The Return of The Blog

I know, I know – it’s been ages since I last wrote a blog. And it’s not because I’ve had nothing to write, more that I’ve had too much excitement and I don’t really know where to start!

On the 25th September I saw my first shows of the current Tim Minchin Ready For This? tour. I started writing a blog post but somehow got distracted and never really finished it but it took ages so I’m going to put it here now…..
This weekend it was finally time for my first show of Tim Minchin’s current ‘Ready For This?’ tour. It was way back in March when I started planning the trip – originally I was going to see four shows; Cambridge, High Wycombe, Birmingham and Coventry. Although they might seem like a fairly random collection of towns/cities they were selected in order that I could meet up with my fellow Minchin fans, and Twitterers, Liza (@wickedlibrarian) and Shannon (@MonaSmith) who were coming over from America (Illinois and LA respectively) to see Tim on tour. So, Liza and I booked show tickets, hotels and car hire for the trip….then I decided to pursue my, slightly last minute, plan to do teacher training. And it turned out the  mini-tour fell on the middle weekend of my first two week school placement. If I believed in fate or karma I might think that I’d done something wrong, but I don’t so it was just an unfortunate co-incidence which meant I definitely wouldn’t make the Thursday night Cambridge show, and after a quick flight check it was clear I wouldn’t be able to get home after the Sunday night Coventry show so that was ruled out too. Which left trying to get to High Wycombe from Scotland in time for the show after a full day at school. Easier said than done as it turned out. The best I could do was book a 18.15 flight and hope that I made it in time for the second half of the show.
With all the other things going on at the moment, the weekend kind of crept up on me and I hadn’t really had a chance to get excited but sitting at Edinburgh Airport on Friday night I couldn’t wait to get there. The journey was pretty uneventful despite a series of short but frustrating delays; the flight was 10 minutes late, I was sat towards the back of the plane and had to wait for everyone in front of me to get off first, the car hire guy seemed unable to use a keyboard, and then when I finally thought I was well on my way I hit stationary traffic on the M25. I eventually made it to High Wycombe and when I drove past the theatre to the car park I could see the audience in the foyer – meaning I must have made it in time for the second half…..and then I ended up in the very last space in the multi-story, on the ninth level!! I finally made it into the auditorium just in time for the first song of the second half; Bears Don’t Dig on Dancing. I hung around at the back until the song was finished then made my way to my seat on the second row (accidentally sitting in the ‘bear’s’ seat in the process as he was coming down from the stage and I was actually two seats further along).
It was really quite weird seeing just the second half of the show. I missed a couple of my favourite songs which are in the first half but I did get to see Storm which was brilliant as ever. Tim’s acting seems to have developed so much since the last time I saw it – and a very funny Scooby Doo accent has also made its way in! Darkside was bloody fantastic, the piano solo now is truly epic (although a callback to a joke involving Greensleeves from the first half didn’t make any sense to me). What was noticeable, having not seen the first half is that Tim does very little talking in the second half of the show – apart from the nine minutes of Storm that is. I was very pleased at the inclusion of If You Really Loved Me in this show, it’s always exciting for me to see a Tim song that I haven’t seen live before. Also, it seems on this tour that Tim is more open to requests for his encore (although I would guess he already has in mind what he’s going to play). We were treated to Not Perfect in High Wycombe. Now I’m not a crier but this song very nearly brought a tear to my eye. And I love that Tim is currently 33 and 12 months old. I know he has to sing it that way because 34 years old doesn’t scan properly (and actually he’s not 34 until next week) but it still makes me giggle!
