Monday, 23 February 2009

UK Comedy Observations pt.3

As promised, on to Bristol.

Bristol was an important show in me 'ed. Not important with any deep and foreboding gravitas, but significant for a number of reasons. This was my reunion with Tom Stade, a fine friend of many years, an immutable character with an appealing blend of good nature and addled clarity. I was fortunate enough to take him on his first road trip and at my wedding he was the m.c. who charmed and challenged the prevailing prim. I had hunted down this gig as it gave me a chance to work a week-end together. Craig Campbell had kindly referred me to Steve Lount at the Comedy Box but had warned me that getting booked in might not be done easily, so when I managed it, I was most pleased.

This was my first
UK gig where there were accommodations provided and a review of them is essential. Comedians, certainly those in Canada, spend more time at their accomodations than at their venues. In addition, the accommodations are not only where you stay, they are where you have been put. They are reflective of how the club or booker sees the performer: as a cog in a show-business wheel he can be shoved into any ill-scented, hobo-ridden cog den, or as a someone who, after cumulative years of a long day's travel would feel truly blessed by the most average of hotel rooms.
My new home in Bristol was a bed and breakfast wedged comfortably in a section of brick row-houses which looked over a pleasant but well littered waterway. While hotels have managers and/or front desk clerks, bed and breakfasts have either home-owners or "hosts" - of the two hosts are usually preferable as they have a degree of seperation that makes things more comfortable. With a home-owner you feel as though they have made a decision to allow you to sleep in their house and your appearance and behaviour are to quote Milligan "scrutinized with an intense scrute". The gods be praised, I am greeted by a host, she is very sweet and, in friendly west-country tones, shows me to my room and lets me know that her family has lived on the same street for generations. Pertinent information is given: time of breakfast, how to acquire soap, and directions to the club. The fact that my floor has two bathrooms on it is evidently a source of no little pride.

I am on the top floor, stairs are wonderfully narrow and floor covering varies from floor to floor. I quite liked my little room, and it was a little room. It was very clean and it had a little bed, a little television, a little wardrobe, a little sink, a little kettle and a massive skylight, which actually opened up to reveal a pigeon point view of the city. How did I reach this skylight, you might ask. This was easily achieved because the ceiling in the room began to taper down from about 5 feet into the room and eventually ended about waist-high. This left me with an ample 6x6 patch to stand upright and roam about in -(I later discovered the bathrooms on my floor were equally roomy). I felt as though in days gone by, when the room was plank-floored and single paned it likely served to house a crippled child who was an embarrassment to the family.

Lemony Snicketisms aside, I was contented in my new nest and looked forward to flying out to do my show that evening.

1 comment: