my memory isn't amazing so it will be a great show in September. How did you like Leamington?

Ian said...

Just wanted to say I really enjoyed the Leamington show. I'm also planning to go to the Warwick gig too, despite the inevitable overlap.

Without obviously revealing the content, I am really curious as to what section from the Leamington set didn't go down well in London?

Kerry Lakin said...

Happy to go to Warwick as a)comfier seats b)staggering distance from my home c)better choice of beverage. I'm fully prepared to snigger my way through same/similar routine..any chance of a meet and greet post show? thanks for being considerate enough to care about my husband's bank balance. x