After the show I finally got to speak to Liza which was another slightly bizarre experience. Not that Liza is in anyway odd (well maybe just a little bit!) but it’s weird meeting someone in real life and hearing the speak for the first time when you’ve ‘spoken’ to them a lot online before. It was also lovely to see Linzy, Shell, Emii and Simone again – having last seen them in Edinburgh. There was a small crowd at the stage door waiting for Tim to come out. Now he’s hit the big time and is playing much bigger venues he doesn’t appear to be doing official after show signings. Not that I blame him, he’d be there forever! The patient and dedicated few (well few tens) of people who made it to the stage door were rewarded with Mr Minchin’s presence. We hung out round the corner until he was done and managed to catch him for a quick chat before he headed home. I’ve not seen Tim since Dublin in June but it was lovely that he remembered me (even if he did accidentally call me the wrong name – which he apologised for the following night).
After retrieving my car from the top story of the car park I headed to the hotel round the corner where I was staying with Liza (Shell and Linzy were staying there too). Then after a couple of hours of chat and cold pizza we finally went to bed, where me and Liza proceeded to lie awake in the dark chatting for another hour and a half. It’s so nice when someone you’ve only communicated with via the internet turns out to be lovely in real life too!
The next morning after breakfast in the hotel and a quick wander round High Wycombe (which is a weird combination of pretty market town and crappy shops) with Liza we got in the car for the drive up to Birmingham. We had a very pleasant couple of hours in the car talking about religion and skepticism (and of course Mr Minchin!) – having mostly spoken to Liza on Twitter up until then it was great to have a conversation in more than 140 character bursts!
We managed to find the Travelodge relatively easily and after checking in went to the pub next door for tuna melt sandwiches and Liza’s first experience of pear cider. I was really looking forward to seeing the full Tim show that evening so the afternoon seemed to take forever while we waited to go to the show. We walked to the venue an hour or so before the show was due to start where we met up with Shell again, along with Misha (@howlieT) and finally we got to meet Shannon and her husband Jeremy, who had come over from LA. We also saw Tim loitering outside the venue with his crew and later found out it was because they had managed to set the fire alarm off with the smoke machine during the technical rehearsal!
After a quick drink we found our seats ready for the show to start. My original ticket was for the 6th row but Liza wanted to have a different perspective of the show so swapped me for a front row seat. The show was brilliant. It’s certainly stepped up a notch on the rock star scale since last year’s tour. After the show we hung out again and after the really quite big crowd (which had a large proportion of squealy girls) had finally disappeared we got another chance to talk to Tim (when he made a point of getting my name right!). Me, Liza, Shell, Shannon and Mr Shannon then headed to the pub for some post-show discussion and more cider drinking which was all pretty lovely. It turns out Liza really doesn’t need much cider to turn into a lovely, giggly drunk! Eventually me and Liza headed back to our hotel where we once again continued to chat into the night.
The next day, after a bit of a wander round Birmingham and some lunch we drove over to the concrete jungle Coventry. We eventually found the Travelodge which was somewhat inexplicably in the middle of a shopping centre and it wasn’t long until Nic (@nwoolhouseuk – who you may remember from my Edinburgh blogs) turned up to take over room mate duties from me. When the girls all headed off to the Coventry show I sadly had to drive back to the airport for my flight home.
All in all it was a great weekend and it was brilliant to finally meet Liza and Shannon. I can’t wait now until I get the chance to go and visit them on their home territory in the US. They are all part of my cunning plan to collect friends around the world so I can go travelling on the cheap – but shush, I haven’t told them yet!!
So with the first Tim Minchin weekend over I went back for another week at school – I was mostly observing classes but did do a little bit of teaching too. And now, four weeks later, I’m about to go back to the same school for another six weeks and my first chance to be a ‘real’ teacher. I really just hope it is everything I expect and wanted, and I don’t discover I made the wrong decision in going for this.

