Swindon to Leicester- Where's the love?

By | One Man | 2 Comments

February 13, 2010

The sun pokes out of the clouds and suddenly the day ignites.

Come on, you can do it!

Come on, you can do it!

I’m usually stuck on the train when this happens. When it does, the passing towns transform into romantic, Shire-like villages, filled with Hobbity types who live in perfect harmony with their land,

Ahh...England!

Ahh...England!

their radio telescopes,

Can you see how big this is? It's at least 6 stories tall.

Can you see how big this is? It's at least 6 stories tall.

and their nuclear power plants.

Relax, it's miles away, besides you're on the train. It's not as though there's a train station next to power plant.

Relax, those nuclear cooling towers are miles away, and you're on a speeding train. You won't get much closer.

Yes, okay, so you get a bit closer but....

Alright, so we get a bit closer but....it's not like we stop there.

Okay, so we stop there.

Okay, so we stop there.

I did the show in Swindon, at the Wyvern Theatre, on Saturday. It’s my second time at the theatre, though it should have been my third. In 2006, I’d been relocated to an alternative performance space as the Wyvern was forced to shut to remove asbestos.

Some theatres look very similar to others. What I love about the Wyvern (aside from being asbestos free) are the neon lights illuminating the auditorium stairs.

It's always the little flourishes you remember. Makes me think of Saturday Night Fever.

It's always the little flourishes you remember. Those glowing stairs make me think of Saturday Night Fever.

I’d rather perform in a theatre that underwent asbestos removal than a theatre next to a nuclear power plant. Otherwise it would be more than just the stairs that’d be glowing.

February 14, 2010

I have to admit that on February 14th, I felt a definite pang for my absent Valentine- even though I’m the one who’s absent.

The show in Leicester at the Curve Theatre was amazing. What a turn out! Who would have thought that so many couples would include Lord of the Rings in their Love Day romancing?

The Curve Theatre is virtually brand new. It still has that new theatre smell. Photos can’t do it justice, yet here a couple:

The 100 foot wall raises up (an entire wall!) into the 360 degree "curving" lobby so that shows can be loaded and unloaded with ease. The marvel of seeing this done is like watching a pizza prep kitchen by lifting the entire building as if it were a cake cover.

An 80 foot wall raises up (an entire wall!) opening into the theatre's 360 degree "curving" lobby. Productions can load-in and unload with greater ease. It's like revealing a pizza prep kitchen by lifting the kitchen walls (as effortlessly as a cake cover). What a great way to see behind the scenes.

What a lobby! I've never felt this way about a lobby.

What a lobby! I've never felt this way about a lobby.

Alright, I'll stop.

Alright, I'll stop.

Not all UK theatres are as grand.

Grand.

Majestic.

The romantic Leicester streets were actually pretty quiet. There were a few couples leaving a movie cinema after a RomCom or two- otherwise it was desolate.

Dead, dead centre of Leicester.

Dead, dead centre of Leicester.

Surely some people were out enjoying a yummy meal at a yummy restuarant.

Table for two by the window please.

Table for two by the window please.

Or maybe they stayed at home.

I hope everyone had a lovely Love Day. It’s nice to know we’ve gotten past that trying event of the year. Finally we can get back to the business of barely tolerating each other.

🙂

Here are two friends from Worthing, I met them back in 2006, and it was great to see them again.

Darren and Leslie. Love is sweet.

Darren and Leslie. Love is sweet.

Is It Worth It In Worthing?

By | One Man | 3 Comments

I’m tired today. I blame the very comfy bed and yummy breakfast. I felt satisfied and wanted to sleep another night in that bed. Alas! I had to leave, and sadly, I said goodbye to sweet my boy: Max.

It was a four train hop to Worthing and was it ever worth it. What a gorgeous day!

Pretty bloody lovely.

Pretty bloody lovely.

Along the way through London, I was dragging my sorry behind and 10,000 lbs of luggage from train platform down to the Tube subway station when I saw this:

How???!!!! How could this have happened?

How???!!!! How could this have happened?

Am I crazy to think this worthy of notice?

I’m not sure if you can see how small this lost- or discarded- hairpiece is, but it would be too small to fit a grapefruit. As for its origins, it will forever be a mystery to me. That being said I still couldn’t stop wondering about the person who lost it.

Was someone late for a job interview and not notice it fly off their head? Did some old chap doff his cap to a lady and not feel it slipped away like Sauran’s Ring? Was it placed there as part of a social experiment to see how long it would take for someone to blog about it? Did someone photograph me taking a photograph of it and adding it to their blog?

At least when you see this

Nice

Nice

you know backstory is pretty obvious: “Oh sweetie! Well that’s the end of that one. Just like you father losing is hairpiece. We’ll get you another one.”

Maybe.

I arrived at the hotel with a headache.

Get out of my head.

Get out of my head.

But there was no time for that. Off to the theatre we went.

This is the theatre I’m at tonight:

Pavilion Theatre Worthing

Pavilion Theatre Worthing

Very nice old theatre in this very nice, laid back town. Even the local ne’er do wells I saw down on the causeway, they were throwing sandwich crusts at people walking past. I think I’ll be safe.

Even the police seem very friendly.

Cop a feel

Cop a feel

Well, it has been a long day and it’s not even begun for me yet. The show should be fun. I have friends from Brighton coming to the show.

I just wanted to end this post by thanking two husband and wife teams who have come to the show.

These two in the middle have mural of the map of Middle Earth on their living room wall. Why can't we have one?

These two in the middle have a map of Middle Earth mural on their living room wall. Why can't we have one?

And

This is my friend Kezia's sister, brother-in-law, and soon to be niece or nephew (see inside sister's tummy).

This is my friend Kezia's sister, brother-in-law, and soon to be niece or nephew (see inside sister's tummy).

It’s been a great week, here’s looking forward to Swindon on Saturday and Leicester on Sunday (Valentine’s Day- boo hoo). Enjoy the Olympic Opening Ceremonies if you have a chance to catch them. And happy Love day.

🙂

Little Hero Max

By | One Man | 4 Comments

Tonight is the Southend show at the Palace Theatre, I assume around 7:30pm.

If anyone cares I went to the

Sounds terrifying to me.

Sounds terrifying to me.

at the dentist this morning. He was the FASTEST dentist in entire world. The process of getting a new filling etc. cannot have taken more than fifteen minutes. No injection, no small talk, he had no personality to speak of, but he was efficient in a way that (if this filling last any longer than five days) the dentistry bar has been raised.

Plus, he may have saved my life according to his sign:

Life Saving Through Dentistry Certificate

Potential Life Saving Through Dentistry Certificate

Well, I feel better!

Handsome

See? Don't I look better?

I should mention and thank the woman at the Grange Hotel in Crawley, who accommodated us for the night, in the last room she had. Also, THANK YOU, to her for searching for hours to both find and get an appointment for me at the dentist. Without her

My Unknown Heroine

My Unknown Heroine

I’d look like this:

Sexy

Sexy

So we arrived in Southend and saw some scary stuff at first:

Does this actually need to be stated?

Does this actually need to be stated?

We popped over to the

Palace Theatre

Palace Theatre

Everyone was already hard at work getting the show prepared.

The real work that goes into the show.

The real work that goes into the show.

So off I went to the B&B, feeling a bit like an idle lump.

This dude would need a jacket.

This dude would need a jacket.

I found it difficult to relax at the B&B.  Maybe it was the train-lag- train companies discourage getting too comfortable.

Do Not relax- even if you have no arms.

Do Not relax- even if you have no arms.

So I tried walking around the town to check out the sights:

I guess it's because I'm 12 years old that I always read "to let" as toilet. Pretty day.

I guess it's because I'm 12 years old that I always read "to let" as toilet. Pretty day.

And the shops.

Finally! Someplace carries pork scratchings- I've been looking everywhere.

Finally! Someplace carries pork scratchings- I've been looking everywhere.

I could help but feel empty-ish. Not even my banana was a comfort.

Every bunch of bananas had a price tag like this. How do they make money off of these bananas? Seems a bit excessive.

Every bunch of bananas had a price tag like this. How do they make money off of them?

So I went back to the B&B and figured out what, or rather who, was missing from this day. (Aside from my wife and cat) On the ground level of the B&B sat an old boy, he’s lived at this B&B for 21 years. It’s been his home and he’s had the run of it.

