Monday, 4 July 2011
Hanging out with the cool kids
Just come to the end of an brilliantly busy week. As I typed that, I accidentally typed "busty" instead of "busy", which would, of course, also be true since all my gigs this week were on the burlesque side of variety. It would be churlish and ungrateful, as a freelance performer, to whinge about being busy, but sometimes we're all guilty of it - it's only natural - but this week was un-whingeable. All the shows were lovely, and they were all with great people - most I already knew but some I was meeting for the first time.
Couple of quick spots at Proud Cabaret including my hat and cane routine, for which I was recently lampooned for not having a more creative title for than "The hat and cane routine". This is pretty much the only thing I do that isn't supposed to be funny. A few years ago I wanted to develop something that was different to my usual schtick, so I took a couple of months off and started playing with a single hat and a single cane to see if I could make something cool. That was the point, to make something that made me look cool - and that's something that is wayyy out of my comfort zone. It took a while, and until quite recently I always felt nervous about performing it. A technically difficult routine from a juggling perspective combined with the risk of people laughing at a man trying to be cool always gave me butterflies, but recently it's found it's rhythm and now I love doing it. I'm relaxed enough with the skills half to be able to concentrate and enjoy the performing element, and when it goes right, I do feel cool.
To the Royal Horticultural Halls for a corporate gig. A few little cigar box spots to a nice audience in a beautiful venue, which seemed familiar to me for some reason although it took me a while to work out why. It's the same hall that my mum used to take me to when I was a kid, to go to the early home computer exhibitions. She'd try not to get too bored out of her skull, while the 11 year-old me would visit every stall, chat nervously to the bedroom videogame writers, buy their games on tape (at exhibition discounted prices!) and have my head filled with ideas for my own games that I'd go home and write. Nice for this geek to revisit that.
People bitch about doing corporate gigs, and sure, sometimes they can be soul-destroyingly awful, but this was perfectly nice. And I can't be too down on an evening that allowed me to watch killer chanteuse Kitty La Roar in a slinky gold lame dress squirming about on top of a white grand piano that floated on a cloud of dry ice while a tap dancer hoofed to the song she was singing. Niiice.
My second appearance at Time Out's Friday Night Freakshow at The Udderbelly. A fun late night bill of some of the more notorious UK Cabaret monkeys, hosted by Miss Behave, who alternated her costume tonight between her usual bespoke latex and a plush all in one mouse suit. I wasn't massively happy with my work in the previous months Freakshow - it was ok, but I felt I was a bit lacklustre, but tonight I knocked it out of the park - receptive audience, a few nice little improvy bits and for some reason I said "Penis" which made me giggle afterwards.
I got a text from Miss Behave at 3.50am that night that read "Am at airport departure lounge wearing mouse suit. Love Mouse behave"
Piling into Beatrix Von Bourbon's little green car with Honey Wilde and bombing down to Chelmsford for the Fling Festival. Great crowds in the cabaret tent who were up for it from the first show, and enough time between slots for the cast to descend en-masse on, respectively, the ice cream van, and then the curry stall/Bollywood dance workshop. Those Chelmsfordians got a good show, with the batshit Moonfish Rhumba, excellent Lydia Darling and force of nature Khandie Khisses, who danced until she literally bled, but rarely lost the big daffy grin from her face (see bunny-based portrait above).
Off to the Derngate theatre in Northampton in a show hosted by Kiki Kaboom, who is basically prozac in a ballgown. Another stacked bill, and another chance to hang out with some friends and make some new ones. I'd heard nothing but good things about Fancy Chance, and had wanted to see her work for a while, but although we work most of the same venues, we had so far managed somehow to not ever be on the same bill on the same night. That was rectified tonight though, and boy was it worth the wait. What kind of comedy act parodies Prince in their first spot, and the whole of North Korea in their second? A damn good one, obviously.
Everyone, when they're at school, wants to hang with the cool kids. Most people - myself certainly included - didn't. And those that do, usually find out that the cool kids really ain't that cool anyway. I think these days I get to hang out with the cool kids quite a lot, and you know what? They are pretty cool. And smart, and funny, and sweet. And dressed as mice. Or bunnies. Or Prince.