I think this will do for one post – I shall fill in the blanks from the intervening 4 weeks (which included another five Tim shows!) in another post.

Oh Dublin, how I love ye

This weekend I spent a comedy filled two days in Dublin in the company of some of my fellow Twitterers @shell_here , @kateweb and @simone_QoF along with Simone’s friend the lovely Karena. After getting up at the ungodly hour of 5.50am I made my way to Edinburgh airport and an uneventful flight to Dublin. Once there I managed to meet up with Simone and Karena, and with little ado we got the bus into Dublin city centre and where we met Shell who had been up even earlier than me for her flight to Ireland. After a morning of tea, wandering and meeting up with Kate (who had the option of a slightly more sensible arrival time) we headed to the Iveagh Gardens, the venue for the weekend’s ‘Carlsberg Comedy Carnival’, and the first show of the weekend.

Within the park there were 4 different venues and our first gig was in the ‘Magic Mirror Palace’; a wooden ‘Spiegeltent’ filled, as the name would suggest, with mirrors. It turns out that a mirror filled tent on a sunny day quickly takes on the temperature of a Swedish sauna, so what followed was nearly 2 hours of entertaining but slightly sweaty comedy. Australian MC Damian Clark did a good job of getting the crowd warmed up before introducing the first act ‘Country & Western star’ Wilson Dixon (alter-ego of New Zealander Jesse Griffin). Although Wilson’s guitar strumming ditties raised some laughs, it’s a slow burner that doesn’t really find anywhere to go. A fun concept that really can’t sustain interest longer than about 20 minutes, so unfortunately at nearly three quarters of an hour I was getting a little restless. After another 10 minutes from Clark, Irish if.comedy award winner David O’Doherty took to the stage with his trademark kid’s keyboard. I’ve never seen DOD before but found his songs and tales funny and entertaining – particularly his recounting of the best heckle ever; from an 8 year old boy who politely raised his hand and asked ‘Does this get good soon?’ This is one comedian I would definitely seek out in the future.

We then headed off to find our accommodation (on the University College Dublin Campus), and after a quick nap (well on my part anyway) we made our way back to the Iveagh Gardens for the next two gigs of the evening.

First up was someone I’d really been looking forward to – US YouTube sensation Bo Burnham. After 15 minutes (which was 10 minutes too long) from an MC whose name I can’t for the life of me remember, Bo came on the stage, looking a little uncomfortable, and without saying a word he sat down, picked up his guitar and launched straight into the hilarious Men and Women. I think that the slightly nervous, shuffling character Bo portrays on stage is mostly for effect – but then at just 18 years old, with jet lag and playing one of his first overseas gigs I’m pretty sure some of those nerves were real. He needn’t have worried. Bo’s combination of clever, shocking and very funny lyrics along with his talent for piano, guitar and acapella rap, haiku and even Shakespearean-esque verse went down an absolute storm with the crowd – despite a stony faced woman in the second row and one man who walked out mid-song. When Bo asked where he was going he replied ‘you’re just not very funny’ and although young Bo dealt with it well, the incident had clearly put him off his stride. There are very few comedians at the moment who can genuinely shock an audience but in a 45 minute set there were several ‘did he really just say that?’ gasps followed by loud guffaws. This is definitely someone I’ll be keeping an eye on in the future, I’m sure he’ll only get better with experience and as he doesn’t seem to have any immediate plans for a tour this side of the Atlantic any time soon I’m glad I got to see him when I did.

Bo Burnham would be a tough act for any comedian to follow so I didn’t envy Maeve Higgins, who came on after another over-long introduction from the MC. This Irish comedian’s whimsical style just didn’t have the energy that was needed to follow an act like Bo. There was nothing bad about her observational comedy but it just didn’t really go anywhere. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for us) we’d moved to the back of the venue (The Comedy Carousel) so we could duck out early in time to make it to the next gig and the laughs just weren’t making it all the way to us.

And so after joining a rather lengthy queue we headed into the Iveagh Theatre; this was the biggest venue of the weekend, a sort of solid walled tent. We managed to grab the last few seats near the front and settled in ready for the first of our Tim Minchin gigs of the weekend. All the gigs we saw had two comedians (usually one international and one Irish) and the organisers seemed to be going with putting on the Irish comedian second rather than what we would see as the obvious ‘headliner’. This meant that after a good ten minutes from MC Dermot Whelan on came Mr Minchin with his ‘angry rock’n’roll’ persona, knocking over the mic stand, kicking the speaker and spilling a very small amount of beer from a bottle. It felt like the fairly drunken crowd didin’t really know what to make of this and then without any pre-amble, apart from the usual introduction, Tim began his set with ‘Prejudice’ which went down a treat. This was followed by some rather ill-advised banter with some girls in the crowd including a rather drunken lady called Theresa (which led to some interesting comparisons from Tim given the recent changes to Ireland’s blasphemy laws) who was out without her kids for the first time in months. Unfortunately, she was one of those who having had her moment of interaction just wouldn’t shut up leading to a bit of an uncomfortable atmosphere in the crowd. Tim then moved on to ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ but due to the backing track starting incredibly loud and the inability of the sound guy to turn down the volume he actually had to stop and start again as he couldn’t hear himself or the track and nor could we. The song was well received by the audience and from this Tim moved on to the baby talky section from the Ready For This? tour. The final song of the evening was ‘Confessions’ which again went down a treat, with Tim leaving the stage entirely before the third movement. Tim’s set was enjoyable as ever but it did feel that with the slightly odd, drunken atmosphere from the audience, the technical hitches and the not altogether successful crowd interaction it could have gone better. I got to say hi to Tim briefly in the interval and despite telling him we had enjoyed it he didn’t seem to think it had gone that well either. Unfortunately, I think that can sometimes be the way of it when playing to a crowd who haven’t necessarily booked to see you specifically.