These days he has trouble with the stairs. So he likes to sit on a comfy chair in the front room and look out at the sea- which is something considering he only has one eye.

His name is Max and he’s 21 years old.

Max, 21 years old.

Max, 21 years old.

I’ve been sitting with him in the sun just looking out the window. He was immediately welcoming to me and judging by his constant purring I’d say he’s glad to have the company.

For someone like Max, Life is too short not make fast friendships. And this view is too perfect not to share with another.

The sea Max sees.

The sea Max sees.

So “thank you” too, Max.

🙂

Lucky Day?

By | One Man | 6 Comments

Grantham – Crawley

Grantham Sign

Interview BBC

Funny how some of the most trying days begin so early: this morning I was kicked off a BBC radio interview by the hotel staff so that they could use the hotel’s phone to book a cab. Turns out that the cab in question was being booked for me, at my Tour Manager’s request.

On the train to Crawley, I broke out a tooth. When we arrived, we rushed to the hotel to try to book a dentist- the hotel had given our rooms to someone else.

My Heroine

Oddly enough, tonight’s show is the biggest audience we’ve had yet.

Cute, but would you go see it?

Cute, but would you go see it?

I had to go to the public library to give a pre-show talk about adapting LOTR into a solo stage show. The people who came out for it were so cute, like rows of attentive kittens. I just wanted to take them all home with me. They’d never fit in my suitcase though.

Bye Crawley!

Bye Crawley!

**It’s the next day and we’re heading to Southend. The performance last night was great- big house too:)

Adorable Kittens!

Adorable Kittens!

Started the morning with another 7:30 am BBC interview (this one completely uninterrupted), and now I’m off to the dentist before I catch the train. Regardless of how bad a dentist appointment may be chances are I’ll have a better smile because of it.

God! I need a coffee…

Sun 1 - Snow 0  When the sun shines here the whole world smiles.

Sun 1 - Snow 0 When the sun shines here the whole world smiles.

Newton in Brine

By | One Man | 5 Comments

I woke up this morning to see a bluish sky above Stevenage.

So nice. Why couldn't it have been like this on my day off?

So nice. Why couldn't it have been like this on my day off?

It’s amazing how even just a little bit of sun can make all of the difference.

I got on the train and sat in the first class car because I have a dandy BritRail train pass. It gives me non-stop travel for thirty days on the extensive UK rail lines. You have to be North American to be eligible for it, but- damn- if you’re planning on seeing the UK, it’s the only way to go. Plus you get free coffee in 1st Class! Which makes it totally, totally worth it!

Outasight!

Outasight!

Beware the menu in 1st class though:

Buy this or the children will suffer.

Buy this ciabatta or the children will suffer!

We arrived in Grantham, took a cab driven by a sour old fart of a man, and checked into a nice little B&B, with free internet- hence this post. My room has a TV about the size of a sugar cube.

Afterwards, I popped over to the Arts Centre, where I’m performing tonight. Apparently, the internet and telephone aren’t in service at the Arts Centre because they’re in the midst of moving the box office. I wondered: how are people supposed to buy tickets for the show, but it thought better not to ask. All will be revealed.

The theatre itself is lovely, with a bunch of crazy cool vintage chandeliers on the ceiling. The auditorium is painted sort of a nightmarish pinky-orange, which somehow suits it. Besides, theatres are meant to be dark.

If this theatre is haunted, as so many theatres are, I’d say it might be a fairly flamboyant spirit.

If this theatre is haunted, as so many are, I’d say it'd be a fabulous one. Gaudy anyone? Love it.

Grantham is a lovely town.

The cafes seem nice, but I avoided this one:

C+

We got a C+ back 2006!

Just as a sidebar: Sir Issac Newton was born and raised in wee place near enough to here so that Grantham can lay claim upon him. There’s a lovely statue of S.I.N. in the square across from the Arts Centre. For those of you who don’t remember: Sir Issac Newton was the guy who discovered how stuff figs into pastry.

The Man and his bag of Fig Newtons.

The Man and his bag of Fig Newtons.

I want to know who invented Hot Dogs in Brine?

Barf!

Barf!

Gross.

Bye for now.

Miles, Mikes, and Cabbages

By | One Man | One Comment

Strawberry Fields got stuck in my head (big time) yesterday.

