2015 BLOG 13: MICF WEEK TWO: GIGS 80 – 90

This cold continues to vex me.

I have woken every morning around 6.30am and no matter how much I attempt to return to sleep the coughing and spluttering dooms all attempts at returning to a peaceful slumber.  I managed to avoid catching a cold last year and when I began to feel the tickle of something in the back of my throat last Wednesday I knew it wasn’t good.  Since then I have hit the worst of it and now I’m hopefully dragging myself back to full health.  Yet every time I have a moment that feels like I’m just about there I have a morning like the one I endured today that reminds me I could easily slip back if I’m not careful.  I don’t want to get political but I’m not afraid to say having a cold sucks dog’s balls.

Last Friday the 3rd of April I had three gigs.  At this point I thought I could barrel through it as I downed vitamin tables washed down with peppermint tea, lemon and Manuka honey.  I also had a gargle and a cough syrup ready to go so why wouldn’t I be able to totally nail this?

I started the day at the Imperial Hotel where Adam Richard and I recorded a podcast for The Shelf with guest Josh Earl.  It was a fun start to the day and Josh is delightful and hilarious at the best of times but on this day he was dialled up to 100% Josh Earl. (Not to be confused with 100% Geraldine Hickey as “Can You Take This Photo Please?” fans might do.)  Then I hung around to perform a short spot at the 5 on 5 at 5 gig at the Imperial.  My set list was:

Kid at Wedding

20s, 30s, 40s

Breaking Up Through History

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

Before the Internet

 

 

While the gig was a good one I lost track of how long I had been onstage and ended up doing way too long.  This should have been a sign that I wasn’t completely up to scratch as I’m usually pretty good with this type of thing but I lost all sense of time with the spot.  By the time I arrived to do my show that night (Snacks!) I was feeling a little worst for wear and returned home straight after my show to try and bet this cold.

On the Saturday the 4th of April it was another action packed day with four gigs. The Shelf podcast was just Adam and I holding court and while I think Adam was in fine form I was finding it difficult to maintain a level of concentration throughout the recording.  Then it was time for another spot at 5 on 5 at 5 with this being the following set list:

20s, 30s, 40s

Hurt My Back

Invite to Parties

Hairy Baby

“I Don’t Give a Hoot!”

Hushed Angry Conversation

This was a much better performance from me time wise but my voice really began to give out.  It was a strain to get through the spot and I was relieved when it was over.  I had dinner with a good friend after that and then it was off to my show “Snacks!” which felt like hard work.  My audience was fantastic.  They were quite understanding of my situation and gave me a lot of good energy on the stage.  I am very lucky to have a loyal and supportive audience.  They might not be the biggest audience at the festivals but they’re invested and that is all I can ask.

After the show I was back at the Imperial where I performed at the Late Show.  By this time I knew it was a mistake and my spot was lacking the energy I need to perform. I found it difficult to concentrate throughout my spot and the set list ended up being:

“Grains!”

Mum and Cat

Mum and Mildura

Mum and Gay Porn

I was pretty disappointed with this spot and by this stage knew that I was going to have to shut it down a little over the next few days. I hate cancelling gigs as it feels like I am letting people down but once I know I can’t deliver the goods it is better to pull back.  Also the priority for the festival is the solo show and The Shelf so I had to be smart.  I pulled the plug on appearing at any extra shows and on the Sundaystayed in bed all day.  I left the house to perform “Snacks!” to another fantastic audience (Over the weekend I had three sold out shows and the energy they gave me really helped me get over the line) and then returned to bed within an hour of finishing up.

Monday was fairly traumatic day as I dealt physically and mentally with some horrible stuff. I felt anxious for most of the day and had trouble thinking straight.  I had The Shelf that night and was attempting to prepare some new material mixed in with some old for the opening.  I had conversations with people where I felt I could break down at any point and other conversations where I felt quite manic.  I tried to stay in bed for as long as I could and then it was time to go in and get the show on the road.

A packed audience at The Toff in Town heated up the room and there were times when I felt like I might pass out on stage.  My goal for the night was to keep things moving along and know when to take a backseat to the proceedings so I didn’t hold the show back.  My opening was not too bad all things considered.  I didn’t feel like I quite nailed it the way I wanted to but taking into consideration how I felt I thought it came together pretty well. The set list was:

 

Reclaim Australia Rally

Militant Kangaroos

Pauline Hanson and Eskimo Racism

Entitled to My Opinion

Indian Man in Marios

Bomb Chucker

Hispanic at the Disco

Aboriginal Lawyer

As you know in this blog the anything in bold in the set list is something that has been said for the very first time onstage.  The rest of the opening was made up of some stories I had told in the past with some updates and/or extra jokes.  The night was a belter and I really feel in the past three seasons The Shelf has become the show that I always hoped I would be a part of.  I’ve always loved it but it has really begun to hit a level that is what I would hope is of the highest standard.

Then Tuesday and Wednesday it was back to performing “Snacks!” and nothing else. Both nights have been the quietest nights of the festival for me.  This is not a slight on the audiences but more in contrast with the previous shows.  We’re in the middle of the festival though so it is exactly the time that this begins to happen.  Last night I explained to my audience the concept of “Suicide Wednesday” which is the dreaded middle Wednesday of the festival.  You no longer have the energy you have when you begin and the finishing line is so far away.  My crowd last night seemed to enjoy that as an idea especially when I told them it was all on them to help me through this.  They dug in and so did I.

I’m loving performing this show.  It has been a fun ride and it zooms along at a quick pace. That is why it is so frustrating to be ill while at the same time.  I’ll leave you with this photo below.  Some of us have been asked to take a photo for Pirate Day Friday. You can learn more about that here.  Claire Hooper went one better than taking a photo.  She had the whole audience at The Shelf on Monday take part in this.  I took the photo and I love the spirit that you can see in our wonderful audience joining in.

Justin Hamilton

9th of April, 2015

Fitzroy North