Tim was followed by Irish comedian Colin Murphy and although there were a few funny sections I think it says alot for his set that I can’t remember a great deal about it. He seemed to go down well with the local crowd but a fair amount of his set was a bit too Ireland-centric to be very funny for anyone else.

Tired after a long day we headed back to our accommodation for tea and biscuits before a well needed sleep. Our taxi driver though seemed very dissappointed that at nearly midnight on a Saturday in Dublin we were neither drunk nor had any intention of becoming so!

On Sunday morning we headed back into the city centre and had a leisurely and delicious breakfast in the delightful Bewley’s Cafe; if you’re ever in Dublin I would strongly recommend it. After some individual wandering around the city we made our way back to the Iveagh Gardens for our second, and last, Tim gig of the weekend.

This time, our early arrival meant we were at the front of the queue and as Shell had been able to pop in to say hi to Tim she had grabbed us front row seats – which couldn’t have been any nearer the stage without us sitting at the piano! There was a very different atmosphere at this afternoon gig – an audience that has only just started drinking is much friendlier than one that has been drinking all day. Sunday’s MC was diminutive Irishman Michael Mee, who seemed quite nervous in front of a reasonably large crowd. He mostly made jokes about his name and unusually for an MC there was little interaction with the audience. However, he didn’t outstay his welcome and soon introduced Mr Minchin to the stage again.

Once again Tim began with ‘Prejudice’ before moving swiftly on to ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ – this time, although the sound levels had been sort of fixed (Tim still had to gesture for the monitor to be turned down), the backing track was started before the introduction was finished. Again both songs went down really well with the audience, and there were more, and more extravagant, wiggles in ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ than I’ve ever seen before. We were so close to the stage that we were literally looking up Tim’s nose when he performed the song and the new addition of some ball scratching at the ‘neck down alopecia’ line of the song was particularly distracting! The baby talky section followed again although there had been very little banter with the crowd. The reason for this soon became clear as Tim had decided that he should challenge Ireland’s new blasphemy law (of which you can read more about here) with a rendition of ‘Ten Foot Cock and a Few Hundred Virgins’. Just after Tim had introduced the song with his usual ‘this is a song about anal sex and God’ and started playing, a girl in the audience got up and walked out prompting Tim to stop and let her know that it was ‘the right thing to do’ – it’s not clear if she left as she didn’t want to be offended or if she was just going to the loo as she said she was, but she didn’t come back until the song had finished when Tim commented how it was amazing that ‘one unit of blasphemy is exactly equal to one unit of urine’. I was really excited to see a song which I’ve never seen performed live before, and I wasn’t disappointed as Tim really went for it on the piano. As with the previous day the final song was ‘Confessions’ which was performed with aplomb. And as I keep trying to explain to my non-Tim fan friends, although I’ve seen these songs performed a fair few time before there is always something different that really makes me laugh. This time, Tim has added a bit where he stops playing after the line about the purpose of lipstick and not being able to look his great aunt in the eye, and just gags for what seems like ages. Again he headed right off stage after the third movement and as MC Michael Mee had never seen Tim’s act before he actually started coming on stage and Tim had to almost push him back off! ‘Confessions’ isn’t one of my favourite songs on the Ready For This? album but seeing it live really is a treat. So another excellent set from Mr Minchin, he didn’t get arrested for blasphemy and he kept me smiling for the rest of the day.

