On getting, or not getting, gigs.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got lots of dates going up and appearances which I’m really looking forward to, and lately I’ve been concentrating on my new show and rehearsing and learning lines rather than hunting out performance opportunities. In fact I’ve got a little mini tour lined up, and three dates over three nights in three parts of the country. However, there’s nothing worse than the possibility of a gig slipping through your fingers. It happens every now and then, and it’s happened twice this year already.
But today. Oh my. Today . . .
Now, I don’t really mention spoken word around my family. And to be honest, I don’t think they know exactly what it is that I do. Hell, sometimes, I don’t even know what I do! They know that it’s something to do with poetry, and that it might be funny, but, like my friends too, they’re not that interested. It’s like knowing someone who works in risk management, or caravan cleaning. You’ve got a rough idea, but you’re not really that interested, and you certainly wouldn’t want to come to work and watch them.
I was chatting with my mother today and she is on the committee of the local horticulture society. They have events ever now and then, where horticulturalist can let their hair down, and one of these is coming up. She said she had been asked to find a ‘funny local poet’ to do a set at their next shindig. The poet would be paid the full going rate. Excellent, I thought, here we go! Another adventure in poetry land, a gig with the local horticulture society!
The conversation kind of went like this:
Conversation with the muv.
‘I had to book someone for our next horticulture society meeting. We need entertainment so I suggested comedy poetry’.
Me: oh yes?
Mum : Yes. I decided we needed someone good and local. So I’ve found a local comedy poet who’s going to come and perform, and we are paying her a hundred pounds.
Me: Really? Who did you get. Jackie Juno? Shelley Szender? Brenda Hutchings? ( All of whom are famous local funny poets, but by this time I’m also wondering why she hadn’t thought of me).
Mum : No. She’s called Ethel Skidmore. (Name changed to protect the actual person ).
Mum : Ethel Skidmore. Apparently she’s the funniest poet in Torbay,
Me : I’ve never heard of her.
Mum : She was very highly recommended by a friend of mine. Yes, Ethel Skidmore. So I looked her up and she does lots of local amateur dramatics, so she must be good. She’ll do some Pam Ayres for us, and other funny poems like that one about being old and dressing in purple, and she might even do one or two she wrote herself. Can you imagine that! She even writes her own poems as well as performing!
Me : So you want the funniest poet in Torbay and you found someone called Ethel Skidmore.
Mum: yes. We are all very excited! She even plays the ukulele.
I think the moral of this story, really, is that even my closest relatives have absolutely no idea what it is that I do! And also that what people really want, at the end of the day, is a Pam Ayres impersonator. Or at least, the local horticulture society!