Trains Rock!

Trains Rock!

I was on the train from

Margate sign

to

Stevenage Sign

-and there were fields of cabbages. Miles and miles, as far as I could see- or kilometers and kilometers, which never sounds as impressive- or hundreds of thousands of millimeters. I tried to get you photographic proof of this marvel:

They're just behind the bushes.

They're just behind the bushes.

Apparently the smell from them rotting in the fall is barfingly wretched. There’s fine line between food and garbage. For instance, you order sushi at a restaurant like this:

Oh yeah!

Oh yeah!

But, drop it on the floor like I saw today at a Tescos in Stevenage:

Oh gross! See the wooden chopsticks? The "caution" sign looks like it too slipped on the sushi. Oddly enough, I came back hours after this photo and the sushi was still there.

Oh gross! See the wooden chopsticks? Doesn't the "caution" sign look like it slipped on the sushi? Oddly enough, I came back hours after this photo and it was still there.

Hungry?

I watched the Super Bowl last night. Couldn’t give a toss about it.

Get it? Toss? Football? A? Hilarious. Seriously though, I don’t give a crap about it.

Super Bowl Stevenage

The show at the Gordon Craig Theatre was great- I was surrounded by Michaels. There were two technicians at the theatre: Mike and Mikey.

From left to right: Mike and Mike. The other goes by "Mikey" though.

From left to right: Mike and Mike. The other goes by "Mikey" though.

Along with Michael Wozniak, our opening comic.

It must have gotten a bit confusing for everyone because the comedian’s microphone stand (accidentally) wasn’t cleared from the stage during the interval. So I had to begin my performance by clearing it myself.

Sigh…I can’t work under these conditions.

See what happens when Mikey and Mike fail to strike Michael’s mic?

It’s desperately trying to snow today- no success thus far.

Just watched the movie 2012. I’ll never get that time back.

Photos So Far (well, just a few)

By | One Man | 3 Comments

I tried to add some photos to my first UK post, but wordpress didn’t like them. Let’s see if they like these:

Yay! Do I looked tired and insane? That's because this the face a mad person.

Yay! Do I looked tired and insane? That's because this the face a mad person.

The train stations here are beautiful in a horrible iron and perma-dirty kind of way.

It's hard to capture the scale of St. Pancras Station- believe me- it's big.

It's hard to capture the scale of St. Pancras Station- believe me- it's big.

Christine, my Tour Manager, is so excited about touring the UK on the train. What a chance to take in the countryside.

Pure excitement! Look at the sheep, and that castle, and look at the...Christine?

Pure excitement! Look at the sheep, and that castle, and look at the...Christine?

For me I can’t imagine sleeping on the train. I can hardly sleep at all. Jet-lag is evil. What I could really use  is a blanket with sleeves so I can sit on my ass and never have to worry about getting cold- even if I have to answer the phone. When will they ever come up with a genius device like that?

Hallelujah! Life is complete!

Hallelujah!

More to come!

🙂

Is There Anybody Out There?

By | One Man | 3 Comments

Cold, damp and slightly overcast: it must be February in the UK.

One Man Lord of the Rings is marching to every corner of this fine island- it’s the first time I’ve toured it outside of North America. 47 cities in two months! I’m sure Iron Maiden has had tougher touring schedules that this- but were they lugging around 100 lbs of stuff?

This blog might help me distinguish one day from another. The trains, sandwiches and hotels are already blurring together. I’m getting by on short-term memory: room numbers, directions to the theatre, and “where’s the Marks and Spencers?”. I only retain odd details like: the B&B cat that brought me a dead mouse as a present, or the landlord who resembled a human root vegetable, and the hotel elevator that smell of iced tea, perfume, and mustard.

I’ve arrived in Margate today for our Saturday night show at the Theatre Royal. When we got here it was bright and sunny- now the fog is so intense that I can hardly see the traffic from my second storey window. How the heck I’m to navigate my way back to the theatre, who knows? It’s the first time I’ve ever been here.

Post-show Margate: good show, great theatre, microphone stopped working in the middle of Two Towers, but I grabbed my spare and soldiered on. Oh, and the opening comic didn’t show up for the gig. Heh. Live theatre- I love it!