After Tim, came another Irish comedian; Des Bishop. I’d never heard of Des before but it would seem this American born comedian who was raised in Ireland is famous in his adopted country having appeared in several TV shows, most recently one in which he learnt the Irish language. I found a lot of Des’ act very funny (and it didn’t hurt that he’s really rather nice to look at) but quite a large proportion of the gags were either in Irish or related to the issue of the Irish language being taught in Ireland, and unfortunately it went straight in one ear and out the other without making any sense in between. Despite this, I still enjoyed the show and am tempted to check out Des’ Edinburgh show, which I’m presuming will be entirely in a language I understand!

And that was the end of my comedy fun – I made my way back to the airport with Kate, Simone and Karena (Shell was managing to squeeze in another gig before her later flight home), and finally got home at about 10.30pm very tired and very happy to have spent the weekend enjoying some brilliant comedy with excellent company. And now it’s less than two weeks until the start of the Edinburgh Fringe, when I get to look forward to 3 whole weeks of comedy and brilliant company!!

And finally, in other news, I fell of the chocolate wagon this weekend (although I am now at 57 days sober – which I think is possibly the longest I’ve been without alcohol since I first started drinking 15 years ago!). The weight loss is still going well though, I’ve lost a total of 19lbs so far and I’m hoping that this weekend hasn’t had too much of a detrimental effect. I now only have 7 days left to work which is pretty exciting and I’ll be starting at university in less than a month. Basically, the ongoing excitement of my life continues unabated.

If you’ve stuck with this blog this far then well done and thanks for reading. I’m going to try and blog reviews regularly throughout Edinburgh to try and avoid massive posts like this one in the future, as much to save my poor typing fingers as avoid your boredom!!

The Wedding of Dreams (and quite a lot of rain)

We finally got there – this weekend was my brother’s wedding to the lovely Becca. I didn’t get off to a good start on Wednesday when I’d put my car in the garage for a service and MOT before driving down to my parents house in Blackpool. A couple of hours I thought, and I’ll be on my way by lunchtime. Not so unfortunately, five hours later, £350 lighter of pocket, and with a car that still hadn’t passed its MOT I set off! A good drive home though, despite the low level of worry in the back of my mind due to the fact that one of the MOT failure points was ‘excessively corroded brake pipes’ and they still hadn’t been fixed. Now I don’t know much about cars but brake pipes sound pretty essential to making, well, the brakes work.

As you can probably tell I didn’t crash and die (unless I’m writing this from beyond the grave, in which case call Norris McWhirter because surely that’s some sort of record) and on Thursday I drove (or rather was driven in the back of my Mum & Dad’s car feeling like a 10 year old going on holiday again) down to Derbyshire where it was all happening. After a wedding rehearsal made more fun by misquoting the vicar in the style of Stewart Lee we headed back to the hotel for some dinner and, despite my best efforts, a medium amount of booze.

I’d love to say Friday morning dawned bright and clear. But I’d be lying. It was pissing it down – the worst possibly kind of wedding weather. But I had my shiny new plastic umbrella – you know the kind that’s like half a sphere that comes right down to your shoulders? I’ve always wanted one and now I have one, and it kept me good and dry. The wedding itself was lovely – if a bit too much about God for my liking – and I remembered all my reading. My brother actually looked smart for once and the bride and bridesmaids looked lovely too.

And – thank the Lord – the rain stopped long enough for us all to get out of the church, get some photos taken, get back to the hotel (Mark & Becca in their open top Cadillac) and get some more photos in the gardens before the heavens opened again.

Then followed the usual hanging about while we waited to be fed. The food was very nice followed by some funny but not too risqué speeches. After some further hanging about and mingling with plenty of folks that I’ve not seen for years; which was ace, the band started. And they were brilliant! Everything you could wish for in a wedding band, good tunes, good banter and a reasonably sexy lead singer who flirts with you and lets you play his tambourine! Although I still have a sore wrist and bruised hand from the overenthusiastic tambourine playing!!

