Now, it’s not as if this is a new thing in my life, I’ve been a night owl for as long as I can remember – there are exciting things going on at night if you know which dark corner to poke about in, but in the past I’ve always been able to catch up on sleep at other times (for the record, you never catch up on sleep in reality, you just start sleeping again, the sleep you missed is gone forever and if you think about that too much it’ll keep you awake).
There was a time earlier this year when I had a stark realisation I had been up for almost three days, no naps or anything, just three long stupid days. I’ve always been rather reluctant to take pills for anything, I will endure headaches and regularly turn down anti-depressants from my GP, but the sleeping thing needed a handle on it, and it came by way of Ed giving me a handful of drugs. As we already know from this blog, Ed is addicted to the new street drug “insulin” and regularly injects, so it was only a matter of time before he started dabbling in a bit of dealing too.
So he gave me a handful of his Melatonin – a sleep hormone pill that you can’t buy in the UK. Which is ridiculous, because it is brilliant, and even my GP told me (when I asked if I was ok to use it) that if he was able to he would prescribe it immediately without a second thought, but they can only prescribe it to over 55′s apparently so I’d have to wait for two more years (Brilliant “old” joke there). Within moments of taking my first Melatonin I knew I was absolutely addicted to it and would have to have it forever and I was totally fine with that, I was drowsy in ten minutes and out cold in twenty, and in that ten mins between drowsy and asleep I am utterly adorable too. Complete win. As I say though, that was a few months ago.
It would appear that I have built up a slight tolerance to it now, it no longer hits me as hard and is a far more gradual numbing, and last night – after a very full-on day the melatonin was dawdling about and stopping to tie it’s shoelaces and basically doing anything but get me to sleep. It did enough to make sure that simply going out in Edinburgh and wandering about wasn’t an option, but not enough for goodnight sleep tight.
Which would have been fine if we didn’t have fucking new mattresses delivered this morning to our idiotic flat – HA. You thought there would be no more accommodation whining, “oh he is writing about insomnia and drugs” you thought, but I was just lulling you into a false sense of security so I could excuse mentioning the AFRO again (Accomodation Fucking Rip Off). I’m actually not going to go into details but can somebody please tell me if having two mattresses on one bed is illegal and a “fire risk”? I personally would contend that it isn’t and that the bloke who came round this morning and insisted I get up and surrender my existing mattress for a new (identical) mattress was just being a dick about it, but I am happy to be proved wrong if that is the case. I bet I’m not though. I bet there is absolutely no rule about having two mattresses on a bed in existence anywhere on the entire planet.
I think maybe a little of the unsettled feeling last night came from the second gig I did yesterday. I’d had a lovely night at my own show, despite the fact that in the first two minutes I actually thought it was gonna be a slog. It was the first time I’d seen that room completely full and it’s a very odd thing, when we did Peacock & Gamble we fell into this exact same trap, but when you know you’re sold out you just assume it will be nice as a gig. It actually doesn’t cross your mind that they won’t like you, I guess because your ego kicks in a touch and then convinces you that all those people bought tickets just for you because they already think you are brilliant (and not because some rain-sodden flyerer on pitiful money has pulled out all the stops to persuade strangers to sit through your show). I can still clearly recall several sold out audiences for P&G staring at us with eyes that said “what the fuck are you DOING?”. It was hilarious.
So, when I first walked onstage yesterday, I thought it would be cheers galore and guffaws throughout, but for the first five mins they were just polite and did a nice little clap and listened. It took me slightly by surprise, but it was also rather affirming for me as an always developing comedian (I think), because there really would have been a time that it would have knocked me off my stride and the show would have then been unenjoyable for all concerned, but instead I moved my pieces around the board, got into a good position and played it out. It ended up looking deliberately paced that way by accident, and was perhaps my favourite show so far, felt slightly tactical but also with a bit of dicking about. Told you, I’m not doing show reports in this blog but thought it was interesting to mention how there are preconceptions on the part of the performer too and they don’t always serve us well.
But I was going to tell you about the second gig wasn’t I? (And you DO NOT start a sentence with “but”…how many times??)
It was called Cheaper Than Therapy and it’s on down at the Community Project which is basically on the roundabout that connects Cowgate and the Grassmarket. You know that roundabout? Yep? It’s just there.
I’d strongly advise you to go to that gig if you are a punter, and I would strongly advise you to do that gig if you are an act. It’s in aid of the Scottish Assoc for Mental Health and the idea is that comics perform sets about their anxieties, hang-ups and phobias, that sort of thing. Am always apprehensive about doing any gig that is in aid of mental health as it feels a touch like the lunatics taking over the asylum. Don’t get me wrong, there should be benefits for me, but I shouldn’t be on at them. I should just be in the Royal box looking fragile but brave and there will be a bit where all the audience get up and clap me. Apologies but this is an ongoing fantasy; Ed is the compere and he can do a nice speech about how brilliant I am and say thanks to me for giving him a brilliant opportunity when he was a little boy by letting him be on my podcast and helping him get gigs and that, like he should have done in real life when he won his stupid chortle award. Oh how soon people forget when they get a bit of popularity. If I’d had won that award then I would have smashed it in half as soon as I collected it and then made Ed come up and we could have shared it, so all you idiots that voted for Ed over me just have a think about that. Actually I wouldn’t have smashed it there and then as I wasn’t there, but I would have done it at home on a video. What was I on about? Oh that gig last night…
So basically, and rather bizarrely, the mood in the room at the Cheaper Than Therapy gig does actually feel like the mood in a counselling session. Not that initial awkward mood when you’re feeling it out, but that mood where you realise you have actually been opening up and allowing a bit of vulnerability. I definitely felt that strongly onstage there last night, and that has got to be a positive thing for both me and for attitude to mental health. Admittedly, I did rather undermine my honesty at the end by saying to the ladies on the front row that they should be worried about me and “I probably shouldn’t be alone tonight…”, but I hope the heart was there regardless. On the downside, you do find as a comedian that when you’ve had those nights where you feel like you’ve proper connected with an audience, especially when that has come from a place of bare honesty, you really do feel the comedown afterwards when you’re back out in the real world. I was sort of a bit dazed walking back, to the point that I went and sat down outside the Dome Dome for a few minutes and watched policemen tell children off for having a can of beer in the street, that was fun.
I just had a thought and am debating whether or not to include it in this, and I don’t even know why I’m debating it, but when I was sat outside the Dome last night, I really did get the feeling that everybody is in a gang here. I don’t remember seeing anyone on their own, it was really busy and I was on my own and it felt as though it was all just happening around me, like I wasn’t a part of it. I couldn’t possibly have been the only person who was on their own there, but it really felt like it. That’s made me a bit sad.
Not that I’d have wanted to socialise with those people because they all looked like dicks.
(by the way I am not cross with Ed any more over the chortle award thing because he has just come in my room and we sang “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” by Elton John for a bit)
RAY PEACOCK – HERE COMES TROUBLE – 9:25pm Underbelly, 30 July-24 August 2014. Tickets at underbellyedinburgh.co.uk or 0844 545 8252