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.