I didn’t make it to breakfast on Sunday morning. My raging hangover saw to that, and after struggling not to throw up for the first few hours of the day, I slept most of the way home – but recovered enough for pizza and Eurovision in the evening!

So there we go – much fun was had, I got pretty drunk, but not so drunk I forgot any of it, did lots of dancing and although I didn’t get much chance to really talk to them, I’m fairly sure Mark & Becs had an amazing day. And so did everyone else. And maybe now my mum will talk about something else every once in a while. On second thoughts she better make the most of this one – I think it may be some time before she sees her other child get married. Unless I get swept off my feet in a whirlwind romance. You never know – stranger things have happened.

In other news – I didn’t get an interview on the teacher training course I applied to in Edinburgh, and I’m still waiting for feedback to find out why. So I resubmitted my application to the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow…..and I’ve got an interview in ten days. Eek! I’m not sure whether I actually want to commute to Glasgow every day but if it means starting the course in August then I’ll definitely be thinking long and hard before I make a decision. I just need to get in first!

Wish me luck.

Fingers crossed…

So I’ve actually done it. I’ve submitted my teacher training application. If it’s successful then I’ll be back at university in August. Eeep! I don’t want to get my hopes up because I’m really not sure if I’ll get on the course or not. I think I’ve got plenty of relevant experience with stuff I’ve done before but it’s mostly been with adults. I’m not sure I have everything they’re looking for. It all depends on funding and places and crap like that too so I just have to hope I get an interview and if I do then prepare as well I can, be myself and hope for the best!

I went to school yesterday too. I don’t think I’ve actually been in a school when there were kids there since I left school at 16 (I did my A levels at a sixth form college so that doesn’t count). To be honest it hasn’t changed that much since 1994. Well apart from that then whiteboards were cutting edge and now they’ve got these fancy smartboards that are connected to the computer and have special ‘pens’ you can use to write on them and they’re touch screens so you can move stuff about and all sorts – they’re like magic!! So they were new but the naughty kids were still there throwing each other’s pens on the floor, and the geeky girl whose mum obviously wants her to get bullied by making her wear full regulation uniform and ‘school shoes’. Actually, something else that has changed – when I was at school our uniform policy was quite strict; shirts buttoned up, ties on, shoes not trainers – I wasn’t even allowed to wear trousers, it was regulation knee length skirt all the way. These days skinny jeans and converse seem to be acceptable school uniform. I guess I’m going to have to get over my ‘it wasn’t like that in my day’ mentality if I’m going to be any good at this!

On the plus side, in one class the naughty kids taught me to play a random Spanish card game (although I still don’t really understand it) and I kicked their asses! Then gained much respect by being able to shuffle cards all fancy like. It was a bit weird being called ‘Miss’, I quite liked it though.

The whole thing is a bit odd to be honest. I don’t know quite what to think about it yet, because this is a massive decision. Properly like, the rest of my life, decision. I know I’ve applied but I could still back out yet. I really do think this is what I want to do – there are so many benefits, both personally and professionally – BUT I also know how fickle I can be. And once I’ve committed to this I really can’t change my mind.

For now I’m going to carry on with the application, do some more research, make some more visits to school and if I get on the course I’ll make the final decision then. Maybe I might actually become a grown up at last!

There’s no business like showbusiness (Or, AmDram – why?)

I feel after my initial good intentions I have been somewhat neglectful of this blog. I am continually impressed by comedians like Richard Herring and Tiernan Douieb who write a daily blog. But then they have much more interesting lives than me, and hence things to write about. And lets face it, they have a lot more time on their hands than I do!

Anyway I’ve been busy for the last few weeks with final rehearsals for the amateur production of 42nd Street which I’ve been appearing in all week. I first went on stage when I was 4 years old singing and dancing to Zipadee-doo-dah in a church hall but by the age of 6 I had progressed to a production of Alice in Wonderland at The Grand Theatre in Blackpool. I think I was pretty spoilt by my theatre experiences as a child – my dancing school put on an annual show in either The Grand or The Opera House, both are big theatres and made me pretty complacent about being on stage in front of hundreds of people. I went to dance classes until I was 18 when I went away to university and discovered drinking beer and smoking fags were much more appealing ways of spending my time.

When I moved to Scotland I decided that getting involved with dancing and amateur dramatics might be a good way to meet people (which it was – although don’t ask me why I thought I might also meet a nice young, single, straight man. That was never going to happen). For the relative size of the towns and villages around here there are a surprising number of amateur musical companies so I had a fair few to choose from. Amateur dramatics is a strange phenomenon – mainly because there is no pre-requisite for talent. There tend to be a few playing principal parts who actual do have some semblance of talent, some dancers like me who aren’t too terrible and then the ‘chorus’ made up mostly of middle aged women and a couple of men who’ve been claiming their pension since I was at primary school. I think most people just do it because it gets them out of the house for rehearsals a couple of hours a week rather than for any real desire to entertain the public. I enjoy it though and I get to indulge my inner show off without anyone telling me to shut up which can never be a bad thing.

I do have to suffer for my art though – I didn’t want to wear a wig so I decided that I would go for an authentic 1930s curly look, which involved inflicting hair based torture on myself every night this week (and the slight embarassment of having to go to work looking like a less deranged Bjork on Friday). Here’s the before and after shots (with a few of my fellow perfomers) – I think you’ll agree the effort it was worth it!

My Mum and Dad were visiting this week too – they came up after their Easter weekend away to see the show and so my Dad could do some of the DIY jobs I’d been saving for him. It also gave me an excuse to go to Anstruther for officially the best fish and chips in the UK. An hour’s drive for fish and chips is a bit excessive ordinarily but when I have visitors it’s an opportunity not to be missed! If you ever find yourself in the East Neuk of Fife I would highly recommend a visit.

And finally, I was really looking forward to the three Gilded Balloon comedy evenings we had coming up at The Alhambra – I was going to work and get to see three nights of comedy for free. Then all of a sudden the listings just disappeared from the website without a word as to why. Apparently it’s not just The Alhambra gigs that have been pulled but the whole tour. Personally, I think they aren’t coming because Rhona Cameron is a cunt.

Spaceship Mark

The Madness of March is Coming

I know it’s still February for another couple of days yet but the absurd busy-ness of my life for the next couple of months is starting to hit me. It starts tomorrow with a drive down to Blackpool where I am spending the next few days helping my mum shop for her mother-of-the-groom outfit for my brother’s impending nuptials (which isn’t until the middle of May but apparently we need to shop two and half months before the event!) My mum has decided that to avoid the slightest possibility of anyone having the same outfit as her we must go to ‘posh’ shops. I’m counting on a Pretty Woman experience where they give you champagne and pizza and have models showing you the clothes on offer….well, maybe a cup of tea at least? I, on the other hand, have no intention of buying my wedding outfit until a couple of weeks before the big day – in order to give me maximum time for pre-wedding weight loss. That is a whole other story, for another day.

So I’m coming home on Tuesday and will have to head straight to rehearsal for 42nd Street, my next foray into the world of amateur musical theatre. The show is on in the middle of April so between now and then I have rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday evenings and, starting in a couple of weeks, Sunday afternoons too. Oh, and about the same time Wednesday evenings will be Wizard of Oz rehearsals (for a show in September), And on Thursday evenings I go to two dance classes which pretty much leaves Friday and Saturday to do anything else I want to do!!

Which means a week on Saturday I am taking a day trip to Inverness (it’s only 3 and a half hours away – ideal for a day trip!). My friend Dave is running in a half marathon and I’m going along to offer moral support – and drive the car home. I’ll be meeting some other friends there too – one of whom I’ve not seen for a few years so I’m looking forward to that. And I’ve never been to Inverness.

The weekend after brings a trip to London to see Rock and Roll Nerd, a documentary about Tim Minchin, which is getting its only UK screening at the Barbican’s Australian Film Festival. Luckily my brother lives in London (well Essex really but it’s on the Central Line so near enough) so I can use him for free accomodation whenever required. I’m really looking forward to this weekend not only for the film but because I’m going to meet some of the fellow Tim fans I’ve become aquainted with through the previously mentioned Angry(Feet) official fan forum. And to top all that off I’m planning on going to the Natural History Museum . I can’t remember if I’ve ever actually been there – certainly not since I was child if I have. There’s a whole new Darwin Centre too which is excellent by all accounts.

In a spectacular act of poor organisation and planning I’m going to be in London again the weekend after. It’s my Dad’s 60th Birthday so we’re all going to our nation’s capital to stay in a hotel and see Hairspray, which I’ve seen before but there aren’t many musicals I would refuse to see again!

And after all that I think I actually have a couple of weekends at home before I’m away for Easter!! Honestly, I go months without doing anything interesting or going anywhere and then all this in one month. Then April is 42nd Street and a visit to Edinburgh to see Never Forget (the Take That musical – seriously!), May is the hen weekend, the wedding, my birthday (and another trip to Edinburgh, this time for Chicago), my brother’s birthday and my parents wedding anniversary. And after all that I’ll be so broke that I won’t be going anywhere or doing anything for the rest of the year.

It’s good to have lots of things planned and therefore to look forward to but it does feel a bit odd to know how little time I have just to do stuff/nothing. But then I guess I’ve got the rest of my life to do stuff.

The lesser known ‘I really wish I had a dream’ speech

Can anyone tell me why I’m here?

Ok, so I’ve decided to bite the bullet and have a go at this blogging thing – everyone else seems to be doing it after all. And maybe no-one will ever read this – and at the moment I’m not sure that I’d want them to. I’ve kept a diary on and off since I was 12 (and I still have them all… really the early years are not worth re-reading, there’s only so much ‘I really fancy Ryan/Matt/Wesley/Mark (delete depending on day of the week) you need to know!) and this is just an extension of that really. Maybe with more ‘what I did today and what I think about it’ than ‘why don’t I have a boyfriend/good job/size 10 figure’ but knowing me there’ll be a fair bit of that too!

I think I’ve been finally prompted to put my arse out here in blog land due to the recent explosion of Twitter and my addiction to it. I’ve really enjoyed reading other people’s blogs and sometimes I feel the need to share something that can’t be squeezed into 140 characters. I’ve not really bothered with blogs that much before apart from The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl written by Shauna, this girl I know, about her mission to lose half her body weight. It’s inspiring – and she’s even had it published and has recently been on a publicity trip to New York no less.

I suppose I should get the other reason out there now, in the early days, too. I’m a fairly recent addition to the ever growing fan base of Australian musical comedian Tim Minchin. Some friends had seen Tim at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008 and I’d seen a couple of YouTube clips but it wasn’t until I saw Tim performing ‘If I didn’t have you’ (an excellent maths based love song) on the Secret Policeman’s Ball that I truly began to appreciate his amazing wit, intelligence, musical talent and general all round awesomeness. So, I got my arse online and booked tickets to see this new found object of my admiration in Glasgow last November and I’ve been hooked ever since. I joined Mr Minchin’s official fan forum Angry (Feet) where, after a bit of a tentative start, I meant lots of lovely, like-minded, Tim fans. I even met a few of them when I went to my second Tim gig at the Roundhouse in Camden in January. It’s great to have an outlet for my (very slight) obsession because my friends and family just don’t really get it. I reckon I’ve just got one of those personalities that when I find something I like I have to be all encompassed by it for a while – I know it will burn out in a few months and I’ll be able to get back to some semblance of normality instead of getting withdrawal symtoms if I haven’t checked the various sources of Tim-related information for a few hours. It’s just like when I followed Joseph and his Amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat round the country (8 times I saw it) when I was 14 because I fancied the boy playing Benjamin!

So, I think what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been spending more time online lately and I’ve made lots of new internet based friends and this has somehow inspired me to start a blog.I don’t really know what I’m going to write here – probably what I’ve been up to, how my latest diet is going (this time I’m really going to do it, damn it), the ongoing lack of anything resembling a love life and more than likely a lot of Tim Minchin related nonsense. I think I’ve done ok for a first post though so I’ll probably leave it here for tonight. And maybe I’ll come back tomorrow if I can think of something else to say. I may try and explain the ‘I really wish I had a dream’ significance.